He'd ask if any shrubs "needed a haircut," always willing to help out if given direction, and cheerfully headed out into the Texas heat with clippers or electric shears and get to work on the hollies, the boxwood, or anything else that needed trimming.
In his last months, even in his diminished health, he made arrangements to have a sprinkler system installed. In fact, the day the installers arrived was just a few days after my husband died. It was the last gardening chore he did, even if it was from the grave, and was one of the greatest gifts he ever gave me.
Nearly all of the plants and shrubs we placed in the beds of our then-brand-new house are still there today. Every spring, when they begin to show off their colors anew, they are a reminder of the work we put in together to help make this new house a home.
Early spring brings the early bloomers: Clematis, Indian Hawthorn, Jasmine, azaleas, ornamental pomegranate, and the first "flush" of roses on Belinda's Dream, Maggie, and Knockout rose bushes.
|Clematis next to the deck. Gets shade from the Althea.|
Took a few years to get established, but now a reliable bloomer.
|Indian Hawthorn along the edge of the patio. It's a slow grower, |
so it's located in the perfect spot.
|Jasmine loaded with buds, just starting to bloom|
|Jasmine on a trellis in full bloom. This Jasmine experienced a hard cut-back and|
was relocated a few feet over from its original spot, but took it
like a trooper and is now back in all her glory.
|Pink var. Indian Hawthorn. Extremely slow grower!|
|Belinda's Dream, putting on her first "flush" of the season.|
|Antique rose Maggie. Extremely fragrant but best left on the vine. |
Not a vase rose.
|Ornamental Pomegranate bloom. If I let her, she'll set|
small fruit in the summer.
A couple of years ago a friend who's also an avid gardener gave me three tiny little Yarrow (Achillea) seedlings. From these three seedlings has come a bed full of blooms!
|Achillea just starting to bloom|
|Achillea in full bloom a week later|
The same friend who gave me the Yarrow seedlings also brought me two Highway 290 Pink Buttons shrubs from the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham. I had three of these bushes years ago in a large bed filled with antique roses of all varieties. But I had to dig that bed out and sod it with grass. The neighbor behind me has out-of-control bamboo in her yard and it's all I can do to keep it at bay. Part of that meant digging out that rose bed and sodding it. I salvaged what roses I could, but had no place to relocate those Highway 290 Pink Buttons bushes and I regretted it later. Now my new bushes are in patio pots and doing very nicely three seasons later.
|My little Highway 290 Pink Buttons antique roses. Doing|
very well in posts on my patio.
The Bulbine in a few of my back beds seems to never stop blooming - well, okay, maybe for a couple of months in deep dark winter - but it continues its cheery, forgiving ways all through much of the year. It's looking particularly lush this spring after a wet winter and is in dire need of division.
|Bulbine gone nuts! I lift and divide this every year. It spreads quickly!|
Once the roses put on their first "flush" of the season, it's only a matter of weeks before the daylilies begin their show.
|Hemerocallis var. Amber Sunset|
|Hemerocallis var. Baby Bear|
|Hemerocallis var. Barbary Corsair (my favorite!)|
|Hemerocallis var. Chorus Line|
|Hemerocallis Var. Divine Decadence (partially open)|
|Hemerocallis var. Divine Decadence|
|Hemerocallis var. Mary Todd|
|Hemerocallis var. Red Volunteer|
The daylilies will continue to bloom in stages over the next month and then take a rest. A couple of the varieties I have in my garden will put out another round of blooms in late summer. The Althea is looking thick and healthy and will bloom in late June and continue to do so until the first cold weather.
Once this spring show is over, it will be the long hot days of summer in Texas. The next things to bloom will be the Nandinas, my monstrous Althea, and the Crape Myrtles. The roses and the rose-family-related Althea will keep up the show all through the hot summer.