Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hanging Gardens

It's spring in Central Texas, which means we are blessed with a few short weeks of gorgeous weather before the real heat rolls in and stays until Christmas.  I've always loved plants, but when James and then Rhys came along, I didn't have much time for gardening while I cared for two little ones.  Now that the boys are a bit older, I've added a bunch of houseplants and, most recently, have been working to spruce up our patio.

While we have a large covered area outside, it does get a lot of afternoon sun, so I have to be careful about what kind of plants I buy.  If I want them to survive through two months or more of triple digit heat, I need to plan carefully.  I've done a bit of research and found a list of "FlameProof" plants that are proven to survive the brutal Texas summer.  Right now, I'm having lots of luck with lantana, plumbago, geraniums, and begonia.  Of course, it's only April, so I'll have to wait a few more weeks to see how these plants hold up to the summer sun. 

Today, I tackled a little outdoor project, inspired by this post and this stunning house.  (Well, the second link is more of a daydream, but it got my creative juices flowing.)  I bought a quart of Glidden paint in Deepest Aqua and finally painted the porch posts that Ryan and my dad replaced early last year.  The blue gives a bit of punch to the backyard and really lifts my spirits, plus I think the color will be fun, even in the middle of winter.  During naptime, Ryan hung hooks all around the edges of our porch, and I filled it with hanging plants I found at the local high school agriculture department's plant sale, along with some regular favorites from Home Depot.  I really love the look of a patio filled with potted plants, but since that's where the boys like to drive their trucks, my flowers are constantly the victims of minor hit and run accidents.  This way, the baskets are overhead (Ryan made sure that he has plenty of clearance), and they also add quite a bit of shade to our patio.

I also have a little full-sun potted plant garden against the fence, filled with lantana and plumbago, and I'm hoping those plants will grow along the fence, since they are usually vine-like. 

Growing up, my sisters and I spent our summers outside while our mom potted and arranged her plants, and I used to think she was silly for getting so excited about something small and green.  But now I totally get it.  There's something so rewarding about watching your garden grow, literally, and it's really an inexpensive and earth-friendly hobby.  Here are a few pictures of today's work.

A view of the porch.

My place to relax while the boys play.

Another porch view.

I got inspired and added a stanza from this poem by Thomas Moore.