Surprises every day + Rocking out with Troy Nixon’s rock designs

The best thing about gardening is a new surprise every day. I guess my best surprise today was 3″ of rain!  Kaboshed our Mueller garden taping, but gotta love it.  Ed, our camera director, said I looked like a “drowned squirrel.” He and Steve, our audio person, were soaked to the skin running the gear to safety.  But another surprise this week is my Tawny daylilies.

Tawny daylily

For weeks, we watched the surprise coming from our Yucca pallida.

Yucca pallida forming bloom stalk Yucca pallida flowers Yucca pallida blooming

The leaffooted bugs were anxious, too. Eventually, their humongous numbers reduced, possibly thanks to the frenzied parental birds grocery shopping for the kids. (Oh, I had a shot of their clusters, but I “learned” a new trick on how to erase  EVERY shot from my camera card.  Some surprises I don’t really need).

Leaffooted bug on Yucca pallida flower

My Agave celsii took another severe hit last winter. Although I didn’t plan to dig it up yet, a few months ago it decided to give me an incentive to keep it around. Our first measurement on April 3 was about 3 feet.

At blooming time, it’s 48”. The flowers start at the bottom and work their way up.

Agave celsii flowers Agave celsii flower buds

What my garden really needs, though, is  architectural structure. I’ve hauled rocks by the trunk load, collected them for free, and one luxurious day, had a bunch of limestone edgers delivered. But how do you give it that professional look?

Since I often get this question from gardeners, this week on CTG Tom meets with Troy Nixon from Environmental Survey Consulting for some DIY tips from the pros. How do you haul stones, chip them, and place them?  What about creative designs to deal with drainage issues? How do you do it when it’s just you, or if lucky, a spouse or a friend who got enlisted for the price of a cold one?

Laying rock borders, Environmental Survey Consulting Environmental Survey Consulting Drainage solution Environmental Survey Consulting

Get Troy’s insider tips from ESC, founded in 1984 by David Mahler and Judy Walther. They were among the leaders to promote a “restoration first” approach to garden design that respects native plants and our resources.

Environmental Survey Consulting
One plant, one shovel, and one rock at a time, that’s how Kati & David Timmons did it. CTG goes on tour with them for David’s revelation of his mistakes, practical tips, and artistic insight about  how they turned their standard in-town yard into a garden of many levels, front and back. Working with David’s designs, Troy executed some of their stone work.

Kati and David Timmons garden Austin Texas Kati and David Timmons garden Central Texas Gardener Kati and David Timmons garden Austin Texas

And, bonus time! David’s a graphic artist. If you love Lucinda’s book as much as I do, now you’ll meet the man behind its design.

Lucinda Hutson The Herb Garden Cookbook

Last weekend, I got around to planting more cosmos seeds. Thank you, rain, for this perfect timing!

Yellow cosmos

This was the first summer annual I grew in my dusty garden years ago. As a new gardener, I was thrilled at “instant magic” from a packet of seeds. Aside from their heat resilience, they attract butterflies and other pollinators.

Cosmos Kathy-Annie Kloba
As Daphne’s Plant of the Week, I also thank garden bloggers:

Pam Penick from Digging

Bonnie Martin from Kiss of the Sun

Laura Wills from Some Like It Hot

Caroline Homer from Shovel Ready Gardener

Rachel Strain Graham from In Bloom

Check out their blogs for super garden info!

Daphne’s question of the week is one we often get: when do spring plants form their flowers? Some form on new wood and some on older wood.  Mountain laurels are forming their buds right now, so if you prune heavily, you’ll sacrifice next spring’s Kool-Aid high.

Mountain laurel flower spike

Also significant for flowering plants and fruit trees: year-round water. If they stay dry in the critical months of bud formation, they’ll blow off reproduction until things look better.

With pruning on our minds, on Backyard Basics, Merrideth Jiles from The Great Outdoors shows how to deadhead. After pruning, he gives everyone a boost with a liquid seaweed foliar feed.

pruning plants with Merrideth Jiles, The Great Outdoors.
Tons of events, including the Travis County Master Gardeners tour this weekend. And see all the neat events they have coming up!

On May 21 & 22, check out the Heart O’ Texas Orchid Society show and sale. They’ll also have workshops on how to grow these beauties.

Also on May 21, hit the Outdoor Living tour for plants and outdoor living designs.

Then, on May 22, from 1 – 5 p.m., visit a few gardens in east Austin on the Windsor Park Garden Tour.  Outstanding ideas, with only a suggested donation of $5 for all three. Just show up at one of them to get your pass.  1412 Suffolk Drive| 1420 Ridgehaven Drive|2104 Bristol Drive.

Until next week, Linda