Saturday, April 30, 2011

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

We were eating lunch yesterday when we noticed - we had company!

No, they didn't ring the doorbell.  In fact, they were trying to be very quiet.  They didn't want us to know they had come for dinner.  In the middle of the day.  In broad daylight!   Uninvited.

That may just look like weeds to you, but in actuality it's our vegetable garden.  Do you see the lettuce hanging out her mouth?

Not just one, but three!

And where was The Protector?  Was he protecting the property as he is supposed to do?  Defending our food source?

No, he was asleep.

They seem to have a system - one looks out while the others chow down.  It didn't seem to bother them that we moved from inside the house to outside on the porch.

Finally The Protector barked - once.  It startled us, too.  But since he didn't bark again, it really didn't slow them down.

I suppose they finally got full, as they eventually sauntered off.

Want to know what is most disturbing?   We never ran them off, either.  We just ran to get our cameras!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Feed Them and They Will Come!

There have been multitudes of butterflies in my garden.  There were so many, even the lazy cats were interested!  It's always so uplifting to see them.  I don't know of anything else so universally loved.  Even though we know those leaves that have been chewed down to nothing had something to do with them!

I ended up getting pictures of only three different kinds.  Looking them up in my copy of "National Audubon Society's Field Guide to Butterflies, North America", this is what I learned:

American Painted Lady  
Range is subarctic North America to Mexico, Hawaii.  

Host plants include everlastings (Gnaphalium, Antennaria, Anaphalis).  This one had a small part of its wing missing on the upper left corner. 

Resides in southern US, west and north to Oregon, Ontario, New England.  

Host plants include plantain (Plantaginaceae); figworts (Shrophulariaceae); stonecrop (Crassulaceae); vervain (Verbenaceae).

Variegated Fritillary 
Range is from Arizona to Florida; can be seen in California; British Columbia 

 Host plants include violets and pansies (Viola); flax (Linum); passion flower (Passiflora); stonecrop (Sedum lancolatum); moonseed (Menispermum); plantain (Plantago).

As the summer continues, I hope to be able to take pictures of even more butterflies!  It's exciting to know that some of the plants in the garden have been host plants.  Although I have purposefully put some plants in the garden that are known as butterfly magnets, I have never actually tried to include their host plants.  I now see how that could be a fun part of gardening.  I may have to start looking into that!

Do you intentionally put host plants in your garden to attract butterflies?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Some Things Just Work Out!

Sometimes I plant things in the garden with no idea if they will work out or not.  And sometimes they do!  One of the best plants I've put in the garden lately is 'Bright Lights'.

'Bright Lights' is a striped pink and yellow miniature rose, and it only grows to around 2 to 3 ft. tall.  Although different websites state different zones, it's worth trying in zones 5 to 11.  I like using miniature roses in my landscaping.

I planted 'Bright Lights' in a planter located in the middle of a bed of cheerful yellow 'Julia Child' roses.

Their blooms compliment each other perfectly.  Isn't it wonderful when things work out?

You see, this planter had been a source of frustration for quite some time.  I had planted annuals in it for several years.  Then I just left it bare.  The cats used it as a bed.  I was not satisfied.  I wanted something there.  A plant, not a cat.  Something permanent.  Something pretty.  Something cheerful.

I bought 'Bright Lights' on a whim.  But not only does it pair perfectly with 'Julia Child', it also compliments 'James Galway' (a light pink bloomer) and the 'Appleblossom' flower carpet roses that are just around the corner.

This planter is now a focal point that I love to see!

This is my 100th post!  I'm linking this to Cottage Flora Thursdays.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My One and Only

Some roses bloom all summer.  I have lots of these.  Some roses only bloom once, in the spring.  Of these, I have only one.

My once-bloomer is a gallica named 'Belle de Crecy'.  She grows in zones 4 through 8.  Nearly thornless.  Spotless foliage.  Tons of petals.  Cute little button nose.

Why do I only have one?  Am I greedy for more blooms?  Well, yes.  Although - for gardeners in the right zones,  once-blooming roses (non-remontant) bloom for a very long time (a month or more), with a much higher count of blooms than the repeat (remontant) bloomers.  It's whatever is best for your garden, and a lot of it has to do with your weather.  Gallicas like cold winters, cool summers.  Not always the type of weather we get in Texas.

The weather here is a bit hot for a gallica.  In fact, I wasn't sure it would get cold enough for it to ever bloom.  But, so far it has.  Not sure I'll be able to say that every year, and this rose may go into decline if the weather tends to get hotter.  Of course, if our winters stay cool, this beauty may become my biggest spring bloomer!

You may think I wish this rose would repeat.  But I love it for what it is.

After all, it is my one and only gallica.

Do you have a non-remontant rose in your garden?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Are You Boring?

Gardeners are boring.  Well, at least we can be.  We can talk on and on about one little leaf, one little bloom, one little plant - well, you get the idea.  For people not interested at all in these things, we must seem like the most boring people on earth.

That's why I was so excited to be introduced to a community of gardeners and garden bloggers at Blotanical.  Pam at Pam's English Cottage Garden invited me to join, and I am so grateful to her for opening up a world of bloggers talking about their gardens.  You see, talk like that doesn't bore me.  It exhilarates me!

And although I haven't met any of these gardeners in person, I feel like I know a lot of them.  I get caught up in their chickens, their statues, their photography, their roses, their vegetables, their weather, their lives, their books and their blooms.  Even their yard art!

Not only do I now watch gardens grow in the north and south, east and west, and everywhere in between in the United States, but also in Africa, Germany (translations available) and two different blogs from Malaysia!  And they have welcomed me with gracious hospitality.  Other gardeners have tagged me in a meme (always fun!), mentioned my blog, list it as a favorite, or link to it on their blogs.  (I wish I could name you all - please just know I appreciate you!)  I am elated to know that my little blog about my little garden (with my little leaves and my little plants) interests other people, too!

And now!  Guess what?!?!?!!  Hold your breath!  This is exciting!  I mean, this is

Hanni at Sweet Bean Gardening is doing a Before and After on my garden!  Hanni has featured several Before and Afters in her series, and I am so thrilled and excited that she is posting my walking garden's transformation.  Let that sink in.  She's showing pictures of my garden!!!  Please click HERE to check it out!  Thanks, Hanni!

Yes, Blotanical has opened up an entire world of gardening for me.  Boring, boring, boring to anyone not interested in plants.  But very, very, very exciting to me!

And for your information:  all pictures in this post are from my walking garden this season.  All links go to an interesting garden blog!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Visit To Chamblee's!

Ask any rosarian in the United States, and the name Chamblee's will be a familiar one.  They are quite popular as a mail order rose supplier.  They are also located in Tyler, Texas, so I don't usually order my roses - I go get them!  I thought you would enjoy a look at this famous rose nursery.

A sign advertises that you have arrived.  85 degrees (F) - fairly cool today!

(The furniture gallery is a different billboard sign.)

Row after row of greenhouses hold roses.

Inside, everything is arranged alphabetically.  Earthkind roses are designated with a special sign.  Austin roses are arranged alphabetically in their own special section.

Very neat, clean, and user friendly.

Just grab a cart and start loading up!

Knowledgeable staff always asks if help is needed.  Sometimes I pump them for information; other times I just wander around, or take a list (not necessarily sticking to it).

Check out in the office is swift, easy, and air-conditioned!

But - do you want to know a secret?
If you visit in person, there is always a section of roses on sale!  These are just the few leftovers of the varieties they no long list.  At usually $5.00 a rose, it's a great place to start shopping  - or finish!

Disclaimer:  I receive no discount, no favors, and am not related in any way to the Chamblees.
Although - I do purchase so much, they once asked if I was a wholesaler!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I've Missed You!

All winter long I dreamed of my roses.  I waited.  I watched.  I wondered.  When would my rose garden look like a garden?  There were glimpses of the glory to come.

And now, my main rose bed is finally beginning to look like my winter time dreams.  No more anticipation.  Blooms are beginning to open.  Companion plants are beginning to emerge and fill in.  Oh, how I've missed the beauty of this bed.  Winter is over - roses are blooming!

Come, sit in the garden with me and I will show you around.

I have a mixture of roses in this bed.  Some modern, some OGRs, climbers, even miniatures.  All, my loves.

I admire individual blooms as well as the contrast of colors in this bed.

Most of my companion plantings were added last year.  They are still filling in.

There is a range of colors in this bed, most in the apricot to rust shades.

As you can see, I love 'hot' colors.

Row after row of roses blooming makes my heart sing.

Orange, red, pink, blue.  Do these clash to you?

The sun is beginning to set.  Our tour is complete.

Thanks for coming by.  I hope you enjoyed it!

I'm linking this to Cottage Flora Thursdays.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Veggie Tales

As you know, Mr. Holleygarden planted his own vegetable garden.  Here's a report:

I'm lettuce.  They have been eating all my family and friends down the row.  Every night it seems they are out here digging up one of us.  I'm trying to stay small and inconspicuous.  Not sure if it will help much, though - they've also been eating the radishes and they are good at hiding!

I'm spinach.  You're not going to believe this - but they ate some of us for breakfast the other day!  Breakfast!  Whoever heard of such.  Supposedly, they were going to have eggs, toast and hollandaise sauce on top.  Whew!  It's really getting hot out here.  I feel faint.  If it doesn't cool down some, I'm going to bolt - and take my friend lettuce with me!

We're potatoes.  We're hiding.  We must be pretty good at it, they rarely come down here to look at us.

I am proud to be corn.  I am king of the garden!  I can see all the garden from here - and it needs rain.

I'm squash.  I feel pretty, oh so pretty.  I think I'll bloom soon!

Well, if the squash are going to bloom, us cucumbers are too!  I've seen those show-off tomatoes - they already have blooms on them.  They think they can attract all the bees?  Not on your life!  Hey - I'm good looking!  It's not like I'm some old, wrinkled pickle!

Help us!  Help us!  We peas and beans have become deer food!!!
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