May 16, 2019

As the Woodland Awakens

Various woodland plants, including Trillium grandiflorum, Hydrophyllum virginianum, and Geranium maculatum, all of which were planted by Mother Nature in this location.

In the woodland, every year is different. While some things stay the same, others shift and change.

As in past years, the expected ephemerals have shown their faces. What's different is that some have moved their locations, while others suffered damage from an overpopulation of rabbits.

I can't show you the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) because the rabbits ate them. Oh, I know I could try Technique A and Technique B to repel the rabbits (I did try several rabbit repellents, and they didn't work for the Mertensia). But my original plan was to encourage Virginia Bluebells to colonize freely in the woodland. That won't be happening here, on this property. Although I plan to plant some native Alliums around them...

The rabbits also trampled the Trillium erectum plants just as those beautiful plants were about to bloom. Bye-bye for this year.

Podophyllum peltatum

The Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) (just about to bloom) are sparser this year. I think it's because the neighbors who border that part of the woodland cut down several large trees--dousing the Mayapple patch in too much sun. Perhaps that will encourage other wildflowers to fill in.

T. grandiflorum

T. grandiflorum might colonize a little more with the increased light on the forest floor.

T. sessile

Same with T. sessile.

Arisaema triphyllum

We always have quite a few Jack-in-the-Pulpits (Arisaema triphyllum) and this year is no exception.

Asarum canadense

The Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) is spreading, and I'm very happy about that.

Claytonia virginica

Enemion biturnatum

I thought I'd lost the Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica) and the False Rue Anemone (Enemion biturnatum), but those patches had simply shifted location slightly.

Viola pubescens

Viola sororia

Other plants that have changed, yet stayed the same, are the Violets, including the yellow Viola pubescens and the various shades of blue Viola sororia. They've moved around, but as always there are many of them in various colorful shades.

The woodland is awake!

April 08, 2019

Austin's Awesome Container Plantings

A Container 1
Stock tank plant display area at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

At the Austin Garden Bloggers Fling last May, I learned that the soil in the Austin area varies widely, depending on the location of the garden. I also learned that Austin gardeners are incredibly creative with their container plantings--often dealing with soil challenges, but sometimes simply because they're talented folks.

Stock tanks, like those used at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to showcase native plant species, are a common vessel for plants in Austin.

A Container 2

Terra cotta pots set on gravel and surrounded by beautiful rocks are a great way to showcase a little corner of Jennifer Stocker's (Rock Rose) impressive plant collection--in this case, a sampling of succulents.

A Container 3

Metal planting beds edged along a stepped walkway with matching caging seem elegant, and blend well with the natural surroundings at this private garden.

A Container 4

Designer Colleen Jamison's whimsy with pots and plantings includes this delightful stacked display leading up to the door.

A Container 5

A colorful ceramic pot filled with blue marbles suggests water and floating succulents.

A Container 6

Creative window boxes always catch my eye, and the colors in this one are dramatic, but complementary to the structure's paint colors.

A Container 7

Pam Penick's (Digging) stock tank pond is really something special--it fits the surroundings, and the brick pavers framing it.

A Container 8

A totally different style and use of potted plants awaits at the garden of designer B. Jane.

A Container 9

A Container 10

The collections are expertly arranged around the foundations of the buildings and the pool.

A Container 11

Traditional designs are wonderful, too, like this one at a private garden. I love the look of this old-fashioned well-surround, planted with Daylilies, Daisies, and other plants, along with the Celtic cross.

A Container 12

Author/designer Lucinda Hutson certainly works magic with her colorful planters. I love the bright colors of this pair.

A Container 13

This little courtyard on her amazing property is filled with potted fun.

A Container 14

Her unique use of pastel beauty really makes a statement.

A Container 15

Another private garden makes a nice use of echoing potted succulents on the table with a complementary arrangement on the patio. The warm earth-tone colors of the pots set off the beautiful limestone brick.

A Container 16

Succulents spilling over the edge of a metal pot, framed by Salvias in the courtyard--very nice.

A Container 17

Talk about creative--I love everything about this grouping--from the face sculpture to the metal door/trellis to the bright blue pot.

A Container 18

Sometimes pots are so vibrant, the best plants for them are angular and green, like this Pencil Cactus Euphorbia.

A Container 19

Designer Diana Kirby has some unique planters, too, like this vertical planter with succulents, reminding us of the important things in life.

A Container 20

This vibrant blue pot with a tasteful collection of plants spilling out all sides is simply lovely.

The Garden Bloggers Fling is always inspirational and fun. This year we're meeting in Denver, Colorado, June 13-16. To learn more about The Fling visit this link:

February 28, 2019

Results of the #Shortdays Challenge

shortdays challenge

At the beginning of November, I started a #shortdayschallenge on Instagram. The purpose: to increase my appreciation of the blessings of each day--even through the coldest, shortest days. I wanted to avoid my common habit of wishing the winter away, which can mean missing out on little pleasures and living in a sour state of mind for weeks on end.

Did it work? For the most part, I would say yes, posting about a special thing each day helped me better appreciate the season. Admittedly, this particular winter with its deep polar vortex and erratic temperature and weather changes has been tough. But the #shortdayschallenge did help.

Now that the challenge is completed, I'm cutting back on social media for a
bit--not an official break, but a slowdown. I have some good reasons.


One reason is this little fellow--our new little cockapoo puppy, Nicholas. He's really smart and he's catching on quickly to all things puppies need to learn. I'm trying to savor the time with him as a puppy. It will pass too fast.


Also, I need to get going with some seed-starting! Spring will be here before we know it, and I hope to have some healthy starts to plants for the potager garden. Other family events are keeping me busy, too. So, I apologize for not being as attentive with visits and comments on your posts for a few weeks. Time to prepare for the growing season ahead!

February 18, 2019

In a Vase on Monday: I Needed Color


On Mondays, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden hosts the meme In a Vase on Monday. Obviously, my USDA zone 5a garden has no flowers blooming during the winter, so I must cheat to participate when my garden is covered in snow.

Plus, I needed some color. So I bought myself a bright bouquet at the market. This lovely collection included one bright pink Gerbera Daisy, creamy Hydrangeas, peachy Carnations, chartreuse and yellow Mums, purple Statice, fuchsia Dianthus, and several perfectly formed Roses. Garish, I guess, but eye-opening and heart-warming to my color-starved soul.

vase with cat

By the time I got around to arranging them, the Gerbera Daisy had lost its groove, but the rest of the blooms still looked pretty good. I grabbed a few strands of English Ivy to flow along the sides. (The cat approved.)

basket vase

While it was a little too early to think about Easter, this metal basket with a handle seemed an appropriate vessel for the beauties.

flowers in vase 1

Just going on instinct and preference at the time, I arranged the warmer elements around the sides and the bottom.

flowers in vase 2

And I inserted the cool Statice and Dianthus toward the top.


Completed just before Valentine's Day, the collection formed an unintentional heart shape.

little from top

The extra Roses and a Carnation were perfect for a bud vase.


This tiny olive oil jar our daughter brought back from Mexico was ideal for the mini-arrangement.

little vase

Sometimes the little things bring the greatest joy.

hutch display

All are holding up well after several additional days in saturated floral foam. I had to place both arrangements up and away from the cat. I like this one on top of the hutch.

Happy vase day! To join in Cathy's meme, head on over to Rambling in the Garden.

February 09, 2019

Savannah in the Springtime


Flowering Dogwoods, Live Oaks covered in Spanish Moss, and Azaleas blooming everywhere you look: If that image appeals to you, consider visiting Savannah in the springtime. Last year, in March, we hit the peak of the Azalea blooms during our visit. It was cooler than normal with highs mainly in the 60s, which was perfect for walking. And you want to do a lot of walking in Savannah, Ga., because there's so much to see.


Arranged in distinct city squares--each with its own public park--Savannah has the largest National Historic Landmark District in the United States. I hadn't realized the structure of these squares; they made for comfortable walks around the city, with plenty of park benches and greenery for resting along the way. The homes are stately and beautiful, and most have historical significance; many are marked for explanation.

house 1

house 2

house 3

house 4

house 5

juliette low house

The birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, is now a museum and a National Historic Landmark.

juliette low plaque

flannery oconnor home

National literary treasure Flannery O'Connor's birthplace is equally modest but maintained for public tours, lecture series, and other events.

flannery oconnor plaque

forsyth park fountain

If you're familiar with the book or the movie, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," you know the chilling true story was set in Savannah. It's interesting to see many familiar landmarks from the movie, including Forsyth Park with its three-tiered fountain and lovely arboretum.

forsyth park plaque

forsyth park walkway

forsyth park walkway 2

forsyth park arb

forsyth park walkway 3

forsyth park azaleas

bonaventure cemetery 4

Other scenes from the movie were filmed at the historic 160-acre Bonaventure Cemetery. If touring cemeteries doesn't freak you out, it's definitely worth a visit. In addition to its historic significance, Bonaventure is a stunningly beautiful garden, filled with Flowering Dogwoods, Azaleas, and many other blooming shrubs, trees, and perennials.

bonaventure cemetery 3

flowering dogwood 1

bonaventure cemetery 1

bonaventure cemetery 2

Make sure you also spend some time at the riverfront!

georgia queen

cargo ship

Many fun and reasonably priced restaurants along the riverfront have great views of the ships passing through on the Savannah River. There are some wonderful shops and art galleries on River Street, too.


Oh, and the churches are gorgeous, as well.

cathedral 1

cathedral 2


We spent quite a bit of time at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, with its beautiful spires and stained glass.

stained glass

st. vincent statue

st vincent plaque

Flannery O'Connor attended St. Vincent's grammar school.

methodist church

Another lovely and historic church is the Gothic Revival Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church.

And then there are the plants and flowers...

flowering dogwood 2
Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) draped on Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Red Camellia (C. japonica)

Double Bridal Wreath Spirea (S. spiraea cantoniensis 'Lanceata')

Various Azalea shrubs (Rhododendron spp.)

savannah evening

Make sure you take an evening walk in downtown Savannah, too. It's truly magical when the Azaleas are in full bloom, with oblique light resting on the foliage and blooms, the sun setting, and the city lights beginning to illuminate the beautiful parks and architecture.

Yes, Savannah is a fabulous spring-break destination. [Sigh.]