May flowers

Not to be self congratulatory or anything, but Heath and I are basically American heroes for making good on our promise to the garden to give it some much needed TLC.  Austin’s been gifted with a pretty spectacular spring season, which made it nearly impossible for us not to get our hands dirty these past couple months beautifying the grounds of House Doodle. Veggies have been planted, bottle trees erected, new fences built—a productive spring season indeed.

raised beds and chicken cooptexasnativegarden

texassucculents

greyhousegreendoorraingarden marblemulch  doodlehouseroses crushedgranitepatio _DSC7936  _DSC7940 doodlehouserosebouquet bottletree _DSC7935

patio

_DSC7939

 

 


Garden Growth– One Year Later

Last summer, good ole Gretchen (my garden guru) came to stay with us for a week to help us garden beginners install her customized landscape plan in our front yard. The visit was a great success and we went from dead, brown and lackluster to manicured, verdant and promising.

frontyard_beforeafter

We couldn’t have asked for a better change (an upgrade that felt even better since we shed our own sweat to achieve it), but nearly a year later, it’s pretty magnificent to see how the plan has really taken shape.

Last June…

curved yardThis May…

frontyardflowerbed

Last summer…

paver pathway This spring…

summergarden

2012…

The front yard as seen from the driveway.

2013…

frontgarden

Watching the garden morph through the seasons has been more than gratifying, it’s been a valuable learning experience. Through trial and error, we’ve gotten used to practicing regular weeding, pruning, re-mulching and other necessary upkeep tricks of the trade. What fun it’s been to figure out how to keep a garden alive, happy and thriving.

irisgardendoodlehouseyardbulbine

We’ve also experimented with ways to make watering more efficient. In the front bed, Heath repurposed an old pvc pipe to make an irrigation system we can effortlessly hook up to the hose for hassle-free watering.

homemadeirrigationdecomposedgranitepath

We can only guess how it will change from now til next year.

 


Foto Friday

In celebration of all things blooming right now in Austin, I submit to you the following image (one of my favorites) from a visit last spring around this same time of year to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

bloom

Read more about the trip here and look forward to more “Foto Friday” posts. It’s a new thing I’m trying.

 


Picnic anyone?

Whelp, the time finally came for Bro to move out of the doodle house. His departure came about a month ago, and with him went the Foosball table (at our request), which meant it was time for us to look into more sit-able table options for our newly naked back patio. Muah ha ha, another weekend project to put on the books.

I did some fact checking and number crunching and figured the best option for us would be to pick up a prefab picnic table from Lowe’s ($88) and gussy ‘er up with a bright coat of paint. It would be affordable. It would be easy. It would be done!

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I chose to paint it what my pals calls “P-Terry’s blue” a sort of seafoam blue/turquoise color that is one the trademark colors of my favorite Austin hamburger chain.  I’ve eaten many a meal on their blue picnic tables and it seemed as fitting a color as any to bring to the patio. Plus, I’ve gotten so accustomed to painting furniture and walls in shades of blue that not to just seemed wrong some how. You know what’s not wrong? The finished product…

seafoampicnictablepatiopicnicYES!  We are picnic ready! Heath, who by some miracle never questions my bizarre color choices, was smitten with the finished product, saying it looked good enough to eat. Whoop, whoop!

In addition to prepping the picnic table, we also spent some of the weekend sprucing up the garden and freshening up things we had let go over the winter. The pallet planter got updated with some hardy succulents and we put in a handful of fast-growing, drought-tolerant natives along the back and side fence to give us some future privacy from the neighbors (and their incessantly barking schnauzers). Soon enough, I hope to have a really nice backyard space in which to romp with the doodles and host fancy pants backyard garden parties.

turquoisepicnictablesucculentplanter

succulents_palletplanterAnd, with luck, we will soon have edible goodies to fill the empty space on our PTerry’s picnic bench.  Heath stayed busy by tending to the veggie garden, planting sugar snap peas, lettuce, onions, potatoes, broccoli and carrots.

sprouting onion

sprouting onion

lettuce coming in strong

broccoli coming in strong

sugar snap peas going nuts (Pardon our mess in the background, we are protecting them from cold and chickens, a brutal dynamic.)

sugar snap peas going nuts (Pardon our mess in the background, we are attempting to protect them from cold and chickens, a brutal duo.)

I’m so excited by all that has developed in the backyard in the last two weeks with the rise in temperatures and rise in our morale. I better enjoy garden season while it lasts, because heaven knows by May the triple digit temperatures will be upon us again. Until then, who’s down for a picnic?

doodlehousepicnic


A Garden Bouquet For Valentine’s Day

Spring isn’t exactly in bloom here in Austin, but we still have plenty of buds that are brightening up our yard this February.  In honor of the flower-givingest day on the calendar (well, maybe Mother’s day would have something to say about that) I bring you the bouquet of buds we have opening up this winter/spring.

knock out rose

knock out rose

Globemallow (This thing is about to burst!)

Globemallow (This thing is about to burst!)

Snapdragon. One of my favorite annuals.

Snapdragon. One of my favorite annuals.

Echinacea

Echinacea

Silver Cassia

Silver Cassia

Geranium

Geranium

Salvia

Salvia

Ice plant

Ice plant

Ranunculus

Ranunculus

Happy Valentine’s Day from the doodle house!


Let’s see what our pals in the front yard have been up to

I love reading fellow Austin-based blogs like Digging and The Grackle, and comparing their landscaping blooms to ours. It’s nice to see that other gardeners share our same struggles, and if they don’t, they can offer us some gardening guidance. It’s been especially nice now that we actually have some front yard landscaping to tend to. Earlier this summer my garden guru came to help us install a new garden in our front yard. I know Austin summers are not the best time of year to put in new landscaping, but that’s the time we had available and you gotta do what you gotta do. So I’m pleased to see, despite the odds, two months later there is a respectable amount of growth and development in our front yard garden.

The front yard as seen from the driveway.

Roses and echinacea coneflower have been blooming all summer.

Roses and yucca are an unconventional but really fun landscaping combination.

Pride of Barbados is blooming like crazy all over Central Texas.

I fell in love with desert globemallow after a visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. I’m pretty jazzed about having two plants of our own in bloom.

Autumn joy sedum is doing its thing.

Gomphrena fireworks…because everyday at the doodle house is a celebration.

The succulent planter, thank heaven, is always lush even in the harshest of summers.

Echinacea is forever smiling.

I’m happy we’ve had few flora casualties this summer, and now that September is just around the corner, I’m eager to see what glorious surprises fall will bring.


More ideas from my garden coach

Heath and I have been spending a lot of time in Denton lately, which for us means spending a lot of time in my mom’s garden. It’s not a bad place to be. Over the past few weeks, her front yard has really started to burst with color.

A view of the front yard from my mother’s walkway.

 

The charismatic front porch.

Looking out toward the street. (While I’m taking photos, good old mom is hard at work mowing.) 

Onion

A foot path through the flora.

Flower bed detail

Very Alice in Wonderland

Her terracotta terrace.

Absolutely the prettiest tomato cage I’ve ever seen.

After telling my mom I liked her sun dial, she immediately went out and bought me one. I guess I need to start aiming a little higher if that’s how she’s gonna play it.

The garden lining the driveway.

She is so creative with her use of color and texture. I can’t wait for her to come makeover our space. Happy gardening!


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