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

Friday, June 1, 2012

This week in the garden - #17

Much of this week "in the garden" has actually been spent in the kitchen as I worked to preserve the bounty from the vegetable garden. I baked four dozen zucchini-nut muffins for the freezer for our breakfasts in coming months, canned fifteen quarts of food-processed tomatoes for vegetable soup base next winter, and made ginger-squash pickles from the last of the summer squash harvest.

We also harvested our corn and potatoes and had the first of our 'Chinese red noodle' beans for lunch yesterday. All of our lunch yesterday, except for the cornbread sticks, came directly from our garden. Very satisfying.

The garden is showing the effects of the mid-90s heat we've had on some days, plus the drying wind and the waning of the regular rainfall that we received over the first three months of the year. In short, things are dry, and, by mid-morning each day, everything looks wilted and sad. Supplemental watering is in order, but I'm trying not to make the plants dependent on that and keeping my fingers crossed for the rains to return.

This week in the garden several new blooms made their appearance.

The rangy, sprawling shrubs of Anisacanthus wrightii (flame acanthus) began sending out their flame-shaped blossoms. Within the next couple of weeks, the shrubs will be covered in these blooms and the plant will live up to its common name as it appears to be on fire. And the butterflies and hummingbirds will be in heaven!

The 'Montrose Purple' vitex is full of its eponymous purple blossoms.

Back in the veggie garden, the Jerusalem artichokes are sending up these pretty yellow flowers.

The Texas sage is full of blooms. It usually blooms in response to rain, so I guess it must be celebrating the rain we got about ten days ago.

The bleeding heart clerodendron is finally blooming again. Last year, the plant came back very late after a harsh winter. In fact, I had given up on it. It came back, but it never bloomed. This year, after our mild winter, it came back early and now it is blooming for the first time in two years. Never say die!  

The red version of the 'Texas Star' hibiscus is in bloom. The white variety has big, fat buds but hasn't opened any of them yet.

And, in old news...

The Mexican sunflowers continue to brighten my world and make my butterflies happy.

And the Black Swallowtail caterpillars continue to munch their way through my dill crop.

I hope your week in the garden has been a good one.


  1. Your garden is looking wonderful Dorothy. Most of my garden appears to be finished. The vitex, unlike yours, is covered in seedpods, not blooms. I do have blooms on the flame acanthus, but it looks a bit sparse. I don't have any Black Swallowtail caterpillars, but I've discovered several Wooly Bears since we got back from vacation.

    1. My vitex is a late bloomer this year. I cut it back pretty severely during the winter. The flame acanthus always looks sparse at first, but I'm sure yours and mine will be more floriferous in coming weeks, Jayne.

      Welcome home. I know you had a great vacation!