Rising Heat

As temperatures heat up, I appreciate those flowering plants that can survive.  The high so far has been 99 which means we haven’t gotten into the crazy time, yet.

summerheat7This Pink Guara (Onagraceae Gaura lindheimeri) has gotten out of hand.  It is spreading rapidly now.  It was well behaved for about six years.  But it still looks so pretty swaying in the wind.  It will bloom continuously until the first freeze.

summerheat8And all kind of pollinators enjoy it.

summerheat6This long stem was bent low as this butterfly, maybe a migrating Monarch, hung on.

summerheat9The Crinums from the Amaryllidaceae family are blooming now but won’t last long.  They probably should be divided.  However, the bulbs are huge.  So I’m not quite sure how to accomplish that in the heavy clay without tearing them up.

summerheataVery few Gladiolas have bloomed this year.  The bulbs have been in the ground for years.  I divided a few in the spring, which is the wrong time of the year for that and too late for them to bloom this year.

summerheatbAhh, the tropical Hibiscus flowers are glowing.

summerheatcThis plant is about eight years old.  I love it.

summerheat2For years, we’ve had Barn Swallows nesting on a small ledge around both the front and back porches.  They make a horrible mess on the furniture and the front wooden floor and back concrete.  So this year, we paid a hefty fee to have the HardiPlank extended to eliminate the ledge edge.

The creative Swallows, who normally build mud nests on the ledge, made an entirely different kind of nest out of mud.

summerheat1We have been washing down all nests before they are complete or before eggs have been laid.  Hopefully, this will be our last year to battle them.

summerheatThe stems that look like palm trees are getting taller.  They are Swamp Sunflowers (Helianthus angustifolius) will reach up high and bloom in late August.

Everyone who sees them at this stage are fascinated by their form.

summerheatdThis year I discovered Soprano Lilac Spoon Daisies (Osteospermum ‘Osjaseclipur’).  It is a hybrid from the Osteospermum family that includes asters and daisies.summerheat4It’s easy to see how it got the spoon name.

summerheateThe petals may widen out on the tips as the plant or the flowers mature.  We’ll see.  It’s not winter hardy.

summerheat5As I was hand watering, at my feet was a Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) – probably looking for a puddling place.

summerheatfThis is a scented Geranium or Pelargonium ‘velvet rose’.  It is in full sun until late afternoon.  Such a lovely flower with leaves that have a mild rose smell.

Hope your summer is enhanced by flowers.

“Have the maturity to know that sometimes silence is more powerful than having the last word.”  Thema Davis

Wildflowers Dance in the Wind

Last autumn we scraped a plot in the field near our house in order to rough up the soil.  Then we scattered wildflower seeds.  Over the last few years, I had accumulated several mixed seed packets from different sources.  Most were free from meetings.

Because we had some rain in late fall and in the spring, some are blooming now.  Hooray.

fieldofwildflowers01These tiny little flowers were the first flowers from the seeds to bloom.  I think they’re Drummond’s Phlox (Phlox drummondii).

fieldofwildflowersI had hoped a red poppy would bloom, but I’ll take a pink one instead.

The small light purple bloom close to the ground is the only wildflower that we see consistently every year.  That is Sweet William or Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida).

fieldofwildflowers2The area is about 7 ft. by 14 ft.

fieldofwildflowers3The one seed package I bought was American Basket Flower (Centaurea americana) from the Native American Seed company in Junction.  Some nursery catalogues sell them as Powder Puffs or Sweet Sultan.

Basket Flowers look a little like Thistle but without the prickly stems. They are also more desirable.  The flowers are 2 to 3 and half inches wide on a strong stem.  They bloom from May to August.

fieldofwildflowers4Purple Horsemint or Lemon Beebalm (Monarda citriodora) often forms colonies.  That would be lovely.

fieldofwildflowers5Indian Blankets or Fire Wheels (Gaillardia pulchella) are old standbys seen in many parts of Texas.  Books say that they bloom from April to May or June.  Actually, they last longer than that here.

fieldofwildflowers6We’ve seen Horse Mint in a couple of spots on our property once or twice.   My hope is that all these wildflowers will reseed and expand over the years.

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fieldofwildflowers7From the top of this picture there is Horsemint,  Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria), and Clasping Coneflower (Dracopis Amplexicaulis).

fieldofwildflowers8The wind is causing this Coreopsis to sway.   Surely the frequent days of wind will scatter seeds when the flowers have dried.

fieldofwildflowers9Don’t know what the bug is, but pollinators love wildflowers.  That’s a very good thing.

fieldofwildflowersdAs I was walking back to the house, I noticed one of the old fashioned irises planted in this field has a seed pod.  It’s possible to plant the seeds, but the chances aren’t good that it will be same color flowers or as big.  To propagate irises, it’s better to dig up the bulbs and separate them.

Pods needs to be removed so that the plant will focus its energy on the roots and other parts.

I’m tickled that the wildflower patch is doing well.

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”   Proverbs 22:1

More Gardens at Moss Mountain

Last post from Moss Mountain near Little Rock.

vegetable1We leave the house heading to the vegetable gardens and the rose garden.  The wood on the front of this buggy is so polished that it is a mirror for some bushes.

vegetableThese are the bushes reflected on the buggy.  Unusual containers – usually hanging wire baskets are filled with sphagnum moss to hold in the soil.

vegetable2We walk on a road by the parking lot…

vegetable3past some fields for sheep.  These are the Katahdin breed of sheep that don’t have wool but hair, so they don’t have to be sheared.

vegetable4The entrance to the vegetable garden.

vegetable5These small buildings are probably tool sheds.

vegetable6The light was strong by late morning and washed out the pictures.  Different kinds of lettuce along with chives?  In the background is a long wire archway.  It is tall enough to walk through, like a tunnel.  If you have watched P. Allen Smith’s TV show, you know he uses these to grow vine plants, like squash.

vegetable7The plant growing up the pole is Hyacinth Bean.  I asked the young girl who was our escort if they were edible.  She replied that she guessed so since they were planted in the vegetable gardens.

I have only seen them grown for the beautiful flowers in summer, so I looked on the internet.  From what I gleamed, if you eat the beans when they are young and green, that’s okay.  But older dry bean have a high amount of cyanogenic glycosides, which are not good for you.  However, these are also found in seeds of some fruits, in some vegetables, and nuts. Mature or dry beans should not be eaten raw.  The process to cook them sounds a lot like boiling pinto beans.  All this is from a book Eat the Weeds.

More than you wanted to know?

vegetable8Kale

vegetable9As we leave the vegetable garden, we pass between two stag statues and walk down a steep path towards the rose garden.

vegetableaThis overlook is at the end of the gravel path.  To the left and right are arching walkways down the hill.

vegetablebbThis view looks back up to the lookout spot.

vegetablebThe rose gardens are formal with an European look.

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vegetableeThis was early May, so some of the roses were not in full bloom.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t find any scented ones.

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vegetableffReally like this feature – a castle look.

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vegetablehLeaving the rose garden, we take a lower pathway back to the house.

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vegetablejIt seems that much thought was put into the views of the house from all angles.

vegetablekThe screened porches on the first and second floors at back of the house.

I hope you have enjoyed the pictures from this part of our trip.  Thanks for taking the time to look at my blog.

“Know who you are and be who you are.”  P. Allen Smith

Upstairs at Moss Mountain

As we head upstairs inside the house at Moss Mountain, notice the pictures on almost every wall.

upstairsLovely staircase that almost makes me want one, except that I’d have put these poor old knees through torture every day.

upstairs1At the top of the stairs is a collection of Native American pictures.

upstairs44Off the main hallway is a guest powder room.

upstairs2A guest bedroom has two twin beds: one on either side of a medal trunk used as a table.

upstairscIn the hallway landing is a mini study with book shelves and eclectic items.  If there had been more time, I could have stood in this area and read book titles and studied pictures for hours.

upstairsdAn interesting greeter.

upstairseNot sure what this light fixture was originally or what object it is supposed to look like.

upstairsfAllen likes his books.  As do I.

upstairs11The master bedroom is spacious.

upstairs3A desk in the corner with more pictures.

upstairs111Still in the master bedroom.

upstairs4And an en suite bath.

upstairsgAt the back of the house is a screen porch with beds for guests.

upstairsiAnd, of course, a wonderful view.

upstairshAt one end of the room is a metal tub.  Not sure if it is actually functional or decorative.  There are towels hanging on a small ladder to the left.

upstairs5This casual living area is on the third floor.

upstairs6Where there is a large bedroom with four beds for Allen’s nieces and nephews.

upstairs7Cute.  It seems he enjoys whimsy.

upstairs8I like the beaded boards on the walls and ceilings everywhere on the third floor.

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upstairsaAnother view of the Arkansas River.

upstairskAs we head down the stairs, more pictures and busts of American founding fathers or composers?

upstairslThat concludes the tour of the house.

“Who is the happiest of men?  He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy as though it t’were his own.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Purple Spires

Bright colors in the yard make me smile.  I prefer more muted colors inside my house but purple, red, and yellow are my favorite choices for flowers.

purple3Larkspurs are still blooming where ever they choose.  They aren’t well behaved and stay where they were first seeded.  It’s always a pleasant surprise to see where they come up each spring.  The reds here are Red Yucca and Cannas.  However, the Cannas seem to be blooming more orangey than before.  So I wonder if red ones are hybrids and they are reverting back to their original color.

purple9I have a conundrum.  For years I have thought this bush was Blue Curls.  I think I bought it at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  Since I had never heard of Blue Curls before, I must have seen it labeled that, but I can’t be sure.

purple8I had previously noticed the similarity of the flowers and leaves to another bush in the back of the house.  But this morning for some reason it struck me that they are much more than similar.

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purple5You know how it is to get your mind set one way and not see the truth.  So I’m not going to beat myself up for this mistake.  But I do not think this is a Blue Curls.

purplecThis is a Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus) tree in the back yard that was planted two years ago.  It was bought at a local nursery and was clearly labeled.

The following three pictures are of this same tree.

My reference point for a Vitex comes from a huge tree planted in the parking lot of the hospital in Brownwood.  So I didn’t expect one to look like a bush.

purpledDo you see my confusion?  I now think both are Vitex.  I have pruned the branches on the one in the front for several years to get it fuller, which has also kept it shorter.

purpleeAlso known as Chaste Tree, Lilac Chaste Tree, Hemp Tree, Sage Tree, or Indian Spice, it is a native of China and India.  But it has been grown in the southern US since 1670.

purplefDifferent parts of the tree have long been used for medicinal purposes.  Another name for Vitex is Monk’s Pepper because it was thought that its berries helped monks maintain their chastity.

It’s a great tree/shrub for pollinators.  The color of the blooms are fantastic.

purple4As I was taking pictures, a visitor strolled quickly by.

purpleffThe flower spires on Russian Sage are a light purple or lavender.

purpleiAlthough not a spire, these Petunias are a deep purple.

purplejThis pot was already filled when I bought it.  The lady did not know the names of the other two plants in it.

purplekThe foliage of Ajuga ground cover is more important to most people than the pale lavender blooms.

purplelAnd lastly, Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is sandwiched between Greggi Sage and Rose bushes.  It has a wonderful aroma and is a great hardy perennial.

“Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Nolan of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God.”  Richmond, Virginia daily newspaper

House at Moss Mountain

The visit to Moss Mountain near Little Rock included a house tour as well as all the gardens and animal pens.

mossmkkThe group is gathering to hear the introduction to the tour and how it will all unfold.  With 80 attending, 40 go inside the house at a time.

The house has three stories and a basement, where media equipment is kept and the editing is done for his shows.

Notice that the entry door is on the left side of the house.  Also, there is a bumped out room to the left of the house and one to the right side.

Built in the Greek Revival style that was popular in the US during the 1800’s, a pedimented or triangular gable can be seen at the top of the side of the house. Other characteristics include the symmetrical overall shape and the columns on the front porch.

livingareaaaA wide hallway runs to the back of the house with two large living areas on the right.  At the back of the house is a large screened porch that stretches across the width of the house.

livingareaffJust as we entered the door, to the left is a small area that gives the first clue to P. Allen Smith‘s interests.  He is obviously a collector of colonial style pictures and artifacts.

livingareaWith 40 people in the house, my pictures will definitely include people.  The front living room has a rather formal feel.

True to the Greek Revival style, no crown molding is used.

livingareahThe three small pedestal tables between the couches are interesting, but no history was given.  Many sofas and chairs are slip covered.

livingareaf

livingarea44Tucked under the window is an antique tea caddy.  Because tea was a valued commodity, it was kept in a locked container.  The lady of the house carried the key and unlocked it when needed.

livingarea222Pictures and books are everywhere. The apple picture is one of Allen’s.  He painted other similar pieces of fruit.

livingareabbIn the corner is a pear painting from that series.

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livingarea1Looking from the living room into a more casual area that I would call a den, note the thickness of the wall.  The heating and cooling return ducts are above the doorway.  On either side are storage closets.  Clever.

livingarea555In the more casual living space.

livingarea66On the right is a glimpse of the screened porch.

livingareaccThe picture on the left shows Allen with Presidents Clinton and Bush.  On the right, he’s with Prince Charles and someone I don’t recognize.

livingarea5The kitchen is in the room on the right side of the house.  This kitchen is different than the one used on his cooking shows on HGTV.  So I’m guessing that kitchen is in one of the buildings behind the main house.

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livingarea7Fresh flowers in vases scattered around the house.

livingarea8The screened porch has a fantastic view.  Several zinc covered tables are placed around the property, including outside, indicate either that he likes them a lot or that zinc is very sturdy and long lasting.  Maybe it is both.

livingarea9These plantation style shutters block out the west sun.

livingareagI didn’t count the number of dining tables in the house, but there are at least three.

livingareabAt the far left side of the porch is this small sofa.  It is set back into a nook that protects it from the weather.

livingareaeWalking back out into the main hallway.

livingareadOn the left side of the house is a studio.  This part is storage for vases and other decorating items.

livingareacBeyond that, under the staircase is a small guest bathroom.

livingarea33Across from the staircase.  The living space is spacious and contains many items of interest.  It seemed to reflect a man with many interests and talents.

This is just the first floor.  Another post will feature upstairs.

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”  George Moore

Summer Wildflowers

The spring flowers in the fields and byways are all gone.  But summer brings another show with equal beauty.  Some of these will survive into the hot months while others will disappear.

earlysummerThe bar ditches along our county road are filled with a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes of flowers.  The rocky, caliche, disturbed areas is where these wildflowers thrive.

earlysummer1I think this bright yellow primrose is a Western Primrose (Calylophus Hartweggii).  It grows low on the ground.

earlysummer2White Milkwort (Polygala alba) is small but attractive in a group.

earlysummer4A bouquet of Indian Blanket, Cut-leaf Groundsel, and Queen Anne’s Lace.

earlysummer5Indian Blankets (Gaillardia pulchella) usually have more shading on the petals than these do.

earlysummer7Before it gets too hot, Queen Anne’s Lace carpets the edges of the road.

earlysummer6Now, after these pictures were taken, they’ve already started to fall away.

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earlysummer9Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) will bloom into the summer and fall as will Sweet William or Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida).

earlysummeraLove the drive along this road.

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earlysummerhA lone Texas Thistle (Cirsium texanum) breaks the white span of Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota).

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earlysummerbNot sure, but think these daisies are Engelmann’s Daisy (Engelmannia peristenia).

earlysummergSumacs growing full and filling in the roadside.

earlysummercTexas Bindweed’s (Convolvulus eqitans) small white flowers are 3/4″ to 1 1/2″ inches wide.  They aren’t noticeable unless one looks closely at the ground.

earlysummereBlackfoot Daisies (Melampodium leucanthum) are hardy little souls that form small rounded clumps.  I tried these in the yard but they really don’t want more water than nature provides.  They will bravely last until late fall.

earlysummerjAs I pull into our property, another sight of late spring, early summer appears – lots of baby calves.  The cattle is not ours but belong to a man who leases the pasture land.

earlysummerkCute.  Reminds me of Norman in ‘City Slickers’.

earlysummerlTall grass from all the rain almost hides the little ones.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Edison