Recently in garden bloggers' bloom day Category

Blooming! GBBD September 2009


The extended rains last week did Central Texas much good. While we are still in a major drought, the rains brought much needed relief to the scorched earth and cooler temperatures for wonderfully pleasant days.

birdart09-15-09.jpgAnd the plants responded right away -- greenness abounds, and among the green are the most vibrant blooms of all colors. I think fall just might be my new favorite season. I forgot how beautiful it is. Although technically, I guess it's still summer! Here are just a few of what's blooming in my yard today, for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Amazingly, of my three surviving Endurance Sunflowers, I still have three, and all are blooming. Although I've loved sunflowers all my life, this is my first time growing them, and I finally understand why bees love them so. Even my young sunflowers are really putting out the pollen, and they are only going to grow bigger and bigger. I'm thrilled! My sunflowers have a few specks of dirt on them -- because they are still babies and low to the ground, they got splashed during the rain.


I'm finally starting to see color combinations in the yard again. In the main butterfly garden, the Gregg's Mistflower is starting to bloom once more, with Blackfoot Daisy and Zexmenia nearby. The butterflies are already fluttering about again. I missed them when all my plants gave up their blooms in the heat.

greggsmistflower09-15-09.jpgThe Pigeonberry plants are blooming like crazy. They berry, too, but the birds pick them off so fast.

pigeonberrya09-15-09.jpg   Here, I found a berry.


Speaking of berrying plants -- I was woken up in the middle of the night with one of the dogs trying to break through the window screen to get to something outside. While I hope it wasn't a prowler, I did get up to discover my American Beautyberry plants were missing berry clusters. I went outside to see if I could see anything -- seriously hoping at that point that it wasn't a prowler! No creature found. Bolted. Who wouldn't when that massive husky is trying to lunge for them though a mere window screen? Thank goodness it held tight.

This Red Yucca's is technically on my neighbor's property, but it's right where our yards meet, and I think I'm the only one who pays attention to it. But oh I could photograph those blooms all day. Love, love, love. Someday mine will bloom!  


The Salvias are blooming like mad. They are such an interesting flowering perennial -- it can be challenging to photograph them, as they tend to look straggly even when they really aren't, but they look wonderful backdropped by other blooming yellows, blues, or even just trees.

salviagreggii09-15-09.jpg Though most of my Turk's Caps are the traditional red, I do have a pink bloomer in the front. It's quite special. Makes me feel like a little girl, loving that pink.


I have a new plant in the yard -- actually all over the yard, as I placed them in many spots. It's the native Texas Poinsettia, also known as Wild Poinsettia, or Fire on the Mountain (Euphorbia cyathophora). These were given to several class members of the Habitat Steward Training I'm in -- we got to pull them directly from the gorgeous wildlife garden of Cathy Nordstrom. Thank you, Cathy! The reddish-orange you see is part of the leaves, just like the red of the Christmas pointsettias. I think it's amazing. It's a spreader, so at some point I'll probably be giving some away. It's so easy to pull and replant, too. I planted them all over because I have so much land to fill.


And I have a surprise bloomer -- blooms on my newest Key Lime tree? Of course, they are all at the level where the husky lifts his leg. I don't even want to think about why the tree is blooming only there. Nor do I want to think about what I'll do if limes actually show up and get peed on.


Speaking of the husky... Camouflage FAIL, Loki.


And stop laying on my Lindheimer Muhly! And get out of the butterfly garden! And stop peeing on my plants!

GBBD Aug 09--The Short Version


After taking an Organic Vegetable Gardening 101 class today, I get to jump straight into painting my garage, so I can't wander the yard with the camera. But I'm sneaking in this one picture for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day -- it was an exciting surprise bloomer for me. I planted the species last fall and not once had it bloomed until about a week ago, when all three of mine bloomed at once. It's a Cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens), a common landscaping plant here in Austin, as the contrasting purple blooms against the silvery-green foliage is a striking sight. The little fuzzy hairs give it a very soft appearance.

cenizo08-15-09.jpgCenizo is a beautiful, low-water-usage, heat-AND-cold-tolerant, any-kind-of-soil, sun-to-part-shade, dry-soil, nectar-providing, shelter-providing, screen-providing, deer-resistant Texas native shrub, explaining its huge popularity around Austin. How's that for a list of credentials? It's also known as Texas Sage, Purple Sage, and Texas Barometer Bush, among other names. It gets the name of barometer bush because of its tendency to bloom with rain.

One pet-peeve of mine, though: This plant is at its most gorgeous when only lightly pruned but mostly left to natural growth. Some people chop it to shape it, turning a once-beautiful plant into a hideous disaster. Keep Cenizo Wild!

Tomorrow I'll post some of the veggie gardening tips we learned at the class. And now I'm off to paint! I don't know why I used an exclamation point there, like I'm excited about it...

Raising a Pumpkin Army... Day 6


Day 6... Separating the Seedlings

Now that I've gotten over the shock of discovering that once again I stuck myself into an enormous project I'm not ready for, I'm moving ahead full force. Because that's how I roll, baby! My pumpkin army will help me conquer the world! Muahahaha!

pumpkins07-11-09.jpgThe pumpkins, cantaloupes, and endurance sunflowers are all growing like mad. Today I separated almost all of the seedlings into individual pots, which was quite a chore given that I only have so many available pots -- I used the last of my cups, too. I heartlessly thinned out a few that looked at me funny (ok that's a lie, because it really is painful for me to decide which ones have to go). In all I think I sent 4 little pumpkin plants to their doom, but they will serve another purpose in becoming compost. It means I still have about 20 pumpkin seedlings growing, LOL (I was afraid to count the cantaloupes). I recognize that I can't possibly grow them all, but I'll choose the best of the best after my camping trip this week. If any survive my husband's attempt to water the seedlings in my absence, they are sure to be hardy little boogers.


cantaloupe07-11-09.jpgThe current plan is to put some plants in the ground and some in raised beds with trellises. It will be quite the experiment for this newbie vegetable gardener. I happened upon the wonderful blog of Engineered Garden, and it's this type of trellis we plan to build, at least for the cantaloupes. Actually, I've asked my DH to build them for me while the boys and I are camping. If he succeeds, I should be able to get most of my babies planted next weekend. These seedlings are growing so fast, I hope I don't miss the best window for planting.

Knowing that I'm camping for a week and leaving my plants (seedlings plus the rest of the garden) during a Texas heat wave in the care of my husband, who is NOT the gardener of the family, is a bit scary for me. I think it will take me two hours to write out the whole watering process I go through. But it will be good for him. If I teach him anything, it will be how to deep water, an important skill to have. I worry most that he'll not notice all the plants around the place. He will also have to fill all the birdfeeders and take care of the pond, dogs, cats, hamster, fish, and our neighbor's turtles -- all while working a full-time job. See why I worry? 

seedlings07-11-09.jpgI'm sad that our swallowtail caterpillars will go to chrysalis while we are gone -- we won't get to see how big they'll get before they transition. But if they form their chrysalises nearby, and we can find them, maybe we'll get to see them emerge as beautiful butterflies. 

swallowtailcat07-11-09.jpg swallowtailcatb07-11-09.jpgAnd I'm going to miss Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. But most of my plants have given up their blooms in hopes of sheer survival in the heat (thankfully we have a few left for the butterflies). But here's a new one I'll post -- one of my other Flame Acanthus has finally started blooming, and I was happy to see it was the vibrant red variety. My other Flame Acanthus has orange blooms.

flameacanthusred07-11-09.jpgSee you next week!

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, June 2009 -- my first!


At long last the 15th has arrived, and I get to participate for the first time in the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by May Dreams Gardens. Some of my regular flowers stopped blooming for a bit this week, so I was a bit worried, but the garden came through for me. I'm just glad I don't have to post a picture of algae "blooming" in my pond (thankfully, it's not actually doing that anymore).

Zinnias. They are so much fun. You just never know what's going to bloom at the end of that stem. Look at the variety in my butterfly garden -- just some of many. These all came from two packets of seeds.

I think the buds are as lovely as the flowers.




I'm quite fond of the yellow flower holding its own among all the pink zinnias.



Several Texas natives are blooming away.









turkscap06-15-09.jpgIn a nearby Austin park were these native Texas Greeneyes, en masse. I love the way the yellow petals are delicately placed on a just-as-beautiful green center.


Elsewhere in the garden, a few drought-hardy non-natives are managing to bloom in the hot Texas sun.




The crape myrtle was a slow bloomer this year and managed to send out its pink colors just in time for Bloom Day.


Even though hail a few days ago pulverized my poor lily pads, the plants are already making a comeback. I've removed a few of the beat-up leaves, and new ones are ready to take their place, along with this beautiful bloom. I'm trying not to remove all the damaged leaves at once -- I still need shade for my pond.


And lastly, here's this white flower that for the life of me I can't remember the name of today. I have a purple variety as well. All I know is that this was supposed to be a winter annual (or so I was told) and here it is blooming in hot June!


Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, everyone!

Meredith O'Reilly happily
gardens for wildlife in
Austin, TX. She enjoys
educating people of all ages
about native flora, fauna,
and healthy environments.

Nature Blog Network


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