Tecolote Hill garden happenings


Winter’s chill finally gave way to spring, and then, suddenly, to summer. Several mid-90F days earlier this week thankfully didn’t fade ‘Etoile Violette’ clematis, growing on the lattice under the deck.


But it did in the spuria iris, shown here in full bloom last week, before the untimely heat wave. That’s native spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis) blooming behind it.


We’re back to normal temperatures now, with highs in the lower 80s, but these butterscotch-colored spurias are done for the season.


That’s OK. You were pretty while you lasted, spurias! Flowering bulbs (corms, rhizomes, whatever) are so nice to have as seasonal markers, even if they don’t bloom for long. If passalongs, as these were (thanks, Linda Lehmusvirta!), they also serve to remind us of gardening friends when they bloom.


Mama Screech Owl is hanging out in her doorway nearly all day now, which makes me think that her eggs have hatched and she needs a little room. Soon, I think, she’ll move out of the box altogether, and we’ll see both Mama and Papa Owl feeding chicks in the evening.


What else has been happening in my garden lately? I had the Mexican tile on my front porch cleaned and resealed. It looks so much better and ties in perfectly to the Mexican tile in my entry. Cristy Hansen of Nu-Tech Texas Floors did the work and suggested I keep my potted plants off the porch in order to prevent restaining. So I moved them to the concrete pad at ground level.

I also planted up a Hover Dish planter from Pot Inc. that I treated myself to for a pop of color on the porch. As the succulents grow, some will trail over the lip of the pot. I’ll show more pics soon.


But the biggest addition to my garden this spring is this lattice cedar fence that runs along the property line in the front yard, from approximately the front edge of the house to the back fence. It’s a friendly fence with chunky, 5-inch lattice openings, that lightly screens the neighbor’s driveway, makes a pretty backdrop for my garden, and creates a 3-sided garden room along the side of the house. John Gibson of Gibson Landscape built the fence from my design.


I love the enclosure it provides along the path to the back garden. (This is a raw, keeping-it-real picture, y’all; the garden is buried in live oak tassels. Sigh.) Aside from the decomposed-granite path (under the tassels) and a skinny bed between the path and my neighbor’s yard, this was neglected lawn grass until last fall. I ripped it out and mulched the soil until I could start planting and ran a curving path of flagstone to the spigot and back around to the gate.

The young tree near the spigot is a native Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora), and I’m seeding a large swath of inland sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) underneath all the way to the live oak. Along the fence I have bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa) and baby flame acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii). Out of the frame, at right, there’s a rustic bench, and I planted a Mediterranean fan palm, Gregg’s mistflower, ‘Soft Caress’ mahonia, Salvia guaranitica, white mistflower, and ‘Wendy’s Wish’ salvia. I have high hopes for a pretty, intimate garden here in a few seasons.

So what garden projects have you been working on? Do tell!

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

18 Responses

  1. Jenny says:

    It has been so hot here in my corner of Florida but is wonderfully overcast and drizzly today. Your little owl friend is so cute!

  2. TexasDeb says:

    Wooof. You’ve been busy. I appreciate you showing the path under the live oak catkins (I use that term because it reminds me of kittens and who doesn’t love kittens? and it helps me feel less murderous towards my otherwise beloved oaks this time of year). That is sure enough the reality of gardening in Central Texas in April/May. Whatever you are doing if there are oaks nearby it will be covered with first leaves and then with pollen. Period, end.

    I’ve been transplanting volunteer wildflowers from paths to curbside beds (if they fail not much harm done), hand watering a few struggling new perennials, watching bluebonnet seed for harvest readiness, pulling out field hedge parsley, dandelions (and afterwards thinking dangit! missed the chance to try them out in salads again!)…nut grass, more nut grass, bermuda grass. Nothing so fun as a new side garden or owl momma watching but I am having fun identifying the various pollinators visiting our spaces. It is a fertile time of year – no doubt about that.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      It’s so rewarding to transplant volunteer plants, isn’t it? If they take, wonderful! Free plants! And if not, well, no big loss. Now if we could just get some rain. —Pam

  3. Your new fence is even lovelier than I imagined. This area’s going to be so inviting.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Thank you, Vicki. I went with a classic design to fit in with my existing back fence and the neighborhood. I was initially thinking I’d do a solid-color stain in a soft gray-green, but now that I see all those lattice pieces I may just let it weather to gray on its own. —Pam

  4. peter schaar says:

    Your “pet” owl is charming. Now I know why it’s called Tecolote Hill. We are putting a roof over our two level stone tile deck. No more elm flowers, leaves, and twigs to sweep! I feel your pain about the live oak trash.

  5. Kris P says:

    I love fences that allow air and light to pass through – yours is beautiful! During the 2 weeks prior to this one I was moving plants that didn’t work out as intended, filling in holes in my garden beds, and planting Zinnia, corn and sunflower seeds. This week, I’m just trying to keep things alive under the onslaught of high winds, low humidity and spiking temperatures.

  6. Evan says:

    Three days over 80, with one of them being close to 90, here in the PNW has spurred a lot of growth and opened many flowers. Very unusual for this time of here up this way. Personally I like our cool, prolonged springs. It gives me more time to watch things unfolding.

    I love the fence. And I love owls, too! What fun to have a family in your garden to watch.

  7. louis says:

    Love the hover dish! I just planted up mine last week!!! Looks like the same one as yours!!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      No kidding? We have a Hover Dish connection! Do you have a picture on your blog, Louis? I’d love to see how you planted it. —Pam

      • Louis says:

        Not yet, but I’ll be posting one next week! It’s all succulents. Quite colourful. I do some work with pot inc. so I’ve been eyeing the beautiful ones around Todd’s place. Mine is not as grand, I was on a succulent budget.

        • Pam/Digging says:

          I don’t know this “Todd’s place” — do tell (or link?). I was on a succulent budget also — and it took a LOT of them to fill my planter. It got heavy too, didn’t it? —Pam

  8. I love the new fence – it’s so beautiful and looks great there. Can’t wait to see it in person. Finished 3 big days of major work here this week and will post about that soon – maybe today. It just feels so good to be getting work done in the garden as almost everything is finally coming back from a long winter’s nap.

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