It’s Alive!

This artichoke plant is taking over the whole bed in which it was planted.

This artichoke plant is taking over the whole bed in which it was planted.

I planted a tiny artichoke plant last fall and now I’m starting to wish I had planted it somewhere else. It’s only mid March and the plant is already huge. Shooting this plant from above led to some fun working with the shadows.

Cabbage, cabbage where's my cabbage?

Cabbage, cabbage where’s my cabbage?

Can you find the tiny cabbage in the shadow of the out of bounds artichoke? This plant might be shading the whole house by the time summer rolls around.

Who dares to venture into the ancient dark forest of artichoke?

Who dares to venture into the ancient dark forest of artichoke?

Up close it makes me think of some kind of prehistoric plant.

Results are in, Spring still my favorite season

I was thinking of putting "Your Ad Here" on the stone next to my rain gauge.

I was thinking of putting “Your Ad Here” on the stone next to my rain gauge.

Much of what I think about water these days has to do with rain. When I grew up in south Louisiana, I took water for granted. It rained a lot, we lived right next to a bayou and there was water nearby in every direction.

Now I appreciate every drop. Gardening viability, tree health, drinking water supplies — these things are on my mind frequently. The first real post on this blog was about rain.

This is a rain gauge that Julie gave me for our anniversary. Who knew that 21 years is frog yard art! So far I’ve been very glad to see this little garden helper get plenty of action. The frog seems okay with it too.

This frog and I love the same things - being in the garden and rain.

This always ready frog and I love the same things – being in the garden and rain.

Critter Avenue


Critter Avenue
Down past the feral cat village and the compost pile lies the bamboo grove. The mysterious path, best navigated if you are less than a foot tall, winds on down Critter Avenue past the tree where the pair of Great Horned Owls share their song on even the darkest of nights. In the daytime hawks and crows cast unfriendly glances toward each other and each evening the possums and raccoons hurry along in route to the scroungers buffet. Who knows what else traverses this urban nature passage…

This path is an urban wildlife thoroughfare.

This path is an urban wildlife thoroughfare.


Letting go of this summer’s garden

The year of the Turk’s Cap

Turk's Cap

Turk’s Cap

I shudder to think how many of these things we have planted this year. The problem is, they will not allow me to ignore them. These plants smugly offer so much that I am unable to resist planting them all over the yard.

Here is the quick rundown:

  1. They are drought tolerant
  2. and they aren’t very picky about the kind of soil you plant them in
  3. and they grow well and bloom profusely in the shade
  4. and as if that wasn’t enough — they attract hummingbirds and other pollinators
  5. and they are beautiful plants with dark green foliage and brightly colored blooms.
The Turk's Cap have been blooming in my backyard for months - with no sign of letting up.

The Turk’s Cap has been blooming in my backyard for months – with no sign of letting up.

We planted our first ones about three years ago. Once they were established (one season), they have not required any water. I do water them occasionally, but none of plants appear to suffer much from lack of water.

Turk’s Cap will die back during the winter and trimming them down to the ground has worked because most of the new growth comes from very low on the old stems or from new shoots that spring up. They do spread somewhat, but are easy to control and haven’t been invasive. On the contrary, I usually encourage the spreading in areas where I have planted them and enjoy having the plants fill out and make a nice stand.

Every year we see hummingbirds, bees and wasps on the blooms. We have hummingbird feeders and the Turk’s Cap is one thing that attracts them to our  yard. They also enjoy our salvia and Trumpet Vine.

Turk’s Cap is one plant that I recommend heartily for those in my area (Fort Worth, TX) who are looking for something to plant in shaded areas. Sometimes it seems very hard to find natives that both grow in the shade and bloom and these plants are proving to be virtually indestructible.


The petals of Turk’s cap make an interesting spiral.

Weird Image Wednesday [150408]

Hummingbird Moth hovering around my Salvia. The first time I saw one of these, it seemed like it was a hummingbird but there was just something strange about it. Later I learned what it was. It’s called a hummingbird moth and that is exactly what I was inclined to call it when I first saw it.


Spring Garden Update (2015 – Part One)

Home Garden

I started my second round of spring planting this weekend. It began on what was a beautiful afternoon at the nursery and the place was hopping with what I’m sure were many like minded gardeners. We all hovered back and forth around the large selection of available tomato and pepper plants (many other plants also) looking for our favorite varieties. I ended up coming home with nine tomato plants and seven pepper plants, along with a couple of new items for my herb bed. That’s a slightly larger number than I usually plant but I have a good feeling about this spring. I managed to get seven of the tomatoes planted that afternoon – six in one of my 4×4 foot raised beds and one in a large pot. I’m still not sure where to put the other two. I added fresh compost and a little bit of guano and dried molasses to the soil and fed then all with some seaweed and liquid molasses afterwards. That night we got a little rain and I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve managed to get rain right after planting.

Community Garden

In our community garden at work we have twice as many plots in use as we did this last year. Although we have some way to go before we reach full capacity, for now I think I’ll manage to live with one hundred percent growth. We are waiting to hear about a matching funds grant that we applied for which will enable us to set up 17 more plots to have available for anyone who wants to join. Up until now, we gardeners have all been building our own raised beds at our expense. Last year I had  one bed and this year I have two. I’m using one of them just for corn. After my success last year with just a few plants (and planted on a whim, at that), I’ve decided to give it a more serious try this time around to see if I can raise enough to give away to those in need.