Sunday, November 24, 2013

first snow

Woke up to snow falling and a layer of snow on the ground. Of course, this being New Mexico, a lot of it melted by the time I got going to take photos.

This seedling smokebush (Cotinus coggygria) was about 1-1/2 inches tall when moved it to a more favorable position this past spring, and grew about 8 inches. I think its parent is 'Royal Purple' which is the one that is pretty standard around here. This seedling so far has performed much better than its parent, the summer leaves holding a more vibrant tone, and the fall color not only this glowing color, but so far lasting for at least a month. Maybe they have dried that color.

Here is the parent plant, which leafs out a very dark purple, that fades slightly in the summer. There are a couple of fall leaves left on the plant, which are a pretty pink-to-green, but not very dramatic, and not holding nearly as well as its seedling, which still has most of its leaves.

My 'Petite Noir' fig, produced 3 ripe figs in the summer, then a bunch of figs followed...that never ripened. I may have to replace this with something else. 'Brown Turkey'? I'm thinking about Clematis 'Rooguchi.'

 There are lots of buds on the 'Polly' peach. I can't wait to see what happens in the spring.

My apple trees still have not lost their leaves. Isn't that odd. I mean, here it is at the end of November. The leaves aren't even yellow.

The kale is weighed to the ground by the snow. I hope they are okay.

The 'Iceberg' roses produced buds and flowers  all the way to the bitter end. 

One little viola kept it's head above the snow. My inspiration to keep my head up, despite this dratted cold.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


The hellebores are starting to perk up now that the weather is cooler. Since they naturally grow under trees, I should not have been surprised that they seem to shed the fallen leaves of the trees instead of being smothered by them.  Helleborus niger 'Jacob' is surrounded by a carpet of fallen leaves from the Texas redbud.

Looking closer, I noticed that on my biggest plant, the winter flowers are already forming, way early for being the "Christmas Rose." This plant also put out a couple of flowers in July as did one of my 'Joseph Lemper'. I don't know if that is normal, since I have not read anywhere of hellebores blooming in the summer also. My smaller plants ('Joseph Lemper' and 'Nell Lewis') are not blooming yet, maybe later or next year, and my Helleborus x hybridus won't bloom until spring. Although Hellebores come in many colors now, including an incredible slate black, my favorite has always been the white forms so even my hybrid hellebores are white. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Just a few fall leaves. Geranium leaves are particularly bright this year. Almost makes up for being almost completely flowerless. Almost.

Texas Redbud is turning nice yellows.

Too bad Oklahoma Redbud is not keeping up. The leaves turn dull green then brown and drop quickly.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

rose cutting

My friend Annemarie, told me this rose was easy to root. Apparently her mother just took stems of it and planted it in the ground in Louisiana, and soon the plants were taking up the entire yard. But in my climate, this rose struggled through the winter in a pot of rich fluffy potting mix in my unheated garage, and almost died. Outside in the warmer weather it didn't do much better and large stems just turned brown. There were a couple of stumps of stems left when I stuffed it in the ground waiting for it to die. But it took off, and it looked like this in August. Being a Louisiana girl, I'm not expecting her to survive the winter.

Since Annemarie told me that the cut flowers that she gave friends grew roots in their vases, I did just that. A cutting formed a callous in a few weeks. I planted it in good potting mix, and the leaves promptly yellowed and fell off. I decided to try again.

I took a just-bloomed stem, dusted the bottom with Rootone, and jabbed the cutting into a pot of straight perlite. I placed that into another pot, and filled it half way with bottled water. I sat it in a sunny window and every so often checked to make sure the water was half full.

Three weeks later the cutting was looking mighty perky, although no new leaves.  I lifted the pot.

Eureka! When I lifted the cutting, there was a big clump of roots! I potted it in the grittiest stuff I could get out of the garden. We'll see if it survives the winter.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

first frost

The first frost was last night. I ran around on my afternoon off, checking things out. Too bad my new computer does not support my old Photoshop.

I had gambled with planting bush beans in August, and last night ended them. But I did get a few big handfuls of beans. I count it as a success. Of course the Kale behind it is doing just fine.

The dahlias were perky yesterday, and I was surprised to see that in one day they are already brown. I thought they would just be freeze dried and green.

I was hoping for a fig harvest before the frost, but Petite Nigra is just too slow.

The sumac (Rhus lanceolata) is looking great, and has been slowly coloring up the last few weeks.

Penstemon 'Pike's Peak Purple' is only looking a bit annoyed. It has been blooming most of the summer, and it is interesting how the color fades and turns reddish in the heat, but for the last few weeks has been concord grape purple.

Iceberg roses have been pink with the cooler weather. The only other rose still blooming is Marie Pavie.

The 'Monch' asters are uinfazed.

Texas redbud has been turning a lovely yellow which this photo (taken after work in the late afternoon) doesn't show well.

But it has much more color than Oklahoma redbud, which turns a little brownish before the leaves drop.

The sedums are still looking good, although the dragon's blood is looking a bit scraggly now that the weather is colder.

It's just about time to start snuggling indoors and planning for next year's chores.