Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What's In A Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a blog
by any other name would sound as sweet."

(My apologies to Shakespeare)

To all of my following friends and fellow bloggers:

I have decided to change the name of my blog from 
Diggin' in the Dirt to...
Signature Gardens.  

My inspiration comes from a favorite little garden plaque
that I have on my front porch.

When I started my blog, I debated over what to name it.   For several years I have authored a garden newsletter for my clients called "Diggin' in the Dirt."  So I thought I would name my blog just that, Diggin' in the Dirt.

Then I joined  Blotanical.   It was then that I realized that there are many other blogs with the Digging name (or some derivative thereof), so I decided a change might be in order.   My fellow Blotanist "Gardenguru" commented that in his experience he has found that "it is the content that distinguishes one blog from another and not the name."

While this may be true, in an effort to stand out from the crowd of Digging Diggers Diggin' in the Dirt, I decided to change the name to conform with my garden design and consultation business, Signature Gardens.  The content of my blog will remain the same, an attempt to give out pertinent gardening information as well as share tales of my adventures while (you guessed it) diggin' in the dirt.

My blog URL remains the same; 
only the name has been changed to protect the innocent :-)

Again taking artistic liberty, "A blog is a blog because we agree to call it so, and if we agreed to call it by any other name, all that makes a blog will continue; albeit under a different name" :-)

What is a name, indeed?  
Is it not our signature; that which identifies us and perhaps sets us apart?
I hope you like the change and will continue to follow me on my blogging journey. 

a day without dirt under your nails is like a day without sunshine.

Toni  :-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Garden Scans for October

Last month I stumbled on a really fun way to take "pictures" of our gardens.   Check out my Garden Scanning post to get all of the details. 

Here are a few of my latest creations...

The 'Elsa Spath' Clematis and Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' were putting on a few final blooms for the year, so I just had to catpure them at a moment in time.  
The nandinas are starting to show some fall color.
And I threw in a few peppers to spice things up :-)

An edible arrangement:    Nandina berries for the birds and a couple Malabar Spinach leaves for me.  
Oh, and a bouquet of Zinnia linearis sets the table.


A scan of textures:   'Regal Mist' and 'Lindheimer's' Muhly grasses, 'Helen von Stein' Lamb's Ear, Coleus, Salvia Greggii, and a Chrysanthemum I call my "Aggie Mum."  

A soothing scan of Japanese Painted Fern, Nandina, Hydrangea, Ivy and Clematis leaves.

And a "wild & crazy" scan of all of the aforementioned ...
                    and then some.  

I learned about this technique at Gardening Gone Wild.  There's just one more day to enter the Picture This Photo Contest for October 2010!

I hope you give it a try!

Until next time...
Happy Garden Scanning

Toni :-)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fabulous Foliage - October '10

"They" say the longer you garden, 
the more you will appreciate the foliage in your garden. 

A couple of years ago I created a foliage-only bed in my backyard.  I'm not sure if that means I've finally "arrived" at some level of maturity in the world of gardening, or if I have just succumbed to the fact that my backyard is getting shadier and profuse blooms are no longer an option.  

Yes, some of those plants in my foliage-only garden do bloom, but their luscious leaves of varying shades, textures, and shapes are their main claim to fame.

This garden contains various kinds of trees, perennials, and groundcovers sporting...

colors of:
  lime green  
  dark green  
  gray green   
and textures of:

and shapes of:

Wow, with all those options and combinations, 
who needs blooms!

In honor of Pam at Digging's Foliage Follow-Up, I thought I'd do a post to show you some of the foliage that is looking "fabulous" (ahem...see post title) in my garden this month.   

My plan is to post some foliage highlights each month, so that at the end of the year, you should be able to go to the "Cool Categories" section of my blog, click on "Fabulous Foliage" and see the "Peak Performers" for each month.    

Annoying Alliteration Anyone?

So here we go with "October's Occupants" (Sorry...I can't help myself!)

 Hymenocallis 'Tropical Giant' lives up to its name. 
This large beauty does bloom in July, but if it never bloomed,
it would still be one of my favorites.
  'Tropical Giant's' summer blooms are at least 6 inches across.

Ligularia, Farfugium, or Leopard Plant.
Even though Leopard Plant can't make up its mind what its botanical name is, I have made up my mind that this one is a keeper!  

 In Texas hostas can't hold a candle to this tough plant!

Here's a crinkly version of Farfugium japonica called 'Shishi Botan'

The large glossy leaves of
Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica)  
contrast with the soft green fronds of Wood Fern

'Gold Dust' Aucuba (Aucuba japonica),  
Japanese Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum), 
'Crimson Queen' Japanese Maple, and 
Japanese Climbing Fern (Lygodium japonicum) 
show Japan's contribution to the world of fabulous foliage!

The variegated version of  
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
 is tough as nails, hence the name

African Hosta (Drimiopsis maculata) 
is another great substitute for regular hostas in the Texas heat

The blooms of the 
'Alice' Oakleaf Hydrangea
(Hydrangea quercifolia)
have faded, but the foliage is worth a second look

Variegated Solomon's Seal 
(Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum')
is a striking yet graceful addition to the shade garden

Another variegated favorite is Yellow Archangel  or False Lamium (Lamiastrum galeobdolon

Lamiastrum does have a small yellow bloom in the spring for a short time, but the silvery variegated foliage brightens dark shady spots the remainder of the season

Liriope muscari 
'Pee Dee Gold Ingot'  
 has bright chartreuse foliage

Liriope muscari 'Evergreen Giant'


'Silvery Sunproof'

add indispensable evergreen texture to the garden
 Elephant Ears add a tropical feel to the pond

In the burgundy foliage department we have Purple Shamrock 
(Oxalis 'Triangularis')

The chartruese foliage of Creeping Jenny or Golden Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia)
is a bright groundcover in a shady spot

The succulent gray-green foliage of this sedum works well in the ground or in containers
Adding more gray-green texture to the garden is the soft foliage of   
'Helen von Stein' Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina)

And to bring a close to my Fabulous Foliage post for this month, here is a new addition to my garden 
 (planted with my left hand only, mind you)
Red-veined sorrel

I hope you have enjoyed your tour of my backyard's "Bloomless Beauties." 

Until next time...
                Happy gardening (sans blooms)!

Toni :-)

Friday, October 15, 2010

What's Bloomin' - October '10

Garden tour anyone?  
Let's see what's blooming in my garden this month...

Welcome to my garden!

The 'Regal Mist' Muhly grass 
(Muhlenbergia capillaris)
is stealing the show this month!

I've been waiting for this all year!

And big brother Lindheimer's Muhly is just starting to set plumes, as well. 

I needed a large and very drought-tolerant grass to add to my front 
perennial bed, and this grass is just the ticket!

 As you can see, the Knock-Out Rose and Russian Sage are still going strong.

The Miscanthus Sinensus 
'Variegatus' plumes
shimmer in the sunlight

The Salvia farinacea (Mealycup sage) in front of the Knock-Out is one of the longest blooming perennials in my garden.

If it ever gets a little leggy, I just cut it down to about one inch above the ground, and it is back full and beautiful in about two weeks!

Salvia greggii (Autumn Sage)
never disappoints.

A lone 'Becky' Shasta Daisy bloom has its last hurrah!
And a few last Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm') chime in, too.

Another surprise is a single bloom
on the 'Elsa Spath' Clematis

Native Lantana Camara is hard to beat for attracting butterflies! 

 The Purple Hyacinth Bean Vine is setting its burgundy seed pods 
which I think are just as pretty as the blooms!

Cheery Cosmos blooms have
brightened my garden 
all summer and into the fall.

Ice Plant
(Delosperma cooperii)
is pretty in pink
by the pond

The Mexican Mint Marigold (Tagetes lucida)  is just starting to bloom, but the fragrance of the foliage is intoxicating as the sun warms its leaves!!

This herb is also called Texas Tarragon

The Cotton Plant is still producing blooms and bolls.
See my In High Cotton post for more information
on growing this interesting and beautiful plant!

Okay.  So this is not a "bloom" per se, but the American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) provides color in my shade garden, and I'll take what I can get this time of year!

The Turk's Cap are still blooming, too.
The red blooms look great paired with the purple berries.  
(See September post for pic)

'May Night' Salvia (Salvia nemerosa) blooms profusely in the spring, 
sporadically through the summer, 
and picks up again when it cools down in the fall.

If you plant it, they will come...

The Monarchs have finally arrived in my garden!!!
Their bloom of choice is the
Mexican Butterfly Weed
(Asclepias curassavica)


A wasp and a butterfly share this bloom :-)

I also got some great Monarch shots at a local nursery yesterday.
Click here to see!

Check out my Flying Colors post to learn some fascinating information 
about the life cycle and migration of the Monarchs, as well as some 
plants that will attract the butterflies to your garden!

And last but not least ...

This little one stopped by for a sip of nectar on the Cosmos
and was very accommodating when I asked for wingspan picture ;-)

Can anyone help me identify this butterfly?

I hope you enjoyed your tour of my October garden.  Join me next month, and we'll see What's Bloomin' :-)

To see what's blooming in other parts of the country,
visit Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens

Until next time...
              Happy Gardening

 Toni :-)