Spring blooms and greens


My only Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) this year is a volunteer that popped up in a decomposed-granite path next to the driveway. I should just seed this whole path with bluebonnets and enjoy the show next year.


The live oaks that shade my entire garden recently dropped their “evergreen” leaves and put out new ones, a process that replicates autumn up north but in a messy, two-week flash. I finally got most of the leaves blown and raked off the Berkeley sedge “lawn” out front, but now it’s time for the oak pollen catkins to start dropping, along with the oak caterpillars dangling at eye level on strands of silk. It’s always something with the live oaks. Still, I’m pleased by all the fresh spring greens in the no-lawn front garden. The wide gravel path curves around to the back gate.


Succulents are stretching their necks with the return of warm weather, and some are blooming, like this ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense). I’m starting to take cuttings so that I can replant with more compact plants.


I have several ‘Burgundy Ice’ dyckias, but this is the only one that’s flowering. I love its fuzzy, orange blossoms, like pennants above wine-colored, spiny leaves.


Yesterday evening, on a metal tuteur, I noticed a gigantic sphinx moth waiting for dusk.


It’s literally the size of a hummingbird — the biggest I’d ever seen. I watched for a while, hoping to see it fly off as the sun sank. But I eventually got distracted.


Looking across the pool, I’m enjoying my new blue pot atop the blue stucco wall. I got it at Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery, along with the magenta ice plants and ‘Orange Jubilee’ Tecoma stans I planted in it.


I hope the orange bells will do well in such a constrained pot. I plan to keep it cut short, and I have no idea if that will work or it will sulk. This is one of the few sunny spots in my garden, and I want a splash of color this summer. The new pot replaces a potted ‘Color Guard’ yucca that never looked that great.


Speaking of nursery visits, I stopped by Barton Springs Nursery earlier this week and noticed how big their blue nolina (Nolina nelsonii) has gotten. At about 9 feet tall, it’s growing in bright shade near the ponds, and it inspired me to plant one in the dappled shade of my live oaks about 7 years ago. Mine has been very slow-growing, but I hope it one day looks like this.


I leave you with a final image from BSN, their Chinese wisteria in fragrant bloom. I would never plant one of these myself — too thuggish — but I’m always happy to catch theirs in spring bloom.

So, is it bloomy and green where you live, or are you still waiting? (And Southern Hemisphere gardeners, are you enjoying fall?) Do tell!

I welcome your comments. If you’re reading this in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment link at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Come meet me at Zilker Garden Festival, Austin, TX, April 2 & 3
Get your gardening mojo on at Zilker Garden Festival! I’ll be at the brand-new Author Booth on both days between 10 am and 2 pm (near the main building entrance), and I’ll have copies of The Water-Saving Garden and Lawn Gone! for purchase ($20 each), if you’d like a signed copy for yourself or for a gift. Zilker Garden Festival is the garden’s biggest fundraiser (and it needs our support) and offers all-day entertainment, vendor shopping, plant sales, demonstrations, live music, a beer garden and food vendors, children’s activities, a garden train, a flower show, and a docent-led tour of lovely Zilker Botanical Garden. Don’t miss it!

Join me for lunch downtown at Holy Grounds coffee shop and cafe on Wednesday, April 6, at noon. As part of their Coffee with the Author series, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton will interview me and host a Q&A with the audience — i.e., y’all — and afterward I’ll sign copies of The Water-Saving Garden and Lawn Gone!. I hope to see you there for this intimate, lunchtime event. Holy Grounds is located in the main building of St. David’s Episcopal Church at 301 East 8th Street in downtown Austin. You can park in the surface lot in front of St. David’s main doors.

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16 Responses

  1. Evan says:

    That blue bonnet is so pretty! I love volunteers like this. I always enjoy photos of your live oaks. I’m trying to create a similar open woodland effect in my garden. Spring is well on its way, here. The big leaf maples are blooming, new leaves are popping out everywhere. I’ve been so busy planting I’ve neglected spring clean-up tasks like cutting back ornamental grasses. Time to get out there and take care of it.

  2. Renee says:

    You totally should seed that whole path with blue bonnets… I can’t even imagine how gorgeous and spring like that would be! Here, everything is starting to wake up, and the first of the poppies are blooming. Mine are just starting to naturalize in my garden. I love spring!

  3. gina Harlow says:

    Beautiful pictures, Pam. I especially love the Bluebonnet pic, not your typical field shot, and they are so spectacular close up. What a great portrait of the many faces of spring, right there in your garden.

  4. Diana Studer says:

    in the Western Cape we gardeners are enjoying the purple time of year as all the Plectranthus burst into bloom.

  5. Looking good.
    I think we’re done with the leaf fall here. Just need to get them all out of the beds. Then the catkins. I think I dislike them even more.
    Hope you’re having a great Easter weekend.

  6. All of these blues do suit my mood. I am lovin every bit of em. All is still popping out here. We had a heavy frost night before last but it didn’t seem to faze much since it got so warm quick during the day.

  7. TexasDeb says:

    I think a few bluebonnets in isolation can be lovelier than the vast swaths people swarm to view (and trample). And yes, they sure do love to seed out in decomposed granite. The blanketflower I tried to allow to reseed in a bed out back here mostly came up in the adjacent DG pathways. I should have known…

    The NYT had a lovely feature in their science section recently about signs of Spring and those dangling caterpillars were mentioned. Nobody seems to like ’em except for the birds. I do enjoy standing and watching a pair of mockingbirds dashing around the driveway gobbling up the caterpillars occasionally. Spring in these parts is not for sissies!

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Bluebonnets are very fine close-up, but I confess I would like to see some blue-carpeted fields this year. I don’t know if the show is that good this year, but I may have to make a wildflower safari to find out. And good point about the birds loving the oak worms. I’m glad someone does! —Pam

  8. Kris P says:

    The moth and the bluebonnets are lovely spring visitors! I’ve been hoping to see some bluebonnets appear in my own garden – I had one self-sown plant last year – but I may have to make do with the more subdued color of a perennial Lupinus propinquus, which is rapidly taking over a portion of one of my backyard borders.

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