Sweet, Sweet Spring

Freed from our cocoons at last.  The warmth of the sun, the green buds on the trees, and a few colorful flowers is a blessing.  I’d do cartwheels, if I could.

Native Redbud trees by the side of rural roads in our area signals spring.

Some of them have paler blossoms.

Although you can’t see them in any of my pictures, there are tons of bees on the flowers.

The Redbuds with the darker flowers really pop.

Love them.

In the yard, things are greening up.  One the left is a Mock Orange bush.  To the right is a David Austin rose.

The Maple is forming leaves.  Not sure which variety of maple it is.

First couple of Dutch Iris have flowers.  After that artic freeze, it’s so reassuring when a plant shows signs of surviving.

Last fall I planted some tiny bulbs of Lady Jane Tulips (Tulipa clusiana).  The foliage had appeared this February when that devastating freeze hit.  But now, here the flowers have popped up.

I like their short stems that make them more sturdy in our strong winds.

This is how they look after the sun has risen high in the sky.

Lady Janes are Species Tulips, which means they are native to warmer areas, like the Mediterranean area.  So they do not need a deep cold to survive and should be a perennial.  Of course, time will tell how well they do here.

There are other species tulips, like the Texas Tulip and Tubergens Gem Tulip available at Southern Bulbs company in East Texas.  Usually, they only show the bulbs that are to be planted at that time on their website.

Redbuds only bloom a short time, so it will be time to say good-bye soon.  Enjoyed having you.

As spring wakes up our plants, this year it will be especially important to check out what survived the winter.  If we’re patient enough, maybe we’ll see that some things that look dead actually aren’t.  But if you’re like me, I’m ready to get on with it.

“If you think nobody cares if you are alive, try missing a couple of car payments.”  unknown

Inhale Deeply and Relax

Now that the sun is shining and the days are warmer here, people want to rush outside and chop off all the dead limbs and leaves frozen by the extreme cold from two weeks ago.

But horticulturists are urging that it’s too early to do that.  It’s possible that another freeze will come later this month.  Leaving the dead parts could help protect the plants if that happens.  So, we should all just chill and not get frantic about what it looks like in our yards.

So all those plants, like this miniature Indian Hawthorne, that looks dead as a door nail might have viable branches and roots.  In a couple of weeks, use the thumbnail test to see if the branches are okay.  Scratch into a limb to see if the wood is soft and alive.

That same Indian Hawthorne last spring.

We have four of these Hawthorne and would be sad to lose them, but sometimes, we just have to accept something and move on.

Native plants, like these Oxeye Daises, fared well and are ready for spring.

It has surprised me how hardy these Gulf Coast Penstemon have been.  They spread fast and now look good after the sub zero weather.

Plants in pots naturally took a bigger hit.  Pretty sure that this Rosemary will need to be replaced.

Greenery from many bulbs were already above ground.  These Dutch Irises may actually still be able to produce blooms this spring because not all of the foliage froze.

Most Iris leaves or fans look healthy.

Nice surprise – a little Hyacinth is already blooming.  Yeah.

Even in a pot, Dianthus proves to be a winner.  Really have come to appreciate these plants.  Their colors are bright and cheery.

Ditch Daylilies looking good.

Pincushion plants have proved to be incredibly hardy.

Wild Foxglove looking good.

Artemesia looks a little sad but should recover.

I was concerned about bulbs that were planted in the fall.  But these Alliums look fine.

A native evergreen Yarrow that will have white flowers looks good as new.

Some trees, on the other hand, look dead.  This Yaupon Holly looks bad.  Time will tell how damaged the roots and trunks were.

Another casualty of being in a container is this Pittsporoum.  It didn’t seem to matter how old the plant was.

Afghan Pines (Pinus eldarica) don’t look so bad.  When we plant for our zone, and the weather suddenly turns much colder than that zone, then plants are at risk.  We consider heat and drought to be the biggest factor of a plant’s survival.

The Live Oak in the background looks bad, but we need to remember that Live Oaks naturally lose their leaves in the spring and new ones appear.

We planted these Oleanders last fall. Poor things.

One of my favorite trees because it is evergreen is Cherry Laurel.  Now the experts say that deciduous trees do better in a deep, deep freeze.  The leaves on the ends of branches died, but the leaves on the inside of the tree are green.  We’ll see if it’s system was weakened.

Rejoice that spring is almost here.

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” -Helen Keller

Chilly Days

The weather has reverted back to winter-like days with overcast skies and cooler temperatures.  This hasn’t stopped the plants from springtime mode.  In fact, they seem to like it.

For the first time in three years, the two Texas Mahonias (Mahonia swaseyi) are blooming.  These were purchased at the Native Plant Nursery in Medina.

The yellow balls open into pretty petite flowers. The shrub looks somewhat like Agarita, that grows in the fields.  The leaves have the same shape but aren’t as prickly.  It grows well in limestone soil.

Normally, I wouldn’t buy a plant from a nursery in Houston because their climate is radically different than ours.  But since this would be a pot plant, I knew I could find a good spot for it.

Purple Ground Orchid or Hardy Orchid (Bletilla striata) needs a shady area with indirect light but no direct sunlight.  It is delicate looking but is a perennial.

The details of its petals make it an exceptional flower that definitely looks like an orchid.

The Columbines (Aquilegia flavescens) are at the height of their bloom period.  Love this perennial.

Such zany flower shapes.

Dianthus or Pinks look so bright and cheerful.  The long stems came with this plant.  I think it’s some kind of Sedge.  I like the way it looks in the pot.

So many different varieties of Dianthus to choose from, but this one is my favorite because the amazing color is so varied.

Flowers on Eve’s Necklace or Texas Sophora (Sophora affinis) will become the string of black pearls necklace that make it unique.  The seed pods are poisonous.  The small tree Eve’s Necklace grows well in the center of the state and makes a great ornamental tree in the yard.

Gulf Coast or Brazos Penstemon (Penstemon tenuis) blooms before the harsh heat of summer takes over.  It is a native in southeast Texas and requires more moisture than most of the plants grown here.  Fortunately, it’s usually receives rainfall here at its bloom time.

Ox Eye Daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) are show stoppers and reliable perennials.  They can be invasive but are easy to dig up.

Crossvine (Bignonia capreolate) is blooming.  I had great hopes that this vine would cover this arbor.  But it’s been a slow grower.  Maybe someday.

Now a fond farewell to the Dutch Irises.  Your spring visit was short and sweet.  Thanks for coming.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”              Ecclesiastes 3:11

Spring Beauties

What a difference a little rain and warmth make.  Spring is busting out.

Fresh green in the yard is a delight.

Giant Spiderwort (Tradescantia gigantea) is one of several different varieties available.  Three were planted in 2014.  They do multiply but aren’t agressive.

The bright yellow against the purple takes on an almost neon brightness.

Dutch Iris “Miss Saigon” is a refreshing type of iris.

The blue petals look like a bird in flight.

These were planted in 2016.  They’re labeled as annual but bulbs are faithful to grow and bloom again.  Sixteen bulbs cost $4.94.  Can’t beat that.

A few blooms of Yellow Columbine, Golden Columbine, or Southwestern Yellow Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha A. Gray) are opening.  The form of these flowers are whimsical and fun.  The foliage is evergreen.  It’s a native, so that’s always good.

A new world each spring brings flowers blooming, birds singing, and sunshine on my back.

“Choose being kind rather than being right, and you’ll be right every time.”            Richard Carlson