Plants large and small have been showing off with little or no help from me:
This magenta Wave petunia has been blooming off and on for the last 14 months with no fertilizer since last summer.
This is a double petunia I bought at Lowe's--it's taken over a 3 foot space in the driveway bed.
One of my top 10 favorite plants of all time, Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa), is bigger than ever and can be seen from a block away. Its alien-looking flowers bloom all along the stem, and its velvet-like sea-green leaves are delicately edged in white. And it's evergreen.
Here's a view of it alongside Martha Gonzalez roses, mealy blue sage, and indigo spires, looking along the sidewalk from the front walkway.
The new bed where I took out 400 square feet of grass in the back yard is coming along. I have adorned it with my buy of the week--a copper dragonfly found at Wildseed Farms near Fredericksburg. It has green marbles for eyes.
A few of the stella de oro daylilies have burst out all at once after having been divided. I believe the name means 'stars of gold.'
On the other side of the front porch the Black 'n' Blue (salvia guaranitica) has already been cut back once and insists on crowding the roses. It's almost as tall as me. The name refers to the large cobalt-blue lipped blooms and true black sepals. It spreads by underground shoots which can easily be pulled up (and potted up for friends).
The tomatoes and peppers are gung-ho from the rain and a couple of molasses/fish emulsion cocktails. This "Black Cherry" is doing the best. I'm growing some others I've not tried before such as "German Johnson," "Azoychka" (yellow flesh), "Flamme," and BHN-444.
Pam of Digging gave me the vegetable mulch idea--on the way home from picking up a visiting friend at the airport, I zipped into Callahan's and got a bale of coastal Bermuda hay. It spreads easily and smells nice, doesn't cost much, and I have plenty left for next year.
Another watering vacation this week with .8" of rain since Monday.
Both birdbaths magically filled themselves, and the glossy abelia (background) responded with more blooms than I've ever seen.
In honor of Earth Day I had the old and new rainbarrels linked and set up on higher foundations. My other contribution was to give up my Statesman paper delivery. Instead, I subscribed to the e-edition, which is 1/3 the cost and comes every morning by email, a page by page replica of what's in the paper edition. No more throwing mountains of timber in the recycle cart!
On the other hand, I used a lot of gas on the 600 mile trip to and from Marshall for my first state Master Gardeners' conference. Most of the sessions and speakers were very good, and I bought 2 purple passion vines (passiflora 'Incense') I had been looking for. Everyone was given an EarthKind rose in a pretty Marshall pot (the area is known for its pottery). All in all, it was probably worth the trip, but I wouldn't necessarily go every year. I think the central Texas one-day conference last fall was every bit as good if not as elaborate.