Rainy Day Blooms

This morning I awoke to the soft sounds of rain falling on our tin roof.  There is something so calming, refreshing and nostalgic about that sound.  A cool May morning in Texas is something to savor and celebrate.  So, after breakfast, I put on some clothes, grabbed the camera and headed outside.  The rain had stopped but the sun had not yet broken through the clouds.  The air was heavy and cool and the light was filtered and soft.  I love mornings like this because they are so rare in the South. 

As I wandered through my yard I snapped tons of pictures.  Despite the heat and weeds that are again trying to take over, May is my favorite month for gardening.  Flowers are blooming and the vegetables are beginning to share their fruits. This morning was a perfect start to what promises to be a spectacular day.  Here are several pictures of some of the things that helped to make my morning so special.


One thing that I truly love about my little garden is the fact that almost everyone of my plants came from someone I know.  All of my daylillies, and I have hundreds, came from either my wife’s grandmother or a promising young horticulturist named Chris Von Kohn.  Daylillies and May are synonymous in my mind.  I am always incredibly excited when the first one opens at the beginning of the month and then equally sad when the bloom falls toward the end of the month.  Here are some shots of the one’s that were in bloom this morning.

Here is a very lovely daylily that was bred by Chris Von Kohn.
Here is another one of Chris’s lovely creations.
Here is one of my borders filled with Hyperion daylilies that we got from my wife’s grandmother.  Over the years we have turned our original clump into literally hundreds of plants.
Miscellaneous Blooms
I absolutely love cleome or Spider Flower.  I was very pleased to see that the first one of the season has decided to open up.
Our easter lilies finally opened.  Very lovely and they last so long in a vase.
I absolutely love Powis Castle artemsia.  Here it pairs nicely with old fashioned petunias.
Daylilies aren’t they only thing blooming in my beds.  A no fail stunner for me is always my Victoria salvia.
 My native Datura is beginning to bloom
I love the combination of the old fashioned petunias with the Ruellia or Mexican petunias. 
Here is a very lovely pink yarrow shared with me by my friend Cynthia Mueller.
I love the color and texture of coleus.  These are in an old washstand with portulaca and calibrachoa
Vegetables and Herbs
This year I finally got arounf to building raised beds for my vegetables.  I have three 33′ rows that I filled with a mix of 60% river sand and 40% mushroom compost.  My building was delayed by all of the rain so I got my garden in a little late.  However, it is really beggining to take off.
One of my favorite herbs is borage.  Even though it has a nice, mild cucmber flavor, I don’t really like to eat it.  The leaves are too fuzzy for me.  However, it makes a lovely plant.  Plus, it has beautiful little blue flowers that look great frozen in a ice cube.
I have 18 tomato plants growing.  Because of that we will be making lots of salsa.  I planted cilantro in a buried 2.5 gallon pot to try and keep it in check.  I use this same trick with my mint.
Summer isn’t complete with out squash.  My yellow crook neck it beginning to produce.
I love peppers.  Because of this I have several varieties currently growning.  Last Saturday we picked our first bell.  It was perfectly shaped and a perfect size so we took it in and immediately ate it.  We cut it into two thick slices that we sauteed in bacon grease.  Once it softened up a bit we cracked an egg to the center.  We topped it off with grilled onions, bell pepper and and shreaded American cheese.  People that don’t garden will never know how truly wonderful a dish like this is.

Friends and Fresh Cut Flowers

This past Friday, two very pleasant things occurred at the Yupneck’s house;  an unexpected visit from my youngest daughter and the first formal dinner party hosted in our newly remodeled farmhouse (celebrating the “almost end” of a five year remodeling project).  While visits from the kids are always welcomed, it is those rare, unexpected drop ins that I love the most.  Whitney is a senior at North Texas University.  She is also a very talented floral designer.  While there, she found out that we were hosting the renowned Master of Horticulture, Dr. William C. Welch (Bill) and his lovely wife Lucille.  She asked if she could make us some arrangements from the garden for the dinner.  Of course I said a most enthusiastic YES!!!!!

Whitney grabbed some shears and left the house for about 20 minutes.  When she returned, she had a large bundle of flowers and foliage from just about every plant on my property.  It was a joy to watch her sort, strip and prepare these cuttings for arrangement.  What happened over the next fifteen minutes was truly amazing.  In less time than it takes me to brush my teeth, she created three incredibly lovely arrangements that I felt I had to share.

Arrangement for the yupneck's table. Made with things from my gardens by my lovely and talented daughter.

The first was a large arrangement that she made for the center of the table.  If you look closely, you will see hollyhocks, love-lies-bleeding, salvia, dried yarrow, coral honeysuckle and PURPLE HULL PEAS!  Who puts peas in a floral arrangement?  A young Master of Horticulture, that’s who.  This arrangement was stunning!  I wish my camera skills did it justice.

Close up of the table arrangement. Notice the use of purple hull peas and coral honeysuckle.

Next, she made a small arrangement for the bath.  This arrangement was built in a small water pitcher.  She incorporated  tatume’ squash, zinnias, love-lies-bleeding and southern wax myrtle foliage. 

Lovely arrangement using zinnias, amaranth and a tatume' squash.

Finally, she turned a vintage Mary planter into another stunning arrangement.  Here she used zinnias, salvia, wax myrtle foliage and iris leaves for effect.  Beautiful!

A vintage Mary planter featuring zinnias and salvia.

Whitney’s arrangements were the cherry on the top of the truly fabulous meal that my lovely wife prepared for the Welch’s.  Mrs. Yupneck created a carmalized onion and goat cheese appetizer, steak with bearnaise suace, stuffed summer squash and a tomato and balsalmic salad.  This was washed down with a lovely red brought by the guests and finished with a decadant “mudslide” dessert.  The evening was perfect.  My wife and daughter’s combined skills came together to create a dinner that was memorable for all.

The yupneck with his very talented floral designer daughter and his equally lovely and talented culinary wife.

P.S.  My daughter is a very talented floral designer.  She has started her own business in the DFW/Denton area.  She will be more than happy to give you a bid on events of any size.  To see more of her work you can check her out at Arbor Floral.

P.S.S.  Since the dinner was to celebrate the almost completion of our FIVE YEAR LONG remodeling project here is a picture of the entryway.

The entryway of "The Nest"