Thursday, March 5, 2015

Winter warm up -- hot colors in the garden...

Even here in Central Texas, our winter's freezing temps and cold, damp, grey skies are hanging on.  I'm done with it.  And  I know my gardening friends to the north are exasperated by the volume of snow that continues to plague them.

At the Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland last spring, I was struck by the overwhelming use of color in the gardens there.  Plants, pots, furniture, you name it, vivid colors perked up each and every garden.  With a climate filled with its share of grey days, these pops of color  their gardens not only brightened up the space, they brightened my mood. 

As I'm sure they were consciously or subconsciously intended to do.

So for everyone who is exasperated by the lingering blanket of winter that covers our souls and our gardens this year, here are some of my favorite photos of tropical style gardens, plants and decor.

A little garden statuary can help to enhance your garden style.
Even if you're in a drought, a pretty rain chain can make it seem like you might be having a late afternoon tropical shower.
With only a few exotic-looking plants and the right leaf shapes, textures or forms, you can create your own resort-like retreat in your back yard.
Hot, contrasting colors embody the tropical style.
Bananas, crotons and coleus are true tropical plants.
Even if your design doesn't include many tropical plants, you can add some pops of color with garden art and decor.
While most coleus are shade plants, there are new sun-loving varieties that you can use in sunny spots.
Texture, second only to color, typifies traditional plants of the tropics.  Big, bold foliage with exotic patterns and texture abound in this section of the world.
Elephant ears can set the mood in your island oasis.
Giant planters filled with eye-popping color can seem tropical, even if the plants in it aren't. 

Tropical style is all about big, bold design that packs a punch.  Simply looking at these hot colors warms me up and gives me the itch to garden.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ice in the garden...

Baby, it's cold outside...

Central Texas gardens are being slammed with ice and even snow in some parts.  I feel for our northern friends who have it so much worse than we do.  We're feeling very deprived of our "normal" warmer early spring temperatures.

Iris, wisteria, and Texas Mountain laurel buds are being sabotaged. Delicate new shoots on perennials have bitten the dust. And, our evergreens will once again be slow to start their growth. 

Here are a few signs that it's really cold in my garden. 
This Japanese aralia will recover, but isn't this one of the most pitiful things you've seen in the garden.  It's hard to believe that it will perk back up when the temperature warms back up.
After several years, the pump on the birdbath fountain died.  I replaced it a few weeks ago with one that was the same size - to fit in the reservoir - but much more powerful.  It has a great bubbler.  If you look carefully, you can see that the majority of the water is frozen, except for the bubbling center, announcing loudly to the bird world that the water bar is still open for business.
Luckily, both the plum tree and the loropetalum were already in full bloom when the ice hit, so I am still enjoying this sight in the back landscape. 

It's 31 degrees and raining this morning, so I guess it's time to settle in with the seed catalogs for a little bit longer around here.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Adding dimension and bones to the winter garden...

Now is a great time to plan for NEXT winter's garden.   When the blooms and the perennials have come and gone, what's left in your garden?  With many of the plants dormant, you can truly see the bones of your landscape and assess your needs.

Is there a wall of green -- several sets of medium-leafed glossy green shrubs that all blend into one another?  Does your garden lack definition?

Now is the perfect time to think about what you can add to the garden this spring that will give you depth and texture and form when you look out of  your window next winter.  Below, you'll find some ideas and tips to help make your garden great to look at when next winter comes around.


I'm planning what I will add to my garden tonight.  We're under and winter weather advisory and I have the fireplace on and I'm thinking about all the ideas I shared on the show today ... off I go to find pen and paper and a cup of hot tea.  Happy planning...

Adding interest and dimension to the bones of the winter garden...