April Showers Bring April Flowers

Been a while! I mean, not for y’all, I had a ton of scheduled posts that I launched while I was tied up elsewhere, but we’ve had a number of busy weeks and weekends. Work Travel! Sickness! Hosting a neighborhood plant swap party! A 10 year old’s birthday that involved a trip to NASA to indulge her space love!

NASA is awesome, by the way. Equally awesome was my mother repeatedly telling me I had been to NASA before in 4th grade- and me repeatedly saying I’d never been… but hearing about it so much I literally was thinking I must have had memory issues in childhood because this is seriously not ringing a bell, woman! It went so far as me looking around as we pulled in the parking lot to see if anything rang any bells because I was starting to doubt myself. And then, as we’re all waiting in line to get in, my Dad starts regaling us with the story about how he’d come with my brother as a chaperone on a school trip in 4th grade.

Hi. Yeah. I TOLD YOU I’d never been to NASA before! And here I was the one who wanted to be an astronaut! Being right is like, my all time favorite thing ever. Right next to my eternal 2nd favorite thing ever… which is god damn space, parents! Whatever, I made it there in just under 40 years and paid my own way in and it’s fine. Totally fine. And my own daughter got a hell of a jump on it, comparatively, so I was so incredibly happy for that. Most impressive? The moon rock and huge meteorite we all got to touch and the scale of the Saturn 5 Rocket from the cancelled Apollo 18 mission. AWE-SOME.

This in no way conveys the size.

So for me this is the first I’ve sat down for a blog post on a lazy weekend morning with a big mug of coffee and a cat asleep next to me and typed out a post in a while- and I’ve thoroughly missed doing it, let me tell you. To add even more to it, it’s absolutely pouring right now too- so I’m listening to the rain as I type. Heaven.

Don’t let me paint too serene of a picture though. The cat next to me has muddy paws from said rain, so I have cat tracks  similar to the ones you find on your car hood across my comforter, which I’m blithely ignoring at the moment. And while the toddler is quiet on the other side of the room that’s because she has a pair of scissors and is sitting at my desk shredding, I can imagine, only the most important and irreplaceable documents. At least she’s quiet. The older children are cleaning the living room and kitchen and if that isn’t the biggest recommendation I can give for having children I really don’t know what is!

But the garden! So much garden to show you! Let’s dig into it!

Driveway Bed

Remember when we wondered when the snapdragons would bloom and what color the Nicotinia would be?
Boom! So the pink is brighter than I remember from the last time I grew them, but it’s REALLY a lovely warm pink shade. And the Nicotinia is that weird lime green that probably could not have been better planned actually, because the color combo turned out top tier. The daffodils, though? Not one bloom outta the jerks.
I’m realizing this is a much more underwhelming shot that I originally thought.

So the yellow flowered ground cover in the picture above is one that really looked pretty pathetic last year and never did much for us. I took some divisions from my brother-in-law, who got his from a river bank in Whimberly, TX- so it’s some kind of native (or invasive, I guess). It really looked great in his garden though, so I’m giving it more time in ours to get it’s rhizomes under it and start earning it’s keep.

I’ve always assumed it’s in the wedelia family- though both the leaves and flowers are way smaller than I’ve ever seen on wedelia. It’s definitely not horseherb though, because that’s the only other thing that ever seems to come up in a Google search. I seldom am cool with the unknown when it comes to plants and everything else in life… but this time is one of those rare times. Whatever it is, it better keep it up with the flowering and fill in more thickly, is all I can say. But, this is really an improvement over last year so I have hope for it.

CHECK OUT THE LARKSPUR I”M SO EXCITED! Also black and white cat haunches

Words can not describe how happy I am about these larkspur- my absolute favorite flower! ALL the ones on the side garden so far are various shades of purple and range from 2.5′ to 4′ tall and they all reseeded  from the spindly foot tall ones from last year. The bumble bees LOVE them too. I am so excited to see what quantity we get next year- reseed like the wind, my pretties!

The Triangle Bed

Moving around the corner to the back we also have… LARKSPUR AGAIN! Reseed= free plants and this year is ALL about division and using what has come up on the property. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reseed! In addition to the larkspur I’ve been dividing oregano, moving reseeded coreopsis and horsemint to fill in open areas of the garden, and I’m super thrilled with it all if I’m going to be honest!

One of two larkspur that reseeded in the backyard- and the only pink one so far on the whole property. It’s lovely, but I like the purple out front more. (Don’t tell this one though, I don’t want it to get a complex or anything)
The other larkspur in the backyard- have you EVER seen a stockier larkspur? The form! The number of bloomstalks! Be still my larkspur loving heart! And yes, that’s mint behind it. So much mint. We’ll get to that in a second.
So it’s early blooms are half size so far, but there is little beating the velvety petals and scent on the Francis Dubriel rose. Which is good because the plant (seen near the pink larkspur above) looks PATHETIC it’s so denuded by blackspot right now. Get your act together, Francis.

So, you know that thing where you read and hear advice but just never take it to heart and then you go… oh yeah right, literally everyone said not to do the thing.

We did the thing.

Mint planted in the ground! Mint in the garden! Mint in the deck! Mint in the lawn!

So we planted mint under the dripping faucet at the back of the triangle bed.  Okay, here’s the deal. I HATE the look we see so frequently around Texas in gardens: small plants erupting from veritable volcanoes of mulch and separated from other plants by copious expanses of more mulch. I like not seeing the ground through the plants, and so a filler like mint to take up the back and around the base of the other plants as a ground cover is awesome. We do the same in the front with the giant ajuga under the sweet myrtle shrubs.

And this isn’t an “I regret planting the mint” thing, I promise! I really like it- it’s great in flower arrangements, it’s green and lush and easy enough to pull out if it’s getting a little out of hand. It also has beautiful foamy looking flowers later in the season!

But the fact that i have to weed the mint coming up through the deck slats is a pain. And the fact that it seems to be taking being mown with aplomb in the areas where it’s invaded the lawn is a bit… concerning. But it’s green and lush and if that bed is 3/4 mint growing around the larger plants  I’ll be fine with it- it’s a big yard, I appreciate someone fending for themselves and thriving around this joint, you know?

So the triangle bed has changed drastically in the last year. Here it is about a month after planting last year…

About a month or so after planting in 2018
April 2019. Check OUT the size of the Mexican Olive Tree in a year!
Action shot! Here is the triangle bed from the back with my regular garden stroll companion, Lacey the cat, on her way to her favorite position ever… directly underfoot.
The other new addition to the parade that has become my garden strolls… Alabama. That’s a handsome boy! So today it’s me, a toddler, a brown cat, and this guy.

So Alabama has settled in quite nicely. Also- turns out he WASN’T the one peeing in the house, which we have also sorted out and is no longer an issue. It looks like it was BOTH of the older cats, the huge jerks! Which just seems so perfectly timed to Alabama moving in I think they were trying to get him evicted by blaming it on him. They both get cranberry pills twice a day now and have grudgingly accepted the new kid is here to stay and we haven’t had a pee incident in a long time. (Yes yes I know, routine and cat box stuff and normal behavior seen in cats when a new one is tossed in the mix. But I know these guys and I tell you they were plotting to get the new cat thrown out… I know it in my bones, I tell you.)

Alabama (who is not named because of any soft spot or affinity to the state, mind you) has both the loudest purr I’ve ever heard as well as the largest canine teeth I’ve ever seen on a cat. Good thing he’s a sweetheart! Saber Tooth Tuxedo, I swear to god with this ‘un!

The Back Garden? Not sure that name will stick- this is where the tomatoes were last year. I really think we could just call it the Tomato Bed, even though it’s mostly kale right now.

And THAT is why Toscano kale is also called Dinosaur Kale! It’s well over 3′ tall now, about to go to seed, and I need to harvest it all before it turns bitter, stat.

The decorative kale has really changed… from this:

The color!

To this:

Huh. Time to go, y’all. One in the back is vomiting up a flower stalk so I’ll probably see how that turns out before pulling these out.
The entire bed. Needs some more mulch. Also…
Let tomato watch 2019 begin! This is a Sweet Millions cherry tomato that went in 2 weeks ago. Time to get the kale out so I can get a couple more in- so excited for tomatoes, I can’t even tell you!

YAY Tomatoes! I’m sure you’re all excited for me to talk about those ad nauseam in the months to come!

3 thoughts on “April Showers Bring April Flowers

  1. I am SO envious of your gardening efforts and the colour in your yard. We’re way behind you here. You can truly say ‘April showers bring APRIL flowers.” Our saying up here is “April showers bring May showers.” (Forget about the flower part.) Beautiful flowers down your way!

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