Sunday, March 29, 2020

You know it isn't a dream, it's love in bloom

Bloom bright and strong

Sometimes mistakes can turn out positive. A month or so ago I was wandering around a big box store waiting on the Dear Husband to finish finding parts for his project. The garden section is my usual browsing spot. At the beginning of the year, large shipments of spring flower roots packaged in bags come in. 

My preference in my garden is native plantings. I have a soft spot for roses and daylilies. As I wandered and waited I thought of purchasing some daylily roots but changed my mind. They could fill in a hard to plant spot in the front I thought as I walked to DH. Of course, I went back and grabbed a root bag before we left but I didn't look at what I grabbed. I mistakenly picked up Artistic Lily.

Instead of taking it back, I planted them. I owned my mistake and wanted to see how they would turn out. I have fallen in love. I'm going to sit out front and listen to old Crooners singing romantic songs in my ear. 

Be safe and keep growing. Take a few moments to embrace the mistakes to find the silver lining. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

This is how we do it - new garden bed

This is how we do it on a Friday night.

Countless how to guides are available on starting a new garden bed. I spent more time than I care to admit listening to online videos of garden bed guides. I wanted to use a method that I already had the materials for. Sheet mulching fits that criterion.

Sheet mulching is a basic method to suppress weeds and build a strong organic foundation for a garden using a sheet of layering. Even within the subcategory Sheet mulching, has an array of different methods. Weeds are suppressed by placing cardboard or newspaper in the area. This removes the light source for the plants while also breaking down and creating organic material. I have an abundance of cardboard boxes right now, so this should work. 

Sheet mulching is about layering. Like I mentioned, the layers have a variety of combinations. The main focus is those layers need to be thick enough to block the light. I chose to layer grass, cardboard, organic matter, mulch.

The first step was to cut the grass as low as possible. I chose not to break or disturb the ground. I already knew some of the weeds like wild lettuce have been producing seeds. I didn't want to give them a chance to make babies. I did not amend the soil at this step either, but that is an option.       

The second step was laying out the cardboard. I opened each cardboard box to make it flat and long. I overlapped the edges so no weed peaking could happen. Around four to six inches of overhang. The shape I created for the garden bed has a curve in it. To create a clean edge, I cut along the folds of the box to allow for the movement.

An optional step is creating an edge to your garden bed. I have an abundance of stone from the original owner to this house. 

By the time we arrived at this home, it was overgrown and made no sense. I am trying to keep the stones from getting lost in the weeds like it was when we first arrived. 
Out of context original garden

Weeds keep creeping

Stones are placed at the edge of the cardboard. This will help keep weeds at bay but not forever. This step will be an experiment.   

I have a leftover bushel of hay from our rabbit. The rabbit does not eat the whole bushel, but it is still more economical to buy a full bushel and use the rest for composting. Your mileage may vary on this part. The goal for this third step is to add a little more health to the soil as the cardboard breaks down. Just an inch of organic matter at the very least. 

The fourth step is mulch. Apply good coverage of mulch wither it is leaves or woodchips. Make it about two inches deep. If I had opted out of the organic matter, this step would be a little deeper. 

The final step is time and weeding the edges. You can plant into the cardboard, but it can allow the plants you are working to suppress a chance to recover. Just be careful and diligent at the weeding. 

So turn on your old school Contemporary R&B and feed that garden bug. 

Update: I should mention the time frame of sheet mulching. A good rule of thumb is the bed is complete when the cardboard is decomposed. This could be as little as 6 months, again mileage may very. If you want to plant in the late fall start this process in early spring. Keep an eye out for weeds in case the coverage wasn't thick enough. 

Be safe and keep growing! 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

GBBD March 2020

Garden Blogger Bloom Day 

Please visit May Dreams Gardens for more blogger blooms. Only a few blooms are active today. We had a nice rain last night so some of the blooms have a nice wet effect. 

Linum grandiflorum

This scarlet flax was an accidental planting. This came from a mislabeled Texas native wildflower seed packet given away free at a work event. The intended label was Texas friendly wildflowers. The scarlet flax a so far a prolific bloom. 

Lupinus texensis (blue)
Lupinus texensis (red)

Of course Texas favorite flower the bluebonnets. I have a few colorways of this beauty from light blue to this deep red. 

This was a pass-along plant from the previous gardeners. I still have not positively identified this sage type plant.  

Blush Noisette
Blush Noisette is one of two pass-along roses left from previous gardeners. Last summer's weather wreaked havoc on some of the more temperamental roses. This beauty grows under two trees and only lost a few branches.

pyrus calleryana

Last night's rain dislodged most of the Ornamental Pear trees blooms off. This tree is a bee magnet keeping them up high and busy for a few weeks.


This sunflower is working on a flower. I have been watching it for weeks. It is growing in the middle of the lawn a leftover from a bird feeder. 

Anemone Anemone
This wildflower self-seeded it's into the yard. I am working to preserve it and propagate it. The flowers can be a variety of colors but it is predominately white in my yard. 

An accidental picture gives a true and accurate rendering of my weed garden. It is a work in progress. Bless my patient and supportive neighbors. 

Friday, March 13, 2020


Part of the difficulty I have run into with trying to create a more natural yard space is this invasion. I pulled out this latest explosion over the week.

Experienced gardeners would have taken steps to prep the garden space before planting. This is a key step in reclaiming. Any garden book or video you explore will show you key basics to preparing a garden bed.

This week's difficulty was self-induced. At no point when I created my small weed garden did prep happen. My Dear Husband had made a surprise purchase of native wildflower seeds. Boy was I excited I simply tossed those seeds in the side yard. 

Prep the garden bed...Not I said the cat. 

Now I have a mountain of Senecio Vulgaris and Lactuca Serriola (or something like that) and very few native seeds popped. While time-consuming the removal of these two plants pest plants is not difficult. A simple trowel up under the roots and the plants pop out. The front weed garden experiment will continue to get some work done, mostly weeding. 

Lactuca Serriola? @cassundry 2020 

Over the next week, I will be upgrading a section of the back garden. This time preparation will be made to ensure this bed will be more successful. On March 21st Hill Country Water Garden Nursery will have a plant sale (Gala). With luck, the back garden will be stocked with natives. 

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Stop giving up - You do not have a black thumb

I had given up on planting a garden.

I didn't grow up with the knowledge of growing plants. "...the average American is now at least three generations removed from the farm." (FB,2020). My father told me stories about what he remembered of the family farm. My favorite story was when my father was about 5 years old and stole the tractor. He ran into a ditch which was the only reason he was caught. Another story my father remembered both him and his grandfather walking around the farm with shovels. "Come on boy time to dig, we need a new [Poop]er." 

At some point, my grandfather took his growing family from his parent's farm. Maybe it was my father's joy ride or perhaps it was the lack of indoor plumbing in the 1960s. Whatever the case my grandfather left for a big city job with Ford motor company. That was it no more farming. 

As I grew up my father was not a farmer nor a gardener. He wasn't interested in it. He wouldn't even water the yard. He'd say to me "Well skate if it was meant to live it would." My father was very opposed to fertilizing the yard also. He would also say "Kiddo that junk just ends up in the waterways." You could say he was a low key environmentalist. 

My mother, on the other hand, would joke about herself "I don't a black thumb. I don't kill everything, just most things. My thumb must be brown!" When I was really young she planted tomatoes. To this day I can't remember much about her set up. I just remember eating the whole tomatoes and watching lizards. Her working life kept her busy and she stopped planting tomatoes. My mother kept a few house plants at her office. Simple things like violets, aloe, and philodendrons grew in simple pots. 

This was it my planting knowledge as a whole. A few stories about a farm and a few potted plants. I always had a fascination with the natural world. I wanted to move out that barren waste of an American lawn and create a habitat highway. Reclaim the yard for the birds and bees. 

I gave up. Every step forward was a challenge. I just didn't have the knowledge to overcome the challenges. Here is the thing, "The truth is out there". In a world full of digital socializing the experiences and knowledge are available. 

It takes time. It takes energy. It takes grit. But it can happen.

Mystery Plant @cassundry 2020 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Old Florida thought from Oct 2013

Louis Philippe-The Florida Cracker Rose
Boy do I love this flower

I had to find a home for this handsome flower.  The front garden had just been seeded (that is not going so hot just yet).  That means there is no room at the inn for the rose.  So with some brain storming a new additional planting bed was envisioned.  

I know I just said last week I was going to keep it simpler.  But I do have this vegetable garden I keep messing with and this bed will help some of the pollinators find the veggies.  Anyone buying that?

Another thing to consider is the pot that Louis Philippe rose is/was in had a large crack down the side and I was afraid damage would happen to the roots.  Which is why I transplanted a blooming rose.  Everything I have researched about transplanting said that was a bad idea.  Well the rose blooms all year what is a gardener supposed to do.  Trim the buds.  Simple!  General consensus said to give the plant three weeks to get established.  If anyone knows different please let me know.  I don't want to kill it.

Technology is really cool sometimes.  I planned out the new garden bed using BUBBLES! 
*I should have make what size the bed was.  Maybe next time.*

List of plants
1. Louis Philippe (Florida Cracker Rose)
2. Crimson Pirate daylily
3. Rocket city daylily
4. Little missy daylily
5. El Desperado daylily
6. Lavender
7. Chives
8. Basil
9. Onion
10. Blanket flower
11. Red salvia
12. Candytuft
13. Marigold
*Black rectangle is a toad house or a fairy house what every you want to call it.

This bed sits right next to the neighbor's house.  I was careful to make sure the plants on the right side would not be troublesome.  Also I angled the bed so it would not over step bounders.  I used plants or seeds I already had hence the Candytuft, Marigold, and Blanket flower.  Who knows if the seeds will even start they are a few years old.  Basil, Chives, Onion, Lavender are all pest control plants.  From what I have read about the Cracker rose it doesn't get pest.  These are plants we wanted to start anyway and they just have bonus benefits.  

Now for the tricky part.  Garden math!  I marked out 18 inches away from the roots of the plant (of course I probably marked more then that when all was said and done).  This way the roots will not have to compete with anything.  Then I marked out the planting bed itself.  See.  

What a yucky yard!
Told ya I never water my grass or fertilize it.  Looks gross huh?

With much digging and amended soil the plant can go in.  Gardening in a Minute has a few helpful links on soil.  I did what I could.

This is my dirt
All the additional plants where spaced at their recommended distances.  I was very surprised with the daylilies when I planted them.  The package said bulbs.  I expected round bulbs but I found roots.  A big tangled mess of roots.  

After amending the soil, planting, watering, and mulching, the gardening bed is complete.  The mulch was a gift from a very nice tree service business by the way.  Hopefully with time everything will grow and blossom.  

It is humorous how one plant turned into so much more.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

GBBD April 2015

April in Bloom!

Perfume Delight or Pink Peace
 Garden Blogger Bloom Day posts visit May Dreams Gardens

 At the house

Dr. Huey

Dr. Huey rootstock won!

Red Knock-Out

Mystery Bud

Salvia (Salvia Greggii White)

Blooms like Hemlock
Looks like Wild Carrot

Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)

Blooms from the field at Work