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

Friday, March 5, 2010

A day in the life of a gardener

With one interruption after another, I haven't been able to spend as much time as I would have liked this week in the garden, even though the weather has been cooperative. But, finally, today I was able to put in several hours getting some much needed chores completed.

The day started propitiously with blueberry muffins, one of our favorite breakfasts. The blueberries were not from our own yard - we'll have to wait a few more weeks for that - but the ones from the grocery store were perfectly acceptable and I made the muffins from my favorite recipe. I've shared it with you before, but just in case you missed it, here it is again:



□ 2 c. all purpose flour
□ 1/3 c. sugar
□ 1 tsp. baking powder
□ 1 tsp. baking soda
□ 1/4 tsp. salt
□ 1/4 c. unsweetened orange juice
□ 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
□ 1 tsp. vanilla extract
□ 1 (8 oz.) carton vanilla low fat yogurt
□ 1 egg
□ 1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
□ Vegetable cooking spray
□ 1 tbsp. sugar
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine orange juice and next 4 ingredients. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Gently fold in blueberries.
Coat muffin pan with cooking spray and divide batter among 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Thus fortified with delicious muffins and coffee, I headed outside to get my garden under control.

As I walked into the backyard, the trees were full of goldfinches and they were all pointing out to me that the birdfeeders were empty! I knew I couldn't get anything done with all those hungry birds hanging over my shoulder and screeching at me, so I headed to the big metal trash can that keeps our supply of birdseeds safe from the raccoons. I took some of the fruit and nut mix, as well as the thistle seeds and the black oil sunflower seeds and went to replenish the feeders. I filled the backyard feeders and then moved to the front yard to fill that feeder. By the time I returned to the backyard, the feeders there and the ground underneath the feeders were covered by hungry goldfinches.

Time for my first break. I sat and watched the birds for a while and thought about what I needed to do today.

Yesterday, I had made a run to The Arbor Gate and purchased a few new plants for the yard. I got some viburnums, columbines, African daisies, and a couple of 'Blue Elf' aloes. I wanted to get those plants into the ground as well as getting a few more shrubs and perennials moved.

My first project was to plant the aloes in the xeric bed around the bottle tree, but as I walked through the sitting area under the sycamore tree, I noticed that several of my potted plants looked a bit droopy. I checked their soil and found they were pretty dry. I always forget just how fast pots can dry out, so I got my trusty watering can and gave them all a drink.

On to the bottle tree bed with my new aloes. The plants in this bed have come through winter in pretty good shape, although the cenizo is looking a bit sad just now. It has lost a lot of leaves, but I'm hoping it will rebound. The Mexican feather grass, the agaves, and the sedum all seem to be thriving. I dug my planting holes and added the aloes, and felt pleased with the result.

Time for another break and more bird watching. I hadn't seen the bluebirds around for several days so I was very happy to note that they were back visiting the bluebird box today. Even better, the male bluebird perched in several prominent locations around the yard and sang his spring song to let all the other male bluebirds know that this is his patch. Perhaps we will have baby bluebirds in my yard this year after all.

After this entertaining interlude, I moved to the front yard with my Hinckley's columbines. These I planted in the bed under the red oak tree. I hope they will be happy there.

While I was in this area of the yard, there were a couple of plants that I needed to "tweak" just a bit. A mahonia and my anonymous camellia both needed to be moved to another part of the bed for better placement, so I did that and watered them in well.

After another break, (Yes, I do take lots of breaks. My back demands them.) I planted my "Proven Winner" Osteospermum 'Sunny Henry' plants in the bed with my 'Radazz' Knockout roses. I think they'll look good together.

There was an autumn sage plant that I wanted to move to a new location, so I did that next. Then I dug up the pink coral vine roots. They appeared to be alive, so I plunked them into a new bed next to the wooden fence, firmed and watered them in and wished them well.

By this time, it was late afternoon and we hadn't stopped for lunch. All the time that I was busy moving plants around and watching birds, Hubby had been working on laying rocks on a bed of sand under the red oak tree. When he's finished, this favorite sitting area of mine is going to be a lot more attractive.

But now it was time to feed the hungry man, as well as my hungry self. I cut a head of cabbage from the veggie garden, opened a couple of cans of vegetables to go with it, made some cornbread and we had our vegetarian lunch.

By that time, it was a bit late to work on planting my Viburnum tinus 'Spring Bouquet' plants and my dwarf Walter's viburnum. I would need to move a couple of plants in order to put them where I wanted them and that would take some time.

Anyway, I'll need something to entertain me tomorrow. A bored gardener is a scary and dangerous animal!

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