>Now I can rest easy…

>Those of you who have been following my Weed Watch 09 series may have been missing sleep at night, wondering what those crazy plants that sprung up in my garden bed outside my back door were. The answer I have been searching for appeared from a new blogging friend, Healingmagichands. She helped me in my quest and IDed the giant plant as Horseweed, a fast-growing plant with a not-so-attractive bloom that then seeds all over the bed. Luckily, my husband, in his non-garden-crazy sensible mind had insisted we pull it out before it fully seeded. The gardener in me screamed no!, let’s leave it and see what happens (the downfall of all good gardeners) but the wife who wanted to make sure I didn’t spend all of next year getting told “I told you so” decided to pull the plug.

Thanks Healingmagichands! You’ve not only saved my garden, but my marriage as well.

>Sherlock of the Garden

>Last night I attended a fantastic seminar sponsored by the Travis County Master Gardeners. Yes, this is a tacky self-serving post because I DO help organize these seminars. But I speak here as an attendee and it was a great seminar. The seminar was taught by MG Susan Decker speaking on plant diseases and Extension Entomologist agent Wizzie Brown, who spoke on insect problems. The goal was to teach gardeners how to recognize certain types of damage so that you could narrow down the source and treat it. Susan covered a huge amount of plant diseases and how to recognize and treat for them. All great info!

Then Wizzie did a great job of simplifying types of insect damage and showing you the possible culprits. A tip I learned last night, if you see chewed damage on leaves and the edges are turned brown, don’t bother looking or treating for the culprit because the damage is old and the bug is long gone. If you see chewed leaves and the edges are still green, its fresh and you should look or treat for the caterpillar/beetle,/grasshopper, etc that might have done it.

Good to know. I already feel more sleuthy.

If you’re in Austin and you want to attend the Plant Detective seminar, we are holding another one on July 11th at Zilker Botanical Garden at 10am. Free and open to the public.

>The Heat is On! GDDB June 2009

>Well, it’s time to check in for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day again. The heat has really descended upon us here in Central Texas. Despite some violent, but still welcome, thunderstorms this past week, temperatures have been easily over 100 degrees and that just makes the situation out in the garden, well, desperate. Daily watering by hand is necessary to keep some of these plants even going.

But let me start with the beautiful plants that thrive in the Texas heat with a voracious, sun-slap-down attitude that makes other plants just whimper in their presence. Some are the beautiful wildflowers growing in my septic field. Beebalm/Horsemint has come back again and I just love it’s looks, The purple is slowly fading, but I love the structure of the flowers and will certainly do my best to spread more seed around. The whorls of flowers going up the stem are just…cool. And I looked out tonight and I swear, there must have been 5 birds, maybe hummingbirds but I was too far away, that were hovering around it. Along with the bee balm are some yellow flowers, I think maybe a California poppy variety, and some Indian Blanket. The Mexican hat is mostly gone to seed now. Mind you, these plants get no hand watering and no irrigation. Just the septic field moisture and whatever rains come their way.

Besides the wildflowers, other plants that are laughing at the heat right now include Mexican Bush Sage, Euryops (Bush Daisy), Bulbine, Pink Skullcap, Mexican Heather, Society Garlic, Salvia Coccinea, Salvia Greggii, bicolor iris, and Rosemary. With some shade, my turk’s cap, canna lily, Texas Star Hibiscus, and purple coneflower are also loving the heat. Thank god for these plants, or my garden would look desperately fried. I return to these tried and true performers in bed after bed.

The vegetable garden is, well, going. The borers have taken their toll on the squash. I have so far only harvested one zucchini. My plants seem to have all male flowers! I had to pull up one of my cushaw squash vines today after it was just decimated by borers and literally just turned to ashes. But the tomatoes are going strong after a slow start due to a mystery guest who liked to chew the entire stalk down so they would have to start growing from scratch again. Soyu cucumbers are doing great. Green peppers are tiny and very un-productive. And the okra are just starting to gain some height.

I’ll wrap it all up with a view of our latest garden visitor. We have gone a bit bird-house mad in the back yard with an addition of two new houses and one owl-house this year, But it is so fun when they actually get occupied. This baby was peering out of the house waiting for mommy to bring his lunch. The mom would chirp madly from the oak tree whenever I went out to take pictures. The birdies grow up so quick…already the house is empty, waiting for the next tenant. Godspeed, little birdie!

>Weed Watch 09, The Final Installment

> Well folks, I did my best to hold out until the mystery weed bloomed. I was hoping for possibly a goldenrod, but I would have to say no. When they finally did “bloom” if you can call it that, it was just very insignificant. SAnd having better things to do with the space, I made the executive decision to pull the plug on Weed Watch 09.

But here are some final pictures of the bloom. Some great guesses along the way, but nothing that I could identify in the end.

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>We’ve had stuffed zucchini, fresh tomatoes, sauteed green beans, cucumber sandwiches and zucchini bread, all made from garden produce. And this so far from a garden which has been performing subpar.

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>Learn How to Collect Rainwater for Your Garden

>Austin Gardeners, take note!

This Saturday, the Travis County Master Gardeners will present a free public seminar on rainwater harvesting for your garden. This session will teach you all the basics on building a non-potable rainwater harvesting system.

Rainwater Harvesting for Your Garden
Saturday, June 13, 2009

River Place Country Club
4207 River Place Blvd.
Austin TX

In addition, learn about rain gardens which capture valuable rainwater in your landscape. Vendors representing tank and gutter companies will be available to answer specific questions. City of Austin representatives will be available to answer permit and rebate questions.