Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, this was a gardening blog. I posted pictures of plants and flowers in my yard. And then sometime in September, I took a bug class, and this blog veered strongly towards the bug love. Between the zombie watching, camping, and Peckerwooding, I haven't focused much on my own horticultural efforts.

But today is a new day.
The new sun bed, the one with the wine bottle edging, has survived the summer and is starting to come into its own. The yellow, white, and purple butterfly bushes are doing their primary job. Sometimes I feel like I should be a butterfly traffic controller. Oh wait, slapping my own typing fingers, must discuss something other than insects.
The rock rose is blooming like crazy, but I think I love the look of possibility more than the actual flower.
This Duchesse de Brabant may also be waiting to bloom, although I have less confidence that it will. The roses had a tough summer. The Cramoisi Superieur bit the dust (pun intended). No amount of watering seemed to help it. I've since replaced it with a Belinda's Dream rose, which while not a waking nightmare has not yet shown itself worthy of its name.
I also added some bluebonnet seedlings, which are rivaling the nasturtiums with their post-rain loveliness. Yes, that's actual rain in the center of the seedlings. I had five minutes of the wet stuff.
The new herb bed is also coming along. The caryopteris did not survive the summer, but I was able to stick a bronze fennel in its place. A dog who shall remain nameless ran through the bed and ended up relocating the hot and spicy thyme across the yard. It did not survive, but the French and lemon thymes are thriving, as are the oreganos and rosemary.
I do wonder though about this dill. It shouldn't flower until the summer. But as we haven't yet moved beyond the warm temperatures that most the country would label as summer weather, I guess it's confused.

I still haven't decided if I am going to edge this bed with wine bottles, but just in case, I've been maintaining a wine-drinking schedule. Feel free to maintain one of your own.
If I did not know that these garlic scapes are not supposed to emerge until spring, I would think this garlic bed was thriving. But I've read all the conflicting arguments about cutting the scapes, and know that I'm not supposed to be facing this quandary until two or three weeks before harvest--NEXT YEAR.

Once again, Annie has come to the gardening rescue. Bob, the "Garlicmeister, a self-inflicted title for amusement only," from Gourmet Garlic Gardens, confirmed Annie's wisdom. These shoots are not scapes. Guess I should have googled an image of the scapes, not just information on them. Aren't you glad that I'm here to make the silly (and maybe slightly embarrassing) gardening mistakes for you?

Here's Bob's response to my email asking for information:
Not a problem, that's what they're supposed to do. Garlic sprouts leaves (not scapes - those don't come until spring) and will grow throughout fall and winter, whereas up north the leaves usually do not emerge until spring. Garlic loves the cold so you don't need to protect it, just enjoy the greenery.

I guess while I'm discussing plants in the wrong time, I should mention these guys:
My beets and radishes have germinated albeit not the same position I planted them in. No neat rows here. Those seeds moved around a lot the last time we had any rain and are now growing wherever they want. And I'm fine with that as long as they keep growing.
I've also got some cute microgreens growing. These I tried to put in diagonal lines across the bed, like Carol's at May Dreams Gardens, but I am not as anal sloppy as she is.

So there you have it. An entire post about my own garden, with nary an insect in sight. I did stumble once and discuss one Hexapoda, but I did not post a picture of the cute little thing it.

Who am I kidding? This whole post may have just been an excuse to show off this picture of my Gulf fritillary butterfly.
I know he's mine, because I have his former home. I'm so glad that he enjoyed his initial stay in my yard enough to make a return trip.

Spread the word, Gulfie!


  1. Plants all over America are blooming out of interesting phenom! Strange. It was worth the wait to see your Gulf Fritillary...what a beauty!

  2. Oooh great butterfly pic! You know, I'm envious just that you manage to post a lot of interesting stuff. I still haven't posted my &^$%$# Peckerwood post because Blogger seems to think that text can go anywhere except above the picture it's referring to. Grrr.

    Did you get any of your bluebonnet seedlings at The Natural Gardener? I bought almost an entire flat there for insurance. I'm gonna try more seeds, but so far I've had spectacularly lousy luck at getting actual bluebonnets from them. Next time I'm going to have to follow your freeze, boil, & plant routine. How long do you boil the seeds for, anyway? Just a minute or two?

  3. That butterfly photo is fantastic!

    So what do we do about the garlic? I stuck a few cloves in a pot a month ago as an experiment, and they now look like yours. I've never done garlic, so I'm particularly confused now.

    My dill is not flowering, but I've cut it off to cook at least once a week--maybe makes a difference?

  4. Gail, I do wonder what the wacky weather is doing around the world.

    Lori, I got my seedlings at Gardens. For the seeds, you want to freeze them overnight. The next day, boil water, take your pot of the heat, and THEN put the seeds in. Let them soak for a few hours until they plump up. You'll then need to plant them, as opposed to scattering them. I planted mine the other day. I'll let you know if they germinate better.

    Iris, I sent an email to the company I bought my garlic from. When I hear something, I'll pass it along.

  5. I love your insect posts, but it's nice to see the plant part of Vertie-World, too.

    Maybe you're all worrying unnecessarily? My Howard Garrett/Malcolm Beck Organic Vegetable Gardening book says when you plant garlic in fall, the sprouts come up in a few weeks and grow all winter, but will not freeze unless we have one like 1983. (In that case, most of Austin landscaping will croak as well as the garlic.) Also from the book, throw row cover older on hard freeze nights and if the leaf tips get brown that's normal.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. Vertie - Thanks for the details. I'll see if I have more luck with that method.

  7. Great pictures all around... and glad that the dog-who-shall-remain-nameless left the lemon thyme alone, at least. That stuff is amazing on chicken and fish!

    As far as the garlic goes, just wanted to post a little addendum to Bob's wisdom. This Northern gardener has had her garlic sprout sometimes in the fall as well, with no ill effect. So if any of your Northern readers see sprouts in their garlic beds, they shouldn't panic. :)

    (Yeah, you had to post a pic of that Gulf Frit. Beautiful!)

  8. I love that image of the rock rose; is curled up form is so sweet.