FOLK Magazine 2013 Journal Challenge: Mary, Mary, quite contrary, DOES your garden grow?

This week’s journal challenge is tough.  What do I intend to plant in my garden–what flowers, vegetables, herbs?  Research them and find out what grows best in my area. . .
Yeah, right.  What grows in my “garden” this year will be what I have already planted and what I will buy in pots.  Being a busy mom and schoolteacher throughout most of my adult life so far has left me little time and/or patience for gardening.  Now that I’m retired, I guess folks would expect me to join the local garden club and make my yard a candidate for “Yard of the Month.”  Sorry, guess again!

I do have a garden of sorts, though.  It is one flowerbed that spans the front length of my house and was planted with azaleas that come back every year, hopefully.  At least they usually do.  Last year I planted a hydrangea bush that never bloomed, but I have big hopes for this year.  It was a sprout from my mother’s bush, and she has glorious hydrangeas every year.  I have managed to kill the last two bushes she gave me, but this one has hung on through the summer and winter, so maybe it will survive and bloom this spring!

My azaleas in 2010
Another view of my azaleas in 2010
I had just added the edging and mulch.  It doesn’t look quite so neat any more!
On the high end of my porch is a huge lantana which takes over with its tiny yellow blooms. I also have lantana around my mailbox at the road (yes, road, not street) and another one in the corner of my backyard.
The only flowers that survive in my backyard because of my dogs are those I place around my deck in pots.  But I made a barrier around my lantana with old bicycle rims (actually my mom did the work while I was recovering from surgery last spring), and it has been effective against canine anointing so far!
(post about that lantana here)
That’s about it.  I will make a couple of trips to a nursery to buy my usual red geraniums in pots to add color to my front porch and back deck, and then I will buy some bedding flowers to place in pots around the deck. Then I plan to water those babies even when the temperatures are hot enough to fry an egg on asphalt. I feel an obligation to try to keep them alive after I spend hard-earned money getting them.  Plus, I can’t be upstaged by my mother next door, which will happen anyway. . .
I haven’t mentioned vegetables or herbs.  If I feel adventurous I might try growing tomatoes in a pot.  Last year a pumpkin vine started in my flowerbed but even with watering it didn’t make it.  As for herbs, Mom’s rosemary bush is plenty big to share if I can remember to go pinch off some when I cook.
That’s me, Ace Gardener.  Don’t feel sorry for me.  I’ll be soaking up the a/c frying my eggs in a skillet while the real gardeners are trying to get the dirt off their sweaty arms.
And I didn’t even mention my allergies. . .



AT HOME MONDAY: Remember that lantana?

Remember that day when I showed you how I (or my mother) planted a special lantana flowering plant in my backyard and bordered it with old bicycle rims?  My sister who now lives in Indiana sent it to me as a get well gift after my hysterectomy in May.  It started life in a plastic hanging basket and almost died before I was able to rescue it from my porch where the floral delivery van left it.

The Texas summer sun will scorch anything green if it isn’t tended to pretty quickly, but thanks to my wonderful mother it was transplanted into a less severe environment in one corner of my backyard.  Here is how it looked the day we planted it.

And here is how it looks today after three months of 
braving the heat and three Boston terriers!

Look at the colors in those beautiful blossoms.  The grass and pink metal flamingo haven’t faired as well. . .How are your outdoor plants doing right now?  

In Texas we call these days the “dog days of summer,” but even the dogs hate it.  The weatherman says there is a cold front coming next weekend.  I’ll believe it when I see it.  Tomorrow’s high?  The forecast is 100 degrees, and Labor Day is supposed to be the unofficial end of summer!  No one told Mother Nature, I guess.  I’ll just stay inside and take their word for it. . .

Stay cool!