I'm happy to join in the May 2008 edition of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, one of the wonderful creations of dear Carol of May Dreams Garden. Carol just won a bunch of Mousies including Best NA blog, best post, innovation, Blog of year and blogger you'd like as a neighbor ~ congratulations to you and to all the other Mouse & Trowel winners, and to Colleen, who after thinking up the Mousies last year, decided to have a sweet new baby at Mousie time this year.
And this lilac belongs to my youngest sister, Red - yay! I got to smell lilacs for the first time in years!
Back in my Austin garden, the flowers aren't as showy as the lilacs and tulips that will be appearing in all the Northern blogs... there are small flowers of herbs like Cilantro, small but intensely colored flowers of various salvias, and some daylilies.
The first daylilies to bloom are small reblooming varieties like the lemon-colored 'Happy Returns' and the above passalong called 'Vi's Apricot'. Here's the view from the back door. That clump of intense blue near the obelisk is Salvia farinacea. The common name is "Mealy Blue Sage". For some reason that sounds creepy so I'll stick to botanical Latin for this flower! I used to grow it as annual in Illinois and was happy when it occasionally reseeded. Here in Austin it's frequently perennial when grown where the roots don't get too wet in winter. The purplish-pink flower in the long border is Mexican oregano/Poliomintha longiflora. Moving around to the back fence there's a Hummingbird Garden with Salvia guaranitica and Salvia 'Black & Blue' [both with deep blue flowers] and three kinds of Salvia with red flowers: Pineapple sage/Salvia elegans, Hummingbird sage/Salvia coccinea, and Salvia greggii. These small flowers barely show up if you're more than 5-feet away, but the hummingbirds can usually find them!
Passalong Shasta daisies are blooming too, and this year I added red zinnias. Right now the plants I like best in this garden don't even have flowers - look at those tall burgundy leaved cannas! We've had some storms and rain in the last couple of days - and tornado sightings had our computers shut down last night. Even when the grass is wet the patio usually dries off pretty quickly, so I took a few photos to show what it would look like if you were seated at the table. From the table we can look at the hummingbird garden across a container filled with Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips', Salvia 'Nuevo Leon' and a stray double lilac larkspur. The 'Hot Lips' and larkspur are shown in the closeup above with the long view below. Frances of Faire Garden is also a 'Hot Lips' fan, so this would be a good place to offer congratulations to her for winning a Mousie for best new blog. Swing your eyes over to the left and closest to you is the patio extension made of decomposed granite with the Disappearing Fountain and herb troughs. A narrow triangle garden with its base at the right comes next. This is a new bed, with a few annuals and some lavender so far. A larger triangle with the base to the left, parallel to the house, extends next, enclosing the obelisk, daylilies and other perennials, and the 'Little Gem' magnolia. The final 'layer' in the view is the long mixed border along the wooden fence. So even though the area isn't large, when we sit and look across the space, there's always lots to see.
The vegetable garden is at right behind the yellow Adirondack chair - the radishes are done and we're watching the 'Juliet' tomatoes closely. What's that spot of blue-violet between the Magnolia and the obelisk in the triangle? It's too early for Balloonflowers - Holy Cow! It's a confused 'Amethyst Flame' iris, a lovely passalong from Pam/Digging that bloomed in early spring. Speaking of Pam - congratulations to her on winning Mousies for both design and photography! Now that I'm closer to the obelisk another flower shows up - these sweet peas were planted at the end of January but unlike the yearly spring show for MSS at Zanthan Gardens or Karen's crop at Savannah Diary, mine did nothing until last weekend when buds finally appeared - here's the first flower.
Rather than putting up hummingbird feeders I've chosen to add plants that are supposed to give them nectar - like this form of bat-faced cuphea in a hanging basket near the breakfast room window - Cuphea llavea 'Totally Tempted' is showy, but it's not very "Bat-faced" is it?
On the shadier side of the bay window is a plant less likely to thrive here, but it was only a couple of dollars. My justification was that sometimes hummingbirds go for them but the truth is that I really miss seeing fuchsias in bloom.
The side garden has one tree in bloom - for the first time our pomegranate made buds and sort-of opened petal-packed, frazzled looking flowers. Maybe we'll luck out and get fruit, too!
Also in this side garden is a little Mock orange brought to Texas as a seedling. For a 9-year old plant it's very small, but unlike the enormous and thriving Mock orange seen on the April Blooming Day - this one has the delicious and traditional Philadelphus fragrance.
Congratulations to all four of the Garden Rant team on their Mousie for Writing and to Yolanda Elizabet at Bliss for Best International Garden Blog. Wow! I just realized that I've met several of the Mouse & Trowel winners in person - May Dreams Carol, Faire Frances, Austin's own Pam at Digging, and three of the Ranters - Susan Harris, Elizabeth Liccata and Amy Stewart...how cool! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Yolanda will be on that met-in-person list some day, too.
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, May 2008 was written for the Transplantable Rose by Annie in Austin.