If Weekends Aren’t For Enjoyment, What Are They For?

The first bloom from the plant that I recently purchased. I guess this one is fairly common (passiflora caerulea). Common or not, this flower is amazing.

Another Saturday, and it feels good just to settle back for a bit.  I’ve already done a good deal of yard work, had my coffee and a bit of breakfast, and accidentally (well, kinda accidentally) turned the lawn sprinkler on some door-to-door bible beaters.  Heck, my day has already been a success!

All that doesn’t compare to the beauty that spring is bringing to the yard.  I’m trying my hand at growing some passion flowers this year.  Actually, I just bought a couple of them about a month ago, so I can’t take a whole lot of credit for the wonderful bloom that appeared yesterday.  I hear that they can really grow fast, so I will have to be careful that they don’t swamp the pergula.  On the other hand, who can say “no” to such amazing blooms?

Just the Right Kind of Day To Spend Puttering in the Garden

The garden space behind the garage is a mini-jungle. The peas have already hit their peak, but the tomatoes and beans stretch higher every day. I'm getting enough lettuce for a salad every day, pulling up a tender scallion to go along with it.

What a beautiful, lazy Sunday morning.  After getting up at 5:30 to let Annie out for a quick go, I crawled back under the covers for another few hours of dreamy–weird dreamy–dozing.  When I could no longer bear the crazy slumber, I pulled enough clothes on to go out to the backyard, but not before grinding a few coffee beans and setting them to brew.

Not being a “churchy” person, I then began my leisurely Easter morning puttering, repotting a couple of under-tended plants, squeezing in a few more wax bean and okra seeds in the already jungle-like garden, tying up the drooping passion flower stems to steady pergula posts, weeding out any ever-present chickweed and elm sprouts that I could reach, then finally giving everything a good dose of watering before the sun’s cheery Sunday rays would obliterate the remaining protective shadows.

Now it’s time for a good shower and then off to see if I can find a few groceries.  I doubt much will be open out here in conservative suburbialandia.  I don’t need to buy much, just wasn’t in the mood to do the shopping yesterday.  I will have to remember not to take the street out of the sub-division that enters onto the road that passes the Catholic church.  They’ll be swarming into that place like those ants that were trying to make a new hill next to the patio.  Ortho took care of that.

I hope you will enjoy this visual taste of my yard and garden.

This cherry tomato plant growing in a container is loaded with clusters of the small fruit.

A bud has appeared on this passion flower plant, not so many weeks after I brought it home from the nursery.

I now know this is a white shrimp plant bloom, of which each little pod slips out a lavendar tongue as it opens.

This verbena brings a blanket of color to the sun-drenched bed on the south side of the house.

This hand-me-down amarylis so invariably blooms at Easter, no matter when it falls on the calendar, that I have always called it an Easter lily.

This cleome brightens the edge of the patio.

A Saturday Morning Adventure To One of Houston’s Well-kept Secrets

Passion Flower--Is there anything other to say than "Wow"?

Because Houston is a city that has experienced most of its growth in the last several decades, it feels pretty much the same, no matter which part of the city that you find yourself in.  Despite the ubiquitous strip centers, fast food restaurants, and housing developments, tucked away here and there are a number of unique places that can make for a fun outing.

Part of the grounds of Jerry's Garden, ready for the 4th of July.

Yesterday morning, a friend and I took a Saturday morning adventure to one of Houston’s best-kept secret’s, Jerry’s Jungle.  No more appropriate name could have been given to this plant menagerie, which is open to the public just a few times a year.  This private garden-cum-nursery is about a 15-minute drive north of downtown off of I-45.  Taking the exit onto Gulf Bank, then Airline, and finally Hill Street, one might feel a bit like they are somewhere in Mexico (as my friend said).

The grounds, very densely covered with all types of flowering plants and trees, occupy, what seems to be, several lots.  Most of the plants are growing in the ground, but when Jerry’s Jungle is open, there are many varieties of unusual plants for sale.  (Check out the Jerry’s Jungle website for the calendar and other offerings.)

This red clerodendron is ahowy plant. There are many other varieties. I wonder if I will be able to recognize them.

I am not good at recognizing nor naming even the more common yard and garden foliage, so I was far out of my league with the myriad of plants yesterday.  However, the beauty and variety were amazing.  Seeing everything that Jerry grows, I realized that the range of plants that we can have in our yards and gardens here in Houston is far greater than I had ever imagined.

Some of the many hardy, acclimated plants available for sale at Jerry's Jungle.

I’ll go back in October when Jerry’s Jungle is open to the public again.  By that time, I will have a better idea about some new beds I want to make in my yard, and the relentless heat should be a bit more forgiving.

After a wonderful time of encountering many different plants, when the Saturday morning heat intensified, despite the shade, my friend and I decided to take a respite at another place she knew of:  My Dee Dee’s Pie Shoppe and Deli.   Just a few blocks from Jerry’s Jungle, this is another business that seems a bit out of place.  Located in an old Victorian house with antique decorations inside to match, My Dee Dee’s was an interesting stop to get inside from the sun.  The lemon chess pie had a nice citrus tang, but was so empalagoso, that a sliver would have been enough to satisfy a sweet tooth.

What a very pleasant way to spend the first morning of a 3-day weekend, a lot more fun than a trip to Lowe’s and stopping at McDonald’s afterward.

Seeing passion fruit actually growing--another first for me.

Like so many others, the name of this beautiful flower is unknown to me. That will be the challenge if I want one to put in my flower beds.