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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Container Gardening in the Texas Heat

There are times I question the sanity of trying to garden in the Houston area.  This weekend was one of them.  After all, Texas is known for it's hot and humid summers and this weekend has been a doozy.  Who in their right mind would decide to spend the day outside? 

Why, me of course! I decided I was sick of looking at the empty containers around the birdbath and decided the area needed a boost of color for the summer.

And because plants don't voluntarily leap into pots and bury themselves all nice and deep in delicious potting soil, I had to do it for them.

But first, a trip to the nursery.  I headed out to  Plants for All Seasons on Hwy 249, determined not to let their wonderful collection of fairy garden accessories waylay me again!

I made it home with several choices for my containers, in addition to a Hamelia patens I've been wanting to add to the island bed.

My plant list included Evolution salvias in blue and white, as well as a Victoria Blue and a Forest Fire salvia (red), and a red Penta, Confetti for a patriotic Red, White and Blue theme in the containers.  

I also got some trailing purple lantana, purple Persian Shield, Little Lucky lantana "Lemon Creme", Little Luck Lantana "Hot Pink", along with a chartreuse sweet potato vine to go in the half barrel.

One thing in my favor, the patio is in shade for most of the day, and we have ceiling fans.  But really, when it's 94+ degrees out there, with high humidity,  it's still hot and sticky.  I kept a towel nearby to mop my sweating brow and drank at least a gallon of ice tea.

When you see photos of Southern ladies showing off their lush gardens, how is it that they always look cool, calm and collected? Perhaps it's the Mint Juleps they always seem to be sipping -- maybe I should try those... 

I'm always bright red in the face, hair plastered to my head with sweat.  Not a pretty sight.  I dread working out in the front garden in case a neighbor stops by for a chat.  I do not look my best when I'm working in the garden!

Anyway, I got the containers planted and arranged them around the birdbath and I'm quite pleased with the effect. They should look lovely when they fill out.

I felt bad about ripping all of the Babylon White verbena out of the barrel, but it had been blooming constantly since last summer, kept going all winter and finally fizzled a month or so ago.  I pulled off some of the greener parts with roots attached and stuck them in the ground in the raised bed and the rest went on the back of the brush pile.

I think the barrel will look nice with the mix of purples, yellows and greens and the lantana and sweet potato vine can trail as much as they want to in that location.

After planting, I gave everything a good water and left it to settle in. 

Unfortunately, as often happens when I exert myself outside in the heat, I ended up with a raging headache and spent the rest of the day lying on the bed with the ceiling fan blowing on me, trying to feel human again.

I can't wait till fall gets here!!  Roll on fall!

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


Judy Adamson said...

Sorry to hear about the headache but what you've achieved is looking great, Jayne!

Jayne said...

Thanks Judy -- I've lived here 30 yrs since I left England in 1982, and I don't think I'll ever get used to the summer heat and humidity!

Carol said...

Oh my gosh, Jayne you have been stealing my thoughts. I too, was out in full force yesterday after buying 2 trays of plants on the way home Saturday. I did get them planted, and I am feeling the effects today. I too have been filty, sweaty, nasty hot tired and hungry working away in the sun and thought and this is good for me how? But I keep on and must say this being our 3ed summer here it is really starting to shape up and have our mark put on it. Gardening is not walking around in a beautiful sun dress, floppy hat and basket over your arm cutting roses is it?

Lancashire rose said...

The humidity does seem to have been particularly bad recently. I can barely spend 5 minutes out there without dripping and as you say hair plastered to the scalp. Your reward was some lovely pots to brighten the patio and I'll bet you sat down on that chair with an iced tea to enjoy. Iced tea? what am I saying! How about a pot of tea?

Rylahn said...

"I think the barrel will look nice with the mix of purples, yellows and greens and the lantana and sweet potato vine can trail as much as they want to in that location."

It certainly look great especially with the addition of some colors in it.

Anastasia Abboud said...

Great post, so funny and true! Oh, Jayne, don't you know that all of us Texas gardeners are nodding our heads vigorously right now? I was just commenting that around this time of year we begin to wonder if we are, indeed, crazy. But somehow, every year, we make it to Autumn and even manage a little gardening despite the weather. Your pots looks beautiful and now you have inspired me. I have some nice pots that aren't as new as when I bought them a few months ago but are just as empty.