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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: The year in review

It's the last day of 2011, the time of looking back and looking forward. Today I'm looking back by reviewing my first blog entry for each month of this almost finished year.

January: "It's not just honeybees that are in trouble" was a post that I wrote about how pollinators in general, not just honeybees, are threatened by modern gardening and farming practices that make extensive use of chemicals.

A large carpenter bee, one of the wonderful native bees that is endangered by the use of pesticides, visits yellow bells blossoms in my garden.

February: We were getting ready for another stretch of very cold weather and I wrote "The best way to prepare for a freeze? Know your zone and respect it." I proposed that one of the main keys to success in the garden was reading plant labels and believing what they say and not planting things in your garden that are not meant for your zone.

March: The first post was "Wordless Wednesday: Spring" and featured this picture:

A beautiful male Northern Cardinal sits in a blooming blueberry bush.

April: In "The generalist," I wrote about my visit to Arbor Gate to hear a lecture by Dr. David Creech of Stephen F. Austin University. Dr. Creech is a Texas treasure and one of the most knowledgeable horticulturists around.

May: I wrote about my experiment with planting a few heirloom cotton seeds in my garden in honor of my father who was a cotton farmer. The post was entitled "The cotton is planted" and, in fact, several of the plants grew well and did produce cotton.

June: The first post for June was on a Wednesday, and it was entitled "Wordless Wednesday: Red star, white star." 

Red 'Texas Star' hibiscus.

White 'Texas Star' hibiscus.

July: My first post of the month was "Happy birthday, America!" to wish everyone a happy Fourth of July weekend.

August: "Don't just do something. Stand there!" was all about the happy trend of more natural landscaping and letting Mother Nature have her way in our gardens. The message was that we shouldn't fight Nature but we should make it our partner. In fact, that's what "Gardening With Nature" is all about!

September: I celebrated the beginning of the month with a wonderful poem about Nature and gardens by Helen Hunt Jackson. The poem and the post were called "September."

October:  I did a riff on my fellow blogger Carol of May Dreams Gardens "Twelve secrets of happiness in the garden." I always learn something when I read Carol's blog.

November: I reported on my visit to Denver Botanic Gardens in "Denver Botanic Gardens - Part 1."

One of the many beautiful orchids that bloomed gloriously in the Botanic Gardens. This one is one of the slipper orchids. 

December: The year was quickly winding down and our first killing frost was just a few days away. In "A gardener's week," I wrote about what I had been doing in my garden to get ready and I walked through the garden to record in pictures some of my last blooms of the year.

This 'Ducher' rose was still full of these luscious blooms when the frost hit a few days later.

So that's a review of what I was thinking and writing about in 2011. Interestingly, not one of those first-of-the-month entries was strictly about the drought, although that was the topic that dominated conversations among Texas gardeners both in person and online this year. We can only hope that the dominant topic of 2012 will be a more pleasant one.

Happy New Year and happy gardening!


  1. You certainly have had a busy year in your garden Dorothy. I wish you all the best for a Happy and Safe New Year.