Mulch – I’m still alive to tell the tale…

So yesterday was my annual mulch day.  I usually do that in late April/early May when the oak process – old leaf drop; tassles; pollen – is completed, but I was exceptionally busy with the Legislature this year and the oak process seemed to go very late.  Anyroad, this was the first weekend I could get to it.  Note to self – Never wait this long again!hotashell

This year, it was 70 bags.  Usually, I go to Lowe’s and collect the stuff myself, but somebody kept saying I was too old for that sort of thing, so I had it delivered.  Hopefully I don’t look 49, but this afternoon I feel like 149.  If I’d’ve picked up the mulch myself, I’d probably be dead now.  I didn’t realize what a chore that was.  The Highlander can only hold 24 bags, so that’s three trips where I load the bags on the flat-bed cart; push with all my might to overcome inertia; and pray there’s a straight shot to the cashier.  Then it’s unloading the cart into the car; schlepping them home (looking like a low-rider in the process); unloading them out of the Highlander; then repeat twice.  Of course, the folks at Lowe’s think I’m either a gardening god or a complete freak.  I missed that attention this year.SI Exif

On Friday morning, a huge truck pulled up with a folk lift and quicker than you could say ‘Jack Robinson,’ I had two pallets of mulch in the driveway.  Yesterday morning was unloading the pallets and distributing the bags.  Then the work began.

Here are some photos – mainly as evidence that I do this crazy thing every year.

Here’s the front – before and after:

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And the back:

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During the day I stopped a couple of times – when I thought I was going to keel over and die – and got some fairly decent photos.  I’ve seen a lot of dragon flies this year.  This one was particularly colourful – orange wings and a crimson abdomen.

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My white Rose of Sharon (hibiscus syriacus) is doing very well.

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I’ve noticed that the crepe myrtles (lagerstroemia) in Austin seem to be doing exceptionally well this year.  The ones I planted behind the fence started blooming about a week ago.

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For some reason, my clematis (ranunculaceae) is blooming again.  That’s always been my biggest complaint about it; there seems to be an exceptionally short blooming season.  It might be getting more light this year than in the past, so perhaps that’s it.

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And I noticed that a titmouse has build a nest in the hollow part of this wrought-iron bear – extremely ingenious!

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Well, that’s another mulch day for the history books – Oy gewalt…

Garden Update – First of the Year

So yesterday was my first real ‘work day’ of the year in the garden.  I’ve been piddling around here-and-there all year, but yesterday was the first ‘back-breaker’ as it were.  Odd-number years are never good for me because of the Legislature and this year was particularly bad because I was juggling so many bills and hearings.

All-in-all, everything looks good despite the benign neglect as it were.  The grass is reviving the in back.  The front yard is probably a lost cause.  I know I’m going to eventually have to re-sod, but that’s for another day.  (This session, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 198, (Kirk Watson) prohibiting home owner associations in Texas from banning xeriscaping; I might keep that in the back of my mind.)

SI ExifI cleaned out all the beds in advance of next week’s annual mulch laying *sigh*  It looks good after it’s done, but it’s a nightmare to get it out.  That’s a blog entry in-and-of-itself.  The Turk’s Caps (Malvaviscus drummondii ) are doing really well.  They truly are my go-to plantings – they seem to thrive in almost any condition.  There are heaps of them on the Town Lake running trail.  That’s how I stumbled on them; literally.

I found some great portulacas at The Natural Gardner a few weeks ago for my two stone urns.  I’m very happy with those.

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The ‘wild meadow’ experiment I tried last year seems to be doing very well, too.  Probably because we didn’t have any significant freezes over the winter.  The blue daze (evolvulus), daisy bushes (euryops), lantanas (verbenaceae), blue potato bush (lycianthes rantonnetii), and plumbago (plumbaginaceae) are all coming on.

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I also planted a Black-Eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia).  I love these, but wasn’t able to find one last year.  SI ExifThey’re supposed to be pretty prolific re-seeders, but alas not for me.

I’ve been trying to reign in my penchant for buying garden tchotkes, but I couldn’t resist this chicken planter.  If I can’t SI Exifhave a real chicken coop, this is probably the closest I can get.

Now that I’ve written about it, I’m going to go enjoy it – grilling a couple zucchini pizzas and quaffing a Pink Cadillac Margarita (you MUST make this drink!)