Thursday, May 22, 2008

our early summer garden

The Rangoon Creeper is the most spectacular plant in my garden right now - and will be for several weeks. I was introduced to this vine by the landscape designer that I hired to keep me from making very bad mistakes. It was definitely one of his two best suggestions (the other was the miniature agapanthus). The best thing about this vine is the way the color changes, from white in the morning to the bright rosy red that is in the picture below. In the evening, its strong sweet fragrance permeates the garden.

I've trained it over an arch in the back yard. In the photo below, the arch is spotlighted by the setting sun. On the other side is a pot planted with bronze fennel and a Giant Passion Flower vine given to me by my brother. The bronze fennel is a favorite with butterflies. I'm looking forward to seeing the giant passion flowers... there are 4 buds coming!

Early summer is of course the best time of year for many gardens, and that is certainly true of ours. As you can see, we have lots of blooming things, and this photo shows about half of the back garden. In our part of Houston we are in Zone 9, a semi-tropical zone. Which means that the passion flower stays out all year, as well as our orchids (not visible). The bougainvillea is nice this year (far left of photo) - I've finally wired it to the fence.

In the back right corner, we have a large Celeste fig tree, which has yielded one ripe fig so far (on May 10) this year. But it is completely loaded with ripening fruit. My goal is to get more than half harvested before the critters get to it.

You will notice the large green tree on the other side of our back fence. This is a pecan tree, source of much nourishment for the neighborhood squirrels. It has been heavily hacked by the guys who keep the electrical lines clear of interference, so the shape is a bit strange. I believe it is a native pecan, since it rarely seems to have trouble with worms or blight. Our neighbors to the east (on the right of this photo) also have a young pecan, but often it has those problems so it's probably a hybrid.

In the foreground, there is one of several crepe myrtles. This particular one is only 4 years old! It has gorgeous white papery flowers, exfoliating bark, and will eventually be almost 30 feet tall. Around its feet are Indian Blankets, Rudbeckia, miniature agapanthus, daylilies, a tiny fragrant pink rose from my friend Ev, and rosemary. There are also 2 strawberry guava trees which may someday actual ripen fruit. Meanwhile their powderpuff blossoms in spring are pretty.

These garden beds are only 4 years old, so I'm happy with our progress. I am not the most attentive gardener - weeding is something that gets done at odd times in the early morning cool or late evening dusk, all the while fighting off mosquitos. Watering is a pleasurable task, always done by hand. We water the grass in times of drought and certainly never fertilize it. The lawn has its share of bugs and patchiness, but St. Augustine grass is very hardy and can usually manage to outgrow anything. Our goal is a garden that more-or-less takes care of itself - and we are getting there!


Nomadic Matt said...

I've always wanted to start a garden...but I guess I should get a house first...

AmyEmilia said...

Thanks for dropping by, Matt! Reading your profile, I'm thinking that gardening is a bit challenging right now. But sooner or later you will probably settle for a few months - then you can have a small garden in a windowsill or a few pots. All it takes is dirt, sunshine, seeds, water, and time! :)

Imaginalis said...

Hi Amy, Love that I can peek in on you from time to time. I can really see your connection to the mystery of nature in your garden. Take care, Your Jungian Friend


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