The trees grow and each year produce more leaves for the gardener to rake.

January 20th, 2002
It’s Not My Imagination

It’s not just my imagination; there really are more leaves than ever this year. I realized that the red oak tree is now three times as tall as when I moved here eight years ago. Then it was just a little taller than the privacy fence.

More signs of the coming spring. I saw two tips of Tulipa clusiana peeking their noses up in the meadow.

Time to think about planting the vegetable garden.

January 19th, 2002
Planning the Vegetable Garden

There’s nothing like receiving a gardening catalog to stir up a gardener’s blood. As soon as I began to leaf through the 2002 catalog from the Territorial Seed Company that came in today’s mail, I felt urge to go out and clean up the mess of last year’s garden. Yes. I’m terribly behind. I’ve been so busy on other gardening projects that the vegetable garden has been neglected, almost since we came back from England last summer.
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Catalog Review: Territorial Seed Company

January 19th, 2002
Territorial Seed Company

Each year it’s a toss-up whether I will order my vegetable garden seeds from Shepherd’s Garden Seeds or the Territorial Seed Company. Usually Shepherd’s wins because by the time I decide what I want to order, it is to late to wait for a shipment, and Shepherd’s seeds are carried at several nurseries in Austin.

But this year I will probably try the Territorial Seed Company. I’d prefer to support a smaller seed company rather than another White Flower Farms subsidiary. I don’t have any complaint with Shepherd’s. They introduced me to my favorite tomato, Carmello, and my favorite basil, Genovese.
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Grand Primo narcissus.

January 18th, 2002
Narcissus tazetta ‘Grand Primo’

I posted a new plant profile on the Grand Primo daffodils that are blooming right now.

Plant Profile: Consolida ambigua (annual larkspur)

January 10th, 2002
Consolida ambigua

I’ve spent the last couple of days weeding some beds and transplanting the self-sown larkspur in them. The larkspur plants are about 4 inches tall. I’ve read in several places that they are difficult to transplant but I have never found that to be true. They do have a long tap root, so you have to be careful when digging them out. They don’t come up in bare earth; they seem to prefer the mulched paths and beds. This habit suits me as it is easier to clear out a bed, add some wood ash and superphosphate and then replant them about eight inches apart than it is to let them seed in place and then thin them. And if you want them to grow to any decent height, you have to thin them.


For more information and photos, see the Zanthan Plant Profile.
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February, 2000. Viola cornuta ‘Sorbet Lemon Chiffon’

January 6th, 2002
Viola cornuta Sorbet Series

Although the bluebonnets, larkspur, and love-in-a-mist, are all green and growing, about the only flowers in bloom this week are the violas. Violas are a miniature relative of the pansy. Both are popular winter bedding plants here in the south. I prefer the more delicate viola.

Violas tolerate both cold and warm weather. Here in Austin they bloom constantly from whenever you plant them in mid-fall until late April or May; that is, whenever the temperatures rise above 94.

The viola series I find most often at Austin nurseries are from the ‘Sorbet’ series. I especially like the pale yellow ‘Sorbet Lemon Chiffon’ and the pale blue. Although these sometimes reseed, F1 hybrid will not come true from seed.
2002-03-27. Viola cornuta ‘Sorbet Yellow Frost’


Violas need dark to germinate.

  • Viola cornuta (tufted pansy)
  • Viola tricolor (Johnny Jump-up, heart’s ease)
  • Viola x wittrockiana (pansy)

In 1998, the University of Georgia’s Horticulture Garden rated violas by series and color class.

Plant Profile: Verbesina virginica (frostweed).

January 6th, 2002
Verbesina virginica

Verbesina virginica
I don’t know where my frostweed came from, but it has established itself in my north border among the nandina and it will not go away. I tried cutting it back to the ground for several years and it just kept coming back. During the summer the large coarse leaves suffer from heat and drought and look ragged. But come fall, it brightens the shady spot with large heads of small white flowers which attract bees and butterflies. With all the rain we had in 2001, it produced absolutely stunning flower heads with a scent reminiscent of alyssum.

So I’ve decided to live and let live.

As it turns out, frostweed likes the loamy soils by creeks or in the shade of large trees. So with a little more care on my part, it might become a welcome addition to the north border.
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Catalog Review: Select Seeds

January 4th, 2002
Select Seeds: Antique Flowers

Marilyn Barlow began Select Seeds to bring “the flowers that our grandmothers loved into our gardens once more”. Select Seeds sells the old, typically open-pollinated, varieties that were popular in gardens two or three generations ago. One advantage, of course, is that open-pollinated varieties will come true from seed. So you can save seed each year.
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Catalog Review: High Country Gardens

January 2nd, 2002
High Country Gardens

I’ve never ordered from High Country Gardens but only because I prefer to get my perennials from a local source. However, if I lived in an area which did not have as many excellent sources of native and xeric plants, I would think that the expense of buying plants throught the mail would be worth it. I always put the catalog aside for someday…someday when I want a specific variety that is not available locally. For example, where else (in America) will you find eight different varieties of lavender?
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