Digging In

Insight into garden design, photography and growing life.

December 15, 2011

Fall color from my Asiatic beds

Some nice foliage on the north side of the house.

Fall Color from my Japanese Maple

We are thoroughly enjoying the autumnal show our Coral Bark Japanese maple is putting on. The red bark is most evident in the new growth and intensifies as the weather gets cold.

November 02, 2011

Cats in the garden

The kitties enjoy the garden view and fresh air on a cool morning.

Peeking into the kitchen garden

Enjoying the greenery of my three new Needlepoint Hollies along the shared fence, as seen from my bedroom window on a cloudy morning.

October 25, 2011

Filling the Frame

One of my favorite regular reads is Gardening Gone Wild. About each month they have a photo contest in which other bloggers are invited to share their best submissions. I tend to be contest-adverse (too much pressure!), but Saxon Holt, one of my favorite photographers/contributors, was judging and had a great theme: Fill The Frame. Here's my entry. Since I had such a difficult time selecting my entry, I though I would share the other images I was debating between:

Loved this use of these decorative pots and the play of texture in this south Dallas garden - from this year's Garden Conservancy Open Days tour.

Since I was constructing my kitchen garden just before this tour, I was paying close attention to everyone's paving materials.

Isn't this reclaimed brick great?

A very colorful play on a Dallas icon, especially when painted on an unusual garden material. This was a very Industrial Chic garden.

Lovely lotus leaves.

The plant combo of the dark purple coleus paired with ornamental millet and colocasia was captivating me. So I kept trying to find the best way to showcase these plants. Found this great planting in the gardens at Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Ill.

Might have to plant some ornamental millet next year. Reminds me of crazy cattails. This was a purple variety. I imagine it had much more color earlier in the season.

Strongly considered this one for the contest. There were lots of great entries, per usual on GGW. The results should be interesting and enlightening.

Strong and simple purple coneflower. Another contender.

Similar to the entry, but this one has harsher lighting.

I almost entered this one, but worried it was a bit too static and formal.

Gardening Gone Wild's Picture This Photo Contest: Fill The Frame

I'm so indecisive. I need to pick a photo for one of my fav garden blogs' photo contest and it's now down to the wire. Which image says "Fill The Frame" best? Argh!

October 22, 2011

Flight of the Monarchs

The butterfly bush is playing its role well, feeding the Monarchs as they migrate.

More butterfly pics to come later.

Tomorrow's Harvest

Three more peppers left. Letting them get a bit bigger.

Today's Harvest

Thanks to cooler temps and a little rain, my green peppers have rebounded. Tonight they will contribute to our chili dinner.

September 18, 2011

In the kitchen garden

Last look, from way down low. Mmm, the lavender smells good.

In the kitchen garden

This blurry shot highlights all my columnar hollies and magnolias. Another reason I'm thinking of adding some more.

In the kitchen garden

These two raised beds were quite productive. Unfortunately the heat got the better of a few boxwoods.

Peaking into the kitchen garden

Another look in. This should be a great entry when my Climbing Pinkie rose grows up.

Peaking into the kitchen garden garden

A work in progress. . . . Thinking about planting some evergreen hollies or laurels into the raised boxes against the fence so I have something green to look at in the winter. Not sure the veggies get enough light in these spots.

Hoping for more rain

Another shot of the pathway wending toward the kitchen garden. You can see a bit of the heat stress if you look closely, or just glance at the lawn.

Hoping for a bit more rain

A quick shot of the garden path looking east toward the kitchen garden to document the light.

September 11, 2011

Today's harvest


Today's harvest

Sunflower with apples

Today's harvest

A few sunflowers from the kitchen garden. Making the most out of the them before moving the stalks to the compost bin. They toppled over a few days ago. The boy and I sowed just a few of these ornamental sunflowers, with hopes of some cut flowers, when it was well into the summer. So nice to have something to bring in despite the heat.

August 05, 2011

Reports from Death Valley

Ok, it only feels like Death Valley. Much of the country is stuck in the oven, but I don't expect to be done with our "heat wave" until mid-September. I'm just praying/hoping for fall rains. The state really needs it.

We've been lucky here in our neck of the woods, no severe water restrictions yet. Happy to report that our lawn is still green and most of the plants are fine. My 'Little Rascal' hollies are brown and crunchy. I think this ongoing heat is just too much for most of the hollies. Even the 'Sky Pencil' hollies from the builder, which should be established by now (watered on a drip system), are looking a bit yellow on the bottom (I think it's heat induced chlorosis). Now I'm really appreciating native plantings and those Yaupon Hollies around the area. Think some will be making their way into my landscape. Wonder how my old garden, full of xeriscape stuff, is fairing.

Have also seen reports we could be starting our fall tomato plantings now, but I'm holding off. I don't want to plant anything, let alone water anything more.

July 10, 2011

Thinking cool

It's summer in Texas. It's hot. This this the windiest year I've spent in this state. Couple that with the triple digit heat (which arrived way too early) and you have the recipe for environmentally-stressed-out garden plants.

I tell people I quit gardening in May, because that's when the heat starts. Of course this isn't true. Really I try not to plant anything other than annuals or containers in May or later. Too hot for me and the plants. But the onset of heat means the fun of new planting is over and the chore of watering has begun. All those new babies I had to have now need lots of water love. The veggies? Water hogs, especially without enough mulch in those raised beds. One of my favorite moments on a garden tour was a faux headstone engraved,"He moved hoses." This is the time of year is when I can truly relate to that sentiment.

So let me leave you with the thoughts of upstate New York: Imagine strolling around the shady grounds surrounding an aged white house with bits of moss growing on the slate tiled roof. Amble over the bridge, passing a quiet stream and wandering into the wood. You come upon a sturdy red structure, a renter's quarters. Try to peak inside the hazy, vine-covered window as a breeze lifts your hair off your neck, cooling you slightly. Of course you hadn't realized you were even warm.

June 09, 2011


One of the walled gardens which inspired my humble kitchen garden. This shot was taken peaking from over a wall of balusters at the Dallas Arboretum.

Garden Touring: Women's Garden fountain

A brief video featuring one of the fountains in the Women's Garden, one of the gardens at the Dallas Arboretum.

FYI: this video doesn't seem to work on an iPhone, even though it was posted with my iPhone. Technology is so fun. Maybe non-Apple devices will have more luck.

Peaking into the kitchen garden

It really is a delight to be able to harvest ingredients from your own garden, especially right before dinner. I'm feeling so Alice Waters right now.

BTW, that empty pot really is a working fountain. Really. I'll be revisiting this DIY container fountain later in the season. Maybe a stronger pump, planting it out or something completely different.

From garden to table

Home-grown tomato salad with dinner tonight. We all enjoyed the tomatoes and basil fresh from the garden, even he kiddo.

April 03, 2011

Out like a lamb

The view out my living room window, at the end of March. Loving my new Renaissance spirea, even the green scent of the white blooms.

Bi-color iris, monarda, vibrunum, magnolia, and hollies are in the foreground. The Possum Haw holly is on the left.

March 25, 2011

Catching My Breath

If you xeriscape, the flooding rains come. If you install a drain, then starts the drought.

Busy, busy, busy. I feel I cannot waste any of these beautiful and unseasonably warm spring days. Just as I couldn't waste any clear, dry winter afternoons. Tonight DH took the boy, who was delightfully muddy after his evening playing with the hose and his wheelbarrow, and I got so much planting done.

I'm happy to say there are more new plants in the ground than in pots: Verbena bonariensis is among the grasses. Monarda 'Peter's Purple' is a background for the bicolor iris. Added some bearded iris beside those African iris. In front of those and the hollies (Little Rascal) are yellow lantana and passed-along daylillies. Bubble gum pink petunias are the front border for a pot of salvia, hollyhock, diamond frost and a mini petunia. More pink petunias will hopefully hide the legs of an Abraham Darby rose. Oh, some New Zealand flax tucked next to the Possum Haw holly.

What else? Moved the white catmint. Pulled out and potted up a Muhly grass 'Pink Flamingo' to plant a forsythia in its place. Finally planted the rest of the white Turk's Cap behind the grasses, we'll see if they survived the winter or the dog. Potted up two big containers for the patio, which has no room.

My back is reminding me how much I amended the bed alongside the shared fence. Ouch. Yesterday I replanted the easternmost Magnolia for the third time. I think I finally got it right. If those howling gales don't return, it might stand up straight for a while.

Catching up to my winter activities, the kitchen garden is 90 percent complete! The gravel path has been installed, a stone border contains it. Roses, hollies, dwarf crepe myrtles, scabiosa, pinks, and lavender have all been planted. The four raised beds are set up and planted with lots of veggies. The broccoli has already been victimized by bunnies and caterpillars. Two of the planted beds are now surrounded by prison fencing. Ha! Now I need to mix up the Bt for those dang caterpillars. Argh.

Veggies planned, starts & seeds:

tomatoes (fingers crossed)
Mexican oregano

To do list:

start up fountains
create stepping stone entry to kitchen garden
install metal edging in new beds
finish pruning grasses in front
plant more grasses in front
finish planting herbs
fertilize front beds
build trellis in kitchen garden
create trellis for brick wall
plant & train crossvine up patio posts
take some Advil and go to bed

Here's a sneak peak of the kitchen garden: Liberty holly on the left, high density planting of strawberries, tomatoes, basil and marigolds in first raised bed, dwarf crepe myrtles, ballerina rose on the trellis, back raised bed with broccoli and corn seeds.

Good night!