What’s Going On + Checking Out the Garden

Happy mid-July, dear friends!! It’s almost time for that once-in-a-lifetime-trip to France and my daughter and I are busy getting all of our stuff together for the trip. But while we have a week to go, let’s check out what I’ve seen on my daily walks, and check out what’s going on in the garden!

Love this home’s wrought iron and brick fencing! This is what I’d really like for ours, but of course it costs a small fortune…

So what’s going on?

Summertime Texas heat, that’s what’s going on! I’ve killed a few more plants yet again from not watering enough or overwatering. No wonder my neighbors plant very little each year… It seems we get about two seasons for hydrangeas and then poof! they are toast. One is for sure gone and the other is holding on. The extreme heat is just so tough on plants. I guess I will have to look at Zone 9 plants when looking at heat tolerance, then Zone 6 for cold. And winters I have figured out now ~ one good thing! 😉

Protection from the sun

At present, I am trying to save this arborvitae but I think it will probably be too late. The pumpkin planted itself when I used some compost from the compost pile and maybe it stole all of the water, but I just think it’s the intense heat index of 105-109 everyday for the last two weeks.

But, with all that, I did mount some large staples and tie up part of this garden shade cloth/wrap that I’ve been using the past two winters. Maybe it will recover!

So far, so good! It pulled off the staples the first couple of days until I got them in the correct place along the fence. I put a couple of slits into the fabric, too, which helps when it billows with wind.

Check your garden for bad plants…

Ever heard of nightshade?? Well, there’s good nightshade, which has clusters along a single stem of small black berries. It does grow here in Texas… But this ISN’T it.

Bittersweet nightshade

Then there are the poisonous nightshades… Of which I seemed to have two lovely plants growing in a wooden planter and here in the ground right next to a small rose bush! The poisonous ones have single red or black berries which grow individually and produce white flowers.

I was suspicious of this plant for quite a while but didn’t know what to look up. Then I googled “bad plants growing in Texas” and lovely photos and a great video by a woman back East who totally gave all the parts to look for when identifying both the good and the bad types.

Why I looked up poisonous plants up in the first place

Because of Yoda, who was really disoriented, having a lot of diarrhea and maybe some vomiting (not sure), I looked up any bad wildflowers! I thought he had heat exhaustion, which he may have had, but it very well could have been accidental poisoning from washing himself after brushing up against these guys!

Needless to say, once I realized what they were (and taking Yoda to the vet’s office in the mean time for a check-up; he’s okay and is back to “normal dog Alzheimers”), I pulled up anything suspect (including nettles, which were making me itchy) from the new garden beds. To think I had been lovingly watering these monsters!!!

Tristan and Isolde

On a happy note, I charged my old iPad and re-found this cute photograph of my kids and Skeeter, our Golden Retriever, from back in the late 1990’s. This photograph was taken in a little side garden I had created right outside our dining room and living room windows.

I named this section Tristan and Isolde after a book I read for my Medieval Culture history class in college. The significance is that when both of these lovers died, a red rose was planted over Isolde’s grave inside the churchyard by her husband the king. A white rose was then put in outside the churchyard where Tristan’s grave was.

Though the two had committed adultery, the king still loved both and felt that Tristan still was a friend. Sad ending for all, but not entirely… The canes of these two climbing roses, one red, one white, grew upwards over the church to forever entwine their florific branches.

I loved this 900+ year old story so much and probably had just reread it. So on this arbor I planted one red and one white rose. They did indeed intertwine… and also cross-pollinated! 🥀

The cement pathway you see below was poured by Mr. Ethereal and myself using a large stencil-type thing which we found at Home Depot back then. I think we still have that, too…

Amy was probably 4 years old going on 5, and Peter was 2 1/2.

This was probably the year our little son went pee outside (he might kill me for telling this story, lol!) and I asked him why he hadn’t run inside to use the toilet?

His answer: “Well, Skeeter goes outside.”

My reply: “Honey, Skeeter is a dog and can’t use a toilet like you can.”

The funny thing kids say and do! 💜 

A new Japanese maple

On another happy note, I’ve replaced one of the dead plants with a small Japanese maple tree. It was in the clearance section at Lowe’s for 50% off ($37.00) so I brought it home. I’ve been trying to only buy new plants at clearance prices since they are all more like annuals here.

It needed to have its branches wrapped to encourage it to grow the correct way, but other than that, it was in good shape.

So far, so good! I have been watering it every other day, even in the super heat and it hasn’t lost many leaves. 🙂

And that’s what’s been going on here. I’ve been pulling out some of the things I need to bring and to not forget to pack.

Also, I’ve finally really unboxed my new computer and am with Apple trying to get data transferred. 😊

IF for some reason this takes too long, I may have to push off Share Your Style as I won’t have a way to import the features. But hopefully not.

Let’s hope for the best and enjoy this post until then!

Happy Wednesday,

Barb 💕

4 thoughts on “What’s Going On + Checking Out the Garden”

  1. What a agreat deal on the Japanese maple! Make sure Charles babies that one while you’re gone. Even in our zone 6b-7a, arborvitae can be hard to maintain. We used to have them in out courtyard against the brick garage and they need circulating air. We ended up pulling them out. We have a couple neighbors who have used them as privacy hedges and invariably there will be gaping openings where individual ones die out. Can you imagine trying to keep 6′ or taller rows of those things healthy?! Love the Tristan and Isolde story and how you, even when your kids were so small, were dedicated to gardening. That had to be hard! What you call nightshade I think is what we call American pokeberry here. Long tap roots, hard to get rid of in a landscape! Glad Yoda is OK.

  2. What a fun and terrific post, Barb. I love your garden — good idea with protecting the arborvitae. And glad Yoda is OK and no poisoning — that had to be scary and it’s good to have checked the plants. A fun look back on your life and the legend, too!

  3. Yep, your son is probably going to kill you for telling that story. LOL. But I’m glad I got to see the photo and hear the story. Love that you even had a romantic side and green thumb way back when. I would love to do all that but everything dies around me. Our “super sun” plants that were supposed to tolerate everything are now dead and that’s with watering them 4 times a week. No we didn’t overwater. It’s just me. Have fun on your trip!

    1. Cindy, I hear you on dead plants. Next year it’s finding plants that can handle from Zone 5-9. Zone 8 just isn’t enough when it comes to summer heat! More are struggling… But those that will survive are tough! Like people. 😎 Have a great weekend!!! ✈️

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