Six on Saturday 2019-04-06: Before the Rain

The few drops I felt this morning make me happy. I’m don’t want to deal with an irrigation system and even manage to have trouble with hoses, so my usual garden watering routine is lugging water back and forth between the faucet and plants. Last weekend it poured… in a different city where I was traveling. But after many dry weeks, it looks like North Austin is finally about to get a drenching. No lugging for me next week? 🙂

Without further ado, here’s six things in my garden this week.


Black Swallowtail instar eating fennel

There’s definitely more insect life around, from ants to ladybugs to butterflies. I’m happy to see that of the many butterflies who have flitted around lately, at least one was pleased enough with my garden to want its kids to grow up here. I do have a ton of fennel and, after seeing this, regret pulling up some of it earlier because there was just too much.

Flowers Out Front

Wildflowers and herbs

I do most of my gardening in the backyard, but this little bed is out front. I love how it’s finally filled up with the white salvia, lavender, oregano, bluebonnets, and pink evening primroses. I can only make out the young Texas Mountain Laurels in there because I know where they are, but they’re growing and one day they’ll be the dominant feature in this bed.

Olive Blooms

Blooms on the Arbequina Olive tree

Although January may not have been the best time to plant out this young Arbequina Olive tree, it survived the late frost and has put up with me not watering it quite enough. (It should be drought tolerant when more mature, which is why I chose it for an inconvenient location.) It’s apparently also content enough to flower already. This will probably look really awesome someday when it’s a large mature tree.


Large Cardoon leaves growing ever larger

This plant must have doubled in size during the past month. I hope it blocks out some weeds!

Mystery Plant

I don’t know what this is.

It hasn’t bloomed in the past three years. Should I dig it up to take a look? Remove the grass from around it and mulch so it can have some personal space? The only thing I’ve done with it is accidentally mow it over a few times, but I’m curious.


Smooth earth (?) snake slithering in the mulch

The first time I saw one of these little snakes in the yard, it was already in two pieces from digging a hole for a new tree. Now that they know how inattentive I can be, they stay out of my way most of the time. However, today I was able to spot one in the mulch next to my Al-Sirin-Nar pomegrantate. If this is an earth snake as it appears to be, it eats earthworms, insects, and snails. Maybe it was out today because there are an excessive number of snails about this morning enjoying the wet mulch and leaves. Go snake, get ’em!

Six on Saturday 2019-02-23: So many plants

Two new plants arrived in the mail this week–a Crandall Currant and a Goumi. I got them into the ground the same day, but they’re very much sticks-in-the-ground at this point. I’ll share more later about how they made their way onto the list of the twelve plants I’m buying this year.

Other than that, I’ve stayed inside for most of the week, thinking about work things. Fortunately, today I spent more time in the garden and was finally able to clear my mind again. Here are a few (well, six) of the little things that I’ve been able to immerse myself in today and free myself of other cares.

Turks Cap

Turks cap sprouts

Turks cap is a Texas native that easily handles any neglect and has beautifully structured red flowers for many months of the year. I’ve been quite disappointed as my turks cap cuttings have died off one by one (just one left!), but maybe growing from seed will be a better solve for propagating more plants. I planted a few seeds on the 9th, and a couple of weeks in I’ve already potted a couple of them to their own containers. Even better, today I felt something uncomfortable in my shoe, which turned out to be another turks cap seed. Someday I will have many (in my yard, not my shoe).

Arbequina Olive

new growth on the olive tree

Meanwhile, leaves continue to pop up on more plants outside. One of the latest is on the Arbequina Olive that I just planted out last month. It was a relief that the winter has been pretty mild since planting it out, and it’s even more of a relief now that it appears to be happy in this location.

Goji berry

Fresh greens on the goji berry

One goji berry has been putting out new growth for a couple of weeks already, and the other has just started. Between the two plants, I only got a few dozen small berries last year, but here’s hoping that this year is more prolific now that they’ve made themselves more at home.

Wild Onion

Wild onion flowers

When we first move into this house a few years ago, I was intrigued by the onion-smelling foliage in the side yard and then amazed to discover that it’s actually wild onion. Someday I’ll try using some of this in cooking, but for now I just love to observe and marvel at it growing wild.


Lonely cardinal

I saw a pair of happily coupled cardinals flitting about this morning, but this other guy seemed a bit down. He was hopping around in the neighbor’s yard, sometimes waving his wings a bit but to no effect. I was curious about his injury, but he kept hopping away from me and finally through a hole in a wooden fence to another neighbor’s yard.

Philodendron & Shrimp Plant

Spotted philodendron

I’ve been keeping an eye on Craigslist lately, and today a gardener from a nearby neighborhood posted about some free extras–red shrimp plants and a bag of spotted philodendron. Shrimp plants aren’t my favorite because, well, they look like they have shrimp on them. But I have plenty of spaces needing plants to fill them, so several shrimp plants made their way home today. I planted out five of them in a row near the area where the creek overflows (we’ll see in a few months whether I planted them too low, if so they’ll drown in the spring floods) and potted up one for the swap at work on Monday. The huge mass of philodendron twine confused me. Will the now-mangled plants in all of these five pots survive? You can see I ran out of pots and resorted to whatever I could find. Eventually I’ll repot these into a hanging planter I also got free.

Well, I think I’ve had enough gardening for one day and am ready for some sleep, but if you’re interested in seeing what other folks are up to in their gardens, check out The Propagator for more Six on Saturday blogs from around the world.