LATE AUTUMN

One of the perks of having mild winters in central Texas is the extended growing season. HUGE perk actually. There is still so much life in the cool mornings and evenings. So far, it’s been exceptionally wet this autumn with one early big freeze that ended the warm season flowers. Here’s what’s happening in the garden and greenhouse.

anemones are popping up!

anemones are popping up!

wildflowers are popping up!

wildflowers are popping up!

PAPERWHITES are popping up!

PAPERWHITES are popping up!

I propagated my Pilea. NINE BABIES!

I propagated my Pilea. NINE BABIES!

Something new I’m growing is ranunculus. So far so good. I pre-sprouted them for 14 days before digging them in the ground. I’m not messing with them much so I think they like the independence.

Something new I’m growing is ranunculus. So far so good. I pre-sprouted them for 14 days before digging them in the ground. I’m not messing with them much so I think they like the independence.

Propagation

Lately in the greenhouse, I’ve been playing with plant propagation. I used a root hormone for the ficus and have been keeping them all evenly moist. So far its going well! (fingers crossed)

Succulent and baby pilea peperomioides

Succulent and baby pilea peperomioides

Felted Peperomia (Incana) and Golden Council ficus (altissima)

Felted Peperomia (Incana) and Golden Council ficus (altissima)

WISTERIA

I ran into this vine recently in north Texas while I was visiting family. It was growing over a pergola and had these dark beautiful flowers. The stems were thick and braided. It was massive and I was taken aback, this was a very old plant. It looked happy. It looked like wisteria, but I only knew of the purple wisteria that blooms in spring. So I asked my fellow instagram friends for an ID and IT IS WISTERIA. An evergreen wisteria which blooms in the summer. It loves full sun but will tolerate some shade with well drained soil. It can get huge so make sure to have plenty of room for it to be happy. I love learning about new plants. I definitely plan on finding one around here and planting it in my yard. (Also it reminds me of dragons.... ? :) ) 

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GREENHOUSE

I've been busy setting up and dreaming in my greenhouse lately. YES I GOT A GREENHOUSE!  A 6x8 ft Palram Harmony, polycarbonate greenhouse. Even though its 100 degrees outside in Austin, I'm still out there in the late evenings and early mornings fighting mosquitoes figuring out how to best deal with this heat and planning for the upcoming year. I have some research to do and this year is definitely going to be a learning curve for me, but I have to come to the conclusion that I can't have crazy expectations and I have to keep my goals simple. Also I will fail at some point and I'm okay with that, because thats how we learn right? 

I eventually had to take out my Hoyas because it was WAY too hot and some got scorched. :(

I eventually had to take out my Hoyas because it was WAY too hot and some got scorched. :(

Thelocactus tri color loving the heat. 

Thelocactus tri color loving the heat. 

FAVORITES

These are just a handful of my favorite blooms of this warm season in TX. 

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Peony Poppy 

Only one of these seed made it and I savored her everyday. 

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Cactus Zinnia

I love the textured petals on these.

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Nigella 

Love in a Mist! So soft and detailed. I love saving the seed pods for drying. 

Panache

Sunflower of my dreams! So much texture in the center and they last forever in a vase. 

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Red Sunflower

This one was more bronze, but that glow around the center is stunning. 

ELDERFLOWER

The elderflowers are blooming all around Austin! These plants are incredibly useful. They are easy to take care of and will grow fast. The blooms are very fragrant and will fruit into tiny berries. Certain elderberry fruit are medicinal and have lots of benefits like immune boosting and sinus relief.  I also just learned the berries can be used as a natural dye! I've been into natural dying lately, so I will be experimenting this summer. 

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W I L D

Ever since I moved into this house almost two years ago, I've always wanted to throw down wildflower seeds on our side yard. Last Autumn, I finally got around to it and they are all blooming like crazy! I hope they bring joy and happiness to everyone who walks by. 

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seasonal arrangements

All of my flowers are seasonal to Texas. Oh how I wish I could grow beautiful lilacs, but those would never grow and thrive here. So what you see in my arrangements are what grows best for that time of year. Sadly, my anemones are pretty much done for the season, but the great thing about Texas summers is that it gets hot enough for SUNFLOWERS and MARIGOLDS and ZINNIAS to thrive all summer long. 

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Making most of space

I love getting creative with my space, especially if its limited. I throw down seeds where ever I see room, and having a bed that is deep enough for lots of roots to grow down helps them grow happily. I do love seeing beautifully structured rows of the same flower in other flower farms, but I think i'm a little non traditional in that way. I enjoy seeing the variety of colors and leaf structures growing together. A lot of the time, a volunteer plant will pop up from last year or from seed dispersal and if its growing well then I'll leave it and watch it grow. I'll thin them out once I see which ones are growing strong, but I'll leave the variety. 

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Houseplant Soil Aeration

One critical task for houseplant care that is often overlooked is soil aeration. Aeration is creating space in the soil where air can reach the roots. All potted indoor plants need their soil aerated regularly. It's like a breath of fresh air for them and they will thank you for it. 

  • Use a thin stick (chopsticks work great) and poke a few holes in the soil and wiggle a tiny bit. Nothing too thick or it might crush precious roots. 
  • Aerate right before a watering to help moisten the soil evenly

Most importantly, be attentive and responsive to your living plant. Most plants will tell you what they need if you just observe and listen to them. 

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How it all started

La Otra Flora happened organically. I have been a gardener since 2006 and love taking pictures of natural beauty that I see everyday. Whether its a wisteria vine I see on a walk, a dewy spiderweb, new leaves on my monstera, or a new bloom in the garden, I can't help but take a few shots and share them with friends. This year I decided to start a cut flower garden, which has been a dream of mine for a couple of years.  My darling designer husband surprised me one day with a brand, a logo, and a website all for whatever I wanted to share. So here we are. I call myself a flower farmer now and have plans for summer and fall blooms in the works. I decided to start writing and sharing more about my experiences which is outside of my comfort zone.  I nerd out on all things houseplants and gardening and I really want everyone to know how easy and fulfilling it can be to own and grow plants. I don't know exactly what this project will evolve into, but I do know that this is a good place for me to grow as a person. 

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Tillandsias

I've killed more air plants than any other plant. They require a fair amount of attention and care than I thought. So here's what I learned.

  • let them live right next to a window without direct sun (no less than 2 ft away) 
  • give them a quick dip in water once a week
  •  gently but vigorously shake ALL excess water off and leave them upside down to drip dry (or they will rot) 
  • return to window when dry
SPREAD TILLY LOVE 

SPREAD TILLY LOVE