Thursday, February 11, 2016


This post, “2015- MAY KARLA’S GARDEN DAY” was written by Annie in Austin for the Divas of the Dirt blog.

Central Texas near the end of May 2015 was awash in storms and floods – bridges and dams washed out or over, people and houses swept away by the raging Blanco river and historical flooding in San Marcos, downtown Austin and Houston. Although the rising waters almost entered the front doors of a couple of Divas, in the end those storms hadn’t damaged any of us too badly. But life itself brewed storms for many of us – health issues & hospitalizations, financial issues, sad farewells to loved ones, family troubles and more.

Rain was once again predicted on Karla’s day, but she decided to chance the weather and hope we could help her cut back, weed, compost and mulch everything we could see. Sophia couldn’t be there but the rest of us would do our best. No matter what, we wanted to be together.

A beautiful red daylily bloomed near in the parkway where it had good drainage – and this spring at least- plenty of water.

The border with Karla’s big Abelia at center needed some tending, but the shrub was in full bloom, with its flowers a favorite of bees and butterflies.

In Karla’s dining room the table awaited us, the combination of colors and flowers elegant and welcoming.
A big bowl of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and oranges looked refreshing next to the gluten-free coffeecake.

The simply terrific breakfast casserole was a baked blend of mushrooms, sausage, eggs, peppers and cheeses.

Looks as good as it tastes!

The morning view looks pretty good already, but we are sure we can make it better. The Divas wander around, looking and deciding what part they’ll work on today – we all know this front garden very well by now.

Ooooh, look – don’t remember this plant from our last visit. It’s that red-flowering Rajin Cajun Ruellia often talked about in gardening columns. Well, this side of the entrance looks good.

But the straggly artemesia is just not working on the other side of the entrance. It wants sun! This area is shadier and drier than it was when Karla first made the bed. We’ve tried many plants over the years and some worked for awhile, but the conditions in this spot are quite challenging.

Out in the parkway a rosemary plant is so happy that it’s blocking foot traffic on the sidewalk – it needs to be taken back quite a lot.

Plants in the fence border are doing well but the edge had been lost… Mindy soon sharpened it up.

A friend offered free stones to Karla and she said “Yes!” Now a good-size stack of stones and rocks awaited those Divas who took on the drive bed – Karla hoped for a stone border all the way around that bed and it soon began taking shape.

Here’s a view of the partly done bed from another angle.

Maybe this will work in that difficult entrance bed? A large pot with a giant liriope, surrounded by variegated Aztec grass. Simple, with some structure, and in our experience, plants like Liriope and Ophiopogon are amazingly tough and drought-resistant after they’re established.

Ah – here’s the done fence bed, some transplants, some weeds out, things cut back and all composted and mulched.

Diva Sugar had to leave, but for the rest of us it was time for a lunch buffet set out in Karla’s breakfast room. At left is a colorful salad of Pepper strips, cucumbers and garbanzo beans. Center is a green salad with strawberries and lemon-mustard dressing. The casserole at right was a delicious combination of rice, chicken and black beans.

The lunch looked colorful and fresh, tasted great and since it was gluten-free, could be shared by all. With so many things happening in all our lives, instead of small talk, our conversation changed to deep talk and it was a very emotional meal. Brownies with vanilla-flecked ice cream added a sweetness that we all needed that afternoon.

The threatened rain didn’t arrive so we went back out and got more done. Although Mindy and I had to leave by 4:45pm, the other four Divas stayed on, with Buffy setting stones while Mattie, Annie and Karla spread mulch in the back yard. Karla sent photos of the done project.

The stone border, reset plants and mulched center looked really good!

So did the entrance border…  mulch really made those variegated plants pop.

And the long fence border has its graceful lines back.

See you next month at Mindy’s house!

This post, “2015- MAY KARLA’S GARDEN DAY” was written by Annie in Austin for the Divas of the Dirt blog.

Monday, February 01, 2016

2015 - April and Early May Flowers

This post "2015 - April and Early May Flowers" was written by Diva Glinda/Annie in Austin for her Divas of the Dirt blog.

Remember the 2014 Cactus Removal project at Mindy's last year? When we Divas of the Dirt left there was a large sweep of cleared ground in the front of her house. Mother Nature filled the vacuum in spectacular fashion, as you can see in the photo from April 2015, with Mindy's metal horse sculpture surrounded by an enormous patch of bluebonnets that sprang up in the empty space.

The 2014 Iris Box project at Glinda's house was a success, too... in April 2015 these happy iris obviously appreciate their new home! These grape-scented beauties are passalong plants, shared by Sophia back in 2006.

There was no Divas of the Dirt garden day for April 2015 - unforeseen illness interfered with well-made plans. But there were still beautiful flowers!

In early May Diva Annie's overachieving Abutilon reached for the roof, dangling beautifully veined bell-shaped flowers above our heads. This variety is named for garden designer Patrick Kirwin.

And the leadball tree planted in Sophia's revamped side-drive border had settled in well, popping their golden orbs in early May.

This post "2015 - April and Early May Flowers" was written by Diva Glinda/Annie in Austin for her Divas of the Dirt blog.