While we are staying with my mother in the house I grew up in, I've been working on the yard. The first thing I did was trim up these two crepe myrtles that I planted back in the early 90s. They were supposed to be dwarfs and stay somewhat shrubby, but they appear to be headed toward full size trees. One was moved when they added wheelchair accessible sidewalk corners and I'm not particularly happy with the placement. Not sure what exactly, but I'm considering adding some shrubs near them.
Next I planted a little oak leaf hydrangea in a bare spot near the garage where a hackberry tree once stood. My dad laid out this brick patio himself back in the 70s.
We used to have a wood fence behind where I planted this little fig tree — a cultivar called 'Celeste.' When the fence got terribly old and rotten, Mom just had it taken down, which made our backyard visible from the street. It's a surprising improvement and eventually the fig will provide a little natural screening.
It already has several fruits on it!
Next I began to work on gaps in the flower beds.
Mother has a weird way of expressing dislike towards her shrubs. She decided this cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana) was "out of bounds" and started hacking it up leaving stumps protruding from all sides. Every time she passes she rips off another small section by hand. Looks weird, doesn't it?
I cleaned it up a little and put in artemisia 'Powis Castle,' lemon balm, golden sage, blackfoot daisies, moss rose and sedum 'Autumn Joy' below. Later, thinking it looked too sparse and green, I added gomphrena 'Strawberry fields,' which I remember fondly from when my friend Gelene grew it from seed at Wave Hill. Along with plenty of organic fertilizer, I also dumped in a big bag of cotton burr compost to amend her cement-like clay soil.
There are two other cherry laurel shrubs which have also been hacked to heck. I'm planning on removing this one here on the left. Our friend Carlos works for a Dallas landscaping company and has plenty of experience tearing out old shrubs so he offered to assist me. Then I'll have a whole corner to fill in next to her Ligustrum hedge.
Below the hedge there is a strip of lovely yellow Iris which bloomed beautifully this spring. I decided to fill the gaps with some other perennials using a color scheme of yellow, white and a little blue.
'Stella D' Oro' daylilies and Mexican Mint Marigold (Tagetes lucida).
Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens), yellow columbine (Aquilegia hinckleyana), and Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue.'
My nephew Ray helped me plant three large elephant ear bulbs which are coming up nicely.
Near the front sidewalk corner there is a large patch of various ground covers. I added three variegated liriope and some star zinnias to brighten up the edge.
In this shaded corner near the hose, I added some caladiums. I probably should've gone with white and green to better match the varigated pittosporum, but I couldn't resist the cultivar called 'Carolyn Wharton.' I have plans to place another dwarf pittosporum called 'Mojo' in the corner in front of the boxwood.
Another gap gets some hot afternoon sun so I used Salvia greggi 'Violet,' Nepeta 'Walker's Low,' mexican heather and lavender periwinkles.
Had to have a few containers on the porch. Obviously I'm staying busy here and making good use of my employee discount at North Haven Gardens where I am a garden advisor.
Here's my little garden helper, August who loves to be outside and eat dirt.
A big winter storm left a large tree leaning against the house so we had it taken down just after we arrived in Texas. I'm pleased that they left this lovely stump.
Living far away in NYC, I longed for some time to do these kind of small improvements on the yards of my family. Soon I'll be working on my father's and sisters'.
Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) has moved outside for the summer. Just as it began blooming, I made a new hanger for it with jute string. To encourage it to bloom I move it near a cool, north facing window in the winter, but I didn't put it there until mid-January so it's flowering a little late this year.
A porch is wonderful place to enjoy being outdoors. We are fortunate to have a spacious one which faces the garden and the park across the street. We spend hours out there conversing, eating dinner, sipping drinks and watching the various goings-on in the ever lively city park.
Since we have very little space, it also doubles as a potting shed for me so it is always a bit untidy, though I try and neaten it once in a while. I recently rearranged some things to form a sort of bench for potting which motivated me to re-pot a few houseplants.
Took a bunch of indoor plants out to the porch this morning for a shower and drink of collected rain water. This one is blooming for the first time under my care. I bought it a couple of years ago at the laundromat on the corner where the owner's mother likes to grow a few random plants. I'm pretty sure it is Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri which is called easter cactus – similar to christmas cactus.