New flowers opening each day


Regular readers know that my shady, dry, deer-infested patch of dirt is not a flowerlicious garden. And yet even I have, oh, at least 6 or 7 flowers in bloom as spring kicks off here in Austin. Like this sweet, nodding Chinese ground orchid (Bletilla striata). I bought one several years ago to see how it would do. Answer? Not much…until this year. Maybe it liked all the rain?


Now I’m tempted to buy more. It looks especially nice paired with purple-leaved oxalis (Oxalis triangularis).


Let’s bring that oxalis into focus, shall we?


For more purple, one need only look out front, where my earliest iris (sold as ‘Amethyst Flame’ but lately I’m not so sure) is flowering.


A trio of ‘Burgundy Ice’ dyckias in a steel pipe planter echoes a hint of the purple. The middle plant is starting to bloom, although each day I look outside expecting the deer to have gotten it overnight.


It sure is pretty for now, like flowering candy corn! (One of the dyckias took a hit this winter, and I’m waiting to see if it’ll recover.)


Clambering along the back fence, ‘Tangerine Beauty’ crossvine (Bignonia capreolata ‘Tangerine Beauty’) is my showiest plant right now, with tubular, open-throated flowers seeming to sing a chorus of welcome to spring.


Delicately parachuting from slender stems along a shadier section of the fence is white potato vine (Solanum jasminoides).


They look so pretty backlit by the sun.


I can rarely bring myself to cut my (very few) flowers from the garden, so I’ve been buying bouquets at the grocery store. I’m enjoying this flowery time of year both outdoors and in.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Get on the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks. Inspired by the idea of house concerts — performances in private homes, which support musicians and give a small audience an up-close and personal musical experience — I’m hosting a series of garden talks by design speakers out of my home. The upcoming talk with James deGrey David has sold out, but join the Garden Spark email list for speaker announcements delivered to your inbox; simply click this link and ask to be added. Subscribers get advance notification when tickets go on sale for these limited-attendance events.

All material © 2006-2017 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Hearts to you on my 11th blogiversary!


Valentine’s Day, specifically February 14, 2006, marks the day I published my very first blog post here at Digging. Eleven years later I’m still at it, and it’s all thanks to you!


Chinese ground orchid (Bletilla striata)

Your interest in reading about my gardening adventures and misadventures, as well as your comments and connections here, on Facebook and Instagram, and offline, have kept blogging fresh and fun for me, as I illustrated last year for my 10th anniversary retrospective.


And so, hearts to you, dear reader! Blogging is a two-way conversation, and I’ve long enjoyed my conversations with you. Thanks for being here!

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

2/25/17: Come to my talk at the Wildflower Center. I’ll be speaking at the day-long Native Plant Society of Texas Spring Symposium at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. My talk is called “Local Heroes: Designing with Native Plants for Water-Saving Gardens,” and it’s about creating water-wise home gardens that don’t sacrifice beauty. The symposium is open to the public. Click here for registration. I’ll be offering signed copies of my books, The Water-Saving Garden and Lawn Gone!, after my talk ($20 each; tax is included). I hope to see you there!

Get on the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks. Inspired by the idea of house concerts — performances in private homes, which support musicians and give a small audience an up-close and personal musical experience — I’m hosting a series of garden talks by design speakers out of my home. The upcoming talk with James deGrey David has sold out, but join the Garden Spark email list for speaker announcements delivered to your inbox; simply click this link and ask to be added. Subscribers get advance notification when tickets go on sale for these limited-attendance events.

All material © 2006-2017 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Remembering 2016 in the garden

January

Happy New Year, everyone! Following Jean’s example at Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog, I’m recapping 2016 with a single photo from each of the past 12 months in my garden. Poring over my old blog posts, I was reminded of the fleeting charms of the passing seasons and of how much joy I received from my garden. My resolution for 2017? To spend more time just hanging out and enjoying the garden.

Last January, the soap aloes (pictured above) sent up rosy candelabras of tubular flowers, giving hummingbirds something to come back for. On Digging I shared lore about bottle trees, along with plenty of colorful examples.

February

I celebrated the publication of my new book, The Water-Saving Garden, in February. I also marked 10 years of blogging, and the reader comments on that post still warm my heart! In the garden, Texas mountain laurel was in bloom, wafting its grape Kool-Aid fragrance.

March

March ushered in the colorful wildflower season in the Hill Country, and I had fun on a wildflower safari with my mom. In my own garden, a single volunteer bluebonnet popped up along the driveway.

April

Wildflower season segued from blues to yellows as the weather warmed, as shown in my photos from the Wildflower Center this month. Astonishingly, I was interviewed by the Boston Globe for an article about blogging and gardening. And in my own garden, Moby, my whale’s tongue agave, began growing a flower spike, heralding its eventual death, but I chose to focus on less-traumatic flowers, like ice plant.

May

I dined amid wildflowers on the Field to Vase Dinner Tour, and in my garden daylilies were blooming and Moby’s bloom spike had shot up to about 15 feet.

June

A garden-touring trip to the Philadelphia area took me back to Chanticleer, the most wondrous public garden I’ve ever seen, plus Longwood and Winterthur. Back at home, fawns were born to our neighborhood population of deer. This Bambi took up residence in the front garden for a few weeks.

July

Minneapolis hosted the Garden Bloggers Fling, and I attended along with around 70 other bloggers, excited to see Minnesota gardens and hang out with fellow bloggers. (The Fling will be held in the Washington, DC, area this year; click for registration info.) In my own garden, the stock-tank pond and pool made bearable the summer heat.

August

Our family road-tripped through Santa Fe on the way to Colorado, and I visited Santa Fe Botanical Garden. Back at home, the container pond was abloom with jewel-like waterlilies.

September

With the first fall rains, oxblood lilies popped up. Meanwhile Moby had finished blooming and was dying an ugly death, so I removed it but saved its bloom stalk and potted up its bulbils.

October

My garden and I appeared on Central Texas Gardener TV show this month, which was fun. I also gave a talk at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, on the Mexican border, and toured the gardens there. At home, I took consolation for Moby’s loss in a beautiful whale’s tongue agave I planted for my neighbor a few years ago, in a bed that borders my own garden.

November

Fall is my favorite season for nature walks, and I explored Lady Bird Lake’s trails and Bull Creek. At home, pleasant weather encouraged me to spend more time in the garden.

December

The Japanese maple put on a good show, glowing red along with holiday decor. A few weeks later we had to take down a diseased tree, which was hard.

And that’s my year in the garden! Thank you for coming along for the ride. I look forward to the garden’s seasonal changes in the year to come, as well as making a few changes of my own, continually trying to improve my little patch of dirt. Here’s hoping you have a happy New Year and that 2017 treats you well!

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.

All material © 2006-2017 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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