In which I lose the thread…

So here are the obligatory wide shots for April. 

I feel like I lost the thread on this yard. It was supposed to be orderly. There was supposed to be positive and negative space. I had these grids of agave parryi laid out. Now:

Pups everywhere! Which is going to be beautiful. But not orderly. The yard is beautiful and it’s going to be amazing when the Lantana comes in, but it’s so far from what I’ve planned that I have no clue where I’m going anymore.

I probably just need to spend more time out in it. 


Do I do anything with these bluebonnet pods, or just let them fall off and reseed?

What is this plant? And how much have I screwed things up by letting it grow this big? It seems to have a ton of tiny little white flowers on it…

And finally we have a lonely confused blue iris who avoided the hail and is deciding to bloom. Sure, do your thing, confused blue iris.

Beargrass (Nolia Texana) has a pretty wild bloom. 

What the? As soil raises and lowers (or I start digging) in my yard I keep finding things like this. Is this part of a path? Did these just get left here? Why would you want a stepping stone more than stepping distance from a flower bed?

So confused…

Wide Shots end of March

I do love the end of March. Things still look fairly bleak, but there’s promise everywhere. And early blooming wildflowers means there’s more to draw your eye away from cut-back stems and decomposing leaves.

I’ve stopped fighting the common yellow Oxalis in my yard. I’ve seen it look so beautiful in the yards of others, and it really makes a nice ground cover and weed suppressant for early spring. Here’s some with verbena that I find particularly nice.

Not Oxalis, but pretty.

I know like Gizmo you’re shrieking - “bright light, bring light!” When do you photographers take photos when the light is good, but blooms are still open?

The Annual Trimming of the Boxwoods

Mostly this week, I’ve been off work and listening to music. 

It’s hard work.

But I took some time out for yard work and trimmed the box woods. I really don’t enjoy this job, and this year I really whacked them back because they were getting into the paths. They’re not my favorite, but they’re fun for the kids, they’re established, use little water, and are evergreen. 

And I was talking to someone this week, and they didn’t realize you could put out yard trimmings without using those paper bags from your favorite big box retailer. It’s true. I put out these three cans pretty much every week.

Much cheaper over the long run and slightly better for the environment. Some day I’ll get my composting act in order…

Been sitting on pictures. Gotta just post ‘em. Been sitting on pictures. Gotta just post ‘em. Been sitting on pictures. Gotta just post ‘em. Been sitting on pictures. Gotta just post ‘em.

Been sitting on pictures. Gotta just post ‘em.

Modern Homes Tour 2014

So it’s probably a bit unreasonable to go on the modern homes tour looking for good landscaping. Especially after 2 hard freezes. There were lots of instances of a planter with 3 red yuccas side by side. A side wall with a feathergrass planted every 1.5 feet, etc.

I really do like this, though.

But there were also a few really cool ideas. There was a house on the lake that was a fantastic example of what you should do if you ever become ridiculously wealthy. There were reading nooks for kids with portholes that went through the walls. A second story deck to jump off of into the water.

And gardens everywhere.

Second floor succulent gardens, and roses trained to climb up the wall of the boat house. 

I especially liked the texture of these isolated mini mondo clumps.

We also got to see the Austin Cubed house in person. We’ve been enjoying their blog for quite a while. Their main driveway was interspersed with little holes with feather grass tucked in. And culminated with a habit-urf lawn/permeable driveway. Their back patio was missing bricks for much the same effect. And love those hefty rain chains.

This was a mondo grass right outside their front door.It was surprisingly effective to cut up the sterile nature of concrete this way. Makes me want to start cutting holes in my concrete…

It was a really fun day. We managed to get to all the beautiful houses.

Need a reason to plant native?

It’s 45. Friday my yard was covered in ice. Pictures taken today.

Happy Snow Day!

So Much Has Changed

I feel like this should be multiple posts. So much has changed. But what the heck.

First off, I got a new phone. A Nexus 5. And the pictures are so much better than anything I’ve taken before. Here are some blooms for today.


I think now you can blame the photographer for errors. That bloom is from a packet of wildflower seeds I got at the LBJ Ranch.

This bulb came from Stella’s school. It was in a mason jar. And as with most things we neglected it a bit. The plant was huge by the time we got around to planting it, and so we had to smash the mason jar with a brick to get the plant out.

So much of how I live my life is illustrated in that story. It bloomed two days after we planted it.


A couple of weeks ago, Etta and I spent some time together alone and got my planting bench in order. She helped me sort all my empty pots (and the ones left by the previous owners). It was kind of embarrassing how many were back there.

We moved the bench out from its inaccessible location behind a mesquite tree.  And voila - my new planting bench!image

Yeah, those plants? Pay no attention to those right now. I’m not there yet.

I reclaimed two flower beds. From two giant nandina and a ligustrum. That is still trying to come back. M#$(#$(#$(#!!!!!image

But the biggest news is that Austin Energy came by to trim our trees (5 years already?!??). They offered to take out my invasive trees along the back fence. And - well - free tree removal. Right? 

Although we had to bid goodbye to the chinese parasol tree. We both loved it. We called it the Dr. Suess tree. But it was also an ecological disaster waiting to happen. If I didn’t remove its leaves promptly from my own yard it would kill everything they covered. I can’t even imagine what they would do unchecked in the easement behind our house.

3 ligustrums and 1 chinese parasol tree gone in 1 fell swoop. Here are the panoramic shots.



(click to enbiggen)



(click to enbiggen)

In preparation for this I ended up at Barton Springs nursery and picked up some shorter replacements. Which are now going to get tested against freezing rain or snow it appears…


Please think good warming thoughts for my Sandpaper Tree, Wax Myrtle, Two Kindneywoods and 2 Huisache.