Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall in West Texas

The temperatures are back down to pleasant ranges and the 2 inches of rain my garden has received in the last two months has done wonders for the strolling gardening. Everything's so green again and many of the plants are flowering again. The roses have all produced more blossoms and their colors fare so much better without the harsh 90-100+ degree heat bearing down on them. Now, if only I could find time to work more in the garden on the weekends when we don't suddenly have a cold front or winds.
Hyacinth Bean has been a very lovely surprise. My co-worker gave me a few seeds she'd received during a sale at the local garden and arts center and the blossoms are so lovely. The wind knocked many of the vines off the trellis though so I will be tying them to the trellis next year with twine.
The shades of pale lavender to a darker plum purple of the hyacinth bean flowers are so attractive.
The veg bed had mixed results. The heat and drought from June through early September fried most of what I planted in the raised bed. I did get one really nice zookini and two squash before I had to pull out the dried up plants. Watering everyday and using good planting soil with moisture retention beads wasn't enough to keep the vegetables alive. Three bell pepper plants, seen above with the hyacinth bean flowers, is doing great now though and has blossoms on them. I might be able to get a few peppers before a freeze kills the plants.
I have discovered that mint does really well in the raised cinderblock beds. And for the first time I've been able to successfully grow basil and keep it alive. In fact, it's reseeding in the cement opening before the plant. As with all gardening, growing things in the cinderblock bed is a case of trial and error. I've decided that it will become a mint bar now, with basil and hyacinth bean mixed in. The larger central section will have flowers in it next year. Just need to track down the tags for the various mint plants and put their names on the brass plant markers I got on clearance from Target. The nice thing about the mints is that the more exotic ones can be identified by their scent and tastes. Shouldn't be too hard to figure out which one is the mojito mint, the orange mint and the chocolate mint. I also have English mint planted in the corner. So the hunt for other mint varities will be next year's adventure. A mint bed fits in well with the English cottage theme, right?
The roses have been blooming nicely since mid-September, when our temperatures started dipping and rain came to visit the West Texas area. Above is The Fairy, which has numerous branches with tiny pink blooms. Just wish it didn't have all the tiny, sharp thorns along the branches. Am probably going to regret planting this near a walkway in the furture. But is is lovely nevertheless.
I think no flower garden should exist without an Iceberg Rose. First of all, the white color glows at dusk and the buds have a nice scent to them. So many modern roses seem to be missing the scent aspect. The green of the leaves have a yellow undertone, which contrasts well against other plants, such as the two varieties of sedums underplanted here. Lastly, the number of flower buds on it when it blooms is fabulous. I definately plan to try to cram one or two more of these in the garden in the future. There is a garden at Sportsmen's Hotel in LA that is mostly planted with Iceberg Roses and it is stunning. No wonder so many people get married there.
This was labeled a Kordes rose with a tag that said it would bloom white with pink. Well, it blooms yellow and fades to white. Oh well, it's still a lovely rose and I just consider it my yellow rose of Texas.
My favorite rose in the strolling garden is the Climbing Americas. Besides their spicy floral scent, they have been blooming non-stop since May. Pictured are two of four of Americas I have growing. Their canes are incredibly strong and are upwards of 9 feet tall so far.
And speaking of sedums, the three varieties I have planted in the front and back yards are all blooming. Such an easy plant to grow and the butterflies seem to love flitting around it and feeding from the blossoms. Well, that's all for today. I will try to be better about updating this blog. Meanwhile, I'm off to put out buckets to catch the light rain falling down right now. If we got more rain I'd buy a rain barrel but there's no point paying upwards of $100 when rain doesn't fall often here. Little buckets work just fine.


  1. A mint garden sounds wonderful! I love the new varieties of mint that are available now. That would be so much fun to go outside and decide whict kind of mint you want to add to your tea that day! Your roses are looking gorgeous, and I am sold on the hyacinth bean! So beautiful!

  2. Thanks! It's fun to rub the leaves and figure out which mint is which.



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