Winter Fields

Recently we took a walk just looking at the property to see what was going on.

cedarsOne scene we will always find is cedars or Blue Junipers.  They range in size from those just coming up to tall mature ones that are about 12′ tall.  As soon as they are cut down or pushed over, roots and all, others will spring up.

The only good thing about them is that they are green.  Also, the birds like the berries.  See previous post about junipers.

cactusAnother constant is the Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia phaeacantha).  They sometimes are massive.  This one just reminds me of a rabbit.

creekOur trek takes us across a bare creek bed.  In the distance you can see a small muddy pool of water.

creekrocksThis picture should have been shown on Valentine’s Day.  Wonder how long it took for these rocks to get this smooth.  The water has not  been high enough or strong enough to accomplish that since we’ve had the property.

treesOn the other side of this creek bed is an area of cedars and Spanish Oaks.

deerblindAt the edge of a field backed up to Live Oaks is a hunter’s blind.  This is Texas, after all.

tankThis is the largest pond or tank we have.  The water is the lowest we’ve seen it in 12 years since we bought the place.

deerlick2In an earlier post,, I showed pictures of old rusty salt licks that were used years ago.  This is an updated model made of polyurethane.

deerlickThe principal is the same.  Salty brine is poured into the large basin.  Then the cows lick this rotating wheel that picks up the salty mixture as it spins.

ladybugFocusing on the ground shows a surprising variation of plants and insects.

sweetwilliamEven in rocky caliche, sturdy Sweet William or Prairie Verbena (Verbena bipinnatifida) pops up before spring. See Prairie Verbena post.

These pictures give a glimpse of the plain and the pretty.

“Joy is the feeling of grinning inside.”  Melba Colgrove

Winter Yard

Recently I’ve read several articles in gardening magazines about perennials in yards.  Because perennials have the same requirements as weeds (sun and water) for growing, it is difficult to keep those flowerbeds weeded.  I’m not sure I understand that logic.  Don’t most plants need that?

Anyway, as one ages, they suggest that more flowerbed space should be converted to evergreens for easier maintenance.  Looking at my mostly dead yard this winter has made me consider more evergreens just for aesthetics.

Last week on a warm, sunny day in the 70’s, I went out to photograph anything green in the yard.  Of course, I did not take pictures of the incriminating stuff – all those bright green healthy weeds.  Here’s some of the green I found.

liveoak2 This is a native Live Oak that is quite old.  Last year we had it pruned because some branches were hanging to the ground, and there were dead branches up high from a strong wind storm.  We were told it would be healthier, and any future wind would blow through the thinned-out branches.  rosemThis Rosemary bush has become way overgrown, even with some pruning.  For the first few years I didn’t care because I was trying to fill flowerbeds.

The crazy climate where we live has just enough hard freezes to kill anything that isn’t an evergreen.  But most of the winter is quite warm.  The bright sunshine also makes it difficult to take pictures that are not washed out.

rosemary4 The butterflies have been very active on these Rosemary blossoms for several weeks. rosemary rosemary2 Because of our warm, dry winters, plants and trees still have to be watered on a fairly regular basis. cherrylaurelI’ve bragged on this Cherry Laurel before because I started it from a small plant given to me by a friend.  It has not fared as well as usual this winter.  Probably needed more water.

spiderwortMost Spiderworts are not evergreen, so this one must be a fluke.

There are many bloggers in Austin, just 150 miles south of us.  It’s surprising the difference in the survival of the plants there during “winter time”.  Many show pictures of plants that make it through the winter still blooming.  Not here.  But it makes me all the more anxious for the joy of seeing plants coming up in spring.

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”  Unknown