Cafe at the Ridge Gardens, Part 2

Lots of creativity in the gardens at the Ridge.

Displays on the long porch outside the Cafe include this old wash tub with an interesting mixture of succulents.

Not sure what the original purpose of this long wooden container was.  Looks old.  Anyone know?

Not a big fan of pink flamingos in the yard, especially in Texas.  But these glass ones are classier than the plastic ones usually seen.

Drawing a blank on this flower identification.  Anyone?

The gift shop was originally built as a storage building.

The gift shop displays some of its wares on the porch.  Cute chubby bumble bee.

Another building contains potting soils, fertilizers, etc.  I’ve been trying to figure out what the sign was painted on.  Looks like a hood but is tapered too much – maybe a race car.

Even a pile of rocks (which Central Texas has plenty of) can be spruced up.

An old colander makes a nifty planter.  Vincas or Periwinkles are a great annual for our hot summers.   They are so bright and cheery.

Old tire is considered a hillbilly planter of choice.  But it certainly has character.  This one has Bat-face Cuphea (Cuphea llavea Flamenco Samba), some Petunias, and Blackfoot Daisy.  Don’t know what the small purple flowers are.

Really sturdy and heavy picnic tables.

The grass is artificial.  We were told that liquids penetrate it, and that it is strong and long lasting.

Plenty of pots and succulents to choose from.

I was fascinated by these posts for the outside patio.

These tree trunks serve a purpose.

Molded to look like tree trunks, they are coolers to ice drinks for a gathering outside.

This has a Spanish mission look to me.  Very southwestern.

In the spaces between the flagstones, small succulents have been planted close to the edge of the walkway.  Lil Miss Lantana on the right with its pink blooms loves Texas sun.

Don’t know if this wishing well is a true well or not.  But it is iconic for garden lovers.

Birdbath makes a perfect miniature succulent garden.

Another old wash tub.  They’re hard to find without paying an arm and a leg for them.

Check out counter for garden purchases.

Just like at the grocery store checkout, before you pay out, more items to tempt you. Unusual containers that are already filled make it easy to take home a completed pot.

On the left is a Thorn of Crowns plant without the thorns.  So beautiful that I couldn’t resist.

Have an old broken mixer or one you don’t use?  Make it a planter.  Great imagination.

Great place to visit, especially for gardeners.

“You know you are a gardener when everything you see becomes a planter.”  unknown

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Cafe at the Ridge Garden Vignettes

Our Master Gardeners Club took a day trip last week to the Kerrville area.  Our first stop was Café at the Ridge outside of town.  Originally it was called Roadkill Cafe.  About 12 years ago a new owner renovated it and put in a bakery, a garden, a nursery, and a gift shop.

Immediately I knew I would love this place.

Usually, whiskey barrels are cut in half for a flower pot.  This arrangement of three different ways to use the barrels make them much more unique.

Behind the railing is the porch area for the cafe.  We ate a delicious lunch there.

The wood is mesquite, which is expensive because it takes a long time for trunks to get large.

The pot on the left contains a Hardy Hibiscus.  Behind that is Dusty Miller with its lacy gray leaves.  On the right are some Daylilies and mystery yellow flowers.

This picture is to show the use of a broken pot.  In the center, surrounded by Begonias is a large pot that has parts of the pot stuck in the remaining large section.  There is also a bright blue pot placed inside.

Even though I like yard art, I don’t care for the hanging sunflower circles.

Another reconstructed clay pot contains plants and a fairy garden.

Unusual.

Lots of brightly colored pots for sale.

The theme of the garden seemed to be:  use as many unique items as flower pots as possible.  Here, old chest drawers were attached to legs and hold Foxtail Fern, Woodland Fern, and Begonias.  Not sure about the dark leafed plant.

A concrete basket contains Dusty Miller, Pentas, and maybe Penstemon.

A seesaw for adults

I’m always on the look out for old metal cars.  So far, no luck or they are too costly.

The round plaque would be nicer if it were more legible.

I actually have an old enamel pot that I need to drill holes in so it can be a planter.

The plant in the large pot looks like a Mexican Flame Vine (Pseudogynosux chenpodiodes) and the purple leafed one behind it is Princess Caroline Napier Grass, which is a Texas Super Star plant.

Because the Mexican Flame Vine is zone 9 -10, I have to move it into the shed for winter.  I bought it at a garden club sale in Waco but didn’t realize it was too tropical for here.  But it is beautiful.

Even old tires can become planters.  Not sure how they folded the tire back after cutting the zigzags.

A word about yard art.  This place has an overabundance of it.  But they are selling plants, pots, yard art, and suggesting ways to use plants.

The “tea and brie” set look down their noses at yard art.  But it can be used effectively.  First, one should see and enjoy the plants.  Then, wandering through the garden, one should encounter pleasant surprises that makes one smile, such as yard art.

In the city, that can be more challenging because of yard space, and because  some community rules prevent it.  But enjoy it when you can.

Lamb’s Ear in front.  The bedstead in the back has been turned into a plant protector.  In the center is a wire grid tepee that can be covered with plastic to shade plants from the sun.

Note the posts for this porch – cages filled with chunks of glass.

This picture was taken to show the Bottle Tree.  Haven’t seen one with that shaped frame.

I was enamored with this place, so lots of pictures.  Next post will continue with more from this nursery.

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Tin Man Wind Chime

This project has been on my mind since last October when I saw a tin man hanging in a tree at the Garden of Eden.  Someone in my house considers it a hair brained idea.  Wonder who?

The one part that I thought that I could not obtain was the large can for the body.  Then I was helping with a meal at church where several industrial size cans of vegetables were opened, and voila, I had what I needed.  If it’s available, a larger can might be better.

This is my finished product.  The size of cans I used:

Spacer can on top of head to hold up funnel:  8 ounce (tomato sauce)
Head:  29 ounce  (fruit)
Body:  6 lbs. 10 ounce (vegetables)
Upper arm:  21 ounce (pie filling)
Lower arm: 15 ounce ((fruit)
Hand: lid
Upper leg:  28 ounce (beans)                                                                                          Lower leg:  15 ounce (fruit)                                                                                                  Feet: 3.75 ounce (Sardines)  We don’t eat sardines, but they are good food for Crape Myrtles.

The metal funnel was ordered from Amazon.  I searched for the lowest price on several sites.  This one was just over $7 with free shipping.

Cotton rope (probably 1/2″) to hang tin man.

Tools:  drill used for holes in cans, 17 gauge galvanized wire to tie cans together, wire cutters and needle nose pliers to reach into cans and bend wire, small washers to keep wire in place.

Also, need tin snips to cut nose.  We used part of an old hose to fit over a tree branch to keep the rope from fraying.

Now I will attempt to explain the construction.

First, drill holes in cans.  Sometimes I had to do some back tracking because my plan didn’t work.  For instance, in this body can, the wire seen here was to hang both legs.  That didn’t work out.  An individual wire was better for each leg.  So another hole had to be drilled on each side in the groove beside where the wire pictured goes into the can.

Put facial features on.  Drill holes needed for eyes, nose, and mouth.  I used metal buttons for the eyes and a pop top can lid for the nose.  Cut the lid in a somewhat triangular shape with tin snips and bend with the needle nose pliers.

Just twist the wires together on the inside of the can to hold each feature in place.

For the mouth I used some old insulated copper wire.  That was just bent flat on the inside.

Another piece of wire was used to hold bottom of nose in place.

After finishing the face can, rope was threaded down into the funnel.  After slipping on a washer, tie a knot in the rope.  I then hooked a wire into the washer and bent it and twisted it.

That wire was long enough to go through the hole in the spacer can and be tied off in the head can.

Then another wire went across the top of the head can and into holes and pulled through.

At first, I used the bottom part of artificial flowers instead of washers.  Either one will work.  This shows the head can with the long wires that will go into the body and tied off.

Next prepare arms that will be attached to body.  Note the two holes on top of the arms.  The wire will come up and over and back into can.

This drawing also shows how the arms are constructed.  It is better to start with the bottom can first and go up through the top of the arm and put the wire back down into that can.  Then attach the hand with a lid that fits inside that bottom can.

I tried going from top to bottom first, but it was impossible to tie off the wire in the smaller can at the bottom.

The legs are made the same way as the arms.

Attach feet on both sides of the bottom can.  Holes were drilled into bottom of shoes so that rain water will drain out.

We hung the tin man in a Hackberry because it was at the back of the yard away from bedroom windows.  If it rattles a lot, then it wouldn’t disturb anyone’s sleep.  It won’t matter if some smaller branches are broken.  Hackberries are considered trash trees by some people, but I think it is a great shade tree.

Finally, we attached a rope from the body to another branch to keep it steady and always facing the same direction.

If anyone decides to make a tin man, it is easier to have another person help at some stages of putting it together, like holding assembled pieces still as others are added.

Hope this is not confusing but helpful.

“Common sense is a flower that doesn’t grow in every everyone’s yard.” unknown

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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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Winter Silhouettes and More

Winter seems barren and blab, but beauty in forms and shapes stand out.

I’ve always liked the bones of this bush.  It’s tall, about 6 feet, and I still don’t know what it is.  It doesn’t flower.  Its best traits are hardiness and the dark colors of its leaves.  Someday I hope to identify it.

The dried sepals of the flowers left on the branches of Althea or Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) look almost like blossoms themselves.

Althea is one of the most reliable flowering bushes for our area.  Clay and caliche don’t phase them.  I love their hibiscus looking flowers with lavender colors.

Strands of Eve’s Necklace (Sophora affinis) hang on looking like black beads.  They’re not as shiny as when the tree is leafed out.  Other names include Texas Sophora, Pink Sophora, and Necklace Tree.

This little tree likes alkaline soil and limestone, so it’s perfect of our land.

The tree is three years old, and these are the first seed pods.  In spring pink flowers hang in small wisteria-like clusters.

Branches of oaks have interesting shapes.   Chinapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) has lots of curves.

Blue sky frames Chinese Pistasho or Chinese Pistashe (Pistacia chinensis) with its clusters of tiny berries and long thin leaves.  This tree is in the cashew family and is native to China.

Even though it isn’t native here, it is a Texas SuperStar plant because it does well in poor soil and doesn’t require lots of water.  As a young tree, it can look misshapen, but becomes a wonderful tree with fall color.  Amen to that.

As I was walking around taking pictures on a crisp, cold morning, this Northern Mockingbird was hunkered down in a large Rose of Sharon.  His feathers were puffed up for warmth, so he seemed cozy and didn’t want to leave, which made this picture possible.

As I came around behind the bushes later, he was still there.  Mockingbirds, the Texas state bird, are very common around here.

During winter, all the weeds and clutter around plants show up.  To the right of the sun dial, a Purple Sage or Cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) is a voluntary plant.  Several years ago, one was growing about ten feet from this spot, so maybe that’s its origin.

Lots to be cleaned up.  Tires me out to think about it.

The wide open sky is always beautiful.

Love a buttermilk sky.  They are fairly rare here.

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men
who walked through the huts comforting others,
giving away their last piece of bread…
They offer sufficient proof that everything
can be taken from a man but one thing:
to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one’s own way.
– Viktor E. Frankl

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Antique Rose Emporium, Last Part

One last look from our visit to this fabulous nursery.

roseemp0The old weathered sign expresses the feel of this place.

roseemp1A pot of Begonias next to an Agave.

roseemp2They do a good job of just mixing in all sorts of plants.

roseemp3Don’t know what this plant is.  It looks tropical and is shaded by the tree.  Lovely.

roseemp4Roses everywhere.  In the springtime, this is the place to come and smell the roses.

roseemp

roseemp6This section is playful.

roseemp5The rabbit in the wheel barrel with plants spilling out of pots is delightful.

roseemp7The plants with the purple flowers behind the scene look like Philippine Violets (Barleria cristata).

roseemp8

roseemp9Wood Ferns, Philippine Violets, Cigar Plant:  this breaks the rule that plants with the same watering needs should be planted together.  Now I don’t feel so guilty for doing the same thing.

roseempaMike Shoup, the owner of the nursery, presented some new roses that they now sell.  Although the backbone of their business will always be antique roses, he says that producers are coming out with bushes that have some of the same characteristics of antique roses:  such as fragrance, diverse forms, and hardiness.

I’m sure his presentation increased the sales that day.  I know I couldn’t resist one of the new roses.

roseempbA Salvia Greggii with white flowers.

roseempdThe purple grasses look like Napier (Pennisetum purpureum), which are perennials that will return in the spring in most of the state.

roseempeI don’t know what the purple flowers are, but this picture was taken to show the trellis behind them.  Several different types of of trellises are scattered around the gardens.  I think this one is made of bamboo.

roseempfThis small dead tree is used to hold up a climbing vine.

roseempgAny ole stone statute can be used as an accent.

roseemphEven the public restrooms are in a unique building.  The hedges on the left serve as a privacy fence for the usual line of women awaiting their turn.

roseempiGreat use of large clay pots.

roseempjSucculents for sale are displayed on an old cart.

roseempkAntique Rose Emporium had its origin in selling rescued roses from cemeteries and old home sites.  Now it is a wonderful garden with a very diverse display of plants and a joy to visit.

“Despite our many differences here in America and around the world, when we meet in the garden we find ourselves united in our love of nature, beauty, and the sheer awesomeness of life.”  Old House Gardens

Spring Flowers

It’s easy to beat oneself up this time of the year about all the tasks that still haven’t been done yet.  I’m trying hard to do what I can and accept that it’s impossible to pull all the weeds at once.  And at the same time, just enjoy the beauty of the new flowers and how some plants have grown.

springyardhOne nice surprise was seeing these Amaryllis blooms.  This particular one hasn’t bloomed in several years.  Why now?  Who knows.

Yes, there are weeds in this bed.

springyardnSo I came back and cleaned out this flowerbed.  It’s pretty small, so it could be accomplished fairly easily.

springyard4Bridal Wreath Spirea (Spiraea vanhouttei) is a show stopper each spring. It’s easy to grow, has arching branches, and is often used in bridal bouquets.

springyard7And produces masses of flower clusters.

springyard1The copper leaves of this Canyon Creek Abelia (Abelia grandiflora ‘Canyon Creek’) stand out in the spring.  However in this location, most of the year, the plants around it crowd out its color.  The flowers are tiny pale pink or whitish and are inconsequential to the overall look.

springyardgThis metal chick stands among the Flat Leaf Parsley (Petroselinum neapolitanum) in the same flowerbed as the Abelia.  I’ve heard that Flat Leaf is more tasty than Curly Parsley.  Don’t have an opinion.

columbineHooray, the Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha A.Gray)  has started to bloom.  The word columbine comes from the Latin for dove, referring to the flowers resemblance to a cluster of 5 doves.  Can’t really see it myself, but someone did.

I remember the first time I saw this plant.  About 15 years ago a group of friends were visiting Fredericksberg and walking to a restaurant.  A bank of Columbine was swaying in the wind.  One of my friends knew what they were.  It wasn’t until we moved to this location that I had room for them.

They enjoy morning sun and afternoon shade.  Who doesn’t in Central Texas?

springyard3Yellow or Golden Columbine is a spring bloomer that is hardy with beautiful green leaves after the flowers are gone and is a very reliable perennial.  Their airy, bright color and interesting flowers and foliage make them a plus in the landscape.

“I would rather sit on the tailgate of a pickup and watch a bonfire than go to a mall, any day.”  unknown