Red Dirt Ramblings, Year in Review 2011, Part I

Pansies are definitely end-of-the-year, winter interest here.

Well, turn out the lights, the year is nearly over. Time to think of new things and see what changes occurred last year at the Red Dirt Ranch. Last January, I was dreaming of spring and greenhouses when I heard a bird sing. A bird is singing right outside my window even now. I still don’t have the greenhouse, but I am a lot closer to my savings goal than I was last year. I shared a few writing tips which might or might not be helpful. It was a cold January unlike this December which has been so mild I feel like an Austin blogger.

The back garden showing the effects of a record-breaking snowfall February, 2011.

In early February, we had more snow than I’ve ever seen. Twelve point five inches–fell at one time on my land. It caused our temperatures to plummet to negative 17F the following morning. I’ve never been so cold, and neither had my crapemyrtles. Every one of them died all the way to the ground. No more trees. Bushes now grace the garden instead. February, being the most boring and cruelest month in my garden calendar, I dabbled in a bit of fiction. Maybe, one day, we’ll return to Elizabeth’s pioneer world. I also decided we needed a week of book reviews to cheer us up. I started with Ivette Soler’s, Edible Front Yard.  A few days later,  I reviewed Erica Glasener’s Proven Plants, Southern Gardens. Garden Book Review Week ended with and I shall have some peace there, by Margaret Roach. Finally, thank goodness, the hellebores stopped in to say hello.

Hellebores, I can't remember which one.

In March, I could feel a change in the garden. The weather was fine, and the plants couldn’t wait to grow. I spent my Wednesdays in quiet time and enjoyed books and other things away  from the computer and keyboard. I’ve noticed this year, that with a laptop, my iMac, an iPad and iPhone, it is harder than ever to break away from electronic devices and the Internet. I think it’s call the Net for a reason, and I’m as guilty as anyone. I wonder what it does to our society when no one looks each other in the eye anymore because, instead, they are focused on their hand-held devices. We went to several movies last weekend, and I saw lots of people nearly running others over because they didn’t “see” them even though they were right in front of their eyes. People seem to be more rude than in previous years, and I wonder how much it has to do with our immersion into electronics. Or, perhaps, I’m just getting older. It’s something to contemplate another time. March was so warm that I begged the little garden to wait. I knew there would be another day below freezing, but it wouldn’t listen. The ‘Lady Jane’ tulips began to bloom in earnest by the end of the month as did the daffodils.

Tulipa clusiana 'Lady Jane' when she was cold. You can tell because her petals are held tight.

A new and gorgeous cultivar of redbud, The Rising Sun™ came to live and grow at the Red Dirt Ranch. It seems to have survived our awful summer. I can’t wait to see that new, chartreuse foliage again.

In April, those Sovereigns of May, the roses, showed us their displeasure. Poor things. The winter was almost too much for them. On Easter Sunday, it rained. This is news because it was the last rain we had for months and months. We didn’t know it, but the drought had begun.

I was also fortunate to visit the garden home of P. Allen Smith with several other bloggers and a bunch of sponsoring companies. It was an interesting visit, and if Allen asked me to come back to see the rose garden of truly, historic, American roses, I would definitely return, probably with bells on, whether my visit was paid for or not. It was a weekend of scrumptious views under a cloudy sky.

Hemerocallis 'Red-Headed Hussy,' which I saw in 2010 and bought in 2011. It should bloom here in 2012.

Ah, May, sweet May . . . first, I tumbled down the daylily rabbit hole. Then, I faced the fact that the very cold winter had killed all of my climbing roses down to snow level. Later, I would discover the crapemyrtle trees were the same. It was a sad time in my garden because some of those roses which died completely, were very, very old. They had graced my arbors for years, and it was a very naked garden last spring. ‘Cl. Old Blush’ has since recovered, and I replaced one of the ‘Zephirine Drouhins’ with an American wisteria, Wisteria frutescens. I also replaced ‘Cl. Pinkie’ and ‘Don Juan’ with another American wisteria, a Kentucky cultivar, W. frutescens var. macrostachya ‘Blue Moon.’ I think the blues will be pretty and perhaps hardier in our difficult climate.

Then, Guthrie and Piedmont faced tornadoes. Our home, far off the beaten path, was spared.

Morning light, June 23, 2011

I’d love to say June was nice, but it was one hot and humid mamma jamma, so between mulching and watering, I read Heirloom Bulbs for Today and really loved the storytelling in it. Some of us simply fall in love with gardening for the plants, but many others fall in love with plants because of their associations with people we love and remember. In June, it’s all about the daylilies, and luckily for me, the worst heat didn’t hit until after Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. My garden was a confetti-strewn paradise full of the color only daylilies can bring to the south.

June was full of busy days of family visits and finally staining the log cabin with a spot of color. It looks much, much better now.

If you can stand a Part II of our end-of-year review, I’ll walk it with you in a few days. Happy New Year 2012 my friends. May the weather be kind to you this year.







  1. Hey Dee,
    2011 is quite a year I want to move away from quickly.. A cold wet spring stopped me planting anything except containers. And while we didn’t get abused by the heat as much you did, the early heat wave was the most abusive to plants around here. Happy New Year my dear friend.

  2. Well, I hooted when I got to “one hot and humid mamma jamma.” You are the BEST.


  3. Aisling says:

    Looking forward to part 2! Until recently, have been too busy to blog or stay caught up. It was fun to come by and read your recap of the year!

    I wish you and yours a very happy New Year!

  4. Here’s hoping 2012 is kinder to your garden. It was a tough year.

  5. Niki says:

    Oh Dee.. what a lovely post. Those Lady Jane tulips are stunning! (as well as all your other photos..)..

    All the best for 2012!

  6. Vickie Moore says:

    Dee, your photos are drop dead gorgeous! Love the morning light! Your gates and axis to the lower garden are absolutely inspiring! (By the way, I’m thinking I should get some Red Headed Hussies to go with my naked ladies!)

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thank you Vickie! Yes, ‘Red-Headed Hussy’ would go great with naked ladies. Ha!

  7. Kay G. says:

    Is that your garden in June with the day lillies? It’s so beautiful! So happy to have found your blog and to know that folks in Oklahoma struggle with their gardens just like we do in Georgia! By the way, I’m sure there must be some bad folks from your state, but I’ve never met any of them! Oklahoma is OK for me!
    Happy new year and happy gardens!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hey Kay, yes, that’s my back garden in June. I think it looks like confetti spilled all over the garden, but it is my favorite time of the year by far. Yes, we struggle terribly to grow things in Oklahoma. If you like roses, try some of the southern ones in the Noisette and China classes. They and daylilies love the south. Oh, and camelllias are gorgeous down south in winter. As for Oklahoma gardeners, I have to say I never met one I didn’t like. Many, I love. They are a gracious lot.

  8. This is a great round-up with lovely images! I’ve been meaning to stop by your blog more, and plan to do so in the coming months. All the best in 2012! Beth

  9. Gail says:

    What a year. I am filled with hope that 2012 will be better than ever. Love that last shot! Happy New Year!

  10. Leslie says:

    I enjoyed this look back Dee…and will watch for part 2. Happy New Year!

  11. Lynde says:

    Beautiful photos Dee! It almost feels like spring out there right now!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      I know Lynde! Can you believe it? Cold will blow in soon though. February is nearly up us. 🙂

  12. It certainly has been quite a year! Let’s hope this one is a little more tame weather-wise. In the meantime, have a joyous start!

  13. Enjoyed your year-end review! I got a Rising Sun Redbud last year, as well, and just love it! I redid a corner of my landscape just to showcase that little tree! I also got another new one called Burgundy Hearts, supposed to be better than Forest Pansy. That Red-Headed Hussy Daylily is gorgeous! I have not been a huge daylily fan in the past, but a friend of mine who is in the daylily society gave me a bunch of snazzy named varieties this fall, so I am excited to see how they turn out this summer. Sure enjoying this winter over last. 72 today. My kind of winter 🙂 Although noticed that my hydrangea buds are getting fat and look like they want to open, so I might be begging them to slow down too because I know we are surely in for some colder days ahead. So sorry to hear about your crape myrtles. Are you retraining them as trees? At the church property I maintain, several years ago we lost some CMs due to freeze, but just cut them off at the ground in February, and then picked out some of the strongest trunks and cut everything else away. Today they are nice little trees again. Happy New Year. Looking forward to Part 2 of your review.

  14. Lovely to reminisce Dee…Happy new Year!!

  15. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Dee, I look forward to your posts in 2012 and hope it’s a better year for us both weatherwise!

  16. Frances says:

    It was lovely to relive the past year with you, dear Dee. The weather does indeed direct a gardener’s heart, for good or bad. Long live the daylilies! (And many others, of course.)

  17. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Weather is usually a topic for conversation for gardeners but this year was a dilly. It is fun to see your year end garden thoughts. Happy New Year.

  18. Very nice (beautiful photos) review of the first 6 months. I look forward to seeing the rest of the year.
    Happy new Year!

  19. chris says:

    Great post Dee! Love the “morning light” photo! Happy New Year

  20. Carol says:

    Happy New Year to you, too, Dee. I enjoyed this walk through the first half of the year in your garden. I look forward to part 2.

Comments are closed.