Today I received not one, but two, belated birthday presents — and both were for the garden. First, when my husband went out to bring the papers in this morning he found a box from the Antique Rose Emporium on the front porch. Apparently it was delivered yesterday afternoon but the UPS person just dropped it off without ringing the doorbell and none of us happened to notice it. Inside was a robust, one-gallon Cecile Brunner rose from my lovely mom and dad in Dallas. When I called my mom, she said the Rose Emporium people told her Cecile Brunner was a small shrub, perfect for a pot, which is just where I intend to put her (as soon as I can find the perfect pot). According to the Rose Emporium's website, Cecile Brunner has light pink blooms and is nicknamed the Sweetheart Rose. It tolerates poor soils and even partial shade. I'm thinking that, for now at least, I'll put her in a pot, maybe up on a plinth of some kind, in the far back, providing a focal point back there while the hamelia, yellow bells and Pride of Barbados resprout and fill in this spring.
Then this afternoon my friend Alisa came by to take me out for a birthday lunch (we've been trying to find a time when our schedules meshed since my actual birthday in late February and we finally made it work today) and she brought me a present that I can already tell is in the category of "how did I ever garden without this." It's a garden fork and I've been out digging up various parts of the garden with it all afternoon. I mean really, I've been digging in this garden for nearly 13 years and at my other house for seven or eight years before that and I've never had a garden fork. It's been on my wish list for a while (clever Alisa for listening to me ramble about my travails in the garden) and I even thought about a trip earlier in the week to look for one but was put off by the rain. I can already see that the fork will make digging up and moving plants much easier and I've got my eye on several to experiment with. In the picture my new tool is next to the hypericum that really needs to be moved.
After lunch Alisa and I headed out to do some garden shopping. We didn't make it past the Natural Gardener (we meant to go to Barton Springs Nursery too, to make a dent in a birthday gift certificate I received earlier — do you sense a birthday theme? — but we ran out of time) but we made our time count. Alisa, who rarely sees a plant she doesn't want, a woman after my own heart, bought a lush orange tecoma stans and a leatherleaf mahonia (she loves the berries) as well as a bamboo muhly (Pam, I told her you had recommended it to me and that sealed the deal for her) and various other things. With the Barton Springs gift certificate in my pocket, I restrained myself (I even put a few things back after they'd made their way into the wagon!). I bought three 4-inch bat face cupheas, three 4-inch winecups and one extremely cool euphorbia rigida, also known, the tag says, as gopher plant (that's it in the picture). How could that be anything but cool? They had one in the ground in one of the display gardens; like most euphorbias I'm familiar with, it doesn't exactly flower but gets these interesting chartreuse and yellow bract-like things on the tips of each branch in the spring. I'm thinking of putting it into the spot where the hypericum now is (the hypericum gets too tall and wide for the Maggie rose next to it but I think the euphorbia will stay low and kind of sprawl under the rose).
And when I get finished in the garden I can come in and slather on some avocado butter, olive and basil body butter, another gift from the lovely Alisa.