Sunday, October 30, 2011

I'm Just a Country Girl at Heart

Anyone who has followed my blog for any length of time knows that I grew up on a dairy farm in central Wisconsin.   Now I live in Grapevine, Texas, which is a suburb in a sea of 6.3 million people called the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex

Even though I may not live on the farm anymore, 
I am still a country girl at heart.

Speaking of country girls, my gardening friend Jolene gave me a division of her Country Girl Chrysanthemum that I am getting to see bloom for the very first time this fall.    Jolene gave me this plant this spring, and it survived the now infamous Summer of 2011 without a care in the world.   The foliage remained dark green all summer without even a hint of crisping in the seemingly unending triple digits.

And now this October, finally the moment I have been waiting for...blooms!


This old-fashioned mum is also known as 'Clara Curtis.'

My plan is to move it into my front perennial garden near some Mexican Bush Sage, Indigo Spires Salvia, Salvia Greggii, and Lindheimer's Muhly grass.    I think that sounds like a lovely fall combination.  

Whenever I see this pretty little plant, I remember that I am still a country girl at heart who just loves to dig in the dirt.  I also think of my very generous friend Jolene (who, by the way, I can't think of without that crazy country song by Dolly Parton popping in my head!)    With just a few artistic liberties taken, it goes something like this...

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I'm begging of you...please don't take my plant
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don't take her back...because you can't!

I am hoping my little patch of mums expands so that I can pay Jolene's generosity forward and share a little country with some of my other city-dwelling friends.

Until then, I'll just thank God I'm a country girl (at heart)

Toni :-)

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Alphabet Returns (S, T, U)

The alphabet decided to abandon August and skip September.   I can't say I blame it; I was pretty much AWOL in August and got sidetracked in September, too.     I was more into numbers than letters this summer anyway, as I watched the mercury and the total number of 100-degree days continue to rise and break records.

But I digress.   So where were we when the alphabet left off?

Oh,yes, "R" is for Rocks 

I just have to show you one more rock to give you an idea of how much...

...I (heart) rocks

I found this rock at the edge of my dry creek bed the other day.
It now has a special place in my... heart :-)

Okay....moving on.

is for Sedum

I have several varieties of sedum.   I don't know the name of this one, but it is evergreen and gets a tiny pinkish/white star-shaped bloom on it in the spring.   It works great in the garden as well as containers.

This one shall remain nameless, as well.
I got it from a little pinch off a plant at a garden tour I attended (yes, I got permission!)  I have never seen it bloom.  It goes dormant in winter, but returns without fail in the spring.

One place I grow sedum is in the plant pockets
of a large strawberry pot I have.
I grow tomatoes in the top of the pot.

Below is 'Autumn Joy' Sedum during its better days.

I wish I could say it was my joy this autumn, but it is not.
These pictures were taken earlier this summer,
but since then it has flopped over and croaked :-(
I will spare you pictures of the carnage.

This is 'Autumn Joy' in another spot in my garden that is holding its own...for now.   I have issues growing this plant.   If I can keep any of it alive, next spring I am going to try a recommendation from a local horticulturist:

"In the spring or early summer, 
cut them back to about half when they are 8 inches tall.  
This cutback will make them fuller for their fall season." 

I am considering putting it in a container
to give it the ideal drainage conditions it requires.

Here's a new addition...'Autumn Fire'  
So far so good on this one (fingers crossed)

The one above is Sedum kamtschaticum (say that fast three times!)
I got this as a division off a plant from a friend.
It gets a small yellow bloom on it in the spring.   

This is Sedum reflexum (a/k/a Sedum rupestre)
This evergreen sedum has a small yellow bloom in the spring, as well.

This is a new sedum that I planted by my pond among the moss rock.
It is called Stonecrop 'John Creech.' 
I have yet to see it bloom, but the plant tag shows a tiny pink bloom.

Did you know that Stonecrop is the common name for Sedum?
There are around 400 species in this plant family!
Click here for more information.

is for...

This little guy (or gal) wanders through my garden from time to time.  

is for Umbrella Grass
Cyperus alternifolius
It has gotten huge this year, so next spring it will be due for a
reduction in size.

Speaking of umbrellas, I actually got the opportunity to use one yesterday!!

I took a stroll through my garden in the -- wait for it -- 


The sweetest four-letter word our parched Texas soil has ever heard :-)

Click here to view previous posts in the Alphabet Garden Series

Until next time...

Toni :-)

P.S.  Do you put your heart into your garden?