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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bottlebrush Blooms

My bottlebrush tree is blooming again. I’m not sure what triggers it, but it blooms on and off all year long. I don’t know exactly what species it is, it was one of the first plants I planted after we moved in about 7 years ago. I bought it at Houston Garden Center, you hardly ever know exactly what you’re getting from there.

A few months ago my Dad was looking at it and was asking me how the flowers actually developed. I had never paid that much attention to it before. So, I decided to photograph the flowers at different stages.

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Here it is just forming


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Getting ready to open

 

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Opening


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The red filaments are the stamens, the pollen is on the tip of each one

 

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Now you can see the actual petals

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Visitor’s Perspective

I almost never post wide shots of my yard when I am posting pictures on my blog. For some reason, they just don’t look very good to me. I think it’s because the pictures just don’t seem to do it justice.

On the day of the garden tour last month, my mother-in-law took pictures of my gardens. So here it is, a visitor’s perspective:

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This is the first garden you see when you enter the backyard from the driveway. The lady head watches contently from her corner here. There was a magnificent yellow angel trumpet in this bed a few years ago, but the last two winters did it in. Now, I am trying to get a Jatropha integerrima to take hold.

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This next garden is one of several island beds. There used to be two old Bradford pears here, I’m trying to get two queen palms to take their place. The candlestick plants are in the middle of this picture (in front of the white obelisk), they actually came up from the roots this year. They also had some babies just in case they didn’t make it through the colder months.

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On to the next island bed, which my husband affectionately refers to as the peanut bed. This one gets full sun and is filled with salvias, TX rock rose, artemesia ‘powis castle’, ageratum, and a few others.

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Here, our oldest puppy, Rusty is enjoying his new found water bowl. The gazebo is a great place to hang out year-round, especially when the mosquitoes are out. One good thing about the low rainfall this year is that it has kept the mosquito population under control. Speaking of rain, that’s the rain garden in the background, it has been very dry this year. Luckily, we just got about an inch and a half of badly needed rain.

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Now, looking out from the gazebo. In the foreground is the new rose bed and in the background are the veggie beds, fruit trees, and my stockpile of leaves.

I guess the wide shots of the gardens don’t look too bad after all.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Wow, it is hot.

And it is dry.

My garden has had 1” of rain in 2011…not normal for Houston, a city with an annual average of 54” of rain. During the first 6 days of June, we broke our high temperature record four times and reached the highest temperature ever recorded in June: 105°.

I was out of town for about 3 weeks. My non-gardening husband was put in charge of the watering. Against all odds, he managed to keep everything alive while I was gone.

So, let’s take a look at what’s blooming.

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Abutilon 'Bella Red'
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lamb's ear
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I think these are what some people refer to as ditch lilies.
Not a very pretty name for such a nice flower.
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a lone coneflower (white swan)
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purple porterweed
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crinum
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peruvian pavonia
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white turk's cap
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‘Dark and Handsome’ daylily-again this month

Other flowers blooming are desert rose, Dancing Lady Ginger ‘Pristina Pink’, plumeria, Meiwa Seedless kumquat, pentas, firecracker plant Russelia equisetiformis, bottlebrush, chenille plant, lipstick & hotlips salvias, white yarrow, Texas rock rose, gomphrena, Miss Lingard phlox, and batface cuphea.

Thanks for stopping by for bloom day. Visit May Dreams Gardens for more bloom days from around the world.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Survey Says…Oman!

In my last blog post I was sitting in the Frankfurt airport waiting for my plane back to Houston. I posted some pictures of my trip and posed the question-Where in the world is Houston Garden Girl?”. The answer is: Oman.

I was on a business trip. I left Houston on May 23rd and spent about 4 days in Germany visiting a potential vendor, then spent the weekend in Heidelberg with my niece, and the last 2 weeks of my trip in Muscat with a short jaunt to our field operations. I work for a US petroleum company and have had the benefit of travelling to our offices in Ecuador, Colombia, and Argentina. This was my first business trip to the Middle East, overall I have to say that it went very well.

IMG_2860I know many of us in the US have a picture in our mind of what we think the Middle East is like.  (I say that as if every country there is the same, even though it isn’t)  We think desert. And, while that is true, there are also a few surprises to be found. (Take a look at the last blog post, I was definitely surprised by some of the plants I saw growing there)

 

The city of Muscat is on the water and is just as humid, actually it may be more humid than Houston, and it is definitely hotter. The picture below is the view from my hotel. IMG_2871

It seemed very bright there when I went outside, I wonder if it is because the majority of the buildings are white?

On one of my days off, a co-worker took me to the nearby village of Nakhal. Despite the 105 degree temperatures (it was a cool day), we managed to do a lot of sight-seeing. We visited the fort, pictured below.

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We took his Dad’s 4-wheel drive vehicle out to the wadis. Wadis are basically ephemeral rivers. They are wide, dry river beds, typically only having water after it rains. IMG_2810

We hiked for awhile along the wadi, until it was time to go back home for lunch.IMG_2812

Speaking of lunch…it happens to be date season there. I had never eaten a fresh date before, they were delicious.

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There were date palms all over the city and the countryside. I think for the most part, the city palms are owned and maintained by the government, but the palms in the countryside (which look to me like a date palm forest) are actually owned by individuals who care for their plot of trees.

That’s all about Oman for now. I will be going back in a few months, wonder what will be in season then?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Where in the world is Houston Garden Girl?

Apologies for the lack of posts over the past 3 weeks or so. I have been out of the country. Actually, I am at an airport right now waiting on my connecting flight to get back to Houston. My poor hubby has been left with the watering duties while I've been gone during some of the hottest days Houston has ever seen in June.

So, can you guess where I've been?


A hedge of pride of barbados

Date Trees everywhere

Plumeria

Oleander and Bougainvillea

There's a beach

And some interesting flowering trees that I've never seen before...

Hmm... where could I be?