Early Bird Blooms

Seesawing temperatures has confused us all.  Each day is a surprise.  There is always a possibility of a freeze as late as the middle of April hanging over our heads.  Several years ago on Easter, snow covered the blooming Bluebonnets.

I’ve been working to get plants cut back or pruned and debris picked up.  This is the first time this Canyon Creek Abelia (Abelia x ‘Canyon Creek’) has been visible since this time last year.  The Guara grew up in front of it and had grown up under it.  So we dug that up and moved it.

The coppery color of the leaves is very pretty.  Later, small white flowers will cover its branches.

Some of the roses are blooming like crazy.  I didn’t get this Knock-Out bush pruned back.  I concentrated on tea roses because it is more critical to get them cut in February.

The bushes are way too tall and wide, but they can be trimmed anytime.

This Earth-Kind bush is about eight feet tall.  Too tall for me to trim easily.

The yellow flowers of this Knock Out Rose fade to a pale, almost white, before they die.

The Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana) is all dressed up for spring.  Interestingly, it is in the rose family and is not related to other Laurels.

It is totally covered with clusters of off white flowers.

The whole tree is abuzz with bees.  The black berries attract birds, but some fall to the ground.  In some places people complain that too many sprouts grow from them.  Not a problem here with the hard packed ground.

Warnings are given about how poisonous the leaves and fruit are.  They contain cyanide.

It’s a relatively fast grower.  This one is 12 years old and has been worry free and is evergreen.  Hooray.

Bridal Wreath Spiraea (Spiraea prunifolia) is starting to bloom.

Aptly named, it will be completely covered with flowers in a couple of weeks.

Lots of dark skies with promises of rain that don’t pan out.  Much patience is required while waiting for spring rains.

The Chinkapin Oak (Quercus meuhlenbergii)  is a Texas SuperStar tree with leaves that are more elongated than most oaks.  It is in the white oak family, which means it is less susceptible to oak wilt disease.

Pretty small Hyacinths blooms carry a strong scent.

The Gray Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea incana) is sporting its first flowers.  Trimming it back can be done after some other things are done.  Also, needs weeding.  This Texas native’s bright orange cupped flowers stand out against its silvery gray foliage.  Very hardy.

Busy time in the yard.  Pruning is just about finished.  Weeding is an ongoing task.  But lovely flowers are reward enough.

“Being defeated is often only a temporary condition.  Giving up is what makes it permanent.”  Marilyn Vos Savant







Early Spring Color

The wet weather has ended, the sun is out, the grass is greening, some trees are budding, and color is returning to the yard.  All is right with the world.  That, of course, is ignoring current politics, war and famine in the world.

nearspring6This guy kept his gray-green foliage during the warm winter.  Desert Mallow or Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) is considered a desert plant with winter hardy zones 9 – 10.  However, I’ve had this bush for three years, and it has easily survived our winters.  If and when we have a severe one with many days below freezing, it may not last.

nearspring3Pollinators already enjoying it.

nearspring7The smallish orange flowers are not an in your face glaring color.

nearspringaOne day recently I was in Brady waiting for a meeting.  With some time to kill, I went to Walmart looking for flowerpots.  Normally, I don’t buy plants there, but their tulips, daffodils, and Hyacinths looked so bright and healthy that I succumbed to impulse buying.  The soil was not dry, as is often the case in box stores plants.

Plus, they were a dollar each.  What a buy.

nearspringbSorry the pictures are lousy and the flowers look washed out.

First, I planted these in a large pot to enjoy inside near a french door.  What a strong scent they have.  After a couple of days with the aroma too strong, I went ahead and planted them outside where the rains laid them on their sides.

Maybe, next year I’ll get to enjoy them.

nearspring9 I bought this evergreen ground cover Vinca minor at a garden club plant sale.   Another member warmed me that it would take over my flowerbed.  Since I planned to use it in a spot that has a 12 ft. long by 5 foot wide rock just under the topsoil, I didn’t listen.

How do I know that massive rock is there?  Years ago, after we finished the soil preparation for a 150 ft. long and 8 ft. wide flowerbed, we tried to plant rose bushes in the rock area.  Since nothing with deep roots can be planted there, I’ve seeded it each year with Zinnas.  But it still needed something to look full.

nearspring8Vinca minor grows about 6 inches tall and produces beautiful purplish-blue flowers in early spring.  Information online says that Vinca minor prefers full to partial shade.  Mine grows in full sun with a little bit of morning shade.  It is a perennial in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8.  It only blooms in early spring and is mainly prized for its foliage.

So far, I’m not sorry it’s there.  It has just started to spread out after three years.  I’m hoping it can be controlled.  Maybe wishful thinking.

“Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”             Swedish Proverb