Thursday, December 19, 2013

Garden Book Reviews

If there were such a thing as a Rose Bible, I think I know which book it would be, at least for me.  I just wish I would have found this book sooner!

I love all different kinds of roses.  But if they can't take my garden/soil/climate/conditions, and being grown organically, out they go!  Fortunately, I've found that roses are tough workhorses.  Sure, there are some that are wimps, but there are many that are as tough as nails.

Still, even I have the occasional problem with my roses.  But since I am adverse to spraying chemicals in my garden, when I have problems, I look at the solutions presented in

The Organic Rose Garden

by Liz Druitt

Not only are there solutions in this book, but it is full of great information for anyone wanting to grow roses organically.

What I love most about this book is the way Liz Druitt writes.  She writes as if she were talking to another gardener.  Of course, there's lots to love about this book.  She starts at the beginning:  soil basics, and design thoughts.  Then she goes on to the acquiring and planting of roses, maintenance of the garden beds, and problems you may encounter.

That is enough for one book, but she doesn't stop there!  She lists all the different rose classes, has a quick reference chart by size, color, and class, and almost half the book is a list of roses that thrive in organic gardens (like Red Cascade, pictured above, which is still blooming in my garden!).  I was actually surprised to find how many roses she recommends that I have growing in my own garden.  And now I have a great reference when I want to add more roses to my garden!  What I especially liked is this list covers all classes of roses.

She finishes the book with a discussion of roses as food, and I am dying to try her Rose Petal Pound Cake!  It would be luscious with her Rose Petal Jam!

Now it's your turn!  This will be the final Garden Book Review meme I will host, and my last post for the year.  So, I want to wish everyone a very, very Merry Christmas and a rosy New Year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Blooms from Indoors

We went on vacation.   A long vacation.  Well, a long vacation for us at least - a week!  And it was wonderful.  Well, it was wonderful until we caught the flu on the last few days of our vacation.

We returned home coughing and sneezing and feverish.  It is cold outside (for Texas) and feels especially chilly to feverish skin.  And so, I have not ventured outside.  Usually I would make the rounds in my garden, noting the changes, and celebrating the blooms.  Instead, I crawled into bed to hibernate and recuperate.  I think this is the longest I've ever been away from my garden.

Right before I crawled into bed, however, I glanced out the kitchen window.  "Oh, my camellia is blooming!"

The house/pet sitter replied, "Yes, it's so pretty!  It's been full of blooms all week!"  If I hadn't been sick, I would have hugged her.

Then I realized that there was a lot of beauty I could enjoy from indoors.  The pear tree is glorious.

There are roses blooming outside still.

And inside, my Christmas cactus is posed to bloom for Christmas!

(all photos were taken from inside the house)

I've written before about views out my windows.  But I didn't realize just how important those glimpses of the garden truly are.  For a gardener that can't go outside, being able to enjoy blooms and beauty from inside the house is both a Celebration - and a Lesson.

I'm joining Donna at Gardens Eye View for Seasonal Celebrations and Beth at Plant Postings for Garden Lessons Learned.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reviews and News

Dreaming.  I never get tired of it.

But I have a battle going on with what I want my garden to look like and the work involved in getting it to look that way.  For years now, I have been adding on.  And adding on.  And adding a little more.  And in my dreams, I still have areas that I want to add.

Take, for instance, a meadow.

Don't you think that my garden needs a meadow?  I do.

And I especially do after reading

The American Meadow Garden:
Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn

by John Greenlee

Need a book on grasses?  Thinking of putting in ornamental grasses instead of a lawn?  Do you want a meadow?  I heartily recommend this book, especially if you live in the United States.  (If you outside the United States, you may find this book useful, but it is specifically geared toward those of us living in the U.S.)

I have a couple of books on grasses, but in my opinion, this one is the absolute best.  He breaks down everything you might need to know in order to plant grasses.  No matter if you have a large area or a small one, there is information and inspiration to be found.

In this book, he has thought of everything.  Location.  Soil.  Temperatures.  (Those apply to the U.S.)  But he also talks about themed meadows.  Pathways.  Hillsides.  And how to make it look like a meadow, not a yard that needs mowing.

He covers putting in a meadow, maintenance, weed control, purchasing plants, timing, and even a formula for making your meadow look natural.

There are fun lists that pop up in each chapter.  Lists such as "Grasses with Good Flowerheads", "Best Daisies for Meadows", "Best Fragrant Grasses", and "Irises and Cousins for Meadows", to name just a few.  These lists made my imagination go wild!

In addition, he has a list of more than 50 grasses for groundcovers, fillers, backgrounds, accents, and natural lawns.  He tells not only the zones and plant size, but he gives a detailed description of each, with additional information from experience.

This book answered all the questions I have had on grasses, and I had a lot!  But what I loved most of all was the love of grasses that was imparted through the words of each page.  The author's passion comes through clearly in this book, and I found that his love of meadows was quite infectious.

Oh, yes, I definitely want a meadow!


Unfortunately, my meadow dream will have to be put on hold.  I've decided this next year will be the Year of Maintenance.  I finally agree with my husband that I need to maintain what I have before I add on even more.  I'll continue to dream, and one day I'll have that meadow.  Just not this year.

So, what's my news?  Well, I'm going to be putting this blog on maintenance, too.  I will have one more Garden Book Review meme on December 20th (and I hope you join me), then I will no longer host the meme.  I will post when I have the time, which may be quite irregular.  I don't want to quit blogging entirely - I get much too much from it by being able to look back at my records from year to year through it.  But, I won't be consistent.  And for my blogging friends: I will continue to read your blogs - I've learned so much and love hearing about each of you - but I won't be commenting much.

This year will be The Year of Maintenance  or  The Year of Catching Up  or  The Year of Doing What Needs To Be Done.  It all means the same.  Less talking, less writing, and more getting out there and doing!  My dreams of a meadow may have to be postponed for a year or so.  But my garden will be a much better one for it.  I can live with that.


Now it's your turn!  I hope you will join in this month, and for the last Garden Book Review meme on December 20th.

I also want to express my appreciation to each and every participant, and to the readers, of the Garden Book Review meme over the past couple of years.  The books you have recommended are a very valuable resource for me.  Thank you. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

After the Freeze

We've had a hard freeze for the last couple of nights.  There go the cannas!  And the crinum lilies.  And the bush lantanas.  :(

The roses are a mixed bunch.  Some are dropping their leaves, going into dormancy.  Others didn't seem to be affected by the cold (yet).  But I know their blooming days are numbered for this year.

It's interesting to see what's still in bloom even after a freeze.  These blooms made it through this time, but they won't be here for much longer:


James Galway

Julia Child
everyone remarks on her fabulous fragrance!

Madame Berkeley

Oakleaf hydrangea
Just as beautiful as any bloom

But there are other blooms that are just now arriving:

Possumhaw holly is spreading cheer with its bright winter berries.

Possumhaw Holly

And I'm always anxious to see the blooms of the camellias.

Camellia 'Hana Jiman'

Camellia 'Cleopatra'

Winter is slowly arriving.  But that's o.k.  There's still beauty to be found in the garden.

I'm joining May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

How Do You Feel?

Do you feel this way about your garden sometimes?  Sometimes when I go visit another garden, one that looks beautiful, and designed so differently from my own, I come home and see all the negative parts of my garden:

  • Weeds.  To numerous to name!    
  • Imperfect design.  
  • Damage by deer and storms. 

In addition, I have had numerous obligations that have called me away from my garden, and rainy days that only increased my feelings of despair.  (Not complaining about the rain, though!)  But suddenly, I felt like I've spent way too much time (and money) on something that isn't as pretty as I had hoped.

That is, until yesterday.

new flowerbed

Yesterday I spent the entire day gardening.  Planting bulbs, pulling weeds, and preparing a new flowerbed.  It always helps my mental attitude to get outside and work.

But it was the view that I saw as I was working on the new flowerbed that made my heart sing.  New Dawn blooming on the arbor, with pink Flower Carpet roses, red salvia, pink La Marne, and white Madame Joseph Shwartz in bloom behind it.  The arbor is at the top of the flowerbed, so I saw this view all day.

Looking the other way, I could see New Dawn in front of some Knock Out roses, and that thrilled my heart, too.

As I worked, my heart gladdened.  And I saw the beauty in my garden.  It may not be the most beautiful garden in the world, but it makes me happy.  Very happy.

Suddenly, I was

  • Satisfied.  
  • Joyful.  
  • Content.  

To me, there were at least parts of my garden that was just as beautiful as any garden could be.

Do you feel this way about your garden sometimes?  I hope so.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New Dawn

New Dawn is a climbing rose, known for its delicate coloring and vicious thorns.

New Dawn

In my rose garden, I have a fairly new New Dawn rose that I hope to train up and over my arbor.

I am already smitten with her.   I am not looking forward to pruning her thorny canes, but I am very much looking forward to her covering my arbor with her beautiful blooms.

New Dawn is a vigorous rose, and I hope she helps hold up the arbor, instead of pulling it down!  She will grow to 10 ft wide, and 20 ft tall - at least.   I have swooned over photos of roses showing her arching canes loaded with pale pink blooms covering arbors, growing up trees, and covering sheds.  When I saw her from across a room (well, across the nursery), I feel in love at first sight.

I can already imagine her climbing up and over my own arbor, blooming abundantly, and filling the air with her delicate scent.  I can't wait for the day that I wake up to a New Dawn that resembles the one in my dreams.

New Dawn is disease resistant, fragrant, and is designated as an Earth-Kind rose.  She will grow in zones 5 (possibly 4) through 9.  She has the honor of being the very first rose to be patented (the patent has since expired).

New Dawn is the look-alike sport of Dr. Van Fleet.  Dr. Van Fleet only blooms once, while New Dawn is a repeat bloomer.  If you have a New Dawn that doesn't repeat, you may have Dr. Van Fleet instead, or you may be pruning her too hard, as she blooms on old wood.

As for the vicious thorns - I heard a great tip the other day.  If you have a few rose canes that are constantly scratching you, cut the thorns off of the cane.  It should be worth the effort, since thorns don't grow back!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Husband's Flower

My husband helps me out tremendously in the garden, but most of the flowers I consider "mine".   There is one flower, however, that he has adopted - a bougainvillea.

I had purchased the bougainvillea to be used as an annual.  Our winters are too cold for them.  But my husband noticed that I had callously left it out to die, and lovingly placed it in our garage.  Occasionally, I would look at it and just shake my head.

All winter, it looked dead.  I hate to admit it, but I was secretly hoping it actually was dead.  But, no such luck.  Instead, this past spring we noticed new growth.

I pretended not to notice.  I decided to just ignore it.

Finally, realizing that I wasn't going to help out this poor plant at all, my husband decided to water it.  Eventually he moved it from the garage to the driveway, where it could get some sun.

I continued to ignore it.  So, Mr. Holleygarden continued to care for it, splashing it with water occasionally and marveling at the bougainvillea's growth.

Then it bloomed.

Yep, right there in the driveway.

And Mr. Holleygarden beamed.

Now that the weather has turned colder, guess where the bougainvillea is?  You got it!  Mr. Holleygarden has put "his flower" back in the garage for the winter.

Obviously, bougainvilleas are not hard to overwinter in a garage.  Even an amateur gardener (or a husband) can do it.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Changes I Made

Do you remember back in March I changed an area of the walking garden?  (If not, you can click HERE.)  Well, it's looking fabulous now!!!  (Not bragging, just reporting!)  ;)

This bed was supposed to be mainly red and yellow.  Somehow, it had been taken over by pink.  So, I pulled out all the pink and put in different plants.  Now it's red and yellow.  Just like it's supposed to be.

Well, actually, it's red and yellow - and purple, too!  Red, yellow and purple flowers all together may sound horrible to some people, but I just love it!  Somehow, I think the addition of purple compliments the red and yellow combination.  I guess purple is close enough to blue (in plants, at least) to give it a primary color scheme.

Red and yellow flowers include Hot Lips sage, Home Run rose, and yellow cannas.


Even the cannas have a touch of red on them.

Mystic Spires in back

For purple, I have some May Night salvias, a Mystic Spires salvia in back, and even added a purple(ish) ice plant.

Ice plant

The sweet purple flowers in front are angelonias.

Angelonia with salvia

They bloomed all spring and summer, too.  They are such sweet plants, but unfortunately, they are annuals here.

And the white?

Peacock orchid

The beautiful peacock orchids.  Unfortunately, I don't think they will return next year, either.  But I'm enjoying them while I can.

So, a few more changes will need to be made.  Still, I'm so glad I made the changes that I did.  To me, it looks 100% better.  Red and yellow - and purple, too!  Who knew!?

I'm joining Helen at The Patient Gardener for End of Month View.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One, Two, Three, Four


2: (Two days later)

3: (Two more days later)

4: (Three days later than 3)

I just can't take my eyes off of Christopher Marlowe!  Every day is full of anticipation, joy and beauty.

Want to know more about this rose?  Click HERE

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Late Bloomer

I stared.  "Kathy, is that you?"  I was shocked.  She was so different from the Kathy I remembered from high school.

I couldn't take my eyes off of her.


It's amazing how people can change over the years.  In high school, Kathy was always sweet and nice and caring.  People loved her personality.  She had a sparkling laugh.  People would tell her jokes just to hear it.  And her long, black hair was sleek, smooth, and shiny.  If she would have advertised a certain shampoo, I would have bought it.

But Kathy never had a date in high school.  We were superficial at that age, and Kathy was not the prettiest girl in the school.  Sweet, but not beautiful.

But now, Kathy had changed.  I was shocked.  She still had the same sweet personality, the same gorgeous hair, and the same sparking laugh.  But she was definitely different.  She was beautiful.  She glowed.  Her skin was radiant.  She would have made a model jealous.  Kathy had blossomed into a beautiful woman.

She was, as my mother would put it, a late bloomer.

The rose Safrano has been a late bloomer for me.  Not that she blooms late in the season, but that it took years for her to become a beautiful shrub.  She has always had beautiful blooms, just not a lot of them.  Each bloom was sweet, with delicate coloring.  But, even with just a few blooms, I knew she had potential.

Unfortunately, as a young shrub, she was always bit gangly.  Even with her soft blooms and healthy foliage, I wouldn't have called her beautiful.  But this year has been different.

Safrano has been in my garden for almost five years.  It has taken all these years, but finally, Safrano has begun to bloom in full flushes.  She spreads her arms out confidently.  She glows with a radiant splendor.  This year, she is revealing her beauty.

I can't seem to take my eyes off of her.

I think she will become even more beautiful as the years pass.

Safrano is an old garden tea rose, grows in zones 7 through 9, fragrant, and disease resistant.  She has a delicate beauty about her.  But in order to see it, you'll have to give her some time.  She's a late bloomer.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

That's What It's All About!

Jump up, everyone, and do the Garden Pokey!

You put the grass in...
You mow the grass down...
You take the grass out...
To put some flowers all about...
You do the Garden Pokey and you turn yourself around
That's what it's all about!

Cinco de Mayo

You make a garden plan..
You change the garden plan...
You put some flowers out...
And you take a look about...
You do the Garden Pokey and you turn yourself around
That's what it's all about!

Gee Whiz

You put the trowel in...
You take the trowel out...
You put a plant in...
And you do it all again...
You do the Garden Pokey and you turn yourself around
That's what it's all about!

You take some plants out...
You put some more plant in...
You move some plants about...
And you throw the plan right out...
You do the Garden Pokey and you turn yourself around
That's what it's all about!


You see a bloom here...
You see a butterfly there...
You see a bee in flight...
And you feel such delight...
You do the Garden Pokey and you turn yourself around
That's what it's all about!

Now you'll have that song in your head all day!  ;)  So, have I been doing the Garden Pokey?  You bet!  This week I:

New curve to the Pathway Garden

  • Mowed and string trimmed my yard, mowed my parents and my grandmother's yards. 
  • Enlarged the pathway garden in one spot that had been driving me crazy for several years, and weeded out all the grass in that area.  Not a large area, but an area where the curve was just not right.
  • Planted some newly purchased plants.
  • Planted lots of bulbs.
  • Transplanted several plants.  (Impulse shopping has made me throw out the garden plan!)  I also transplanted enough plants to fill up the newly enlarged area in the pathway garden.
  • Removed some plants completely - a few Knock Outs that were in too much shade (gave them away), and a huge artemisia that I was tired of cutting back.  As much as I loved its foliage, I was glad I removed it because I then saw that it was hiding a giant armadillo hole under Mrs. Dudley Cross!  (I've written about her HERE and HERE.)  No wonder she has looked so sad lately!  I also removed Belle de Crecy.  Goodbye, Belle.  :(  She has not been happy with our hot summers and warm winters.  I don't think she liked my horrible soil, either.  

Ah, yes, much better.

What will I do next week while doing the Garden Pokey?  Stay tuned and find out!  What about you?  Have you been doing the Garden Pokey lately?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I've Got a Fever!

I have planted over 100 daffodil bulbs, just as many irises, some ranunculus, paperwhites, even tulips (which are annuals here, but I've decided are worth the expense)!

I've planted scillia, alliums, fritillaria meleagris and fritillaria imperialis.  Doesn't all that Latin sound impressive?  But I'm not through.  Not by a long shot.  I've ordered even more bulbs to plant!

What is the matter with me?  Why can't I stop the madness?

I think it's spring fever!

Yes, I know it's not spring.  It's autumn.  But don't you see?  Autumn is the reason I have spring fever!  I see trees losing their leaves, plants going dormant, and winter approaching.  I know how desperate I'll be to see some signs of spring next year.

And so, I plant bulbs.

Lots and lots of bulbs.

And I said this year I wasn't going to plant any bulbs!  Ha!  That resolution just flew out the window!

I may not be happy when the credit card bill arrives, but I'll be happy that I planted all those bulbs next spring.  Because then I'll undoubtably have spring fever - again.

Do you have spring fever?  Are you planting bulbs?  Now is the time!

(All images were taken last spring.)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...