While I’m jealous of the weather that auspeople are experiencing, I still am enjoying the somewhat cooler temperatures here and still determined to bring my garden back from the dead.  Or the jungle, as this is Houston. 

I decided to get out and plant the last of the stuff I’d bought at the nursery along with a couple things I’d had sitting around potted for too long.  Everything went  in a big circle around the dripline of my young maple tree.  So I planted a couple Rose-of-Sharon bushes, a Nandina (might be a dwarf – don’t remember), three mums, a lantana, and a couple of butterfly plants.  Arranged so that the view from the house or patio should be relatively nice – short ones near the front, taller near the back. 

In spring, the ROS blooms pink fading to white, and the nandina makes sprays of white/yellow flowers.  By early summer, the nandina’s flowers have turned to bright red berries.  Lantana and butterfly bush get started by mid-summer; the lantana flowers are yellow and the butterfly bush are red-orange.  By late summer, the mums (two yellow, one orange) kick in and the fall color should include the nandina leaves turning to red, the mums and butterfly bush and lantana all giving a bright show in the yellow-to-red spectrum.  Mums generally keep on producing all winter, and the nandina stays bright that whole time.  So if they all survive, should be a nice patch.  Especially nice in the spring and fall, when you really want to sit on the patio.

Thunder started when I still had several plants left to put in the ground.  I rushed to beat the weather; my frequent anxious glances at the rapidly darkening sky did let me appreciate a rather impressive sunset.  Got everything planted, and was spreading a layer of newspaper as a weed barrier to kill off the remaining bits of lawn between and around them (the plan was to cover that with a nice thick layer of mulch).  Fat raindrops started hitting me, but I kept working until the sky fell in and the lightning started flashing.  At that point, acknowledged that there are smarter things to do than to work under a tree in a thunderstorm.

So I’ll need to go back out and spread more newspapers, then a nice thick mulch layer.  I’m thinking of surrounding the whole thing with a meandering cobble-stone-y walkway.  We’ll see how far I get.

I’m realizing (reference above walkway idea) that the really great gardens don’t just have neat plants.  They also have well-though-out hardscape.  Pathways, benches, planters, retaining walls and edging, even a little potting shed will make my garden much more pleasant.

And tiki torches.  Must get some stands in place so I can put out and light the tiki torches.  Citronella oil will drive the insects away and I can sit on the patio in the flickering torchlight with a glass of wine, and contemplate my little patch of suburbia. 

Now for a late dinner and maybe I’ll seduce K for the evening’s entertainment  🙂

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