Busy Season

Don’t ya just love spring?  Even though the stress of not getting everything done in time hangs over my head, the flowers and green everywhere just blesses me.

This year two plant sales for two different garden clubs means that I’m digging up plants that have spread and propagating others and potting them as quickly as I can.

Some of the early spring bloomers have to be savored quickly, like this Flag Iris.  These stunning and unusual flowers last a little longer than a week.

It’s good to have other types of bulb plants waiting to take their place.

Redbuds can also be a flash in the pan stunner.  This picture was taken from the highway.  It is either an Oklahoma Redbud or someone had done a good job of keeping a native trimmed to one trunk and nicely shaped like a tree.

Most Texas native Redbuds have multiple trunks with a rather shrubby look.  Doesn’t mean that I don’t like them.  I love their bright colors.

Yellow Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha) or Granny’s Bonnet or Gold Spur Columbine is a wonderful spring blooming perennial.

The flowers are uniquely shaped and the foliage is evergreen.  Two pluses.  The yellow variety is native to Texas and does extremely well in our poor soil.  Morning sun and afternoon shade does the trick.

Wow.  Makes ones heart sing.

Another look at Bridal Wreath Spirea (Spiraea prunifolia) with lovely drooping branches that are covered in white clusters of flowers.  Hear wedding bells?

Spiderwort (Tradescantia pallida) is putting on a show.  It’s a Texas native that can’t take the summer heat but shines in spring.

Clusters of three petaled flowers with bright yellow stamens.

This David Austin rose, Lady of Shalott, is my new favorite.  It has a delectable aroma.

Since I absolutely adore roses and am wonderfully surprised at how well they do here in this lousy soil,  I’ve decided to put in some more rose beds.  Until the tiller we’ve ordered comes in, they are in pots.

The beds have to be built up and enriched with piles of decomposed leaves, manure, etc.  Therefore, it takes some time to prepare the beds.  We’re short of time now, so they will be in pots for awhile.

This unnamed rose bush blooms continuously once warm weather arrives.  And it has.

Hope you’re having a great spring enjoying the flowers in your yard or wherever you see and smell them.  Thanks for taking time to read my blog.

“Her nagging is a sign that she cares.  Her silence means she’s plotting your death.” unknown source

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Wild and Beautiful

In the pastures and along the roads, nature is showing its color.

It’s easy to walk right past Algarita (Berberis trifoliolata) because it’s flowers and berries are so small.

When you step up close, the scent of the yellow flowers, the patterns of the crisscross  branches, and the shape of the leaves become noticeable.  But, beware, it is prickly.

The red berries, which are edible and are used for jelly, are just starting to form.  Usually, it blooms from February to April.

To see many of the flowers this time of the year, one must look down.  The flowers of Prairie Fleabane (Erigeron modestus) are tiny:  about 1/2″ to 3/4″ across.  Everyone I spotted had a bug on it.

There are two varieties of Rain Lilies in Texas.  The ones that bloom in the spring are Cooperia pedunculata and have shorter floral tubes.

Water from one of the tanks is still spilling over even though we haven’t had any significant amounts of rain recently.

The bright yellow of the Fringed Puccoon (Lithospermum incisum) is the only reason one would notice this small plant.  All these small flowers can easily be trampled without seeing them.

Fringed Puccoon was used by the native tribes and early settlers to make dye from the roots.  The roots also has medicinal properties.  The Blackfeet people burned the dried leaves and flowers as an incense.

My old pals, Sweet William or Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida) are back.  I love these pretty little flowers that are so plentiful.

Driving between Goldthwaite and San Saba, I just had to stop to snap a picture of  this massive field of bright yellow.  This photo only shows about one third of the field.

I think the plants are Bastard Cabbage (Rapistrum Rusosum).  Although the solid yellow fields are pretty, the plants are extremely invasive and unwanted.

Not sure, but think this is a native blackberry bush that just showed up outside our gate.

Native Redbuds (Cercis canadensis var. texensis) seem to be springing up everywhere.

To see their beauty, get up close enough to hear all the bees.

And to see the two different shades of pink  that make up their blossoms.

Nature is offering the first colors and beauty this time of the year.

“Be selective in your battles.  Sometimes peace is better than being right.” unknown author

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Early Bird Blooms

Seesawing temperatures has confused us all.  Each day is a surprise.  There is always a possibility of a freeze as late as the middle of April hanging over our heads.  Several years ago on Easter, snow covered the blooming Bluebonnets.

I’ve been working to get plants cut back or pruned and debris picked up.  This is the first time this Canyon Creek Abelia (Abelia x ‘Canyon Creek’) has been visible since this time last year.  The Guara grew up in front of it and had grown up under it.  So we dug that up and moved it.

The coppery color of the leaves is very pretty.  Later, small white flowers will cover its branches.

Some of the roses are blooming like crazy.  I didn’t get this Knock-Out bush pruned back.  I concentrated on tea roses because it is more critical to get them cut in February.

The bushes are way too tall and wide, but they can be trimmed anytime.

This Earth-Kind bush is about eight feet tall.  Too tall for me to trim easily.

The yellow flowers of this Knock Out Rose fade to a pale, almost white, before they die.

The Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana) is all dressed up for spring.  Interestingly, it is in the rose family and is not related to other Laurels.

It is totally covered with clusters of off white flowers.

The whole tree is abuzz with bees.  The black berries attract birds, but some fall to the ground.  In some places people complain that too many sprouts grow from them.  Not a problem here with the hard packed ground.

Warnings are given about how poisonous the leaves and fruit are.  They contain cyanide.

It’s a relatively fast grower.  This one is 12 years old and has been worry free and is evergreen.  Hooray.

Bridal Wreath Spiraea (Spiraea prunifolia) is starting to bloom.

Aptly named, it will be completely covered with flowers in a couple of weeks.

Lots of dark skies with promises of rain that don’t pan out.  Much patience is required while waiting for spring rains.

The Chinkapin Oak (Quercus meuhlenbergii)  is a Texas SuperStar tree with leaves that are more elongated than most oaks.  It is in the white oak family, which means it is less susceptible to oak wilt disease.

Pretty small Hyacinths blooms carry a strong scent.

The Gray Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea incana) is sporting its first flowers.  Trimming it back can be done after some other things are done.  Also, needs weeding.  This Texas native’s bright orange cupped flowers stand out against its silvery gray foliage.  Very hardy.

Busy time in the yard.  Pruning is just about finished.  Weeding is an ongoing task.  But lovely flowers are reward enough.

“Being defeated is often only a temporary condition.  Giving up is what makes it permanent.”  Marilyn Vos Savant

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Children’s Area, Lady Bird Center

Since the goal of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to promote water conservation and the use of native plants, much of the area is in its natural state of prairie fields.  That is also true of new Children’s Gardens.

As we enter into the Children’s Gardens, there are several of these curving walls.  I’m not sure what their purpose is.

This berm is covered with native plants, including yuccas, and limestone boulders.  It is the backside of a waterfall.

This walk-through cave like space is definitely meant for kids.  We had to stoop over low to pass through it.

These dinosaur tracks replicate the actual ones found in Glen Rose, Texas.  The Paluxy River contains some of the best preserved tracks in the world.  And there are lots of them.

Cute chairs sized just right for a family.

I have seen these for sale in Austin and have coveted one.  They are pricey, and I can’t justify the cost to myself.

Not sure if these statues are carved from real stones or man-made materials.  The stylized frogs are cute.

A larger frog designed for sitting awhile.

We saw two little girls with miniature watering cans walking around pouring water into these.

I like the Dragonfly bench, too.

Does it bother anyone else that “is” is left out before the word “that”?  Or maybe the true quote had “It is” at the beginning of the sentence.

A perimeter walking trail went around a large mowed field.

Just off the path were bronzes of native animals and birds.  Here a roadrunner has snagged a lizard.

A jackrabbit is posed ready to hop away.

One area had a variety of exercise equipment for “big kids”.

Quails, popular game birds, are perched on a branch.  Real ones hide in tall grasses and can give a person a heart attack when they all fly out just as you reach the area.

The trail leads back to the main part of the Center.  The steeped part of the building behind the trees is an auditorium.

This is the back side of the gift shop.

Even though it’s too early for wildflowers to be blooming, the Center is still worth the time to stroll around.

“One who does nothing but wait for his ship to come has already missed the boat.”  Chinese proverb

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Prickly Plants

Last Saturday we attended a Native Plant Society of Texas Symposium at the Lady Bird Johnson Center in Austin.  There were some interesting speakers and one that read her speech.  Boring.

Afterwards, we strolled the gardens even it’s still early for many plants to be growing.

It is the season for the Texas Mountain Laurel (Dermatophyllum secundiflorum) to display their clusters of purple flowers that smell strongly of grape kool-aid.

There were also a few Giant Spiderworts (Tadescantia gigantea) already blooming.

Some sculptures from stone and thick glass were fascinating.

Nice use of stock tanks.

Another featured sculpture.  I’m not sure if these are permanent or not.

The stone is limestone, which contains lots of shells.

Muhlies are currently poplular as landscape plants.  The genus of this plant is named for a German Lutheran minister, Gotthilf Heinrich Ernst Muhlenberg, who lived in Pennsylvania in the late 18th century and early 19th century.  He was also a botanist, chemist, and mineralogist.

This one is Pine Muhly (Muhlenbergia dubia Forn. ex Hemsl).

The Texas Persimmon or Mexican Persimmon (Diospyros texana scheele) is a small multi-branched tree that usually grows to about 15 feet tall.  The orange fruit turns to black when ripe.  Before it ripens, the fruit is so tart that it makes one’s mouth pucker.
Childhood memories of eating orange persimmons on my uncle’s farm makes me avoid them altogether now.

Lovely.

Cholla Cactus (Cylindropuntia imbricata) or Tree Cholla or Walking Stick Cholla grows in the hot deserts of West Texas or high in the Colorado mountains.

As a native Texan raised in West Texas where sharp, pointed, prickly plants are common, it is not my preferred type of plant.  But the violet flowers on these are bright and very pretty.
Green Sotol (Dasylirion leiophyllum) is another pokey plant.  Interestingly, it is used to produce an alcoholic drink called sotol.

Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa) is in the rose family.  How crazy is that.  It has white flowers and silvery or pink puffs of fruit heads that are said to resemble an Apache headdress.

I know that some people really love these plants.  There are many of these rustic plants growing out in the fields here, so we can enjoy them as we take walks.  But in my yard, I love flowers and more tame looking plants.

Thanks for taking the time to ready my blog.

“No one was ever named ‘Hero’ for following the crowd.  Heroes set their own course.”  Johnathan Lockwood Huie

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A B C D

The name of this post may seem odd, but it will make sense as you read it.

A is for Anxious for spring wildflowers.  Anxious to find out if the hard freezes killed any plants.  Anxious for warm days of spring.  Anxious for bulbs to bloom and for the beauty of green trees, shrubs, grass, etc.

B is for Bulbs – all kinds.  Sorry this picture is blurry.  This plant will be clearer in another picture in this post.

I planted these long ago and don’t remember what they are.  I love that bulbs are so reliable and always seem like a great surprise when they return and bloom.

C is for Coyote Carcasses hanging on a fence.  When we first came to the area, that sight puzzled us.  The explanation given was that the purpose was to scare off coyotes from the vicinity.

Now, that makes no sense.  Seems like it is giving reasoning powers to a wild creature that are way above their brain power.

So I did a little research.  The practice started in the mid 1900’s when ranchers paid cowboys to get rid of coyotes.  It served as proof of kills so they could collect the bounties.

Before someone gets indignant about cruelty to animals, it is important to note that coyotes are more than just a nuisance.  They kill cows, sheep, goats, pets, and any other animals in the area, including all of our Blackbucks.  It was and is vital for ranchers and farmers to protect their livelihoods.  Fences don’t keep out coyotes.

D is for Daffodils – a cheerier subject.

Daffodils announce that spring is just around the corner.

There is the small pink flowers of the unknown bulb plant.  Anyone know what it is?

The bees appreciate the appearance of daffodils.  Daffodils are native to the areas that border the Mediterranean Sea. There are 50 species of Daffodils with over 13,000 hybrids.

I like that these stems are short, even though it means almost laying on the ground to get pictures.

Texas Scarlett Quince makes a good backdrop for pale colored Daffodils..

Daffodils need well drained soil, full sun, and about an inch of water a week.  It is important to leave the foliage after the flowers die.  They will not return if you cut the leaves back.  When the leaves start getting limp, I gently fold them down closer to the ground.

They also need to be dug up and divided every five to ten years.  Well worth the effort.

Since I badmouthed Texas Scarlett Quince (Chaenomeles japonica ‘Texas Scarlet’), recently in a post, I thought I should show it further along in the season.  With lots of bright red flowers, it draws the eye and makes a nice accent low bush.

Daffodowndilly

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
‘Winter is dead.’

A. A. Milne

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Burma Shave Signs

Anyone remember Burma-Shave signs?  Okay.  You have to be of a certain age.  As a kid, the signs were a highlight for driving trips through West Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.  If you’ve ever driven that way, you know how barren the landscape is.

The Burma-Shave company made shaving cream and came up with a unique advertising campaign along American highways.  The signs were displayed from 1927 to 1963.  At that time, most families drove for vacations and visits to relatives.

After we moved from the Ft. Worth/Dallas area out to the country, I heard a slogan that matched my sentiments about our decision.  So we decided to duplicate the Burma-Shave type of signs.

We put up signs along the road from the front gate to the gate to the house area.

The original signs rhymed.  Example:   “A shave / That’s real / No cuts to heal / A soothing / Velvet after-feel / Burma-Shave.”

Another example:  “Half a pound / For / Half a dollar / At the drug store / Simple holler / Burma-Shave.”

As you can tell, these pictures were taken in the spring time.

While signs on posts more closely matched the Burma-Shave signs, those were quickly knocked over by cows.  So now the signs are nailed to trees along the route.

Small or large, they tend to trample whatever is in their path.

When the popularity of the signs grew, the Burma-Shave company offered annual contests for new sayings and gave prizes of $100 for winners.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”  C. S. Lewis

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