Filling up on fragrance|Funky Chicken Coop tour|Square foot garden design

Well, if you had a year or so to read this post, I can show you everything that’s blooming in my garden!  Since I know you’re busy, here’s just a sampling that doesn’t include “D is for Drought” in their vocabulary. One is Narcissus ‘Gigantic Star’, a reliable early bloomer.

Narcissus 'Gigantic Star'
Narcissus ‘Erlicheer’ keeps on coming. ‘Helen von Stein’ lamb’s ears in the background.

Narcisssus Erlicheer with 'Helen von Stein' lamb's ears

I’m totally in love with little spring starflowers (Ipheion uniflorum), perfect to pop in a path, edge a bed, or include among your agaves and yuccas. They’ll bloom for weeks and return next year. Very tidy darlings, too.

spring starflowers (Ipheion uniflorum)
Hyacinths often don’t naturalize for us, but this Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Sky Jacket’ is on its fifth year with me. Guess I could get around to ordering more next fall, huh?

Hyacinthus orientalis 'Sky Jacket'
As you well know, plants are blooming at least a month earlier than usual! Our ‘Spring Bouquet’ viburnums have never ever performed like this.  Joy, maybe? These viburnums are drought-tough bullet-proof shrubs, and perfect if you need a screen in part shade.

Viburnum 'Spring Bouquet'
Red Admiral butterflies and bees are all over them, when we aren’t getting a sniff of their sweet fragrance.

Red Admiral butterfly on 'Spring Bouquet' viburnum
I bet you’re like me and it is SO hard to prune our roses right now. But I did it, though I’m sparing this Knock Out® for another week. I fertilized with a slow-release organic blend, too, which is about all they’ll get from me.

Red Knock Out rose
Are you ready for garden tours? How about one that features chickens, too?!

Austin Funky Chicken Coop tour
This week, Tom meets with Michelle Hernandez and Carla Jean Oldenkamp from the Austin Funky Chicken tour for a 2012 preview and tips for starting a brood of your own.

Tom Spencer with Michelle Hernandez and Carla Jean Oldenkamp, Austin Funky Chicken Coop tour
Mark the date: April 7. It’s only $10 for a map to all the coops (so, a group can go for $10)!

Here’s a sneak preview of one of them: Carla Jean Oldenkamp’s Zen Hen House and beautiful organic square foot garden.

Daphne answers: when and how should we fertilize? The early warm weather has plants in active mode. We can fertilize roses, shrubs and trees now, and perennials in a few weeks.  But if you’re using an organic slow release fertilizer, you can fertilize them now, though usually we’d wait a bit. We want to do it when the plants are actively growing, and a surprise damaging freeze isn’t around the corner.

Mrs. Oakley Fisher bud

After the beating our plants took last year, Daphne does recommend a little help this spring. But note:
“With plant nutrients, a little bit goes a long way and more is definitely not better.  If you give your plants too much fertilizer, they’ll put on a lot of new growth and may look great in the spring, but then when summer arrives, they won’t have enough water to support all that new growth and they’ll be even more stressed.  With perennials and flower beds, consider using a layer of compost as your initial mulch.  Compost will provide a very small amount of nutrients, which is likely all your perennials will need.”

Trisha’s vegetable garden at Lake Austin Spa Resort looks mighty fine.

Lake Austin Spa Resort vegetable gardens

But with the early warm weather’s effect on winter crops, and summer plants awaiting their turn, get her tips this week on how she’s handling both.

And take a look at this amazing turnip from a San Antonio gardener! Just shows what you can grow in a container.

huge turnip grown in a container

Free events: get hands-on vegetable tips at It’s About Thyme!

All You Need to Know about Growing Tomatoes:  Feb 26 at 2 p.m.
How to Have a Lovely Garden…  and Eat It Too: March 4 at 2 p.m. with Renee Studebaker.

See you next week!  Linda