Although we’ve already had the first freeze of the year, much of the lawn, roses, trees and shrubs remain green. But that’s about to change. Continue reading
Category Archives: Environment
Will this rose survive in my garden? –tips to match a rose and a garden spot
Two questions to consider before buying any particular rose (note: I grow antique or “old garden” roses, not grafted roses);
1) will this rose survive in my garden, and
2) will I like this rose in my garden?
In this blog entry, the first question is discussed and a future blog entry will address the second question.
Four Steps to Composted, Organic Fertilizer for the Garden
Organic Fertilizer for my garden comes from these two!
Horse manure is the fertilizer of choice for our gardens for three reasons: 1) it’s organic, 2) it’s readily available, and 3) it contains undigested forage (grasses and hay) so it also “softens” the soil for the plant roots. Continue reading
Minor Flooding, Lush Greenery, and Calla Lilies!
Three terms I did not think I would be using to describe my gardens in mid October — flooding, Calla, and Lush.
One month ago, our rainfall values, combined with dry ground conditions, indicated early drought conditions. If the cool/cold fronts of Fall and Winter do not result in rainfall, the conditions worsen. Right now, it is drizzling, and we’ve already had 3 1/2 inches of rain in the last 36 hours –with more expected over the next 3 days. Continue reading
Rose Mallow and Belinda’s Dream in August
The Rose Mallow (also called Hardy Hibiscus) was planted about 5 years ago next to Belinda’s Dream — an old garden shrub rose. (This picture was taken with a cell phone and all elements have a slightly bluer appearance than the real-world view.)
Bloom sizes; Rose Mallow (6 inch diameter), Belinda’s dream (2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter); both plants are currently producing blooms.
Belinda’s Dream produces blooms from Spring through Fall; the largest and most abundant blooms are in the spring, reduced number and size throughout summer, and a few more larger blooms in the Fall.
The Rose Mallow begins blooming when the temperatures are consistently above 90 degrees and continues blooming through Summer and into the Fall; the largest blooms appear early in the blooming period (8 to 8 1/2 inches in diameter) and consistently reduce in size over the course of the summer (smallest about 4 inches in diameter).
The Rose Mallow blooms last a single day; they unfurl in the morning, are fully open by mid afternoon then shrivel and drop in the evening.
Belinda’s Dream blooms generally unfurl over the course of one day (by mid afternoon) and then slowly deteriorate over the course of 3 to 5 days (longer flower life in cooler weather).
Both plants have similar water needs and do well together on the same watering schedule (once a week by dripper hose). I use Miracle Grow fertilizer (blue crystals) to support vegetative (green) growth after the last frost. In rainy Spring seasons, I’ll use Miracle grow for roses (to encourage blooming) on both plants about a month to six weeks after the last frost.
Trim all roses on Valentine’s day (or the nearest Saturday following Valentine’s day–time permitting); Cut back all stems smaller than a pencil (average sized wooden pencil with lead) and cut just above a leaf bud location.
The rose mallow is self-sufficient, no trimming needed unless it becomes unruly (I don’t trim it because it will freeze down to the ground over winter).
- Hardy Hibiscus (forestgardenblog.wordpress.com)
Casualty of the Drought
As the triple digit heat returns, I am reminded of a casualty of the drought —a small variety of magnolia (the label on the plant was “mock orange”, but the leaves and the flowers suggest magnolia.) The tree was planted in 2009 and thrived well into 2011.
Unfortunately, the record setting heat from summer 2011 was a bit too much for this gem! As a rule, I try to just let go of those plants that simply will not grow, but I certainly miss the abundant 3 inch blooms and fragrance that appeared each spring and stayed until about mid-summer.
Back to triple digit temperatures!
After a relatively cool weather break (highs mid 90’s, lows upper 60’s) for the last week, we are headed for triple digits. It will probably be about 2 or 3 days of high 90’s, with 100 degrees for a high on Thursday or Friday.
There has been some rain showers in the area over the last few days, one was even substantial — nearly 3 inches—but none where we needed it. To keep the trees from dying, we set up the drip hoses for the summer. (We also use the drip hoses in the Fall/Winter during extremely dry periods.)
This morning, July 2, 2013 – in Central Texas – it was a cool 64° outside at 6 AM. This is an unusual turn in the weather pattern as we generally start out around 72° or higher in July. The high-pressure has shifted west and has taken the heat with it. Our high today is projected to be 91°, that’s lower than the low temperatures being experienced in the Western United States.
The slightly cooler temperatures provide a break for plants in the garden; however, most of the plants are quite stressed now – after four days of triple digit temperatures. This change in weather events is good for us because it means that we probably won’t lose any trees this year. Over the last three years of drought, we have lost three small trees but have saved the larger trees through drip irrigation.
This break in weather should also encourage a few more blooms from the roses, so I’ll be posting pictures of that as they become available. The temperatures are not expected to return to triple digits for at least the next seven days – almost unheard of in Central Texas in the summer!
We have entered the season of heat in Texas. In central Texas, we are fortunate as we have not yet reached the triple digits! The last few years have brought 100+ degree temperatures as early as April. Another oddity this year was three frosts and 12 inches of rain in the month of May (a bit late for frost, but the rain was good.)
As the high temperatures stay above 95, the gardens become stressed; growth and produce decrease significantly. Okra and peas (black-eyed peas and cream peas) continue to make in the heat as long as the produce is picked as soon as it is ripe (pictures soon!). Temperatures generally remain in the upper 90’s, up to about 105—although a summer temperature of 114 is not unheard of!
Kinds of Gardens
To this point, have limited what I select to grow my garden based on environmental considerations. With an understanding that the environment has extremes of weather, I generally maintain only those plants that can tolerate all extremes of the weather wherever my yard is located.
Now to get past the boring and move towards the interesting–plants! Ihave multiple gardens that include ornamental, vegetable,and/or fruit plants.
Ornamental plants are designed for some aesthetic purpose. Ornamentals grown here include; trees, shrubs, roses, and flowering plants (annuals and perennials). Some ornamentals can be consumed by humans (e.g., daylilies, or rose hips).
Vegetable plants have nutritional value and the gardener generally likes to eat the plants that are grown–or at least know someone who does! Spring garden plants that grown here include; green beans, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, okra, squash, and cucumbers. Spring garden plants to not tolerate cold temperatures and will be destroyed by frost, or freezing temperatures. Follow garden plants I like to grow include; broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. Fall plants can take cold temperatures and freezing (unless the temperature goes below about 15F).
Fruit plants grown here include; pears (not this year–more details about that later!), peaches, plums, berries, and pecans (nut group–new to the garden this year!).
This blog entry is just about the kinds of gardens grown here, my next entries will begin to document what happens to the plants over time. This Spring has been relatively cool and wet for Texas — so I’ve got some magnificient plant growth and blooms in all of the gardens right now! As the heat increases, bugs, molds, bacteria, and viruses also increase and plague plants (more on that later as well!)
Upcoming posts will include pictures of what is currently growing in each of the gardens!