It’s fall and I’m freezing

I’m eager to plant and create and enjoy in my gardens, but it’s difficult to decide on what to actually plant and where.    I am frozen in indecision, annoyed with my lack of knowledge and newly dissatisfied with my home’s lot.  Oh, and I want to move half of the fourty plantings put in just a short month ago. 

When designing, it’s necessary to consider the task with a critical eye, right?  What are the issues and limitations?  I have this initial step down pat, I can see what is not working – lately this is ALL I see- the slopes, the hungry deer, the view of the neighbor’s driveway and on and on.   This is where I’m stuck; I don’t have the tools to solve the problem; such as (A) I don’t have an inventory of solutions to consider because I’m an utter novice at gardening (and dare I say, landscape design), and  (B)  I don’t have an inspiration or clear vision to drive the process. 

I fancy myself a problem solver, an idea person, and if NOTHING else- a girl with a vision….and definately a DIYer.    In my garden currently, I find myself tugging at a new collar of confusion and  scratching at this itchy cloak of cluelessness I wear.   Urrrhh!

On the other hand, I was driving through a neighborhood (which also has a lot of deer) looking for inspiration – and realized that I can increasingly identify the more common plants and shrubs.   So I have this going for me;  I’m picking up the language – I can essentially ask where the bathroom is and say hello in a stiff formal way.

I AM very grateful for the sunset view from my front garden. 

Gazing beyond my neighbor’s driveway…..

Oh, and this cyberspace  nugget grabbed my attention~

Fertilizing plants makes them more tempting to deer-  (“Like seasoning?” my hubby asked)  especially nitrogen I read.   Really?!

Oh Deer!

Not to be outdone by RockRose’s night vision cam~   I’m finding that my better images are actually taken by the “bunny cam”. The only credit I can take is that I figured out the contraption that enables the rabbit to comfortably move around the garden with the camera; it’s part hat and part tiny harness. As you can imagine, this frees up time for me- and as you can see, I think he’s quite enjoying the creative outlet.

The deer are expanding their diet.   I know it’s out of necessity.   They decided that the deer resistant plants are, after all, irresistible.    They ate any bloom and at least sampled most any type of leaf.    A couple of examples~ 

Turk’s cap before…..

and after. 

I was particularly hopeful about Thryallis.  I heard about it on a recent episode of Central Texas Gardner –   deciduous (but may not drop all its leaves they said); grows in a mounded shape (!); blooms a country-yellow hue summer through fall.  I was so excited! 

Thyallis before…. 

…and after. 

I stood out front last night pitching to my husband the idea of fencing in our front garden.  With our small lot, a courtyard front garden could be a good fit.  I have considerable space that is empty with just mulch, and I’ve been watering these areas in anticipation of adding about thirty plants in the next few weeks, but I’m putting it on hold while we consider the fence.  I need to get a bid and consider how the fence will affect my sunlight.    So my next google image search will be for “xeric courtyard entry gardens”.

Santa-Rita cactus~ glows softly and carries a big stick

This is my Santa-Rita Prickly Pear that I purchased this weekend at Barton Springs Nursery; I went on a mission to find one, and BSN graciously supplied a beautiful selection to choose from.  I wuv it!  The color combo is stellar.  I like that it is cold-hardy and will get more purple when it’s chilly or thirsty, so I assume when it’s stressed in general.  I saw a very purple one in someone’s “hell strip” near 45th Street – should I leave them a note to water it?  

I want Ms. Rita to go some place special in my Purple Haze entry garden; I’d prefer to only plant her once, that is, not change my mind and move her (unlikely)…so I’m still considering the location- she becomes quiet statuesque, maybe over six feet, but I’ll keep her pruned lower probably- which means baby ‘ritas to share in the future : )    Maybe I’ll re-pot it in a contrasting colored pot (like red or yellow), so I can get her out of that hideous plastic outfit – she’s too good; that way we’re all happy, and my fear of commitment  is fed.   

You might notice her boo-boo on the bottom right;  I was driving down the fast and winding 2222, and Ms. Rita catapulted from my hatchback into the backseat.  I don’t think I was speeding, Officer….but what if she had whacked me in the back of the head? You can see some spines on this lovely, but you can’t see the thousands (I swear) hair-thin (read  invisible) spines that ended up in my dry-cleaning, back-seat and then my hands…but none made it to the back of my head- so thank you, universe – lesson learned.  I still wuv her.

Helptul tip-  to remove cactus spines from your skin, the ones you can’t get with tweezers- spread a thin layer of white / Elmer’s glue to the area, let dry, then peel away – worked for me!   I read that hair-removal wax strips work well for the really stubborn ones, but I didn’t need to resort to that – so happy I didn’t have to wax the back of my head.

Rookie Mistake

When we replaced our lawn with a garden last month, I knew that I wanted to start with two elements – a mass planting of tall ornamental grass (we planted Gulf muhly), and in the narrow border bed between our yard and the neighbor’s driveway, I wanted to mix boulders and native plants in a way that, hopefully, looked more natural than contrived.    I got what I wanted, but there is a little “oops!”;  I didn’t consider that the tall grasses would hide a large portion of the boulder plants. 

I was initially inspired by this lovely photo I saw at the blog Creative Country Mom…..

I don’t have near as much real estate as CCMom, but here’s our new boulder-border below (on the left) sitting behind the tall muhly grass.  I like this view, but it’s only seen if you stand at the curb in just the right spot.   


The rock bed is more visible from the top of the stairs near our driveway (where visitors usually pass to the front door); hopefully the plants in the rocks will thrive and get taller while the muhly shouldn’t get much taller than this since it’ll be cut back each year in late winter.   

I really like this combination of  light green Bamboo muhly and silver Texas sage with a purple boulder.  I wonder if I can keep the TX sage pruned so it stays full at the bottom and not leggy as it matures?  I think low Creeping (wandering?) rosemary (for its dark texture) at the base of the rock would make this even better! 




Here’s more bamboo muhly planted in a culvert pipe- this visually anchors the end of the long boulder bed.  Inspired by Pam Penick’s Digging post about culvert pipe planters.    The dense sago palm and tall pipe shield the afternoon sun from a saucer of fresh water left for the wildlife.    

Garden Concert

If my new garden is a concert…
…then the dense Gulf muhly grass is the mosh pit,
which is easy to imagine when it thrashes and sways in the wind.
Pictured below, a leaf took a stage-dive and is carried across on grass finger tips.

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