The outside world.

The weather today was absolutely lovely! I couldn’t wait to get out into the air, the sun, and the earth.

This little guy is doing his part to keep the bees fed in January. This is a self-sown Texas Hummingbird Sage. Last spring was my fourth attempt at growing Texas Hummingbird Sage from seed. (Trial & Error often requires multiple trials!) I managed to get four little seedlings to put out two sets of “real” leaves. I put two in the front bed, and two in the rear bed. The rear bed ones didn’t make a week, baking in the sun if I missed their morning water. The front bed was a little kinder, and both sprouts made it about four inches high. I couldn’t figure out why one died, but I suspect a bird or other creature thought it would make a tasty salad. That fourth stubborn sprout ended up surviving all summer long and into the fall before the first freeze took it. It topped out about 18″ tall and had bees on it every day! This little guy shown above is an offshoot from the base of the old plant.

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, one of my all-time favorite seasons was a short one. In the Willamette Valley (and I’m sure elsewhere) farmers plant a cover crop of red clover. In May, the fields are abloom. Mile after mile, acre after acre, are afire with crimson blossoms on rich green stalks. They only last a week or three, but are one of the things I miss most about that corner of the world. This clover-looking mess is actually my own little patch of Crimson Clover. It’s my first year with it (second planting attempt, the first one died off due to inattention (oops!)) and I’m hoping to get a bloom or two. It’s a new bed that previously only held Horse Herb (a weed, in my estimation) and a Hackberry. I amended it a bit with manure, blood meal, and bone meal. We’ll see how it goes. I’m glad to see them hanging in there, as that is also where a lot of water from our gutter-less roof runs off.

And finally, the front of the lawn. I decided a few months back that I wanted to absorb some of the scraggly lawn into a native bed for the bees and butterflies. My parents were kind and generous enough to send me some of my Wish List Plants for Christmas in order to get it started!

In the top left corner, you can see the dirt dam and mulch of the new Mexican White Oak. Down the left edge, you next come to a brown circle with a few sticks visible – that’s a Fragrant Mimosa. Unbeknownst to me, but quickly discovered by my other half – it has thorns. Be mindful if you choose one of where you plant it! Continuing down the lefthand side of the photo is another brown circle, this one contains a Prairie Verbena! Moving along the curb we have a few Black Daleas still in their pots, and behind them, one in one out, are two specimens of Mexican Bush Sage.

All of these plants my folks were able to order online from a local business (bonus points!) They’re called Landscape Mafia, and not only do they have a nice variety of natives, for very reasonable prices – they deliver! My parents live far away and ordered shipping. The folks at Landscape Mafia had the care for their plants, and the presence of mind, to realize that I lived a short drive away and some nice man from their staff delivered them directly to my front porch! Color me impressed.

Since these are natives, who all claim to not want super-rich soil, I worked a little manure into the soil of each spot, watered deeply, and that’s it for now. Tomorrow I’ll put the others in the ground and see how I feel. The ultimate goal for this spot? No grass, these big “anchor” natives, and a sprinkling of Black Foot Daisies, Henry Duelberg Sage, and maybe because they make me so very happy that I surely need more:

Blanketflowers!

 

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