Friday, July 24, 2015


This post, 2014 November, Buffy's Garden Day, was written by Diva Glinda/Annie in Austin for the Divas of the Dirt Blog

The day for Buffy's garden project fell at the beginning of November, on a day so warm it would be called Summer in other parts of the USA. Halloween was just barely in the rear view mirror and Buffy's decor let us know her family had celebrated that holiday.

Glorious orange flowers from the Cedar Park Farmers Market were right for the season.

We got off to a late start and had a lot to catch up on before we gathered at the long table - some of us had been on vacation, some traveling to visit family. There was talk of new jobs, medical woes, events both joyful and distressing among our family and friends, and promising news on the home remodeling front.  (A few new kitchens are on the horizon!)

Buffy had baked a different kind of banana bread. Rather than the traditional mashed raw bananas, this recipe called for baked, juiced bananas, resulting in a more intense flavor. Raw fruit was well represented by a huge plate of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, pineapple and melon.

We quite liked Buffy's new recipe for Eggs, Grits and Greens - baked and cut into squares. The greens turned out to be spinach and arugula.

But wait! There's more! Also piled on the plates were chicken-apple sausages and biscuits.

We went out to survey the garden. This year, rather than a big intensive project, Buffy wanted a general once-over, with tired plants replaced by fresh ones, weeding, cutting back, mulching and an emphasis on curb appeal.

The gate was a rather recent addition - and even newer were the terracotta pots stacked on a tall rod, planted with colorful foliage plants and blooming geraniums.

Let's take a closer look at those clever pots on stakes.

Buffy has a corner lot so the amount of parkway is extensive. (Maybe you call this a parking strip, planting strip, verge or hellstrip instead of a parkway?) Over the years we Divas of the Dirt have helped Buffy turn much of that strip of land from thirsty grass to well mulched native and adapted plants. We started in on one of the more recent projects - doesn't that Gopher Plant look great?

We moved around in turn to all the parkway strips, the center bed, the drive bed and the area near the bright gate.

After four hours outside, the various beds were shaping up - Buffy told us it was time to take a break for lunch. She had an enormous pot of chili simmering on the stove - made according to an American Test Kitchen recipe.

Set out on the serving table was a delicious Kale, Almond and Cranberry salad, along with an array of toppings for the chili: avocado, lemon, sour cream, cheese and Fritos.

The fruit plate and biscuits from breakfast also went well with lunch. And the bowl of candy? Just a touch of Halloween.

When Buffy's sister popped in for a visit, her timing was perfect because dessert was fabulous! Whoever invented apple(!) brownies with caramel topping and ice cream should get a prize.

We went back outside. The Cannas on one end of the center front bed hadn't flowered, but by the time we left, they were mulched and the bad leaves snipped, so even without flowers the foliage looked good.

On the opposite side of the center front bed under the oak, the Fall Asters were amazing against the silver leaved Teucrium background.

The parkways looked much better after being weeded and mulched. In this photo we see Damianita, an ornamental grass, a silver groundcover (might be Woolly Stemodia) and an annual Gomphrena that reseeds.

Another section of this bed nearer the corner has the thriving Gopher Plant and a tumble of Blackfoot Daisies.

The first strip of parkway that we'd done back in 2007 is now quite mature - some plants have endured from the beginning with new plants plugged in where the originals failed and the result is a mini-meadow. On one end we see Skullcap, Damianita, Gomphrena and ornamental grass.

Moving along we see more Gomphrena, more Skullcap, Blackfoot Daisies and Four Nerve Daisies.

And back in that bed near the gate it was satisfying to see how just a few plants of dwarf 'Katy' Ruellia - planted long ago - had gradually spread to make a solid groundcover in front of the shrubs.

This was the last Divas of the Dirt project for 2014 - next time we meet it won't be work time... it will be Party Time!

This post, 2014 November, Buffy's Garden Day, was written by Diva Glinda/Annie in Austin for the Divas of the Dirt Blog