Thursday, July 25, 2013

Repeating Tulips for Warmer Climates

If you love the beauty of tulips in the spring garden but you live where the instructions for getting tulips to put on a good show for you include having new tulip bulbs spend a month or more in your refrigerator each year before planting, I have some great news for you. After trying a few different wild tulip species that claimed to be able to handle low winter chilling and hot summers, I have found a species that not only repeats but slowly multiplies in my North Texas garden. (If you want some of the more classic, hybrid tulips you will need to follow the instructions found on the Texas AgriLife Extension Service website and plan to treat them as annuals.)

I have had success with three cultivars of the T. clusiana species, “Cynthia”, “Lady Jane” and “Peppermint”. These tulips are not as large as the hybrids but do have a fairly classic tulip shape when in the bud stage or when they close for the evening. When they are closed, each of these cultivars has alternating petals of red and white or yellow, depending on the cultivar. They open each day to reveal their white or yellow inner petal color. These cultivars range in height from 8 to 14 inches. I purchased my bulbs online from McClure & Zimmerman.

I planted two different areas of my gardens when I first experimented with these tulips and they are thriving in each. One is off the north side of my front porch. The area gets morning sun but is spared the hot afternoon sun during the time the tulips are “up”. The other area off the NW corner of my garage is basically the reverse with regards to the sun. Both areas are mulched with cypress chips and receive no supplemental water.

So if you live where you thought you could only grow tulips as annuals after providing them some chilling time in your refrigerator, give these wild tulips a try.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Artist Spotlight – Metal Motif

My husband and I first saw Denise’s work at a First Fridays pop up market in Downtown Arlington. She makes 3D metal sculptures of all sizes, much of it from sheet stock from her own designs. Her work is so good that she has applied for and received licensing for several college mascot themed pieces. The piece that caught my husband’s eye was a dragon that could be hung from a tree or a ceiling indoors. We were told that it also came in a larger size as a chandelier and were invited to see it in her space at Gracie Lane in Arlington.

I had an opportunity to drop by Gracie Lane a few days later. The large dragon with dangling sconces was most impressive. It holds three sconces in its claws. This is a candle lit chandelier instead of an electrified one. I figured my husband would really like it, however I didn’t think we would have space for this magnificent beast so I checked to see if any of the other sizes that it came in were also available with sconces. I was pleased to find out that the answer was yes, so armed with sizing info I went hunting around the house to see if there would be a perfect spot for a smaller version.

We have an arabesque metal and glass candle holder that hangs from the ceiling by a chain in my husband’s office. I felt that the dragon, with its candle holders, would complement it nicely so I requested a pewter colored dragon with sconces. I surprised my husband with his new “pet” after I picked it up. It now hangs over his desk guarding his things. The first photo in this post shows the actual dragon in its new home. The second image is a photographic art representation that I created.

If you are looking for some metal sculptures for your yard, school spirit items for your college bound kids or other metal decor, check out this talented designer's and sculptor's work at Metal Motif.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Striking New Black Diamond Crape Myrtle

I have now seen one of the new types of Black Diamond crape myrtle in two different nurseries in my area. When I saw it earlier this year for the first time I just had to snap one up. I picked out a multi-trunked plant with three main trunks. I had no clue where I was going to put it but it was just too good to leave behind. I did finally find a place for it where its unique color plays off a nearby large accent rock’s colors perfectly. It has been so exciting to see it bloom for the first time this week.

What is so special about this plant? Its foliage is that really dark purple red that is almost black, hence the name Black Diamond. The type that I have seen in my area is the variety “Blush” which has blush pink tinged white flowers. Its tag says that it will get 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide so it will make a nice small specimen “tree” in the landscape. The tag also indicates that the bloom time and drought tolerance should be similar to other varieties of crape myrtles. After doing a bit of research online I found out that Black Diamond crape myrtles are also available in pure white and a variety of red blossom colors.

The only slight negative, that I’m guessing is because the plant is so new to the nursery trade, was the size of the available plants. Both places where I saw this plant had them available in a five gallon size but they were the smallest five gallon crape myrtles that I have ever seen. The roots did just fill the pot however so I feel that it will have an easy time of getting established in my garden. So far it seems to be adapting well and what a great show of blooms that I have on this small specimen.

If you want one of your own, the grower’s website allows you to put in your zip code and find a location near you that should have some of these striking beauties for you to take home with you.

The other thing I did a bit of research on with regard to this plant was the correct spelling of its name. Is it crape myrtle or crepe myrtle? I’ve used crape myrtle in this article since that is what is on the grower’s tag even though I have thought it was spelled crepe myrtle. It turns out that it is more likely to be spelled crepe myrtle in the south where people liken its blooms to crepe paper with most other people using crape myrtle as is found in the plant’s scientific name. It’s kind of like whether you write “gray” or “grey” depends a lot on where you grew up.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Thanks for the Treasuries - June 2013

Four different Etsians and one Etsy team let me know that they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during June. Seven June Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one or more of my creations. Three of my items were featured in two June treasuries. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during June. (Click on the collage to see a larger view.)

I really appreciate being featured by the treasury makers. To thank them, I have listed below (in alphabetical order) links to the 4 Etsy sellers that let me know that they featured one of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like in addition to the TexasFriendsTeam that also featured an item of mine.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the shop links of anything that catches your eye.

"It's a Bling Thing!", says this shop owner who offers you sparkle and shine at affordable prices.

Earrings Rings Necklaces. Gift ideas for girls & woman. Animals, Retro, Sports, Ham Radio, Birds, Bees and more.

This shop includes many unique hand painted glass and porcelain items as well as works of art painted directly on glass.

Handmade crochet items for a variety of people and a variety of uses.

Past, present and future Texans are welcome and encouraged to join this team. The only real rules of the group is to promote friendly, The Texas Way and be respectful to all who participate.