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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Garden Bloggers Fling and a Book Giveaway

It’s that time of year again, time to fling. Garden Bloggers Fling that is. This year we are heading to Asheville, North Carolina. The home of the Biltmore House, surrounded by National Forests, and filled with a bunch of cool funky stuff.

My first Fling was in Buffalo, NY. I had only been blogging for a couple of months and really had no idea what I was getting into. Who knew bloggers were such a fun and friendly group of people to hang out with? We were treated like royalty by the local press and all of a sudden a ton of people were reading my brand new baby blog. Here are my posts from that Fling, it was called Buffa10.

Last year we flung up to Seattle. Where us southern bloggers had a respite from the heat. I saw some familiar faces from Buffalo along with a lot of new garden bloggers joining us. Our time in Seattle was jam-pack with garden goodness. Check it out.

image002 One of the Seattle Fling organizers, Lorene Edwards Forkner released a book last year called Handmade Garden Projects. You can see some great examples of her projects on many of last years blog posts: Houston Garden Girl, Commonweeder, Bonney Lassie, and Rock Rose.

Here’s a few more pictures from her backyard to wet your appetite.

 

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Timber Press is having a promotion right now and has provided me with one copy of Lorene’s book to give away. Leave a comment by May 26th to enter the drawing to receive a free copy.

As you can see, many talented garden bloggers are involved every year in Flinging. Keep up with all of us and our travels around Asheville by visiting the Fling blog.

May Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

I have been out of town for the last week or so, back in Oman for another stage of the project I've been working on for my company. I was pleasantly surprised by the gardens when I arrived back home on Wednesday afternoon. The rain we received while I was gone really set everything into motion.

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I bought this little one on clearance at Lowes. It's doing well so far this year with some shade from an oak tree.

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Perennial Pentas, definitely better than the annuals
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Practically everything is in bloom
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The group of crinums in the foreground aren't blooming, but the two in the background are.
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Belinda's Dream with Nature's Way compost as a topdressing that I spread before I left on my trip
 
I’m in Asheville now for the 2012 Garden Bloggers Fling. Stay tuned, more pictures to come.

And a big thanks for Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting garden bloggers bloom day.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Have a Look Around

The great thing about daylight savings time is how late it stays light outside. After work today I puttered around the gardens, finishing up cutting the dead stuff back and doing some light weeding. This year there was not nearly as much to cut back. At least not because it was dead. This year I was cutting a lot of plants back because they were getting leggy or were just too big. That’s what happens when they get to grow year-round. No hard freezes for us this past winter!

Tonight, I took a moment to stop and take in the scenery. I am thrilled that my garden is looking so good and I have not had to expend much energy to make it that way (at least this spring). Every year for the past 8 years, I (and members of my family) have put in a lot of hard labor building new beds and trucking in massive amounts of dirt. So far this year, its just been weeding and fertilizing, nothing back-breaking. I do still need to mulch all the beds…maybe next weekend.

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About a third of the grass you see in the above picture is new sod. This is the only lawn area that didn’t get watered last summer, the other grass survived because it was close enough to trees or flowerbeds that were getting watered. In the distance are my two new rain cisterns that I need to get in place before the rain stops.

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Here’s a view of the veggie gardens, fruit orchard, and new rose garden.

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Behind the oak tree is the rain garden and the part of the yard that stays the wettest when we get a lot of rain. That’s where the Louisiana Iris were blooming a few weeks ago.

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Everything is so green right now. We have been getting lots of rain, let’s just hope it continues for a while. Thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Visit to Bayou Bend

Last week I noticed that Bayou Bend was having what they called Spring House and Gardens Days on the 17th & 18th. The gardens and Ima Hogg’s house were open for tours. They also had some experts on hand to talk about various garden related topics.

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It’s embarrassing to say it, but I had never been to Bayou Bend. A beautiful garden right here in the middle of Houston only 15 minutes from my house. I have wanted to go on the River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail the past few years, but the harsh winters (ha ha, you northerners will get a kick out of that comment) and this year’s rainy weekend have kept me away. Now, finally I have seen Bayou Bend, although I still haven’t seen the azaleas at their peak…maybe next year.

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The gardens closest to the house all have a very formal style. Above is the Clio Garden laid out in 1927)

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I love how they used the bricks to form the steps separating the north terrace (designed in 1928) from the Diana Garden (created from 1936-1939).

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Above is the East Garden designed in 1927.

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The Butterfly Garden is named for it’s shape rather than the flowers that grow here. The bricks in this design were laid in 1942.

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In addition to the many formal gardens there are woodland gardens and winding paths as you get farther from the house. The grounds are 14 acres in total and are a fun place to wander around. This should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Houston. And, if you can only go once, be sure to visit on a day the house is open for tours. It is spectacularly furnished and well worth your time.

One more thing…I don’t normally post promotions on my page, but this one is right up my alley, so I thought you might be interested in it as well.

prizes

Click on the above graphic to register to win the following:

  • 35 packets of organic heirloom vegetable seeds from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply (an $87 value!)
  • A bare-root fruit tree, also from Peaceful Valley
  • And an edible gardening library from Timber Press, featuring:
        The Beginner's Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables
        Fruit Trees in Small Spaces
        The Edible Front Yard
        The Kitchen Gardener's Handbook
        Sugar Snaps and Strawberries

Register to win before March 23rd!

(disclaimer: I am receiving one free book in exchange for promoting this on my site. But, I also registered for the contest, cause all that stuff looks great! Smile)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

March Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

This is my first 2012 Bloom Day post. As I was walking around the gardens to take pictures I was, as usual, surprised at how much is in bloom. We had a mild winter or what some might call a normal winter so many of my new plants that struggled through last summer had a chance to get better established.

My new front yard landscaping is doing well. This bloom day post will be the first ever post to feature plants from my front yard.

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Sisyrinchium Suwannee Blue-Eyed Grass

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Phlox pilosa 'Forest Frost'

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Chionathus viginicus, American Fringe Tree
It’s only about a foot tall right now, but it’s covered in blooms.
 
And in the rest of the garden…
 
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Persian Shield
 
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variety of calibrachoas
 
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Salvia Vanhouttii
 
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Echinacea purpurea
 
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left: Le Vesuve, top right: Belinda's Dream, bottom right: Maggie
 
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Louisiana iris
 
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Bromeliad Bilbergia nutens
 
Other plants blooming include: firecracker plant, bottlebrush, chenille plant, lipstick salvia, hotlips salvia, salvia coccinea, butterfly weed, blue queen salvia, calliandra emarginata, biloxi blues verbena, yesterday, today, & tomorrow, diamond frost, blue daze evolvulus, paprika yarrow, pentas, peach tree, citrus trees, yellow cestrum, white cestrum, iochroma cyanea, pink trumpet vine, shrimp plant, & bougainvillea.
Check out May Dreams Gardens for other bloom day posts.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I’m Back!

2012 has been full of surprises, not all of them good. My life has been thrown off track, but I’m on my way back. The garden has had to take care of itself these past few months, but I must say it has done a good job of it. The blog was due for a new header, so the gnomes of Heidelberg, Germany have joined us. The big garden news is the addition of 1600 gallons worth of rain barrels from Texas Metal Cisterns, that will be an upcoming post for sure.

After a lot of internal debate I decided to go ahead and sign-up for the 5th annual Garden Bloggers Fling. This year it will be in Asheville, NC. I am super excited to see Biltmore.

Today is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and I am planning on posting the first ever pictures of my front yard flowers. I completely re-landscaped the front yard in the fall, using mostly native plants. Several of them are in bloom now and will have the honor of being featured in the first 2012 Houston Garden Girl’s bloom day post. I’m so excited!

I’m convinced that 2012 can only get better from here. Happy gardening everyone!