Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Favorite Austin Vignettes

And now, for the last Austin post! In addition to all the lessons i learned, great gardens i saw, plants i wanted, and awesome people i met, there were some vignettes, of both gardens and other places, that i wanted to remember and look back at. So without further ado or comments, there are some of the many (many) things that caught my attention in May 2018:

A huge thank you to the 2018 Fling organizers, gardeners, and sponsors. My first fling was outstanding, and i can't wait until Denver!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Hummingbird Visitors

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed at some point every stpring, my feed gets taken over by baby hummingbirds! I wanted to capture all the pictures in one blog post, to better see how quickly these cute little birds grow up. In a few months, they'll be doing it again!

First, some stage setting - the picture below shows where the nest is. For the last few years, hummingbirds have built a nest on my string lights, above my patio couch, right by the patio door, and under the 2nd story deck. Most of the pictures i take are from above, through the cracks in the deck. The birds don't seem to notice.

Orange circle around the nest
The house got painted in Spring 2018, so i was very worried that the hummingbirds wouldn't come back. But on 28 April - there were eggs!
two jelly bean sized eggs... 
On 9 May, there were still eggs:
momma hummingbird making sure the next was good!
 By 13 May, there were 2 tiny birds:
tiny birds!
 By 20 May, they were bigger:
they're both still in there - although its getting a little cosy
6 days later, they're starting to look like actual birds:
On May 26
Hummingbird parents do not approve of taking pictures from the patio - i got buzzed right after this picture. The couch & patio are basically unusable while the babies are in the nest.
May 28
 On 1 June, they really didn't fit any more
their beaks grow so much!
This was also the time when the babies started to test their wings - which makes them sound like angry bees.

By 2 June, they were ready to leave the nest!
staying really close first
 But by the end of the afternoon, only one was left (and figuring out how to fly away):

i was a bit worried - it was facing a window here. It managed to fly away without any issues...
And while I can't guarantee that this is one of the same birds - on 23 June, there was a very immature hummingbird hanging out on the aloe bloom stalk:
it let me get pretty close! (and yes - the agave needs cleaning...)
The first thing i did after the nestlings flew away was clean off the patio couch cushions and window - it's nice having my patio back! But i'm happy to share it again next year, so here's to hoping they come back again!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Austin Fling Induced Plant Lust

While i think i would happily take entire gardens out of Austin and bring them home, there were several plants that we saw that might be more realistic to get at home. As i'm planning out what i want to in the garden in 2019, i went back and looked at what caught my attention in Austin. Below is a list of the things i now really really want... degrees of practicality aside.

First of - smoke bush. I saw this (both the green and purple form) in a large number of gardens.
those smoke puffs!
They should do fine here, but i've already killed one. Maybe it's time to try again?

Next hesperaloe funifera - also seen in multiple gardens, and most of them in bloom!
at Lady Bird Johnson center
I actually already have one of these, but now i want more... they look so great, especially the bloom stalks against the sky.

This next one (also from Lady Bird Johnson) I have no idea what it is. I may have asked on Instagram, so maybe someone answered already?
those green bloom stalks are cool!
this next one i have also, although it does not look like this... Dicondra argentea (Silver Ponyfoot).
ground cover at the library
We saw this everywhere in Austin, and it looked so good. It must like Austin much more than the desert. I wonder if there's a good alternative. I would also take all the other plants in that picture, please and thank you.

This next plant was actually for sale - Muhlenbergia dumosa at The Natural Gardener
Unfortunately, gallon pots don't fit in my carry on.
Why can't i find bamboo muhly locally?

Not a plant, but also at The Natural Gardener - these beautiful glass chimes.
so pretty...
And they would last approximately 10 seconds in our wind. Sigh. This is why we can't have nice things. Maybe if i hung them against a wall?

Back to plants - several gardens had these pineapple guave (acca sellowiana) - gorgeous flowers and leaves, and it even makes fruit!
Given how wet these are - this must be from Mirador!
it looks good dry too!
I'm pretty sure they could survive in the desert, even if they didn't fruit... Now, I just have to track one down...

This next one, several bloggers asked about. It was a salvia (gigantica?) but with the most amazing azure-y colored blooms.
Close up
This one is in Pam's garden.
When asked, all Austin gardeners claimed not to know what it was, and just said it was "passed along".  Perhaps a conspiracy to keep it for themselves!

Lucinda's garden had the same pretty salvia, along with a non-plant resident that i wouldn't mind -
cute Sancho - waiting to be admired
While my neighbors cats will sometimes come into my garden, they are not nearly as friendly or calm as Sancho!

This plant is one I've written about before - piper auritum. I actually got my own little cutting.
From Margi McClurgs garden
I'm trying to figure out where mine should go - it sounds like it could take over, and i recall Julie Clark from Stronger than Dirt saying it comes up everywhere. The lack of water (and shade) here should help, but i probably don't just want to let it loose willy nilly...

There was one rose at Kirk Moring's garden that for some reason really wanted to come home with me - Rosa 'Livin Easy":

the foliage and color and scent was amazing!
This one i was actually able to track down, and now gets to live in the front garden. Let's hope its happy!

There were so many more plants and ideas and things i learned during the Austin Fling that I'm sure i could make this post even longer, but I'll stop now. But if i find all these, maybe i'll go back and look through all the pictures I look for some more unique plants to find. This may have been my first fling, but if they are all this inspiring, hopefully there will be many more to go to!