Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Squeal

I had walked by there at least - at least! - three times.  And I never saw it.  It had completely escaped my eyes, and it is a wonder that I ever saw it.

I had been weeding for several hours.  I was ready to come inside.  But, one last walk around convinced me that I needed to bend down and weed where some spring bulbs were beginning to emerge.  It was a good thing that I was so close to the ground, or I would never have seen this wonder.

This particular area is shaping up to be my spring garden.  I'm planning on planting spring blooming forsythia and carolina jessamine here.  Last autumn, I planted a lot of spring blooming bulbs.  Daffodils are planted here.   Tulips, too, even though they may never return.  A lot of irises, of all different types.  A few crocus.  Muscari.  Paperwhites.  And a few of those free gifts you get when you purchase a set amount.

Bent down, giving a half-hearted attempt to scrape away the weeds that had sprung up in the moist soil, my eyes looked away from my task for a moment.  And that's when I saw it.

I let out a little squeal.

A squill was blooming!

What an adorable, tiny bloom!  Such a gorgeous shade of blue.  Such sweet little leaves.  Just sitting there, basking in the sun, blooming as if it were already spring.  I didn't know exactly what it was, only that it was tiny, a beautiful shade of blue, and some sort of squill.

I googled 'blue squill' and I got a lot of links for Siberian squill, scilla siberica.  Oh, yes, now I remember planting them!  (I went a little crazy planting last autumn!)  According to Dave's Garden, Siberian squill is a bulb with a medium blue, late winter/early spring bloom under 6 inches tall.  To date, there are no reports of it growing in Texas, so I wonder how well it will grow here.  There are some reports of invasiveness, but I doubt it could ever become invasive here, as it "requires consistently moist soil".  Not something easily found in Texas, at least not in July or August!

If it returns again next year, I'll buy more.  But for now, I'll just enjoy this fun find.  And wonder what will bloom next in my spring garden.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Magic Needed

The tour ended, and I breathed a sigh of relief.  I was a magician!  Through a slight of hand, well, actually by pointing out different plants along the walk in order to take the focus away from where I didn't want her to look, we completed the tour without my friend ever seeing my vegetable bed.  Even though it is very hard to overlook, I had managed to steer her away from the most embarrassing part of my garden.

Would she have understood?  Probably.  But I believed that I could magically transform it into a beautiful showcase by the time she returned for another walk around my garden.  

In contrast to my friend's tour, when my sister came to visit, she got to see the vegetable bed.  

She's family.  

But when she saw it, she cried out, "Oh, my!  I was going to tell you to put down landscaping fabric, but I see you did!  Wow!  How did all those weeds grow on the fabric like that?"

That was a good question.  My error was in putting a layer of mulch on top of the weed barrier.  The mulch composted down, and in doing so, seemingly every weed and grass seed germinated and grew in this fertile base.  But it wasn't totally the fault of the mulch, either.  Much of the grass speared its way through the weed barrier.  Bermuda is not easy to kill.

When I read that Janet of Plantalicious was showing "warts and all" in Helen of The Patient Gardener's monthly meme, End of Month View, I realized that if I joined in to show my vegetable bed every month, this just might be the motivation I needed to get - and keep - it in shape.  So, here it is.  My wart:

from north east corner looking south

from east corner looking west

from north west corner looking south

My plan is to get all the weeds/grass/mulch out/off of the landscape fabric.  Then put down another layer.  (And no mulch this time!)  I will try to keep up with any weeds that poke though.  Even though the weeds are in the pathways, not where I plant vegetables, I still want to use organic methods here, so I'll probably try using vinegar.

Can I magically transform this area?  And not let it get out of hand?  Not sure, but that's the plan! 

We'll see how much I've accomplished next month!

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