A splash of color

Yesterday and today I moved rock. Not all day, but when I had a few hours to spare. I moved rock from the stoneyard to the car to the wheelbarrow to the back yard to the raised bed where I’m adding a low retaining wall to tame an eroding slope. More on that later. For now, here’s a splash of color that came with the new house—a new flower on the ‘Citrus Splash’ rose that I dug out of the raised bed a few days ago and potted up. It’s flashier and more orange than any rose I’d have chosen, but I like those striped petals and sunburst center. It smells good too.

The ‘Pam’s Pink’ (aka ‘Pam Puryear’, I think) turk’s cap looks good against the golden brick of the house.

Knock, knock. Anybody home? Some wrens have been checking out this birdhouse, which has never been occupied, having sat on the screened porch at the old house.

The fleshy, white-margined leaves of a Queen Victoria agave (Agave victoriae-reginae ). I keep this one in a container in order to show it off better. At 6 inches tall, it gets lost at ground level.

The cooler weather is starting to bring out the purple tinge of this prickly pear (Opuntia macrocentra). Winter is when this cactus really shines. The colder the weather, the purpler the pads.

My new soil. Ha—just kidding. Sort of. I actually do have pockets of soil in the new yard, plus some nice raised beds. But there’s no denying the bedrock reality of my new garden.

All material © 2006-2008 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

24 Responses

  1. Les says:

    Will you please tell me what are the plants in the last shot coming out of the rock, and what is the red color from? It is hard to tell from the shot and I think it is fascinating when plants take hold and thrive in rock crevices, pavement cracks, loose mortar, etc…

    The two small trees coming out of the rocks are Texas persimmon (Diospyros texana) , which occur naturally on rocky slopes. I don’t think these were planted, seeing as there’s not a big enough hole, just a few cracks in the limestone. The small, grassy plants at their base are half-dead liriope, which seem to have suffered over the droughty summer. And the red berries are from a pyracantha ( Pyracantha coccinea) growing along the fence in a strip of real soil. Also in that strip of soil grow the large-leaved plants, common old cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior). —Pam

  2. I’m trying to grasp the idea that you have bedrock in your garden, that is just there, that you didn’t put it there. Not very hoe-able, is it? My prickly pear cactus, a passalong, turns to mush in the winter, it’s best season is when it blooms in June.

    No, it is not very hoe-able. Not even backhoe-able. And yet it is amazing how much will grow in a neighborhood like my new one, which is built over limestone. Live oaks dominate the canopy, squeezing their deep roots into whatever nooks and crannies they find—and no doubt crumbling stone along the way. Tough understory trees like Texas persimmon and Mexican buckeye occur naturally, and then there are plenty of small perennials and annuals that can grow out of a little soil that’s settled into a pocket in the rocks. —Pam

  3. Your Texas garden is a whole different world from mine! I love seeing the plants that you grow. That’s an adorable birdhouse! Cameron

    It’s even a whole different world from my old garden, Cameron, just a couple of miles southeast of here. That garden was located east of the Balcones fault line that divides Austin, and I gardened in deep, black clay and never hit a rock. Now on the western, hilly side of the fault line, I have an entirely natural sort of hardscaping to work with. —Pam

  4. cindee11461 says:

    I think the bedrock is awesome(-: Like a built in patio(-: I would love some here.
    Wrens are funny little birds. They like to build nests in a fish house right next to my patio door. Everytime I open the door they have to fly out but they come right back.
    My Semps look beautiful in the winter months too.(-:

    Yes, I love those rock slabs too, and they function as a sort of path to the lower level of the yard along the fence. —Pam

  5. Frances says:

    Hi Pam, native paths already planned out by nature….I like that thought. You can just work around them and are skilled and persistent enough to make a jewel out of what you have inherited. That is a fabulous rose, and fragrant too, how wonderful. Having the right attitude, like you do, will make the carving out of the planting beds such a fun adventure. Have you considered sowing seeds between the cracks in the rocks to see what happens?


    Yes, I have, Frances, and were they in full sun I’d already have bluebonnet seeds in there. However, this is in shade. I might try the lovely little cedar sage to replace the abundance of purple heart growing in the cracks right now. —Pam

  6. Nicole says:

    All the pics are lovely, esp the Citrus Splash rose and the pale salmon pink Turk’s cap. The bedrock is a natural for sprawling sedums, semps, aloes and a classy rock garden. Yesterday I potted out the aloes I got in April in San Francisco (I had them all growing together in large pot) and they are doing so great. The marlotthi must have increased in size by 8 times since then.

    Great suggestions, Nicole. I would love to grow sedums there if they can survive the foot traffic. Maybe in a few places where feet do not tread… —Pam

  7. linda says:

    What awesome natural hardscape you have in your new garden Pam! It will be fun to watch how you deal with the challenges and opportunities it presents!

    That’s a lovely rose, and the birdhouse is awesome – so much character!

    Hi, Linda. Thanks for your positive vibe. —Pam

  8. Gail says:

    Fantastic limestone Pam! You know I love it and would gladly have the big boulders in my garden! You will discover a whole new world of delightful shade tolerant plants…I can make a few recommendations;-) Will the Hinkley Columbine grow there? Gail

    If you didn’t love limestone, you’d be in trouble in your own “Clay and Limestone” garden, wouldn’t you, Gail? The columbine sure will grow here. Good suggestion! I’ll have to get some planted or seeded this fall for a spring show. —Pam

  9. On the plus side, you won’t have to mulch under the persimmons. I love their naturalized look.
    The curious thing about moving into someone else’s garden, is that you rediscover plants that you might not have grown yourself, some you dig up, some you move, and some you come to love.

    Very true. Persimmons like it craggy and well-draining. You’re also right that moving to a new house/garden opens your eyes to plants you might not have chosen. —Pam

  10. chuck b. says:

    Those trunks rising between the rocks are awesome. You can’t buy that effect.

    I’m grateful the previous owners recognized their beauty too and left them there, even when they had the pool built right beside them. —Pam

  11. Diana Kirby says:

    Pam – I just love that Citrus Splash rose! Wow — what color and contrast. It looks so cheerful – maybe it was meant to bloom and brighten your day-sentence in the rock quarries!

    A rose in the rock quarry—a sight to cheer anyone up. Actually, I quite enjoyed my day-sentence moving rock. The result is so tangible. Tomorrow, dirt! —Pam

  12. How fun!!! I’m going to echo chuck b.–you can’t buy that effect of those Texas persimmons growing up out of the rocks. Are they edible persimmons, too? (If so, I might just keel over right now from jealousy… lol.)

    The fruit of the Texas persimmon is apparently very astringent and only fit for wildlife. So no need to keel over from jealousy, Kim. ;-) —Pam

  13. Aiyana says:

    Great photos. I don’t envy the work in front of you. Guess I’m too old to even contemplate taking on another garden!

    I felt tired just thinking about it before we moved, Aiyana, and even for a couple of weeks after we moved. But then the cooler weather arrived, I got the boxes in the house under control, and the gardening bug bit again. Never say never! —Pam

  14. Brenda Kula says:

    I love rock. The texture, the colors, the sturdiness. I could go on and on. Love those rocks! Can’t wait to see more of your new garden!

    Thanks, Brenda. The process of creating a new garden will be leisurely, so look for more “work” posts over the long haul. —Pam

  15. Patsi says:

    Did you say moving rock? You have to be sore!
    Every time is lovely.
    Always love your words and pictures,not to forget your Great gardens.

    Thank you, Patsi. My back was a little sore after moving rock, but before that I’d moved a piano, and that’s what really did it. —Pam

  16. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Wooo Pam, that is some serious bedrock. It looks mighty interesting though. The rose is very pretty, definitely a keeper. Be careful with your back while moving all that rock. I can’t wait to see what you are doing.

    Pics of the retaining wall coming soon, Lisa. But I’m getting a delivery of soil tomorrow, and moving it comes first. I’ve got to get that agave in the ground soon! —Pam

  17. Pam, I love that rose! Flashy is what I’m all about – it fits with the tropical theme in my yard, so it makes sense that it appeals to me. I’m sure you will find a way to make it fit with your more soothing style that you prefer. Thanks for keeping us informed as you discover your new garden.

    I don’t know what I was saying earlier. Actually flashy appealed to me in my old garden too. After all, I willingly planted ‘Carefree Beauty’ there, even though it practically hurt my eyes to look at it in full bloom. But this new place cries out for something more serene. I’m going to try to tone my choices down while still keeping it interesting. —Pam

  18. Randy says:

    I could see where the bedrock could cause issues for planting, but there is no denying how lovely it is.-Randy

    I like it too, Randy. But I suspect ultimately it will be a love/hate relationship. —Pam

  19. I like that ‘Citrus Splash.’ Of course, I like flashy colors in a larger garden. Hmmm . . . I wonder what you will do with it. Love your joke at the end.~~Dee

    I wonder too, Dee. One step at a time. Rock has been moved. Dirt is waiting in the driveway. —Pam

  20. Jenny says:

    What a pretty rose. Just perfect for this time of the year. Welcome to the rock moving brigade- I swear after all the rocks I have hauled I can’t drive past a pile of rocks on a building site without assessing their value for rockscaping. How did I ever garden without rocks? When the plants go away you always have the rocks.

    That’s a good philosophy, Jenny. I’ll try to remember that as I dig them up and haul them around for the next however many years. —Pam

  21. Jean says:

    Boy, you have a fortune in Texas Persimmon there! I love the Turk’s Cap. I wonder – does it attract hummingbirds as well as the red one? And ‘Santa Rita’ opuntia is one of my favorite cacti.

    I sure hope so, Jean, but I suspect the red is a more reliable attractor. I’ll know by next summer. —Pam

  22. Cindy says:

    Pam, I hope the great weather continues so you can, too! I’m looking forward to seeing the new garden evolve.

    This really is great gardening weather. I’ve been digging or moving rock every day. I hope you’re enjoying the same cool breezes in the Houston area. —Pam

  23. Bob Pool says:

    As paint on a palette, a picture starts to emerge. It looks like hard work but it’s got to be fun starting on a new painting that only your mind can see. With what you have to work with, a good imagination is a must. I’m sure it will be stunning.

    It sure is fun, Bob. And yes, it is hard work also. I’m not as young as when I started my former garden! —Pam

  24. Seeing that rock makes me wonder what they had to do to get that swimming pool in there? Perhaps dynamite?

    I was just thinking about that this evening myself. There are pools at the houses on either side of ours too, so a lot of rock blasting or excavating went on here. —Pam