Plants for the Lazy SouthEast Texas Gardener

I temporarily got plant fever and decided that it was time to upgrade our garden in the backyard. It should be noted that I’m pretty lazy when I come to gardening… It’s why I tend to only raise succulents. They’re really the only things that I seem to be able to keep alive on the patio because I have a tendency to forget to water my plants.

We have a flowerbed that our large windows highlight. It is a focal point that you see from the living room, dining room and kitchen. It was completely overgrown with weeds for the last few months, and I really want something that is nice to look out at since we have our blinds open most of the time. I finally got around to doing some research on plants, because that’s what I do. πŸ™‚

My plants had to meet the following requirements:

  • Able to grow locally
  • Low maintenance
  • High shade tolerance
  • High drought tolerance
  • Look good throughout the year
  • Flowers bloom at different times of year.
  • Perennials only

Color-wise, I wanted to stick with Β complementary colors, so I went with – roughly – fuchsia tones and chartreuse tones. There will be some variance from the color scheme, but this was my inspiration. I don’t have any fuchsia in the flowers I chose below, but the trees I have in the garden will have fuchsia flowers.

Color Me Beautiful

I was surprised to see just how many perennials fit my pretty specific needs. Also, I was able to find some perennials that were just as showy as the annuals.

Below are some of the plants that I got. Pictures are all taken from my garden! They’ve been in the ground about 2 days now. πŸ™‚

  1. Creeping Jenny – This was the chartreuse that I needed. πŸ™‚ These were not very expensive, and are crawlers. I’m hoping that it’ll give me a nice bright ground cover eventually.

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2. Hellebore – Also known as Lenten Rose in the color “Cotton Candy” -It’s the Terra Nova nurseries and in the “Winter Jewels” Series. Hellebores are honestly one of the most beautiful flowers I have every seen, and it will bloom in the winter, which means that our garden will have signs of life even when other plants are normally dormant. They are also supposed to be very easy to grow and low maintenance. I wish I could’ve gotten more of these, but they were $25 a piece. If this one does well, I might go back and grab another one. If you want to see some major eye candy, go on Pinterest, and just search “Hellebore”. They come in every color imaginable! This is my personal favorite and I can’t wait to see it grow.

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3. Spotted Dead Nettle in “Orchid Frost” and “White Nancy” – So, I didn’t actually mean to buy 2 colors. I meant to just buy this purple, but surprise! It’s okay, though. I bought these as an alternate ground cover, but I think it’ll grow more upright than the Creeping Jenny. From far away, the leaves look silver, which is pretty cool and will add some nice texture, and they will grow year round blooming in late spring and early summer. Obviously, this one’s already blooming. We’ve had a pretty warm winter here in South Texas, so that may be the reason.

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4. Persian Shield – Okay… So this one doesn’t really fit my whole chartreuse and fuchsia color scheme, but I couldn’t resist, so I bought one… In the winter, it will have small violet flowers. This one is actually going to get fairly tall, so I’ll have to keep it trimmed since I planted it in the front. I think this plant looks very striking.

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5. ??? Mystery Plant ??? – This one comes back every year, and has a pretty red flower on it, but I have no idea what kind of plant it is… I figure if it’s survived for this long it’ll probably be okay, so it’s still in my garden – even though it will not match my color scheme. πŸ™‚ Let me know if you have any idea what kind of plant this is! I’d love to know!

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6. Jasmine – Last, but certainly not least! This might be one of the more finnicky plants that I’ve chosen, but I chose it because I love the smell of Jasmine. I’m hoping that someday it’ll climb the fence. You can see it’s already reaching for it! πŸ™‚ It barely has any flowers on it, but on the way home it made my care smell lovely.

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I covered the soil with red mulch to discourage weed growth. It’s amazing how fast it can get out of hand.

Not pictured, are my Elephant Ears. I removed a bunch of them from the side of the fence. They are a handful and have become a bit invasive in my yard. You’ll see those growing right next to one of my tree on the right in the picture below. If you do choose to grow big leaf plants, I would advise you not to go with Elephant Ears. The root is gigantic ( almost the size of a pineapple), and it’s a pain to dig up.

I also have Aloe Vera which seems to be growing well in the front there. I left him there since he seemed happy. πŸ™‚

Below is a picture of how my little garden looks now. That pot in the back has an elephant ear that I dug up and a creeping jenny, which will hopefully start crawling out of the pot in a few weeks. I wish I could’ve taken a before picture, but oh well. πŸ™‚ I intend on giving an update when it gets more mature, so follow if you’d like to see that!

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Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post. I’ll try to post an update as stuff starts growing and looking more established… As long as I can keep it all alive!

What are you all growing? Do you have any specific requirements for your plants? Any advice for a novice gardener like me? Let me know!

The Importance and Fragility of Memories

Not too long ago a friend and I were reminiscing, and she mentioned something funny that had happened in the past. I had no recollection of her memory whatsoever, although apparently I was there.

I didn’t dwell on the fact that I couldn’t revive this memory at all until I was fixing to go to sleep. That night, I asked my husband if he thinks that there are certain things that happen in your life that cannot ever be remembered – life experiences that are permanently gone.

He mentioned that there is short term memory and long term memory and that it’s not possible to hold onto all of your life experiences in long term memory.

This realization made me feel something – not as strong as panic… Something that falls between sadness and fear. I don’t want to lose any of my memories.

It’s the reason why I try to write out my thoughts, and why I keep my journals and art and poetry from middle school and high school. It’s the reason why i have an entire suitcase full of memories stored in the back of my closet, and why I like to take pictures. I can’t stand the thought of forgetting, and if I get rid of anything, those experiences will no longer exist. They’ll disappear.

I want to be able to retrieve my life experiences in the same way that you can retrieve a book from a library. Books bound and organized chronologically by year. I don’t know how often I would go back to them, but it would be there when I need to see something, or when I need to show it to somebody who may be going through a similar situation.

I wonder what would happen if you could hold onto all of your memories. Would it make you a different person?

How does a person’s mind decide what is important and what is not? Does it hold onto memories that solidify your pre-conceived beliefs? Is it based on how strong your feelings are during that time? Or just based on chance?

How does the mind choose what to edit out? Does what gets edited out depend on the person? If a person has the exact same life experiences as I had, would their minds choose to hold onto different memories?

I always go off on tangents when I start thinking about memory…I feel like it’s a complicated topic.

It’s always interesting to look back at journal entries or letters from the past. In a way, it allows you to see things from your past point of view, but also from a more separated, objective point of view. I think that being able to do this is a very unique and useful experience that can provide you with very good insight about yourself, or about the experience in general. I wonder if you can hone this skill and use it in real-time. I’ll bet you could.

Anyway, I could write a novel stating my opinions or theories on this topic, but I think I’ll wrap it up.

Let me know how you feel about holding onto stuff from the past.

Why I Like Art Journaling

Just a few months ago, I began getting interested in art journaling. I noticed that although I love to paint and draw, I am hesitant about doing it sometimes. The reason being that I am very self-critical and tend to get discouraged when something doesn’t turn out quite the way that I’d imagined.

I still want to be creative, though, and I had collected a bunch of paper at that point.

I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to pretty pictures, paper, and other small things and the things I collect have a tendency of getting lost in giant overwhelming piles. By starting art journaling, I’ve been able to take those pretty scraps of paper, and poetry, and notes and turn them into something cohesive.

So, there were multiple reasons why I started. It’s nice to be able to put pretty collages together from random scraps, and in a way it’s pretty therapeutic. It’s not as technical as painting of drawing, and I can allow my mind to wander more while I do it. I also feel like it’s a much better way for me to express my personality and express more abstract concepts.

It also allows me to use what I have and to reduce some of the clutter that I tend to build up… And what clutter is still there has more of a purpose because I may be using it later!

Art journaling has been a way to force myself to organize my pretty paper. I have a binder that is full of laminate pockets that contain my paper, which I generally have organized by color and/or theme.

I’m good at painting and drawing “pretty” things, but have a much harder time painting what I’m feeling – if that makes any sense. Creating an art journal page allows me to express myself more freely, without the added burden of needing to get it just perfect..

My weapons of choice when I’m working on my art journaling are basically whatever I have on hand. I use mod podge as my binder. You could use Elmer’s glue if you don’t have anything else. I also use acrylic paint, glitter, goache, ribbons, magazine cutouts, old calendars, greeting cards & birthday cards, and scrapbook paper. I also have bought and get a lot of use out of stencils and an ex acto knife, and a pair of scissors.

There are a bunch of videos on YouTube that show peoples art journaling processes, and they’re calming to watch, and can give you good ideas if you’re interested in starting it.

Anyway, below are a few of the pages that I made. I hope you enjoy looking at them! Sorry if the photo quality is bad on some of these. I tend to work on these pages in the evening, and photograph them at night when all I have is my crappy ceiling light.

1. For this one, I used the February month of the Papaya Bloom calendar for the purple florally bits on this page. πŸ™‚ also, glitter, magazine cutouts, and some scrapbook paper.

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2. For this one, I used a 2015 Katie daisy calendar for the lettering, a page from an Anthropologie catalog, a birthday card, scrapbook paper, stencils, and scrapbook paper. Stencils were added with acrylic paint that I dabbed on with a paper towel… Someday I’ll buy some fancy stamping equipment, but this process works temporarily. πŸ™‚

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3. I found a photo on Pinterest that I liked, cut out the general shapes in appropriate colors out of a gardening catalog, and then glued them down to copy the picture. This was a really fun process. The road is a combination of colored pencils and gouache paint. The quote was done on regular paper with a cheap calligraphy pen.

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4. For this I almost exclusively used a Nordstrom catalog. Just some black Indian ink as the background other than that.

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And lastly, here’s a picture of me at work in my craft room. I have a desk, but for some reason I prefer working off my yoga mat. πŸ™‚

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I hope that these pictures have encouraged you to try out art journaling. It’s very rewarding and fun to do. πŸ™‚

What’s The Appeal of Tiny Houses?

There’s something kind of magical about miniature houses.

When I see them, I picture a life of freedom and adaptability.

As a person, I’ve always been a realist with periods of pessimism. I’ve always been worried about money and making ends-meet. Even as a girl in high school, I would keep a budget.

Just recently, my husband and I bought a house, which I love, but we bought it with the knowledge that we would in a way become “grounded” here in this little boring town, and that if one of us were to lose our jobs, it could create havoc for us financially.

I honestly think this is one of the reasons why tiny houses are so popular. My generation has started their careers with a very hard task. Workplaces are striving for efficiency, and are hiring less and less people. There are simply not enough well paying jobs out there to allow many people the luxury of owning their own place. Living in a house is a luxury for my generation.

I think the economy shake up in 2008 scared a lot of people, including me. We learned that no job is secure. It’s not surprising that tiny houses have become a “trend”. You get to have the luxury of owning your own place, but don’t need to worry about spending so much money on month home bills, electricity, etc.

But there’s more to it than that. Without further ado, here are some of the reasons why I love tiny houses! πŸ™‚

1. You can build it yourself– some people hate the idea of building it themselves, but as an enjoyer of making things, and a fan of the show “this old house”, the thought of designing and building a house from the ground up is super exciting!

2. You have smaller bills– even if you have somebody else build it, this will be the case. Your home bill will be much smaller than you would pay if you live in a regular sized house… Your other home-associated bills will be smaller too!

3. You can design it however you want – designing a smaller house is less daunting and complicated than trying to design a normal sized house. You can customize your house however you want. If you like to cook, make a fancy kitchen, or if you want to sleep under the stars every night, install a sky light! If you want to go off the grid, install solar panels!

4. You can put it on wheels and take it with you – If you build it with travel in mind, you will not need to worry about being tied down. If you decide to live somewhere else for whatever reason, you will have the freedom to take your house with you, and just leave.

5. It’s cozy – my husband will disagree with me on this, but I love the idea of living in a small house on a pretty piece of land. I think it’s cozy! πŸ™‚

6. It forces you to live more simply – with less space for storage, you will learn to live with less and to be happy with what you have.

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Anyway, I doubt that I will ever own a miniature house, but I still love the idea of it.

I feel like if this trend doesn’t fade, we will become more nomadic, and less career centric. I feel like we are living in a time where our culture is transitioning. My generation (generation Y) is a lot less satisfied with the 9-5 job as it is, and as it was for our parents… We feel like there is more to life than work, and that the focus of our lives should be on enjoying life. We don’t want to be chained to our decks, and place a large importance on personal freedom.

This means that we may (possibly willingly) have less money to do things with, and it will make owning a miniature house the most viable option.

Or, maybe this is all just my imagination. I’m curious about how you all feel. What do you think about the miniature house movement. Do you have any theories about the reason why they’re so popular right now?

Ancient books, mud masks, and other cool things

My husband and I do this thing where we give ourselves an allowance every month. Recently, I received a pretty nice bonus, so I’ve been thinking about what all I want to buy.

My general go-to has been makeup and clothing for the past few years, but I find myself getting bored with this. As I’ve gotten older, I’m becoming more interested in skincare because I want to continue looking young. (Call it narcissism if you’d like, but I do have a genuine fear of aging).

Additionally, I’ve been wanting to buy books… Which is kind of weird because I have a Kindle which is basically a library that fits in my purse, but since getting interested in bookbinding and vintage books, they’ve been hard to resist.

Anyway, since it will be easiest, I’ll make a list of the things that are on my wishlist

1. DEAD SEA MUD MASK: I was lurking on Amazon, and was curious about what the best selling skincare item was, when I happened upon this:

http://www.amazon.com/BEST-Dead-Sea-Mud-Mask/dp/B00XTAFYKY

It’s dirt cheap (haha! See what I did there?!), has a ton of reviews and a very good rating. Chances are that I will be buying this product soon.

2. THAYERS ALCOHOL FREE WITCH HAZEL: Here’s another skincare item i’m interested in:

http://www.amazon.com/Thayers-Alcohol-free-Petal-Witch-Hazel/dp/B00016XJ4M

Like the mud mask, this product also is inexpensive, has a bunch of reviews, and a high rating.

3. KATIE DAISY BOOK – HOW TO BE A WILDFLOWER FIELD GUIDE: I had a calendar by this artist last year, which I loved, and now she has a book out that’s right up my alley! It’s just the cutest, prettiest thing ever. (^ ^)

http://www.amazon.com/How-Be-Wildflower-Field-Guide/dp/1452142688

4. KATIE DAISY COLORING BOOK: Same artist as #3, except she has a coloring book coming out. If I was any more excited about it, I would be crying! I love coloring books, and to find out that one of my favorite artists is making one made me very happy!

I would post a link, but nothing too official is out yet except for this:

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5. THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT – BY OLIVER SACKS: This one I may just get on the Kindle. I heard so much about Mr. Sacks on some podcasts I’m listening to. He was a very intelligent and fascinating human being.  This book by him seems particularly interesting.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0684853949/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=&sr=

6. VOYNICH MANUSCRIPT PHOTOGRAPHIC EDITION: I love puzzles. And I love books. And I love history. And I love mysteries. Whether this ancient book was created as a hoax, or whether it actually does contain it’s own mysterious language doesn’t matter that much to be. A lot of work went into it, and the images are fascinating. I’d love to have this book just to study and speculate. πŸ™‚

http://www.amazon.com/The-Voynich-Manuscript-Photographic-Edition/dp/1599865556

7. CODEX SERAPHINIANUS: Another surreal art filled book, but this one’s much more recent.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0847842134/ref=pd_aw_fbt_14_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0HFHSCFS6YQWNAGZK3BX

8. SHADOWSCAPES COLORING BOOK: Another coloring book I can’t wait to get my hands on by another of my favorite artists! She also made a Tarot card deck by the same name, which I have already.

http://www.amazon.com/Llewellyns-Shadowscapes-Coloring-Stephanie-Pui-Mun/dp/0738750115

9. ADJUSTABLE BLOCK WEIGHTS: Since I’m a generally antisocial person, I like to work out at home a lot. These space saving weights have been on my wish list for a while. I wish they weren’t so expensive but I might just need to suck it up and buy them, because I would get a lot of use out of them.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000A6T9I8/ref=pd_aw_sim_200_2?ie=UTF8&dpID=51NRJlkq2TL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL100_SR100%2C64_&refRID=0VRY84K7VSFPBMY578S1

10. POKEMON MOON DS GAME: It’s not out yet, but… I can’t wait!!!

http://www.pokemon.com/us/pokemon-video-games/pokemon-sun-and-pokemon-moon/

11. A PRETTY TATTOO: Last but not least. I’m not sure when/if I’ll ever get it, because I’d have to travel out if state to get it, but – I would love to have a tattoo by this artist named Alice Carrier! Her work is so unique and pretty, but classic at the same time.

I’ve been wanting to visit Portland, Oregon. If I do go, I’ll make sure to schedule the trip with the tattoo appointment! πŸ˜‰ Here is the artist’s website:

http://www.alicecarrier.com/

Anyway, that’s what’s on my wish list right now.  What’s on yours?