Pam Penick at Digging begin Foliage Follow-up which for me is a good time for it because there is nothing blooming in my garden. Lately I have grown a fondness for cacti and succulents. Not only does it fit well in the Texas hill country landscape they do well in our dry and hot climate. I am fascinated by the variety of shapes and textures that can be found in cacti and succulents. My collection is new but I have big plans to gradually create an arrangement of pots and plants next to my stone wall. My first one is this rock planter given to me as a thank you gift from a friend for babysitting her dog while she was on vacation. I planted Moses in the Cradle ( Tradescantia spathacea) and stonecrop (which hasn’t done very well)

This is an aloe vera I bought for $4 at HEB on the sale table. It has really filled out since I planted it in this pot. It even had a small peach colored bloom on a stalk when I bought it. I did not know aloes would bloom. I guess that is why I bought it because I was intrigued aloes could bloom.

I love the color of this silver pony foot. I bought this one as a small 4″ at my last visit to Natural Gardener in Austin. I planted it in this pot for now because it is waiting to be placed in my new bed as soon as the weather makes a change for the better. I just don’t see the point in trying to develop a new bed at this time. The plants I have now are struggling as it is.

This last one is a agave augustifolia I bought at HEB. I am proud of this buy I made this weekend. The pot was 20% off 18.00, the plant was 3.98 and a bag of cactus soil was 3.69 with a total less than 20.00. Well so much for my foliage follow-up. Thanks, Pam at Digging for letting me share.

 

8x8 oil on stretched cotton canvas

I have already complained about the weather in my last two posts, so as to keep from doing it again I am posting one of my paintings. This painting is from a photo I took of one of the planters on Congress Ave. in Austin, Texas. I love the fact that they used giant culverts(?) and let them rust giving them a beautiful burnt sienna color. It would look cool to have an assortment of sizes grouped together in my yard. It is on my list. Hopefully I will be working in my garden soon. I even hesitate to plant a fall garden. I know August is the month to plant, but it is sooooo hot for new plants. I am going to hold out a little longer before I do any new planting. In the mean time, click on over to my painting blog to see more of my paintings. Thank you!

 

 

Our rivers and beautiful live oaks are hurting. I have started watering our trees. We have cedar elm, live oaks, red oak, pin oaks and mountain ash in our yard. I did some research online trying to find the best way to water large trees. I found that a sprinkler or irrigation system that you use to water your grass or plants is not enough. After all my reading I found the most talked about were these three methods: 1) a soaker hose circled around the tree along the dripline (not close to the trunk) 2) divide the dripline area around the tree into four sections and use a dripping hose in each section 3) setting  5 gallon buckets with holes drilled in the bottom  filled with water around the dripline. My biggest question was how much water or how long for the hoses? I just recently stumbled upon this pdf file put out by City of Austin that gives you a formula for figuring out how much water a tree needs. I hope it helps you too. Jim and I walked down to the Guadalupe River today and was saddened to see just how dry the river was.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the rock you see is usually the river bottom. This is a favorite run for tubers but not now. We got about 1/4″ of rain Tuesday afternoon. It wasn’t much but I will take any I can get. Watching the radar that day, at least some areas got more than we did. Take care of your trees too!

Over the years, I have  been told that when Texas sage blooms it is going to rain and they are blooming all over the neighborhood. After the one and half inch of rain we got two weeks ago I do believe it is the other way around. The rain comes first then they bloom. But it is fun to think the blooming will bring rain. My salvia greggi and lantana also put out some blooms. I now have color in my garden.

I like to imagine how pretty everything would be if we had a normal amount of rain this spring and summer (sigh) Rain is so much more than a hose.

6x8 oil on cotton canvas panel $150

What is it correctly called? a stock pond, stock tank, stock tank pond, cattle watering trough? What ever it is they are very popular to put in your garden filled with plants or a water garden. I saw this set of three tanks welded together at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas and I just had to paint them. Did I mention I was also an artist? Hop on over to my other blog, Kim Shields Studio and you will find more of my paintings. At this time I am painting a series of garden related paintings  that I will be posting on my blog.

I am also pleased to announce we got an inch and half of rain last Wednesday. It seems as if I could see some greening all around me and the ground actually felt soft to walk on. I don’t want to seem selfish, but I WANT MORE!

 

The party is over! My daughter, Kristen, and I spent the last month planning my son’s engagement party. We are both obsessed with details, very little details. The one thing I am most proud of were the succulent centerpieces. The brides colors for her wedding was light green, coral and dark brown. My first thought was potted herbs, then I even thought of a container of  wheat or rye grass, but when I saw these succulents at the big box store in so many shades of green I knew that was what I wanted. The container was another issue. I searched all over for something coral and rectangle shape. If you can’t find what you want, make it yourself. My hubby cut the lattice strips and glued them together for me and then I painted them with craft paint, sanded and stained. The rocks were gathered from the river bed on our property.

I was very happy with them. We also had the mason jar candles filled with sand and a votive hanging from the trees. When it got dark it was so pretty. I gave the bride one of the succulent boxes, Kristen took one and I kept two of them. Unfortunately, the bottom fell out of my two boxes. I guess hubby forgot to put nails in mine and the wood glue could not hold up to the dampness. Actually I thought wood glue was waterproof. As far as I know the other two boxes are still holding up. So last weekend I replanted my succulents in an old iron kettle.

Actually I think it is just as cute. I had a couple of extra succulents that would not fit so I planted them in a pot that I was nursing back an aloe that had gotten frozen this last winter.

 

My poor plants are suffering. Every morning I walk around my backyard and can see how they are struggling to stay alive. Last spring was my first year to really put some effort in planting. It looked better that year than it does today.

spring 2010

What with the hard winter we had, I lost a lot of my plants so I had to replant. Now with no rain they are not growing very much. It is like they are struggling just to stay alive. I have some Mexican Heather that got bitten back completely but begin to show signs of life in late March. Today they are still not even 2″ high. My lantana is about four years old and in the past has been eaten by the deer and froze and still came back great until this year. They are not even blooming yet.

still spring 2010

This is what it looks like today.

June 2011

June 2011

The lantana are not even close to the size they were last year and like I said no blooms. As tempting as it is I have stopped buying plants.  I try to only water once a week. I really don’t know if that is plenty or not enough. After a day of high 90’s they always look so sad.  I am still hopeful the weather can change.