As we are about to approach our first Winter freeze, I decided to look back at the blooms and warmth of our garden in 2014. I’m not a fan of Winter and never look forward to the discomfort of being cold! Some of you would laugh at what “cold” means to me…I do live in Texas. Either way, looking back at these pictures and remembering these new experiences will keep my excitement up in anticipation of Spring 2015.
Here, we removed rose bushes that were planted from the previous owners. I’ve unfortunately never been a fan of rose bushes. Either these were not cared for or there wasn’t enough sun to make these bushes full with vigor. I did feel bad about removing them and ending their rosy life, so we tried transplanting them in containers but it didn’t take and ultimately had to throw them out. We cleaned out the bed, removing weeds and grass strays, tilled, and added compost. We were sooooo sore after removing the bushes and cleaning up the bed…had no idea gardening would be such a workout!
In this bed, which faces East, we planted 1 Texas Lantana, 2 Lyreleaf Sages, 2 Cedar Sages, 1 Silver Queen Artemisia, and 1 Pow Wow Wild Berry Coneflower. The Texas Lantana is a drought tolerant beauty that attracts butterflies with it’s orange and yellow bloom clusters. It grows 2-6 ft. high and wide, but it’s first year in my bed only reached about 2 ft in diameter. My Lyreleaf Sage did not bloom last year, so hoping they will surprise me this year — they grew little stalks, but with no blooms. I also found them not to be as heat tolerant as the Cedar Sage. The Cedar Sage was a constant bloomer and I’m sure it brought the hummingbirds to my garden before I had setup their drinking station 🙂 Cedar Sage boasts crimson red blooms throughout Spring and Summer, while the green foliage maintains rosette tones during the winter. On the other hand, I had a little trouble with Silver Queen Artemisia…while it started great and grew quickly, it’s floppyness just didn’t look right around Fall. Looked as if a big cat laid on it for a nap and it never rebounded, lol. I think I should have pruned it in the Summer to keep it upright. Also, I believe it was the humidity, but the leaf’s fuzzy texture would peel off! This picture does not reflect it’s worse moments…I hope pruning it after winter/early spring will give it the oomph it needs to shine again! I also had trouble with my Echinacea — it seemed a bit diseased and I kept pruning off the blackened leaves and stems. One part just pulled right out like it had root rot. It looks a little sad right now, I know parts of it are still alive and dormant; we’ll see how it pulls through this Spring. In the fall I added Daffodil bulbs around the Lantana, which are already sprouting due to our warmer fall/winter, and also planted some leftover Allium bulbs behind the coneflower. I figured the Daffodils would really standout around the deciduous Lantana until Spring ❤
In front of our backyard porch was a rock bed for falling rain water. I updated this rock bed to border some Ajuga Burgundy Glow groundcover, which I hope blooms this year, and some herbs for easy access from our kitchen (herb types have since changed). I also added some of the leftover Allium bulbs here too.
The Clematis that existed when we moved in had years of layered dead vine, which we cut down to the ground not knowing what it was or if it was alive. It rebounded last spring with beautiful purple blooms that continued into the Fall. Upon further research, we realized we had a Clematis, a variety that only blooms on new growth. We’ll be pruning it again, down to the ground, early this Spring.
The containers that didn’t work for the roses were re-purposed. I have Gaura lindheimeri ‘Snow Fountain’ in one container, which currently has beautiful red stems for winter interest. The blooming season boasts wispy stems of white flowers that attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies. They are drought tolerant and don’t care to be moved or transplanted (from what I’ve read), so it will stay in the container and be paired with seasonal annuals (Angelonia pictured). The other container, I had growing Citronella, which didn’t bloom, but grew very large, and Hawaiian Blue Eyes. Both the citronella and blue eyes look a little sad from our early Fall frost, but I left them that way and will prune this Spring. I think Citronella is a tender perennial and blue eyes an annual groundcover…so they may be replaced this Spring, we’ll see.
Finally, while we want raised vegetable beds in the back yard, it’s still part of the future plans, we added some garlic in a sunny back corner that faces south. We love garlic and have it in most our meals — can’t wait to harvest them!
Can’t forget the hummingbirds! I MOSTLY miss the little hummingbirds who despise the cold as much as I do. We had two that frequently came by our garden for a drink. They of course spent their days fighting each other off, but I imagine they were just having some fun ❤