April 12, 2011

A Little Planning Springs You Forward

If you had seen my garden last spring you might have guessed that spring isn't my favorite season.  Don't get me wrong, I like spring.  A lot.  But I love autumn.  As I perused my favorite gardening blogs last spring, I realized my garden sadly lacked a rich diversity of spring blooming plants.  I set out to remedy the problem and the planning and effort of last spring has paid off this year with a beautiful palette of spring color!

The yellow columbine have reseeded over the years providing a beautiful spray of yellow every spring.   I had quite a few bulbine but they were lost in the freeze and keeping with my resolution to keep things as low maintenance as possible, I won't be replanting them. 

The Texas betony is a stalwart favorite in my garden.  It is such a bee magnet and blooms profusely in the spring.  It benefits from trimming after it blooms, stimulating it to bloom again throughout the growing season.
Two of my favorite things about this plant:  it is a pass a long plant from a dear friend's garden and it was the first hummingbird attractor this season!

Then there is the star jasmine...every one's favorite when in bloom.  It's a great vine that stays evergreen and smells amazing.  It perfumes the whole patio and screens the view of the neighbor's deck.

The purple oxalysis is one of the first blooms of early spring and it's foliage adds a rich purple hue that contrasts nicely with the bright green foliage of the yellow columbine.

These blooms were what made up last year's collection of spring flowers.  Now for the parade of the new additions:

Blackfoot daisy brightens up the front bed along with some purple verbena.  This will bloom through the season until the first frost.  I've added a lot of white flowers to the garden and will post about them soon.

Globe mallow and Gulf Coast penstemon have spruced things up for spring big time!  Both of these plants add a nice cottage feel to the sun/part-sun bed.

These daylilies were nearly booted from the garden last spring.  They weren't thriving so I moved them about 2 feet over to a sunnier location and that seems to have done the trick.  They are blooming more this year than they have bloomed cumulatively over the last 5 years!

A few blanket flower plants were added and they've really taken off over the past week.  They prefer a lot of sun, well drained soil and have minimal water requirements.

The Gulf Coast penstemon are mass planted for more impact...

 but it's hard for me to resist their delicate qualities when viewed at close range.

Not quite in bloom yet, the Oakleaf hydrangea is one of the plants I'm most excited to see bloom.  This was on my "gotta have" list and it hasn't disappointed.  Last fall its leaves displayed rich shades of fall color.  This spring the leaves are big and lush in a gorgeous shade of bright green.  I'll keep you posted.

But nothing signals spring like a beautiful display of roses!  Since my yard is quite shady, I researched which roses could tolerate some shade and still bloom.

The Martha Gonzales has done really well in my garden.  It was the last bloom of 2010 and one of the first of 2011.  I love antique roses and their charm.  It performed so well through last year, that I added a second this winter.

The Marie Daly is another variety that can tolerate some shade.  These have a nice fragrance and bloom in tight clusters.  The Martha Gonzales and Marie Daly stay relatively small and compact which is a plus for my small garden.

The one full sun spot in my yard is home to the Livin Easy rose.  When my friend and I came across this plant last spring, we both bought one!  Its apricot colored flowers are so pretty and it performs well here in Austin.  

Although all these plants were added with the expectation of adding spring color to the garden, I really didn't anticipate how happy they would make me.  It's wonderful to look out the kitchen window at the display of bright colors heralding warm, sunny days.  They motivate and inspire me as I tend the garden and get it ready for the heat of the season ahead.

Spring just may be giving autumn a run for its money...

I found I could say things with color and shapes
that I couldn't say any other way.. 
things I had no words for.

                                                                     ~Georgia O'Keeffe


  1. You've given me some great ideas for spring bloomers to add to my front yard. Thanks! I'm looking forward to seeing your oakleaf hydrangea blooms. That plant has been on my maybe list and your preview is making me think it's more likely a reality than a possibility.

  2. Wow -- thanks so much for the beautiful tour of your springtime garden! Wish I could be there to see it in person. I planted four beautiful roses last fall, so I hope they'll be beautiful soon too -- I've had one flower from the little Tequila Sunrise --

  3. Your last sentence made me laugh.
    Spring is my favourite. And now that I know spring in Austin I love it even more. But I can't say anything against autumn colored leaves against a deep blue sky neither ;-) Have to love it too. The star jasmine looks very intriguing. Don't think we can find it here. And I love how you got the eye of that bee.
    Take care, Sandra

  4. It is hard to pick a favorite season. So many blooms to fall in love with as each season moves to the next. You made some pretty additions. I bet that Austin heat of summer does get them wishing spring would stick around.

  5. Nice cottage garden effects, I need to incorporate some of your pairings. Like your photography. Excellent as always. Love the mallow and penstemon.

  6. I love the look of the columbine against the blue chairs. Very pretty!

    And I have to agree that confederate jasmine is an amazing perfume. (sigh)

  7. Oh Cat, how I love your garden! You've really done an amazing job with it, no wonder it makes you happy :). I am so looking forward to my next spring and hope I feel the same as you do about mine. The Globe mallow and penstemon pairing you have ... looks stunning, I have to see if I can get the Globe Mallow here - I have seen Penstemon.

    I recently bought a columbine, I'm excited about planting it and I think I'm going to have get some more roses now ... especially after seeing your beauties. The Livin Easy is too gorgeous - that colour!

    Thank you for sharing your lovely garden with us.

  8. The columbine look absolutely perfect in that vignette!
    Your garden is an inspiration. We're looking to replace roses that are being shaded out by the now mature trees so it's good to see your shade loving roses.

  9. Good for you! All your spring blooms are my summer blooms...isn't that funny? :)

  10. how beautiful your garden is Cat, seeing the reward of our hard work in our gardens is a great spur to do more and I love plants with fragrance just makes you want to stay forever, I have just ordered a yellow daylily, my betony is the native one to Britain and is only just coming into leaf it has mauve flowers from mid-summer to autumn and yes the bees love it, I love your blackfoot daisy, your spring flowers are like summer here, as I only started reading yours and other blogs from areas with hot, hot summers last autumn this is all new to me and interesting as I hadn't thought about so much flowering earlier to beat the heat, thanks for the longer shots, Frances
    p.s. I think I have my garden name but want to wait a few weeks to be sure I am still happy with it, thanks,

  11. All lovely spring plants and very beautiful photos, but it's the first shot that wows me. The yellow columbines and blue chairs, the hidden pot, it all works in color, composition, and feel. I love it. I am giving up on columbines because I don't know how to use them to effect (I have isolated clumps all over the garden)

    This picture has me rethinking columbines, though. Especially yellow.

  12. It's hard sometimes to get the right balance of each season. Love your spring bloomers.

  13. Your spring garden is my summer garden...I love the yellow columbine and would give anything to grow a jasmine...I found a zone 5 one and hope it grows and floods my senses...and the O'Keefe quote is a favorite as is she...

  14. Your spring garden is beautiful! I particularly love the Columbine - it looks great en masse like that. And the Penstemon is so delicate and intriguing at the same time. Enjoy your spring garden!

  15. Hi Cat, Your spring garden is looking so very pretty. I copied down the name of the pink rose. I might try it out.

  16. How lovely! Your planning did make this spring wonderful - delightful colors and shapes!

  17. What a treat to see all your blooms - old AND new - even though I had to wait a while for them to load :(

    It's amazing to see how far along your plants already are ! Spring has barely arrived here - although as soon as some warm weather hits there'll be a growing frenzy as the plants go all out.

  18. I have the opposite problem in that I have masses of spring blooming plants and not so many in the fall. I am trying to remedy that as well. Your additions to your garden are beautiful. I especially like your columbine. My native one just started to reseed itself this year and I couldn't be more excited. Happy Spring!

  19. Such a pretty spring garden! I can imagine how it makes you smile, Cat, just by looking at it. I don't have too many flowers in my garden (I'm not sure what to do with them!) so I'll get my flower fix through your beautiful photos! Love the quote too!

  20. I think that daylily had the sense it might lose it's spot and is trying to make up for its previous lack of effort! Your garden is looking lovely this spring.

  21. My favorite season is autumn as well, but I have begun to appreciate the bursting of life and color in the spring after the drab and gray of winter. Every year I think I love it more. Your garden is lovely, and the photos are beautiful.

  22. Cat, how lovely! Your pictures are breathtaking. Yep, I think you've fallen in love with spring again.

  23. I prefer autumn to spring too, but that’s because our spring comes so late (we still have clumps of snow and only crocuses blooming) and fall is so spectacular in New England. Your spring garden is a delight for my color-starved eyes. I especially love the dramatic lighting in some of your shots. Great Georgia O’Keeffe quotation too.

  24. I love your showcase of spring plants! We've had such an unususlly cool wet spring, it still feels like winter. It snowed all last weekend! I'm asking myself, is spring going to ever come and stay?

    Finally today was a warm spring-like day! I pulled weeds for hours! Maybe soon I'll be able to post more beautiful spring-blooming flowers.

  25. you've got a nice variety of colors and shapes there! good planning!


Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

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