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Spring at Raincatcher’s Garden 2016

“A little Madness in the Spring is wholesome even for the King.”
― Emily Dickinson

Take a walk with us through our garden to see some of our spring madness!

'Annelinde' peony-type tulip

‘Annelinde’ peony-type tulip

Iris 'Frothingslosh'

Iris ‘Frothingslosh’

Peach Tree Bloom

Peach Tree Bloom

Pear Tree Bloom

Pear Tree Bloom

Plum Tree Bloom

Plum Tree Bloom

Ground Orchid, Bletilla striata Blooming in our Courtyard

Ground Orchid, Bletilla striata Blooming in our Courtyard

Cultivate Garden Thoughts by reviewing:

Our Orchard Varieties listed on the right, front page under Raincatcher’s Resources

Blooming Bulbs 

Daffodils, Jonquils, Narcissus

If you are like me, you have fallen in love with the Pink Tulip and Ground Orchid shown above.  Order them for your garden and help ours. The Raincatcher’s Garden receives a portion of your order at Brent And Becky’s fundraising site Bloomin’ Buck$ (www.bloominbucks.com).

Ann

Pictures by Starla

 

 

Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus

It is said that Monet was rather fond of them and planted them in the border of the pathway that led to the front door of his home in Giverny.  With enchanting names like “Empress of India”, “Whirlybird”, “Alaska”, “Peach Melba” and “Butter Cream”, no wonder Nasturtiums are so welcomed in the garden.   They just seem to add a touch of old-fashioned charm.

Above: Beautiful fall nasturtiums at Shelburne Farm in Vermont

Above: Beautiful fall nasturtiums at Shelburne Farm in Vermont

Nothing signals spring’s arrival more dramatically than the first bunch of jeweled toned nasturtiums perched on the shelf at your local garden center. If you are looking for decorative, even water lily pad- like foliage, with a wave of brightly-colored blossoms that are tasty to boot, then head for the nasturtiums.  You may be familiar with the varieties that have deep green leaves, but there are now a number of variegated, almost speckled ones, as well.

Above: Lily pads in the garden? No, more fall Nasturtiums from Vermont!

Above: Lily pads in the garden?
No, more fall Nasturtiums from Vermont!

Ideally, nasturtiums like to be in full sun, with moist, well drained soil. However, most varieties can survive when grown in partial sun. These carefree little dazzlers don’t seem to be bothered much by snails, other insects or diseases.  Enjoy them from March until sometime around late June when they succumb to our extreme Texas heat.

You’ll typically find two different kinds of nasturtiums: dwarf bush type and trailing.  The dwarf types are much more commonly available, and are useful as 10- to 12-inch tall colorful borders and for mass plantings.  The trailing variety will cascade dramatically down walls or hanging baskets.  Nasturtiums make a lovely addition to the herb garden with a multitude of culinary benefits.

There is nothing more intriguing than the tissue paper like profusion of blossoms that nasturtiums produce.   Although the blossoms appear delicate, they are actually very durable and make for vibrant and long-lasting garnishes.  Use the blossoms either whole or chopped to decorate creamy soups, salads, butters, cakes and platters.  Their sweet, peppery taste (both in the leaves and in the flowers) adds to the enjoyment.

Above: Organic nasturtium blossoms bundled  up and for sale at the Aspen, Colorado Summer market

Above: Organic nasturtium blossoms bundled up and for sale at the Aspen, Colorado Summer market

Nasturtiums are natives to the cool highlands of mountains extending from Mexico to central Argentina and Chile. The conquistadors brought these brightly colored plants back to Spain in the 1500’s. The Indians of Peru used the leaves as a tea to treat coughs, colds and the flu, as well as menstrual and respiratory difficulties.   Being high in vitamin C, nasturtiums act as a natural antibiotic, once used topically as a poultice for minor cuts and scratches.

 

Take advantage of the many decorative ways to use nasturtium flowers for your next gathering.  However, don’t be surprised; some people will turn up their noses to a beautiful flower sitting atop a cracker spread with herb-flavored cream cheese.  Others will fully embrace the opportunity to sample such a tasty little gem.  If we could only extend our growing season nasturtiums might grace our tables more often.  Oh, dreaded Texas summers, why do you leave us so little time to enjoy this beloved plant?

Linda

Tip: Texas AgriLife Extension Service recommends planting nasturtium seeds about the time of the average last frost. They are usually planted where they can be allowed to mature, since young seedlings can be difficult to transplant.


2013,A Beautiful Spring in Dallas

Dallas gardeners have enjoyed a long, lovely spring and I don’t think we have glowed enough about it . If you feel like glowing, make a comment at the bottom of this post.  We will send a package of seeds from our garden to the first 10!

Think back to our post, A Texas Spring?  Week after week, we have enjoyed blooms galore!

We planted these Oxeye Daisies in 2009 and this year they have been a “best of show” type exhibit. 

Oxeye Daisies Blooming at The Demonstration Garden

Our Earth-Kind® Roses have bloomed continuously as you can see looking through Lafter and Maggie. 

Earth-Kind Roses, Lafter and Maggie at The Demonstration Garden on Joe Field Road

Our Iris have finished blooming so we must say goodbye to them.

How appropriate this one is called Bye Bye Blue!

Iris with Poppy Blooming in Background

Ann

A Letter To Mom After A Field Trip To The Garden

Dear Mom,

Our wonderful first grade teachers of Grace Academy took us on a field trip to a garden.  And not just any garden, this garden and Dallas County Master Gardeners  taught us about flowers, herbs, vegetables, and two kinds of composting. Mrs. Medina and Mrs. Metheny of Grace Academy, Dallas, Texas

We made garden journals and recorded what we were learning in the garden that day.

Garden Journals at The Demonstration Garden,2311 Joe Field Road, Dallas

We learned the language of flowers and made tussie mussies.

Grace Academy Student with Tussie Mussie

Tussie Mussies and First Graders Visit the Garden with Dallas County Master Gardeners

Thank you, Mom, for all you have done for me.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Can we go back to that Demonstration Garden on Joe Field Road soon?

Love,

From Your First Grader

**********************************************************************

Written through the eyes of  the children on our field trip Tuesday by Ann.

Hope you don’t mind!

Love In The Mist, Nigella damascena

Love In The Mist At The Demonstration Garden on Joe Field RoadSome cottage garden favorites just do not work for us. Towering foxgloves just rarely tower, but Love in the Mist that’s a happier story.

Love In The Mist Blooming In April In Dallas

It’s true it doesn’t care for heat but still it loves spring here and adds a pretty airy charm to the early garden.  Its easy care as long as you remember Love in the Mist doesn’t like heat.  So the seeds are best planted in fall or early winter;  the plants establish themselves over the dreary months and then grow amazingly fast and start to bloom when warm days arrive.  The flowers are in shades of blue as well as pink and white  with fine foliage that is a treat in itself. When flowering is done, the seed pods form. 

Seed Pod Of Love In The Mist

Remember,self seeding annual, means you have to allow the seed pods to become mature but in this case it’s really an added bonus as the pods are intricate stripped balloons that add interest to the flower bed and can be saved for arrangements as well. Just be sure that some seeds fall to the ground. It’s the circle of life right there in your garden; the seeds will find their way and when winter comes they start to grow  and soon…

Susan

Pictures by Starla and Ann

Bluebonnets

 On April 20th a short one hour drive from Dallas to Ennis, Texas brought us to beautiful Bluebonnet fields.”The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland.” (quote by Jack McGuire) 

To get this field of blue, you have to plant seeds in the fall when spring thoughts are  distant. If you need a little reminder, we will be happy to oblige.  In October we will remind our readers to plant Bluebonnet seeds.

Close up of Bluebonnets in an Ennis field

And remind you to purchase a field.

Bluebonnets Covering an Ennis Hillside

And to paint  the gate.

Bluebonnet Field in Ennis, Texas With Red Gate

Ann

Penelope, An Earth-Kind® Rose In Our Garden

In 2007, we had the idea of having a rose trellis made out of rebar.

Rose Trellis Being Shown Off By Gail, Kim, Cindy, Jane

We planted three Penelope Roses on it.

Here is what Antique Rose Emporium says about Penelope: Massive clusters of large, pale pink, semi-double flowers fading to peaches and cream adorn this chunky shrub during the growing seasons. Fat, orange-pink hips weigh down the bush in fall and winter. This rose is an excellent choice for hedging as the bush is dense with beautiful foliage and fragrant flowers and will mature quickly.

Penelope Rose Clusters

This is the  iron trellis in 2013 smothered by Penelope and  with Abelia, ‘Edward Goucher, Abelia ‘Kaleidescope’, Dwarf Yaupon Holly, and Daylilies at her feet.

Penelope, Abelias, Daylily foliage, Dwarf Yaupon Holly

Ann

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