Tuesday, February 11, 2014


This post, "2013 -April Buffy's Garden Day", was written by Glinda/Annie in Austin for the Divas of the Dirt Garden blog

Back in March, all 8 Divas of the Dirt were able to come for Karla's gardening day, but by April things had changed... Karla & Sugar were out of town and Sophia had been injured in an auto accident the week before our meeting. Plucky Sophia came to be with us, but she was on medication and had been ordered to take it easy.

In the dining room, the beautiful botanical cloth on Buffy's table was sparked by vibrant blossoms and metallic flower-shaped chargers.

Buffy loves buying flowers at the Cedar Park Farmers Market! A second bouquet made the breakfast room table glow.

And a third vase held snapdragons so tall they had to stand on the floor in the entry

The breakfast preparations were still in progress as the Divas of the Dirt arrived, so I popped out back for a few photos. The previous winter had been unusually mild and the garden was already in bloom.

Wow! Look at the loquat! It's been pruned, thinned and shaped and the air and sun can now flow around it.

We'd worked on the Loquat-'Mermaid' tangle over the years, but this vigorous combo needed professional help with professional tools and Buffy had called them in to great effect. And the Shrimp Plants/Justicia brandegeeana below the tropical looking Loquat/Eriotbotrya japonica and beautiful-but-rampant Rosa 'Mermaid' have responded to the increased light & air by blooming madly. 

The red shrub roses, yellow columbines and oak leaf hydrangea/ Hydrangea quercifolia were at their spring peak.

A spectacular breakfast awaited us: two quiches - one broccoli-vegetables and the other ham & cheese. Petite muffins were tempting and kiwi, pineapple, blueberries and melons mingled in a delicious fruit salad. And who can resist Potatoes Anna, cooked to perfection?

Buffy's planned project seemed like a lot of work, but not impossible - she wanted to redo the part of the Hellstrip-parkway that wrapped the corner of her lot, getting rid of the unhappy grass, replacing the lawn with plants native & adapted that can take this difficult western exposure. But before the Divas could use the tiller, the first order of business was finding the retractable sprinkler heads!

Buffy divided her time between the garden and the kitchen, Sophia did as much as she dared and DivaAnnie and I usually work best at ground level.

Luckily both Mindy and Mattie can run the tiller.

Progress on the parkway was excruciatingly slow - the ground was like a rock, the roots tangled the tiller and bucket after bucket of rocks came out of the "soil".

While the corner parkway slowly was dug up, we also worked on the south-facing part of the parkway, first made as Buffy's 2007 Divas of the Dirt project.

That section looked like this before we started.

Central Texas weather is variable so some plants do well for awhile then it's the turn of another plant to shine. This spring the stars are Damianita/ Chrysactinia mexicana and Blackfoot Daisies/ Melampodium leucanthum.

Let's zoom in see those bluebonnets ( Lupinus texensis) that seeded themselves on the lawn side of the walk.   

The original central bed begun in 2002 also was weeded, pruned and groomed

Buffy's sister and a nephew stopped by to say hello and volunteered to help get out some of the rocks - thank you! Sophia followed doctor's orders and went inside where Buffy was glad of an assistant cook.

Eventually the new section was cleared, amended and ready to be planted by 4 PM, when Buffy called us in.

We were delighted at what she presented for our late lunch - an elegant tomato-artichoke aspic, bread from the Cedar Park Farmers Market, a salad of avocado with mixed greens, a shrimp pasta salad, a second round of the fruit salad and an absolutely wonderful Cajun chicken salad from a chef at Cedar Park Farmers Market.

The grand finale was Lemon Curd Cheesecake, completed just before we were called inside.

The cheesecake was unexpected and absolutely delicious

It was wonderful to stop working and sit down with friends to talk and laugh and share food together.

To play with visiting Barbie

And say hello to the ailing Libby... sure wish my photo of Libby was not so blurry - she left this world in the summer of 2013 and we'll all miss seeing her at garden projects.

We went back outside and not only finished planting and mulching the new parkway bed...

we also groomed the bed along the driveway.

This bed had a major Divas of the Dirt redo in 2011 and we were pleased to see how well the plants had taken hold - the 'Sunny' Yellow Knockout rose looked great and so did most of the other plants. We needed to pull out a great deal of thorny smilax that had invaded the soil - then we needed to dig out and clip back some of the Salvia leucantha/ Mexican bush sage. It had quickly grown enormous, almost smothering the slower-growing young Anacacho orchid tree/ Bauhinia lunarioides.

The front view shows how well the yellow daisy-shaped Damianita/Chrysactinia mexicana, Salvia leucantha, Red-orange tropical milkweed/ Asclepias curassavica and soft yellow and gray Phlomis fruticosa/Jerusalem have blended and become established. They only needed a clean-and-tidy to look great.

We'd had a good day but it was almost 7 PM - time to pick up our tools and go home. 

This post, "2013 -April Buffy's Garden Day", was written by Glinda/Annie in Austin for the Divas of the Dirt Garden blog

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