Sunday, October 25, 2009

Doing the Math

Take watching Central Texas Gardener's show on the Master Gardeners Tour, add reading various blogs featuring wonderful photos of their favorite vignettes on the tour, take that total and add the extremely prolific's EastSide Patch's announcement of pre-taping jitters for his own appearance on CTG and what do you get?

Inspiration enough to get me moving on a long list of small jobs and a well considered but continually postponed project for our bed out front closest to the house.

You don't believe me? Here, I'll show you my work....

In the back, I trimmed overgrowth back to clear out a better line of sight for the bottle tree. Seeing as temps are dropping into the 50's overnight regularly and another cool front is on the way tonight, I went out to enjoy and capture the tropical bloomers for what may be the last time this season.

I checked on the sloooowly ripening Meyer Lemons and I wove the rambling rose into the trellis.I also poached two large rocks for my front bed project.

And speaking of the front bed, here it is in its BEFORE state.There was nothing wrong with this bed per se. As a matter of fact, some people will probably look at my after shots (be patient, I'm getting there!) and be thinking to themselves "she calls that an improvement?".

I'd shifted it over to nearly all herbs because it is close to the door (a must I've discovered for last minute herb harvesting in inclement weather) and small. This allows me to give it extra water as needed and cover it to protect the plants from any hard frosts or freezes we have to face in our increasingly sketchy Central Texas weather.

I could have bought a couple of bags of bark mulch, tossed them on, and let it go at that. But. This bed just didn't really fit with the other areas in the front of our house. And slowly but surely, despite my apparent intentions to be as haphazard as humanly possible with regards to any sense of overall design for the beds around our house, there has been the excruciatingly slow evolution of what I think of as Central Texas Eclectic.

What do I mean by that? While not a completely native landscape, there are mostly native plants in use. There is liberal use of native stone and xeric plantings and not a single blade of St. Augustine left (except for the persistent strands that occasionally crop up in out of the way places). I have not spent much on the plants or hardscape, using loads of passalong plants and seeding in areas from packets and harvested sources both.

And this little bed close to the front door just hadn't gotten with the program. Until today. I think the bed with rocks is simply more interesting than without. See? Boring: And then interesting:My bed, I get to say. Deal? You want all mulch you do that in your yard. Okay then.

I went to my favorite local nursery, scored the requisite three bags of rocks, some chervil seed (the one herb I was missing to serve as a replacement for tarrgon which won't grow well here), and as mentioned before, poached some larger rocks from other beds that had maturing plants no longer requiring the stony interest pieces in place.

And...voila! Now this bed is much more like the others.As is typically the case, getting the horizontal surface into shape only underscores for me now how much I despise the side wall of the rising driveway in the background there. But, as I was sitting sipping water and enjoying the new look, I had a brainflash about what to do to transform that fugly wall into a Central Texas Eclectic Charmarama.

I am going to gather and assess the materials already on hand for this magical transformation to be, and hope to start work on it as soon as the showers predicted for tonight and tomorrow pass through. So stay tuned folks. The transformation of this bed might not rock your socks off, but you will either love - or hate - what I have planned next.

While I was out working, I tweaked the shelves a bitand took another bit of time to stop and enjoy the orange and purple going on in another bed, a look I had actually planned for and then had to wait through the hottest most hellish summer imaginable to see.One final note. This little bit of whimsy - a marble planted in the nook of a rock?This one is for you, ESP. A teensy tiny vote of gardener's thanks for all the inspiration you provide through your blogging. Gracias, amigo!


  1. Oh, Deb! This post totally makes up for your missing bloom day posts. I like SO many things: bottle tree, hibiscus-ey flowers, trellis, orange/purple combo, and rock-nook marble. I haven't tried my luck with a Meyer lemon tree yet, but I can make a mean "whiskey sour" from fresh Meyer lemon juice, bourbon, simple syrup, and a little powdered sugar.

    The herb garden looks FANTASTIC with the new rock treatment! Where did you get your chervil? I haven't tried growing it yet, either.

  2. Oh Iris. You are so so kind. I got the chervil seed at Barton Springs Nursery out on Bee Cave Rd. With all the rain we are getting today it could be I should have waited until AFTER this front moved through to plant it. We'll see. Thanks for the pro-rocked vote. I surely do love a stable garden element I don't have to water or weed!

    Hmmm, I have what I am pretty durned sure is a "volunteer" Meyer Lemon tree coming up in a bed that was close to where the potted trees originally sat. If it turns out to be the genuine article, what say we work out a little trade this Spring? You teach me your whiskey sour technique and we'll see if we can successfully dig out and transplant the Meyer-Come-Lately to your yard. You game?

  3. I'm definitely game! Thank you for the offer and challenge. (Did you get my email last week?)

  4. Hi TD.

    So happy the Patch has added some "pre-jittery" inspiration for your own garden, and thank you for linking to the ESP.

    What a difference adding rocks to a garden makes. It gives a totally different "scale" to scenes I think. I messed around with this in the "The Microcosmic Garden" post I did last May. Talking of rocks, right now I have one half-ton rock jutting out of six yards of decomposed granite sitting in the middle of my driveway...I have to figure out how to move this rather large rock (a new delivery) and soon! Perhaps I will engage the help of the Naboo? I have seen them move extremily large objects on giant timber rollers. I digress!

    Your Meyer lemon tree looks like it is going to provide a good crop of lemons this year. How old is your tree? I have one but I think the pot it is in, is a little on the small side.

    Thank you for your nice words Deb...really.

    Gracias, Amiga

  5. The rocks make a big difference, Deb! It's so funny to read about you coming home from the Master Gardener tour and going after the garden...that's how I felt, too. Spent half of Sunday transplanting and then had 2 and 3/4" of rain since early this morning. It's so wet I can't even check on the stuff moved to the side garden!

    Isn't it great to be able to run out and snip some herbs when you want them? That's why our our herb garden evolved just outside the breakfast room. It'll be interesting to see what you do with the sidewall -your plants probably do great with that slope. Herbs and natives that need fast drainage die in our flat, clay ground - thank heavens for hyperufa troughs and big pots!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. What a great garden! And believe me, you sound like a fellow multi-tasker. Yahoosers!

  7. Actually Annie, I only watched the show ABOUT the tour on CTG. That Saturday I had too much else to do to get out and see the gardens. So I am very happy so many local bloggers did such a good job sharing the joy.

    I do love snipping fresh herbs. It makes me feel SO Julia Child. Honestly at times I find my voice slipping up an octave and am likely to trill "save the liver" apropos of nothing.

    As to my sidewall project my daughter (who is my guide in all things Artistic) has cautioned me against jumping into my proposed fix for that ugliness without some previous study and planning. In reality, she is hoping I'll get stalled out until she can come home and supervise. Which typically makes for better results so we'll see if I can stand to wait that long (or not!).

    Thanks for dropping in!

  8. Linda, thanks for dropping in and for your sweet comment about the garden. Multitasking is the name of the game after the long hot summer we endured. Especially with the newly rediscovered delight of delayed by rain days. Be sure to check back tomorrow for a post more specifically about your show... : )


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Rollingwood, Central Texas
Family historian by default. Oldest surviving matriarch on my branch of the Family Tree. Story teller, photo taker, gardener, cook, blabbermouth.