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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dancing Ballerinas

 As I've mentioned before, I'm originally from England and I get my love of gardening from my parents.  My mum always has breathtaking baskets of fuschias in the summer.  They have always been one of my favorite plants, the flowers are just delightful, but they don't handle our hot humid summers.

I was surprised this weekend when I saw baskets of them at the garden center, but I suppose it makes sense they would be there now.  Like the pansies which grow in my garden from Thanksgiving to spring, fuschias should do well in our early spring weather.

I'm sure they will fizzle when summer arrives, but until then, I will enjoy them.

I've always thought that the flowers look like little ballerinas.  Don't you agree?

Last year, when Eric was using the barbecue, I noticed flashes of flame coming out underneath!  It was immediately turned off and I got Eric a new grill for Christmas.  The little old grill I had used for years is now officially retired and this year it's guts will be removed and it will be transformed into a planter.

For now, I just set some containers of plants on it.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Signs of Spring

I got all excited last week when I noticed the daffodil bulbs I had planted just a few weeks ago were putting up leaves, which at the time were only an inch or two high.  One Friday evening, I took more photos because I was surprised at how quickly the leaves were growing.  They were now 6 to 8 inches high. As I snapped photos, I noticed a swelling bud on one of the plants.

 This morning started out a bit windy and cloudy, but as I surveyed the garden, I caught sight of a little ray of sunshine...

There are buds on a lot of the others now, but I'm not sure if I will get to see them as I leave the house before dawn to go to work and it's more or less dark by the time I get home at this time of year.  

That's what made this little gem so precious!

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Gardening Bug Has Bitten, and a Kitten Update

It happens around this time every year.  The sun is shining, but it's cool enough to garden in comfort.  That rare season when I can plant and dig without breaking a sweat in Houston!

I have plans for preparing the border along the back wall for some seasonal color. Since that's the bed I expanded last year by laying down landscape fabric and covering with mulch to kill off the grass underneath, that will probably be quite a lengthy process of digging and adding some compost.  

So yesterday, I just did some more weeding, and also planted a clematis.

I planted it in front of the small trellis I put in to hide the utility boxes. I had already amended the soil in that bed, so I hope it does well there.

While I was pottering around weeding, my husband, enticed by the opportunity to employ power tools, was using a drill and auger to deep root fertilize the trees.  He followed up by mulching over the holes he had drilled. 

So now the garden looks like it has been invaded by gophers...

But that's okay, a few rains and once the grass starts growing, we won't even see that, and hopefully the tree will show it's appreciation by not dying. 

Someone had asked for an update on the mother cat and her kittens that we took in last summer.  Well, they're still with us and doing well.  They are such a joy, and so entertaining we don't regret taking them in for a single moment.

They all get on well together and our other cats tolerate them pretty well.

We're particularly happy that Cali, the mother cat, has bonded so well with Merlin, a stray I took in when I moved from my previous home.  My other cats didn't take to him so well, so I was really pleased that Cali and Merlin are now the best of friends.

Last summer I was concerned for the safety of the birds in the garden, since Cali and the kittens had strong hunting instincts.  Well, I'm happy to the report that the birds are now thriving in the garden unmolested by felines.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

After the Freeze

OK, so perhaps Houston over-reacted to the impending snow...

I'm happy to know that the rest of the country found us amusing!

In the event, it didn't happen.  Perhaps a little sleet here and there, but mainly just some icy roads. Hey - I'm not complaining, I got an extra day off work on Friday!  Most unexpected, and most appreciated.

But as I wandered around the garden this weekend, I was not happy to see that the fennel, which had weathered earlier cold snaps, finally bit the big one and now lies a shrivelled mess.

While 10 yards away, around our 'Raine' water treatment system, the weeds are looking disgustingly robust.

It's not all bad news though. On my inspection tour, I happened to notice that the daffodils I planted a couple of weeks ago are beginning to come up.

And the Achillea I put in last spring, that really didn't do anything last year, are looking healthy and ready to go this year.

The pansies I put around the trees in front have withstood the attentions of whatever hungry critter was nibbling on them...

And while I was putting in a few more bulbs, I discovered another little treasure - baby bluebonnets, seeded from last year's plants. This one is the bigger of the two I found, only a couple of inches across at the moment. Which reminds me, I gathered some seed last year, I wonder if it's too late to sow it now?

This has been a bumper week for birds.  The cold weather has brought them to the feeders in droves.

We've been getting a lot of house sparrows this year, which we haven't in previous winters at this house. I didn't even notice the tufted titmouse seen here until I downloaded the photo to my computer.

Normally, I miss my chance to get a photo of the Carolina Chickadee, or just get a blurred shot as he flies away, but I lay in wait this time.  The camera was on the tripod and I stood inside the back door for 10 minutes waiting for him to come back so I could snag a photo. I'm happy with how this one came out.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.