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

Friday, November 30, 2012

This week in the garden - #40

My week in the garden has been spent primarily on continuing clean up and repositioning after the recent tree removal and the pruning of the big trees in my yard. I've been picking up dead limbs and sticks and rearranging the outdoor furniture, as well as moving and utilizing some of the sawdust left over from stump grinding.

Another important "chore" has been observing the movement of sunlight across the yard and learning how it has changed. My garden had grown quite shady over the years as the trees grew and the removal of three big trees has definitely changed that in places. I need to rethink some of my plantings, and I will need to move some plants. My preferred time for uprooting and moving plants is winter, so that will have to wait a few more weeks. In the meantime, I'm thinking and planning.

I also did a bit of weeding in the vegetable garden this week. Several of the greens crops there will soon be ready for the table, as are the black-eyed peas now. And the largest of my butternut squashes is almost ready. I can hardly wait!

My plant of the week this week is Euphorbia tirucalli, known as pencil plant.

Actually, this plant has many, many common names. Among them are firestick plant or sticks on fire, Indian tree spurge, naked lady, pencil tree or pencil cactus (although it is not a cactus), and milk bush. That last name comes from the sticky sap that is produced when you cut a section.

For most of the year, this plant, which lives in a big pot with other succulents near my back porch, is bright green, but as the weather gets cooler, it starts developing this orange blush over many of its sections. Easy to see how it gets the name firestick plant or sticks on fire.

This is a hardy succulent. Mine stays outside all winter in my zone 9b garden. If it is going to get much below freezing, I try to give it some protection - not so easy any more since it has grown quite large. A couple of times it has died back almost to the ground in winter, but it has always come back and flourishes again in spring. Moreover, it is exceptionally easy to propagate. I find that if I just break off a section and stick it in the soil, it will generally root. It is a fascinating plant, one that I very much enjoy having in my garden.

'Tis the season and the amaryllises are blooming.

Happy gardening!


  1. Beautiful amaryllis. I also find tracking the changes in light over the seasons to be difficult. They have a way of sneaking up on you.

    1. Indeed. At this time of year, if my attention strays for a few days and then I come back to noticing the light, I can see that things have changed drastically.

  2. What gorgeous flowers! Keep us updated please, you have a wonderful blog!

    -Samudaworth Tree Service

  3. OMG! What flowers and what their colors! Awesome. Keep posting the types of flowers you are growing in your yard.

  4. Thanks for sharing, nice post! Post really provice useful information!

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