Sunday, February 12, 2017

2016 Spring Flowers

This post 2016, Spring Flowers, was written by Annie in Austin /Diva Glinda for the Divas of the Dirt blog.

The temperatures from January through April of 2016 were much milder than usual – barely dipping into the upper 20s F - so that when spring came, the blooms were spectacular.

In 2015 seeing freeze-dried Texas Mountain Laurels made gardeners sad, but in 2016, Austin exploded in a lavish display of the beloved grape-scented blossoms. Texas Mountain Laurels can range in size from small shrubs to shrubby trees.

Mindy went into a happy spin when her tree looked like this

and the shrubbier forms glowed purple like this!

Glinda rejoiced when her Texas Mountain Laurel turned the back yard into a fragrant party (AKA known as Mescal Bean and botanically it’s Sophora secundiflora).

Mattie delighted in the white blooms of her native Philadelphus inodorus/ Unscented Mockorange. This shrub was so small when it was planted in February 2013!

And Mattie’s bed of fragrant peach iris near the street was in full bloom by the end of March, sending spring greetings to walkers and those who drove past.

Glinda’s garden was full of white roses, butterfly roses,  poppies, iris, mockorange and bluebonnets. Usually Glinda has to buy new small plants of Million Bells/Callibrachoa for her baskets in spring, but in 2016 the mild weather meant plants from the previous year were large and in full bloom by April.

Mattie was pleased when some recently transplanted Sisyrinchium/ Blue Eyed Grass settled in and bloomed right away.

Sophia just had to take a photo of this clump of bluebonnets in mid-April.

What a pretty spring!

This post 2016, Spring Flowers, was written by Annie in Austin /Diva Glinda for the Divas of the Dirt blog.

Sunday, February 05, 2017


This post, 2016 – MARCH GLINDA’S GARDEN DAY, was written by Annie in Austin/ Diva Glinda for the Divas of the Dirt blog

Five Divas arrived on a windy cool morning in March for Glinda’s garden day – Annie, Mattie (with pup Barbie), Karla and Buffy were ready to go… Mindy would come later but Sophia was out-of-town and Sugar not able to come. Glinda hoped the Divas could help her clean up, and clip the messy front yard.

 In February the front garden had been bright with daffodils and gaura
Those yellow flowers had faded now and it was time for last year’s leaves to leave.
With the date the third weekend in March, Glinda couldn’t resist using a St. Patrick’s Day and St. Joseph’s theme for the food!
The table was definitely Irish – carnations & baby’s breath in shamrock vases.
And the breakfast dishes were at least sort-of Irish, with suggestions and recipes gleaned from various Irish websites. Going clockwise from the big yellow begonia we have fresh pineapple and mandarin orange sections, next a Limerick Cheddar pie with a Boxty crust.  A Boxty is a kind of Irish potato pancake, here used to make a gluten-free potato crust. At the bottom we see grilled tomatoes, then grilled mushrooms. A bowl of mixed strawberries, blackberries and raspberries is at the far left, a platter of gluten-free muffins combining carrots, zucchini and apple, and in the center – a pile of bacon.
We watched the windy cool day through the window and did not rush outside. The back yard is always warmer than the front, so instead of heading to work in the front, we first strolled the back. The winter had been incredibly mild and the garden was full of buds, blooms and new leaves.

An Amethyst bearded iris bloomed with unfrozen Mexican Honeysuckle in the background
A small-flowered southern favorite was in bloom. This is Magnolia figo, often called Banana Shrub for the fragrance of the flowers.
Another fragrant blossom opened on the Meyer’s Improved Lemon Tree. It takes a long time for a pollinated flower to become an edible lemon… with luck there will be a few ready at Thanksgiving.
Another iris, this one a fragrant peach variety, blooms in many Divas of the Dirt gardens because we like to share! Self-seeded Salvia coccinea blooms red in the bed.
While we were in the back, Mindy and Warren arrived. Now in the front yard we can see that the relatively new corner bed needs a lot of help! The rosemary plants are out of control. Karla appoints herself as curator of this corner.
Within a few hours, the central butterfly bed was already much improved
Mindy and Buffy set to work on resetting the tile base for the Mahonia pot, so it was once again standing straight.
The big mutabilis rose (AKA Chinese butterfly rose) had spread out so the ground underneath was unreachable and not enough light was getting to the center. It took a while, but things are better now in the mutabilis bed. 
The long parkway bed looked way better after Annie and Mattie let it know who was boss. Many of the plants needed thinning and heading back so there were lots of starter plants available for any Diva that could use Salvia madrensis, Salvia 'Hot Lips', Pavonia/Rock Rose, Purple verbena or the small iris called Blue-eyed Grass.

By late afternoon we were ready to move from Ireland to Italy for lunch. We started with a salad of spinach and baby greens, mushrooms, avocado dressing, then moved on to Baked Polenta with Roasted Red Peppers and Asiago Cheese.
Then the main dish, Beef Braciole. When Glinda was a kid, her dad used to make these-stuffed beef roll-ups in tomato sauce for a special dinner. Glinda made the stuffing gluten-free for this special lunch.
The finale was a ricotta, chocolate and almond confection called Geppetto Pie. The original recipe called for a cinnamon graham cracker crust, but this crust was made of gluten-free chex cereal, instead.
We went back out and worked a while longer, but the wind never died down so we didn’t try to spread mulch. Oz and I did that a few days later – it looked great and was easy to do after all the work by the Divas of the Dirt!
Karla told us she had some extra edging rocks available – leftovers from a neighbor. Oz and I (Glinda) drove over and filled up the trunk.
Karla had done most of the work on the corner bed – now the rocks she offered to us were perfect to line the path separating the main border from the corner bed. Thanks, Karla!
Happy first day of spring! 

This post, 2016 – MARCH GLINDA’S GARDEN DAY, was written by Annie in Austin/ Diva Glinda for the Divas of the Dirt blog