Around the Gardens in May

The garden is on fire. Colors are exploding, flowers are everywhere. This is the flower floozie month, it seems. Let's take a break from Austin-area gardens for a week or so and see what's happening around these parts. 

That Eriophyllum lanatum or Oregon sunshine, the yellow plant, has been blooming for weeks. It is such a great pollinator plant and is a native to these parts. I don't know that I like it paired with hot pink, but the bees sure do.


Arctostaphylos 'Saint Helena' (manzanita) is the prettiest shade of green. It has proven to be a very fast-grower, coming it at an impressive 5' at least and it's only been in the ground from a one gallon container since spring of 2016.


The edge of the main gardens here at Chickadee Gardens. You can see my happy mounds of creeping thyme - Thymus 'Pink Ripple' that are beginning to touch and fill in to form a carpet. Just wait until this is in bloom. Stay tuned. The "meadow" can be seen to the right - the poppies and what not. More on that to come next week.



Melianthus major or honeybush has bloomed this crazy spike of brick red flowers. I did not expect this in its first year here, but as I said, May is the flower floozie month.


The Ceanothus 'Italian Skies' are on fire this year. They have grown significantly (the two oldest ones, a third was replaced last year after one died in our awful winter. It has a little way to catch up) and are in full, no holds barred flowering mode.


The gravel garden around them is coming along nicely. Many moundy, drought-tolerant plants give the illusion of lushness. Pictured here is Santolina virens, the emerald green shrub, to the right is Hebe pinguifolia 'Sutherlandii' from fellow garden blogger Heather of Just a Girl with a Hammer at one of our many garden blogger's plant swaps. Round it out with Carex comans 'Frosty Curls' and Zauschneria californica on the left, it makes for a cool, lush scene in a very hot, dry gravelly bed.


The view from the deck, above the Ceanothus 'Italian Skies' looking off towards the labyrinth garden and in the far distance, the veggie garden (you can see the bean poles way back there).


A throw away lupine from work last year - such a pretty shade of coral pinkish reddish raspberry cerise kissed loveliness. Trying to describe colors is an interesting task, I think breeders who get to name their plants have a challenging time making up unique names.



More spikes. This is Baptisia 'Wayne's World' - another nursery throw away from several years ago. It's finally settled in and I think will do really well where I have it. Baptisias are known for being fussy - that is to say plant them where you want them, they don't like being moved. Once that tap root is established they are really carefree and easy.



There is much frothy foamy goodness going on this month. The blue flowers are Linum lewisii or blue flax, the white are Erigeron karvinskianus 'Profusion' which I chose to seed in and fill in the blanks in this area. It has done so with aplomb and I love it. I think in a small garden it might seed a little too happily, but in my situation it works.


More frothiness, this time in the form of California poppies or Eschscholzia californica 'Alba' or some white form.



Tetrapanax papyrifer 'Steroidal Giant' is living up to its name. I spy babies popping up around it. Uh-oh. At least we have space for this giant that can reach heights of 20' no problem. 



More bright Easter colors - purple and pink and yellow. While not my favorite combination, it's far enough from the house to not bother me and the pink flowers will fade soon. Pictured is Lupinus sericatus and Heuchera sanguinea 'Northern Fire', a western native heuchera. In the background is of course Oscar, Agave parryi var. truncata the magnificent (how's that, Danger Garden?).



Lots of yellows in the form of Sedum 'Angelina' and Eriophyllum lanatum again.


Salvia roemeriana 'Hot Trumpets' set against Fescue 'Beyond Blue'


Stipa gigantea, what a grass. I love that it's evergreen year-round, then in spring we get these tall spikes of airy, shimmering flowers.


Flower of Lavandula stoechas 'Van Gogh'.



Delosperma 'Fire Spinner'. This low-growing succulent is native to South Africa and loves full sun and well-drained soil. I have it at the edge of a bed in the labyrinth garden which is full of sand and sun . . . so, perfect. It does appreciate a drink of water in the summer.


Another Delosperma or ice plant - Delosperma 'Oberg', which has a lovely soft pink flower. It prefers the same conditions as above. Both are also great for rock gardens.



Flowers of spiky Sisyrinchium striatum or pale yellow-eyed grass. It has leaves similar to iris and does seed around. It's easy to pull out in my soil so I don't mind if it does. I like the vertical accent it gives to the labyrinth garden in hot, full sun.


An unknown lupine that showed up. I did sow naive wildflower seeds, this could be one. I love that blue, it's really stunning.



Even more spiky things! Phlomis russeliana or Jerusalem sage. It has large green (evergreen for me) leaves and in spring it sends up these crazy pod-like flowers of soft yellow. After they fade, I leave them for fall and winter interest. The vertical accent is again really welcome in my garden. From the Mediterranean, it is totally hardy and easy in our climate.


Rounding out the month of May with the veggie garden. Here is the main garden with three rows of corn, four pyramids of pole beans, a row of tomatoes, some peppers, cucumbers and at the very bottom, some squash seeds have been sown. This was taken a couple of weeks ago, it's actually filled in a lot since then. There is a kind of tree trunk retaining wall around the far two sides that Facilities Manager built and the corner closest to me is actually a three foot drop off from the field grass to where the corn is.



The other half of the veggie garden includes a row of artichokes, asparagus and rhubarb. The rows in the background include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, beets, celeriac, Brussels sprouts and onions. The raised beds include greens, snap peas, herbs, strawberries and carrots.


Facilities Manager decided to build a zocalo, a Spanish term for the main town square, between the two primary food gardens. It was just a muddy path, but as it turns out it is prime real estate. Here he sweeps sand between the pavers, working on details to finish it up. Soon I think the lounge chairs, bar and nacho stand will be installed. I can hope.

FM says: A nacho bar with oozy, weird-yellow cheese from a spigot, please! And some tequila with lime, and a mariachi band and  . . .!


Last but not least, I wanted to share two new visitors to our garden since this is Chickadee Gardens, after all - that is to say the garden is for the birds (and pollinators, and us, and the cats). First, we have a pair of quail. They are sooo freaking cute, it's a treat to watch Mr. and Mrs. Quail waddle along all over the garden. They just showed up one day and have stayed. Facilites Manager wanted to name them Dan Quail and Daenerys. Then he decided to change it to Jon Snow and Daenerys.


They have proven difficult to photograph. There's Daenerys on the right.


The second newcomer is an evening grosbeak with its oddly lime green beak.



A full-sun day with lots of happy color. Much more to come, as the flower show is only beginning.

The garden has been especially rewarding right now. All of those plants I put in the ground in 2016 are now in their third year, and you know the old adage - the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, the third year they leap. This is the third year and some of those perennials and shrubs are finally leaping. I couldn't be more pleased or amazed, for that matter. As they fill in I am reminded of my plant addiction, wondering what I will do when they finally take over the world. No matter, it's one day at a time, one issue at a time. It's fun to see the exuberance of the garden in its full flower floozie stage and to see all that hard work finally settle in and mature to something that resembles an actual garden with a little history and bones. 

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting, we love hearing from you all and what you are up to in your own gardens. Happy gardening one and all!

Comments

  1. So damn beautiful! I so envy your expertise - and your acreage! : )

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    1. I could say the same of you and your creative talents, Sir. Yours is an amazing gift, for those of you not familiar with Stephen O'Donnell's work, check it out: https://froelickgallery.com/artists/56-stephen-odonnell/works/

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    2. P.S. come out and visit this summer!

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    3. You're so sweet. And maybe I will... yes! : )

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  2. My word! Not that long ago this was dirt paths and loads and loads of gravel, stone and potted plants. Now it looks like something that has taken years to create. You folks rock my world . . . bravo!!! It must be a joy to work in your garden. I absolutely love working in mine and it is nothing compared to yours. I cannot wait to see your zocalo . . . that's a new word to me. Looking forward to seeing how the seasons change your lovely garden, too.
    Keep Smiling!
    Connie :)

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    1. Aw, thank you Connie. Your words rock my world. It is a joy working out there, especially with Facilities Manager. Love seeing your garden change through the seasons, too. Cheers!

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  3. I'm continually amazed by how much you've accomplished in a relatively short time. It looks wonderful, and the house sits on the property so beautifully now, surrounded by the garden.

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    1. Thank you Pam. That's what happens when you are obsessed and work at a nursery and have a Facilities Manager. We are blessed, indeed.

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  4. Your garden is a flowery place right now. I learned a new word today too. Zocalo. Sounds like a fun place to be. I love that little top knot on the quail. The Evening Grosbeak is a treat. They are beginning to be rare.

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    1. Zocaolo! It's a fun word. The main Zocalo is in Mexico City and it's sooo cool with a centuries old cathedral and art and gardens and fantastic people watching.

      That's interesting about the evening grosbeaks - I didn't realize they are becoming rare. We'll do what we can to help them out, that's for sure!

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  5. Amaze-Balls!!! I'm in awe. It's looks magnificent T, and attracting these new feathered friends...I'd say the Universe is telling you 'well done'. I used to get Evening Grosbeaks in Rainier. I miss them. They have such personality. I'll be ready to help you break in the Zocalo when it's finished!!

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    1. Aw, thank you Jen! The feathered friends are very special. They do have personality, each one is quite different from the next.

      Come on out and zocalo party with us!

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  6. I have to say your garden just becomes more and more fantastic with every post. You and FM are my heros.

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    1. Gee, thank you so much, KS! I am truly humbled. We just have the right combination of a retired Facilities Manager, a cool piece of land combined with the fact that I work at a nursery...haha...that makes for a crazy concoction. You are too kind :)

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  7. As a hard-core flower floozy, I found this post breathtakingly beautiful, Tamara! I loved everything but I'll be looking high and low for Ceanothus 'Italian Skies', which I think is spectacular. The Lavandula 'Van Gogh' is wonderful too. You should be immensely pleased with what you and your FM have accomplished!

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    1. You're a hard-core flower floozy? I had no idea! I'm glad to hear it! Thank you, Kris, truly. You are too kind.

      Oh, that Italian Skies is magnificent. Xera Plants here in Portland has it, check on Plantlust.com - you can order from them I believe.

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    2. Kris, email me at lucyandhobbes@gmail.com for more info about obtaining an 'Italian Skies' ;)

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  8. Holy cow! Your Delosperma photos look like a plant label, that is to say a level of floral perfection completely unatttainable for the average gardener.

    And I'm a little disappointed you could include a photo with the beautiful Agave in it and not even mention how good its looking! (More bright Easter colors)

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    1. Thanks Danger! It's a full-sun and sandy soil situation for the Delosperma. And just so you know, the "agave incident" has been rectified. Noted as it should have been in the first place ;) Thanks for being the Agave police.

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    2. Oscar and I thank you!

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  9. Being unfamiliar with Game of Thrones, I had to Google Daenerys. :) Your quail are adorable. Don't you love the wildlife? Your garden is fabulous. May is such a kind and gentle month. Here's to an equally delightful (or even more so) June.

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    1. Ha ha...we've only recently been into Game of Thrones. Facilities Manager named them, being especially into GOT. Thanks for your sweet words, Grace. May is a great month, I hope June is great for us all!

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  10. Anonymous1:26 PM PDT

    I would call it Edenic, but I don't think Adam and Eve worked half as hard. I know the labor is its own reward but living in paradise can't be half bad either. rickii

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    1. RICKII! I'm so glad you are able to comment again (even as an "anonymous")...You are too too kind, my friend. We would love to share paradise with you two, hows about you come over for a glass of wine in Chickadee Gardens? xo

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  11. Beautiful, beautiful! Your garden, still so young but already so full of flowers and great plants. Love that white Baptisia and of course the Ceanothus and the Melianthus major and so on. Not to forget the birds which are new for me, you have so many different birds we don´t have on the other side of the ocean. I enjoyed this post very much.

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