From the producer: January 23, 2009

My ‘Spring Bouquet’ viburnums are getting ready to scent the garden in March or so.  I love these fast-growing, xeric, evergreen shrubs that screen our shady chain link fence and the rental house next door.

Oh my gosh.  I went a little crazy at the Texas Flower Bulb Society sale last Saturday.  But I nabbed a bunch of naturalizing bulbs, including cluisiana tulips, St. Joseph’s lilies, rain lilies, crinums, and hymenocallis. For the fun of it, since it was just a few days before the inauguration, I got pre-chilled deep purple tulips, ‘Black Hero,’ named for our new President.

While they’re settling in, here’s an unidentified narcissus near the birdbath that gets the “first bloom” award of the year.

On Sunday, I cut back all the salvias, zexmenias, and asters in front, and some of the lantanas and plumbagos. There are lots of evergreens to keep it from looking too barren.

The Lycoris radiatas (spider lily) are also filling the gaps. They didn’t bloom much this last dry fall, but as always, they sent up foliage to let me know they’re still around.

Near this stand, the Gulf penstemons I rescued two weeks ago from their self-sown site behind the dusty shed are gratefully plumping out.  Spring bulbs are finally getting serious everywhere.

The aster spot in the front room bed looks a little blank now that’s it to the ground, though rosettes are already on their way.  To fill it up a bit, I planted the new ‘Black Hero’ tulips between them.

I like this idea so much that I think I’ll do it again next year.  This is the perfect spot for annual tulips, a luxury, I know, but too much fun to try another one each year. Tulips are the one transient annual I usually plant, since Greg likes them so much.  I can’t say I hate them, either. What the heck, even their brief dazzle lasts longer than a trip to the movies.

In the beds along the front sidewalk, I tucked in naturalizing Saxatilis tulips and rain lilies, Zephyranthes primulina, for spots of yellow in their seasons.  In a blank, semi-shaded spot under the evergreen sumac, I stuck in one Hymenocallis, hoping it will show off between the Lindheimer muhly and the shrimp plant I divided last spring. Even if it doesn’t send me white flowers in summer, its lush, strappy leaves will make a perfect foil to that little team of textures.

In back, when I cut back the asters in the crepe bed, I dibbered in naturalizing ‘Lady Jane’ clusiana tulips for their pink and white in the crepe bed.

While I was at that corner, I cut back the ‘Hot Lips’ salvia.  This pile is a testament to its vigor.

The St. Joseph’s lilies went to my collection in the semi-shaded rental bed, and if funds suffice, I hope to add more to create a real stand.  At the sunnier end of the bed, I planted a Twelve Apostles crinum, a white, which attracted me with its description of fragrance, especially at sunset.  First, I had to move the Salvia ‘Argentine Skies’ I’d moved just a month or two ago to that spot.  It was strongly rooted, so I hope it doesn’t mind another change of address so quickly.

Two Hymenocallis went to the semi-shaded Amelia fence.  When I couldn’t resist a few wine-red Bradley crinums, I was a little stuck for a spot once I got home.  I found happy homes for them along the back fence bed.

This is my version of garden design.  Meet enthusiastic people, see neat plants, go crazy, come home and figure out what in the heck I’m going to do.

Here’s an event that may interest you:  From Silent Spring to Silent Night, the effects of agricultural chemicals, including atrazine in Weed and Feed products, presented by Dr. Tyrone B. Hayes for the Environmental Science Institute at UT Austin and the Jackson School of Geosciences.

Pre-lecture interactive exhibits and K-12 teacher workshops are provided free to the public before the lecture, along with CD-ROMs with lecture materials and lesson plans to teachers.

Hot Science – Cool Talks is webcast to those who can’t make it in person.

It’s January 30 at 7 p.m. with interactive exhibits open at 5:45 and teacher workshops at 6 p.m.  UT Campus, Welch Hall 2.224. Parking at San Jacinto & 24th St. parking garage, $1 with coupon available at the talk.

Until next week, Linda