From the producer: March 20, 2009

This week’s champ is the first flower ever on my Peggy Martin rose, a Katrina rescue, thanks to Dr. William C. Welch. I planted it last year, on a trellis at the sunniest part of Amelia’s fence.

Peggy Martin rose

6′ or so away, it gets shadier, but with blasts of late afternoon sun. The columbines I planted last year under the mountain laurel were not looking too happy.  Two weekends ago, anticipating the rain, I moved them to the other side of the laurel, where they get gentler sun. In their place, I’m trying these sedges, Carex morrowii ‘Variegata’. I really like the way they brighten things up.  Want more!

Carex Morrowii 'Variegata' sedge

The blank spots, where larkspur seeded, will be filled soon with my baby Plumbago scandens.  They’re still tiny from last fall’s planting, but they made it through the dry fall and our few freezes.  Oh, and in front of that rock, I’ve planted a Hymenocallis, so we’ll see what happens.

I ran into expert Scott Thurmon at the nursery, and he really thought the new sedges looked like ‘Frosty Curls’ instead.  Anyway, he approved.

Earlier in the week, I’d called him to do a CTG segment in May on “soft sculptures.” We’re still thinking of ideas, so if there are soft sculptures you want to know about it or suggest, let me know!

I also saw some Carex glauca and nabbed them for the front room bed.  Here they are in their little pots.

Sedge Carex glauca

Since clearing out the nandinas, I didn’t want to plant anything in front of the window, but it looks a little bare.  I’ve considered neat stones to temper the foundation, but when I saw these, I thought I’d give them a try.  I need to get a few more for behind the butterfly iris.  Since the rain came, this bed has already exploded into action, too, and in a month, there will be barely a bare spot.

In the cat cove, the blue-eyed grass made it back again!

Blue-eyed grass

Along with the calylophus.

The starflowers (Ipheon uniflorum) keep coming, along with oxalis.

Spring starflower Ipheon uniflorum

At its entrance, against the shed, the spiraea has it’s week or two of glory against the Lady Banks before I do some severe shaping. By the way, check out Lancashire Rose’s post on the history of this rose.  Fascinating! And we just glued the cat statue to a rock, to be placed in the right spot when I can move a spiderwort.

Spiraea and Lady Banks rose
Here’s a view to the yard with the milk can I rescued from Scooter’s mechanic’s recycling pile.

Spiraea with milk can
I want to renovate the cat cove, as I told you before, but I haven’t had a brilliant idea yet.

In the meantime, I simply had to deal with the shed “entrance.”  I put down these leftovers years ago, as a temporary entrance. . .well, you know how that story goes.

It had moved up the “annoyance” priority chain, so we hit the rock place and loaded Scooter with Mexican patio flagstones.  This is a reminder to check on price, since they were much more costly than native ones. I honestly didn’t realize it would be so much more. But once you’ve got your car loaded, you don’t take them out!

Even before I finished, the cats discovered their new patio. The big gap on Sam’s left is a huge cottonwood root.

With decomposed granite, I smoothed out a bed, placed the stones on top, and moved them around until I had the right fit.  Then I filled the gaps and covered the root with the granite.  I swept it in, sprinkled it, and  squinched it in with my fingers.  The next day, I repeated the routine. As it settles in, I’ll give it another dose of granite for a nice hard surface.  I’d considered a more elegant flagstone presentation, but the straight lines will make it easier to mow past.

In the den bed, can you believe this?!  ‘Patrick’ abutilon, Sweetness narcissus, Tinka tulip, white oxalis and Valentine rose all at once.  To the left are Spuria Iris Orientalis, and Buff Beauty rose, not yet in bloom. Butchart it’s not, but what the heck.

Valentine rose, Patrick abutilon, spring bulbs

To the right are columbines in back of ‘Country Girl’ mums and asters.  Daylilies between them.

Hinkley columbine

Well, rats, I meant to tell you about this earlier, but here’s a great event this weekend.  This east Austin fair gets better every year with all kinds of info, including hands-on demonstrations on edible landscaping for people and wildlife.

A Passion for Plants Garden Fair
March 21, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Govalle Park
Free admission
(512) 854-9600

For more events and Skip Richter’s latest tips garden tips, check out his new blog.

Until next week, Linda