June 16, 2016
Photo Tips with Janet Riley
Last weekend, Sunshine Community Gardens was quite the lively place! Gardeners zoomed in, even on bikes, to tend and harvest bountiful beds.
Energetic birds, including parental chimney swifts, swooped high and low in this urban bird sanctuary, just seconds from busy streets and sterile buildings.
Purple martins cleaned up caterpillars for their young. Clusters of sunflowers, along with plant saucers full of water (and bird baths), help keep various bird friends from tasting the tomatoes (more or less).
Thanks to digital and phone cameras, it’s easy to document every moment we encounter. But I can sure take a lot of really bad pictures, really fast!
On Facebook, I’m continually enchanted with the magic that Janet Albert Riley creates (also on Facebook at Photos by Janet Albert Riley).
This week, Janet focuses on a few tips to snag those memorable shots.
From what I’ve seen of her photos, I’ll also add: observation, quick-on-feet, patience, and tenacity! Pure luck is what’s usually on my side.
I’m usually not at home to get the perfect light in some of my beds. Janet runs into the same thing and explains how she takes advantage of a spotlight in harsh lighting. That’s what I did with this Rose of Sharon, also called althea (Hibiscus syriacus), an old-fashioned drought tough summer fave.
And, from everyone at CTG, Janet gets our “admiration award,” since she drove through torrential rain from Fort Worth (including a 90-minute detour around flooded roads) and arrived cool as cucumber. This woman fearlessly jumps into anything, including her new website, so check it out!
Daphne’s Plant of the Week, Golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii), is certainly photogenic.
It’s also very picky. Daphne tells us, “This cactus simply will not tolerate soggy soil, so unless your landscape is well-drained, even rocky, you’ll need to install special beds or build berms, backfilling them with very porous soil materials such as sand and decomposed granite.”
If you’re on clay soil, like me, and not on a rocky site, containers are the answer. Find out more.
Citrus can be picky, too, especially about cold as we stretch our boundaries. Linda Brooks sent us a picture of her grapefruit tree (started from seed) that suffered freeze damage last year, killing half the tree. What should she do?
We consulted Texas A&M AgriLife Extension fruit specialist Jim Kamas for his strategy to save the tree. Get Daphne’s complete answer.
Whew, just in time, Trisha comes to the rescue with tasty, refreshing water beverages infused with fruit, herbs, and vegetables. I’m now a super fan of cucumber-flavored water!
Lemons, mint, and pineapple sage boost you on these icky, sticky days! Get her recipes right here.
Viewer pics this week come from Kim Simmons, of her Easter barrel cactus.
And from Nichole Staehling, of a wasp visiting her Knock Out rose!
On tour, Julie Patton and Eric Pedley from East Side Succulents turned blah into beautiful on a budget.
In back, they stuccoed a cinder block wall, added extensions for small succulents, and splashed it with vibrant paint. I love how they finished it off with contrasting decorative tiles.
Graptosedum ‘Blaze’ tucks in nicely into into its cinder block niche.
Since Eric gets nursery pallets by the truckload, Julie put them back to work as lively outdoor furniture. She styled up scavenged folding stands and stained the concrete pad for patio panache.
In front, Eric keeps pulling out lawn as he widens his richly dimensional succulent sanctuary.
In the narrow bed against the sidewalk, Eric edged with recycled stones to enclose agaves and golden barrel cactus.
A recycled file cabinet, fancied up, fit perfectly here as a standout container for plants that like deep drainage.
Watch their story now!
Hope you’ll join me on Instagram as @ctglinda and Central Texas Gardener on Facebook! Thanks for stopping by, and see you next week for “Staying Alive in Summer.” Linda