Michael Battalio


summer garden

Getting ready for fall

Not a lot has been happening in the garden over the last month and a half. I’ve mostly just been waiting out the summer. My house has gotten about .75 in of rain since the middle of May, so I haven’t done much gardening. I do have a few things to show. I’ve been on a plant buying spree in anticipation of cooler fall temperatures. I pulled out all the sunflowers from the side perennial bed and some plant waiting to go in. Just some standard plants a purple coneflower, some ornamental grasses, a sedum, gaura et cetera. Admittedly it will take a while for this bed to fill in. I’m okay with that though. I’m leaving that big empty space in for a shrub, probably a torch bush.

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The vegetable garden goes well. Again, I’m waiting on cooler temps for the tomatoes to begin setting fruit again (lows above 70 prevent the plants from fruiting). The bell peppers and okra are going just fine. I just planted potatoes, and the pumpkins need to be watered. I planted some lima beans a couple of weeks ago, but only three out of the whole pack sprouted, then two died, so I have one lima bean plant. I believe the culprit is a hoard of rolly pollies. They are everywhere, and I believe they decapitated the young sprouts. How that one lone bean survived I do not know.

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I have finally finished the daylily raised bed and am waiting for it to cool down to plant them. We are still getting highs in the 100s daily. I’m going to wait until it at least stays below the low 90s to plant.

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Finally, I bought some plants from Yucca Do Nursery which specializes in drought tolerant plants for TX. They were having a sale, and I got a Billbergia nutans, Ctenanthe setosa, Kaempferia x ‘Pink Lace’, Rhodea japonica, and Zephyranthes x ‘Aquarius’ (which bloomed due to the thorough watering I gave it at planting). The common name for Zephyranthes is Rain lily. They flower after a heavy rain. I have some orange ones growing natively in my lawn. I love them.

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Daylilies

I love daylilies. They are amazingly easy to grow, drought tolerant once established, give the potential for repeat bloomings throughout the year, pest resistant, slowly multiply, and are really easy to hybridize. In fact I have a hybrid daylily of my own called Stormy Sunset. The selection of daylilies here in College Station isn’t very good mostly because there are so few private nurseries around. So, I found an online supplier, and I ordered some daylilies from Smokeys Daylily Garden earlier this summer. They came in at the beginning of June, and since I didn’t have the bed I wanted to put them in completely ready I potted them up individually. I’m mostly pleased with the quality of fans (the name of an individual daylily plant), but some of them were lacking enough roots to get started well. Consequently I’ve had a couple of them die. That’s mostly to be expected, but some of the plants should never have been shipped. On the other hand some of the plants were so well developed that a few of them bloomed this month. (Top to bottom: ‘Hemerocallis Chicago Sunrise’, ‘Pardon Me’, ‘Apricot Charmer’) I’m impressed that some did bloom. Over the next month or so I will be finishing the raised bed I will be planting them in. Next summer they will still require a fair bit of water, but after that they should manage mostly on their own even with the hot July summers and drought.
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