Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A gardener's week - #8

This week I have mainly worked in the veggie garden, trying to bring order out of chaos. I've pulled the weeds from several beds and readied them for planting and actually got a couple of them planted. I went by Arbor Gate on Monday and picked up some plants, including mesclun mix plants and broccoli for the veggie garden, as well as a few plants for the renovation I'm doing on my front yard beds. (More to come on that at a later date.)

I got the mesclun and broccoli planted and weeded the beds that still have plants from spring in them and the tomatoes that I planted last month. The only things from spring that are still producing are the eggplants and peppers.

The eggplant is going wild right now! It had stopped producing for a few weeks during the hottest part of summer but now it is full of new fruits. In short order, we'll have eggplant parmigiana again!

I also had a bed ready to plant potatoes, but I took the day off from gardening today and went birding at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. Time enough to think about planting potatoes tomorrow.

Other than vegetable gardening, the main attractions in my garden this week have been my hibiscus bloomers. All the plants are in bloom except for one.

This is my non-bloomer that was killed back to the roots during winter and took a very, very long time coming back in the spring. It looks healthy now but shows no signs of producing buds. It still has about two-and-a-half months before frost so maybe it will yet give me some blooms.

This is another plant from last year that died back to the roots in winter but it came back quickly in spring and has bloomed profusely all summer long. The only thing is, the blossom is different. Last year it was a singleton - now it's this very pretty double. It is my mystery hibiscus.

I learned last year that I actually quite like hibiscus. Some of the blossoms on these plants can be quite complicated and fantastical, but, actually, I'm really partial to the clean-cut single blossoms. So I added three of them this year.

This pretty orange one is called 'Carolina Breeze.'

My new sunny yellow one is called 'Sunset Yellow.' At least that was the name that was on the plant tag when I bought it, but frankly the blossom doesn't look quite like the picture. Never mind, I like it anyway.

The third new one features a pink blossom with a red eye and it is called 'Candy Wind.'

Then, of course, there is my old stand-by 'Texas Star' that has really outdone itself with blooms continuously since spring.

And, in other parts of the garden...

I haven't seen the tiny baby turtle this week, but this guy who turned up earlier this summer has been back for his share of the kibble on the back porch.

The milkweed is attracting any butterflies that wander by but also these red milkweed bugs. Notice that they feature the bright colors to warn predators that they taste bad, just like the Monarch butterflies and...

...their cousins, the Queens. I've had a pair of these beauties in my yard this week and they've spent a lot of time around the milkweed. I hope they are laying some eggs there.

Still no Monarchs though. The migration is well under way now. They should be arriving soon.

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