Guess what we’ve been up to this weekend? GUESS! If you guessed gardening, you win! Also, rewatching Singing in the Rain- for the third time. WHICH OH MY GOD IS SO GOOD AND FUNNY AND WATCH IT! If anyone doubts the “youth of today”- please know that it is the girls’ favorite movie, and they shared it this weekend with their 11 year old cousin, who also loved it, and who’s previous favorite movie was Newsies. The youngest got up to dance along to every musical number. My theory is that generations move in a cyclical fashion, so we’re coming up on a Greatest Generation’s revival- but without the racism and unquestioning belief in the government… so just you wait and see- and have faith in the future.
Does the bronze fennel look slightly smaller this week? Well that is thanks to my favorite thing ever- my Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. So we had four of them- and what a great picture that would have been! They’re yellow black and white striped… and it should be obvious by now that if I had a picture I’d totally be sharing it. But when I went out to get some shots… nowhere to be found. For the first time ever I did find one setting up for a chrysalis though, all the way on the other side of the yard. They travelled far. Anyway- I’ll take pics of the next group.
So do you know how unusual these flowers are? Why are they unusual? Normal bloom time? October to November! So yeah. Keep it up there, Susan.
In front of the white mist flower are 3 clumps of Mexican Mint Marigold. Supposedly edible, other common name is Texas Tarragon, but I just grow it as an ornamental. Because here’s the thing- it’s supposed to be the warm weather alternative to Tarragon- but who the hell like’s tarragon? I can’t get onboard.
So the tomatoes are coming along awesomely- I’m so happy- I love everything about growing tomatoes. I swear tomato leaves are one of my favorite smells in the world. Had a bit of a rough week at work, and there was a day where I walked out from my office just to go bruise a leaf and smell it. Grounding and reminding that life is bigger and work is just so very small. That’s my kind of aromatherapy right there- and it worked like a charm. I can’t get onboard with the essential oils trend… but if they make a tomato leaf one I’d be down.
I know that seems planted too close to the house- but there is method to our madness, I swear. Mexican redbuds reach out and are airy and tend to have leaves only on the top of the branches when they mature (very Seusian) and we want it to reach up and out (we’ll train it away from the house) and then the oldest daughter gets to look through interesting branch structures out her window. The husband and I got the idea while seeing one at a restaurant on our anniversary date, and the hunt was on to find one- we just had to get it. And the Salvia Guaranitica will get about 3′ tall and fill in the whole area underneath it. We had it at our old house and probably had 20′ of it by the time we moved.
So… lot of gardening going on lately, to the detriment of the bank account, but for the benefit of muscles and souls; so it’s a good tradeoff. Besides, what else is money for? Oh, the mortgage, right.
So here’s what we’re going to do- I’ll be posting updates on the gardens, to record them as they grow in; and on the specific tomato plants, to track their progress and because I have 3 varieties I’ve never tried before this year. And because I make the calls around this here blog, so yall just enjoy a week by week tracking of tomatoes until you resolve to never come back, m’kay?
My husband and I love gardening- we like existing outside, as much as we can- and we like doing it in a nicely landscaped place. And I have dabbled enough in landscape design to be all annoying about it. I like a French Cottage style- not as chaotic as English Cottage, but still emphasizing an abundance of flowers while also incorporating veggies and herbs right in the same spaces. Also, all organic, and stuff. So.
Back in the day I used to work in a garden center and thus became a bit of a plant snob- I want the unusual, the hard to grow, the unknown, the ones with cool historical stories. Honestly, a landscape of New Gold Lantana, Salvia greggii, Knockout roses, and crepe myrtles might as well be beige walls as far as I’m concerned. (So Bourgeoisie! I’d have never made it through the Reign of Terror with that kind of attitude, let me tell you- Robespierre would have definitely seen to that. Ho, ho!) But also people- please don’t fall for the trap: most commercial growers and big box stores grow plants that look good in POTS so you’ll buy them- for a rockin landscape you want plants that do best in the GROUND- they should almost always be just green and unassuming looking in pots for sale. So.
Our house had been abandoned for 20 years before we moved in- and the people who flipped it as an income property ran out of money and bad ideas and installed next to no landscaping. They did put 8 shrubs in, actually. They were Yaupon Hollies. And if the latin name of Ilex vomitoria ‘Nana’ doesn’t just perfectly sum them up, I don’t know what would. We ripped them out. So… we get, finely, to my point here.
Slowly… ever so painstakingly slowly- we’ve been landscaping. The front yard has sod and new shrubs. (anyone care what kind?) They’re dwarf myrtles, Myrtus communis compacta. Sweet myrtle is a plant that dates back to ancient times, with the first recording of it in written history in 50 AD. White flowers. Purple berries (edible, yes. Palatable? eh.) It’s considered an herb, and I use it extensively in cut flower arrangements. Supposedly it was one of the plants Adam was allowed to take out of the garden on Eden (how’d that work? Some kind of severance package, maybe?). We also have a side garden in and establishing. We’ve planted poppies and larkspur seeds in the 70′ bed between our new driveway and our neighbors. So, even with a now 10 month old we have done some really big projects. Oh- and we took out the trash trees in the back: Cedar Elms and an Arizona Ash (Boo! Hiss! Who plants those awful things?! It’s dead now.) And my husband and some contractor (cough cough, Dad, cough cough) installed a new fence. Okay! Jeez, this is taking together all too long to get to the point of… “Hey, wanna see the few flowers we’ve got over here right now? There aren’t that many because we haven’t landscaped the backyard yet, but we eked out what we could this year.”
Francis Dubriel Rose. We get a rose for each of the girl’s when they’re born. Mary’s middle name is Francis (How Catholic are we, amiright?! Not very, actually.) so this one seemed like a good choice. Turns out it gets 8′ tall. Gulp. Maybe should have done a bit more research. It’s from 1894 and named for a rose breeder in Lyon, France who started out his career as a tailor. (My plant snobitude- it is DWARFED by my level of rose snobbery. lovelovelove me some antique roses. Hearts.) Hey and look! Turns out the jerks who sold us the house didn’t even sand the exterior before they painted! Haha…yeah. Don’t do that.
My Nutmeg scented geranium- love those leaves! Flowers are small but very cute and both are cute in cut flower arrangements. Hey and look! You can see that the jerks we bought the house from built the deck using nails instead of screws! haha… yeah. Don’t do that.
Chocolate Sunflowers… now that’s one to file away for future use! Grow, sunflowers, GROW!
Coreopsis from a wildflower mix the neighbor gave us to add to the driveway bed.
John Fannick Phlox named after… some guy in San Antonio. Owned a plant nursery. They can’t all be interesting stories.
Weed grass heads from the bamboo forest/ghetto in the back corner. The seed heads do look nice in flower arrangements, though. And that’s all I got… except for this last one, that is.
Happy Saturday. (“Don’t say Cat-urday, don’t say Cat-urday…”)