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Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I was taking pictures in the preschool garden the other day and was watching the bees go crazy around the pumpkin blossoms. They were just so happy. Then I noticed a few of them looked a little weighted down. So I got in close and noticed the bees just covered in pollen all over their bodies and weighted down with full pollen sacks. Check it out!
What happened to that cute little garden you used to take care of Bonnie? The one with all the little hands and feet helping?
Don't you worry, the little preschool garden is still going strong and we are doing monthly gardening classes. Let me catch you up...last time we posted was in June about the preschool garden and warm season veggies were sprawling. July came and we cleaned up and planted our pumpkin patch for fall.
September started with our wonderful students moving up to their new classes and it was time to come out to the garden. First order of business? Sun protection because no one told Mother Nature that September is the time for cooler weather- at least not here in Texas.
First order of business- observation and exploration. Those kids wanted to see what was going on since their last visit. And what in the heck was this vine growing in the veggie garden?? So we talked about how cool pumpkin vines are because they have male and female flowers. And what they really like is insects who help them pollinate the flowers. We checked out the female flower with the baby pumpkin on it, just waiting to get pollinated so it can start growing.
Here is our trellis, beautifully covered in pumpkin vines The vines took a late summer beating from the aphids but we just kept giving strong sprays of water to knock them off. Some vines did have to be sacrificed as aphid food for the greater good.
We got about 5 great big pumpkins, 4 of them growing on the trellis. Here they are just starting to turn orange. In fact, one started growing and got caught in between the trellis metal bars so it is now stuck there. Guess we'll have to take a hacksaw to that one. Perfect prep for pumpkin pie??
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Last night was the first drop of rain my garden has seen this summer. It wasn't much, but enough to celebrate. To give you an idea of how severe our weather has been this summer and fall, we have had 88 days of 100+ weather. The record until this year was 69. The average is 14. ALL public boat ramps on Lake Travis are closed because the lake is at it's 3rd lowest level on record.
Picture of Lake Travis low elevation during 2011 drought
(picture from Texas Parks and Wildflife)
So you get it, right? Things are pretty desperate here. And it has been depressing having to choose what plants to try and keep alive, now that we are on stage 2 water restrictions.
But I'm not writing to have a plant pity party this week. This week I want to say thanks to all of our local independent nurseries out there who have held on through this long drought waiting for a time when gardeners feel safe to start and plant again. I appreciate the selection of plants they have and the knowledge they are willing to share. And Pam Penick over at Digging has asked the Austin Garden Bloggers to show our appreciation of these local, independent nurseries. I wholeheartedly join in the cause! Here are some of the plants I have bought from these local nurseries over the years that I cherish in my garden (pictures are from earlier, more lush times in the garden!).
"Macho Mocha" Mangave
Purple salvia- a nice break from the traditional red or white.
Jerusalem sage- a fantastic, drought tolerate, deer-resistant choice
So thank you to some of my favorite nurseries who have supplied me with so many wonderful plants- I'll be making a trip soon to bring my garden back from the brink. Here are a few of my favorites:
Barton Springs Nursery
I love this nursery because plants are well-labeled, they carry a large stock of 4" pots which keeps costs down, a huge selection and a helpful staff. In addition, they have a beautiful selection of pots. 3601 Bee Caves Rd. (512) 328-6655.
The Natural Gardener
NG is just a fun place to explore. Although a bit more of a hike down south in Oak Hill for me, I like to go and meander through the display gardens. The staff and set-up of the garden always prove very educational if you need some direction on care of a plant. Plus I love the Ladybug brand of products. 8648 Old Bee Caves Rd. (512) 288-6113. Click for my tour of the Natural Gardener.
Shoal Creek Nursery
This nursery is more convenient to me and I like exploring it when I have some spare time. 2710 Hancock Dr. (512) 458-5909
Red Barn Nursery
The Red Barn is located up north off 183 and they have a very nice selection and a pleasing, sprawling set-up. Vegetables, natives, herbs, annuals, trees, they have it all. 12881 Pond Springs Road (512) 335-8093