Blog posts from April 2012
Apr 27, 2012
For those of you living in the City of Dallas, new permanent watering restrictions have gone into effect as of April 23rd, 2012.
But don't worry...you can still get all your gardening on! The new ordinance allows for you to fulfill all your typical watering needs for established landscapes and new plantings. The twice per week restriction only applies to automated sprinkler systems or above ground sprinklers. You may run these sprinklers twice per week on your assigned days (addresses ending in even numbers can water Thursday and Sunday, addresses ending in odd numbers may water on Wednesdays and Saturdays.) You should not run your sprinkler systems between10am-6pm. A deep watering once per week, or twice per week in the heat of the summer, is all you need to properly care for established lawns, trees and foundation plantings.
The restrictions on additional hand watering, soaker hoses and drip irrigation that were in place under the previous Stage 1 ordinance have been lifted under the new ordinance! You may now provide any needed supplemental watering via hand watering (hose end, watering can, bucket, rain barrels, etc.), soaker hoses, drip irrigation, TreeGator bags, on any day of the week. That means you'll have no problem establishing and maintaining your new plantings of trees, foundation plantings, vegetable gardens, containers; all of which are crucial to our urban environment.
Note: if you are using rainwater, well water or grey water (non-potable water) you are not required to follow any restrictions or watering schedule. Great news!
Apr 14, 2012
Have you checked out the newish series of strawberries called 'Fragoo'? So lovely...so far. The series comes in three colors 'Deep Rose', 'Pink' and 'White'. The pitch on this series is the large ornamental blooms you get on the plants. Plus, they are day-neutral so should be ever-bearing (but most strawberries will still take a break during our hottest months.)
Here is a photo of 'Frago Deep Rose' in my garden. I'll be testing them out for fruit production in my veg garden. Now, strawberries are perennials so you need to give them a dedicated sunny bed. In our climate, a couple hours of afternoon shade is usually appreciated.
This series is supposed to be particularly suited to containers, because of the showy flower sand 3-ft runners. There is still time to get strawberries planted in the garden in N. Texas, but I'd recommend doing it soon so plants have some time to put down roots before it gets very hot (and garden centers run down on availability). Enjoy!
Apr 13, 2012
As my chicken coop and chicken yard continue to evolve in their needs, I've started adding blooming vines to the fence we built to keep them out of the veg garden. I planted three of these Maypops, or Passiflora incarnata, (plus a couple of P. caerulea 'Blue Queen') along the fence to not only provide some shade for the girls, but also to camouflage the fence dress things up a bit with the showy flowers.
After an application of recycled chicken litter fertilizer, these beauties have taken off and are starting to throw off a number of blooms. Maypops also produce small orange edible fruits (hence the name), which will make great treats for the chickens!
Butterflies love passion vine so planting one or two is a great way to attract them to your garden. There are many different species and varieties to choose from. In mild winters they may keep most of their foliage...in colder winters they'll die to the ground, then re-emerge in spring. Passion vines are perfect for a sunny location, but they will tolerate some dappled shade or late afternoon shade.
Apr 12, 2012
When you're a plantgeek like me...there's nothing better than getting a stunning plant specimen for your birthday from one of your bestest plantgeek friends. Wait, maybe there is one thing better...getting TWO stunning specimens for your birthday! Now, my birthday was back in December...and it took a bit to get these two beauties moved to my house, but when they did show up (which was a surprise), I can't tell you how happy I was.
These are two giant specimens of 'Changsha' Tangerines,Citrus reticulata, one of the most cold-hardy varieties. Grown from seed by my bestie Jimmy, who so sweetly bestowed them up on me. Now, these pots are giant. And heavy. And I'm sure it was quite the comedy to watch my husband and I move them from the front driveway to the back yard. Not to mention, they are coverd in giant thorns. That was fun...but well worth it!
'Chengsha' are prolific producers of seedy but very juicy tangerines. Although the parentage isn't totally confirmed, they could be a cross between C. reticulata and C. ichangensi. The name Chengsha could also be just the name of the place from whence the variety originated and not necessarily the variety name. Can't seem to find consensus on this. But, what is true is that these lovely citrus trees are incredibly cold hardy. Seed grown plants tend to be more cold hardy than vegetatively produced specimens. These two particular plants made it through the winter of 2010...with all that ice and 10-12 degree temperatures, even in containers (hence the giant thorns which tend to come on under stress or cold damage). Plants will grow 10-12 ft, so are perfect for container culture if you don't have space in the garden. Full sun...a bit of afternoon shade appreciated.
Jimmy knows what a huge citrus freak I am. So I'm sure he must know how tickled pink I am have to add these beauties to my citrus collection (Thank you Dahling). I hope with the babying I'm currently giving them I'll see a nice harvest this winter. Tangerine juice here we come!
Apr 11, 2012
After much nursing, antibiotics (for CRD which they all came with), babying and such...the four surviving baby Silkies that I'm fostering are thriving. Boy have they grown. Of course they'll never compare in size to my other big girls, but they sure are fluffing out. They are most likely around 5 months old at this point, maybe a few weeks older than that, but no way to be totally sure. I also still can't be sure whether they are boys or girls...or which are which...but I do have my suspicions about at least one of them..
I think this one may end up being a boy...mostly because "he" is bigger than the rest and always has been, plus he has more distinctive colored feathers down his chest. Which can be a characteristic of a rooster. Plus, his tail feathers that are growing in seem to be more pronounced. But still...who knows.
This partridge colored bird was the runt of the litter. "She" was pretty tiny when we inherited her, and she's still a bit smaller than the rest, but has managed to catch up pretty well (and she's still bigger than Beezus, lol). Beez is not to thrilled with the co-lapping in this photo...but don't they color coordinate so nicely? I know. I have a problem.
Hopefully, given another month or so, I'll be able to better tell the girls from the boys. If I have girls, I am going to try to keep them...although integrated them in with the rest of the larger flock could be very challenging. Any roosters will have to be re-homed, as Dallas city ordinance prohibits us from keeping roosters. I may have one taker already but if not, and I have Roosters to re-home, I'll post an update to see if any of you have a home for them!
Apr 9, 2012
Happy Monday morning to you. So I stopped by CBS Radio/103.7 Lite FM to chat with Paige Mccoy Smith from Channel 8 (who also has her own online radio show with her best friend). They wanted to chat about the spring garden and rabbits...and such. I think I start at the 11 minute mark. Listen in for some Monday morning entertainment!