Eden

A small town in the midst of scrub brush in flat West Texas has a garden, which was the result of one man’s labor.

eden01The Garden of Eden has some surprising elements.  It’s been two years since I last visited, and it has changed some.

eden1A large plastic tank has recycling water – nice soothing sound.

eden2An old milk can is used as the spout vessel.  I’m surprised that it hasn’t rusted out.

eden3Flame Acanthus (Aniscanthus quadrifidus var. quadrifidus var. wrightii) is scattered throughout the garden.  Once established, it’s very hardy.

eden4No surprise that hummingbirds and butterflies visit the tubular flowers.  It is drought tolerant and even does well in poor soils.

eden5Coral Honeysuckle or Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) has become a bramble beside the metal archway where it was originally trained to grow.

eden7A banana tree growing in West Texas.  Hard to believe that it can withstand the dry heat or the winter temperatures.  Yet, here it is producing bananas.

eden6This was a volunteer plant that came up and no one has been able to identify it.

eden8Lots of pretty grasses.  Although many ornamental grasses last only one year, this one must be perennial.

edenaNative Morning Glory grabs hold of lots of bushes and intertwines in the stems and leaves.  Here it is growing among Mexican Petunias.

edenbThe yellow flowers are Texas Yellow Bells (Tacoma stans), which is a beloved plant that is native to far West Texas in the Big Bend area.  It is a tall shrub with gorgeous flowers that is drought tolerant and abides limestone soils.

However, cold winters have done mine in.  But I keep trying to save one.

eden02Although this garden has been turned over to the city and depends on volunteers for maintenance, the man who planted it is still very much involved.

edencTypical agave with Mexican Petunias behind them.  Agaves are not all that cold hardy, so I’m surprised to see them here.

edendTangerine Beauty Crossvine (Bignonia capreolate ‘Tangerine Beauty’) is a perfect fit for this part of Texas.  It is cold hardy, endures the hot summers, and is pretty, to boot.

edeneTexas Sotol (Dasylirion leiophyllum) is a common sight in pastures and is extremely hardy.  It has sharp edges, so it should not be planted close to walkways.

edenfAnother hardy plant, Salvia Greggii Red Sage has a pleasant scent, especially when brushed as one passes by it.  It is a semi woody plant that is native to Texas and Mexico.  It thrives in the heat but does not tolerant wet feet.

edengAs a soft plant for touching, Artemesia in the Mugwort family is a wonderful choice.  They are grown for their silvery-green foliage and for their wonderful aroma.

edenhMore Yellow Bells

edeniFour O’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) were grown by the Aztecs for medicinal and ornamental purposes.  They spread profusely.  Where each black seed falls, a new plant will spring up.  The seeds can be seen in the picture where spend flowers have fallen.

edenjPalo Verde Trees (Parkinsonia aculeata) are desert trees that have pretty yellow flowers in the spring.  Maybe the mild winters the last few years have allowed this one to get a foothold.
edenkA clever tin man that I would like to duplicate but finding the right size cans could be a problem.

Although most of the plants in this garden are what one would expect to see in this area, it seems lush with the paths winding through tall shrubs and full plantings.

“Knowledge is knowing what to say.  Wisdom is knowing when to say it.”  unknown

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A Dramatic Entrance

What?  An ice storm before Thanksgiving.  Temperatures in the 70’s would be more usual.  So winter has made a grand entrance.

icestorm2The orange-gold leaves of a Chinese Pistachio covered with an icy lace.

icestormTwo Crape Myrtles become stark white.

icestorm3Notice the ice on the ground under this leaning Ratama.  It was sweeping the grass in a stooped manner before I took a small hammer and knocked off as much ice as possible.  I really, really, want this little tree to survive.

icestorm4But this Desert Willow did collapse.  It already had a weakened root system.  We left the stakes and ropes around it too long.  Plus, it got too much water in the flowerbed.  I’ll miss the beautiful orchid-like flowers.  So we’ll take this lesson to heart.

icestorm5Branches of a different Chinese Pistachio hang low.

icestorm6The ice is thick on this Blue Curls bush.

icestorm7Ice emphasizes the structure of a plant and makes it beautiful in another dimension.

icestorm8The top of the pergola takes on an artistic look.

icestorm9Yellow leaves and branches of this Hackberry are crusted with ice.

icestormaAny blade, large or small, presents a perfect surface for ice to coat.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and your family.  May you be blessed and be a blessing as you gives thanks for every good gift from above.

“How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age.  Thanksgiving opens the door.  It changes a child’s personality.  A child is resentful, negative – or thankful.  Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people.”  Sir John Templeton

Flowering Trees

It makes sense that a person who loves flowers would also love flowering trees.  I definitely fit into that category.  Trees that have flowers tend to be small trees; at least, the ones I know about.  Doesn’t matter.  Ornamental is good.

birdofparadise2 Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) is a small tree that can be kept trimmed to a bush shape.  That also makes it fuller.  It should have full sun, although mine is on the east side of the house and gets only morning sun.

birdofparadise4When it freezes, the Mexican Bird of Paradise will drop its foliage.  Because of space constraints, we cut the branched trunk back pretty severely.  This one is in a flower bed next to the house.  I don’t recommend that.  Who knew it would do so well and get so big?

birdofparadise5The leaves resemble those of a mesquite.  Its uniqueness are the yellow flowers with the long red stamens or as my granddaughter calls them – eyelashes.birdofparadise2In the heat of the summer, the tree is covered with the yellow blossoms.

desertwillow8One of my favorite flowering trees is the Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis).  This one was labeled Bubba Desert Willow.  Sounds real Texan.  It’s also called Desert Catalpa and is native to the far southwestern part of the state, which is extremely arid.

desertwillow3This Desert Willow I want to keep with multi-branched trunks.  The wood is so sinewy that the native Indians used it to make bows.

desertwillow7On the other side of the house is a Desert Willow that has one main trunk.  They can grow to 20 – 30 feet tall.

desertwillow4The flowers are spectacular with a deep rose or wine color.  Their shape is like that of an orchid.  They grow on the tips of new growth branches.

desertwillow6I have tried unsuccessfully to get a close up picture of a flower.  The wind blows their branches so much that every photo is blurred.

Desert Willow grows in dry washes in the wild.  When cultivated, it should not be over watered.

ratama4One of my new favorites is Ratama (Parkinsonia aculeata ) or a Texas Paloverde (cercidium texanum).  I’ve heard these two names used interchangeably.  But other people have told me they are two different trees.  Anyway, I can’t tell the difference because I’ve never seen them together.  Other names used are Jerusalem Thorn and Mexican Palo Verde.

My understanding is that this is not the same tree as the Blue Paloverde seen in Arizona.

ratamaThey are smallish trees that can grow to 25′ tall.  The bark is green, and the leaves are long and narrow and don’t really look much like leaves.

This Ratama was purchased in the spring a year ago. It made it through the winter last year.  I was relieved because this is pushing the northern boundary for them.

ratama2Their branches also sway in the wind all day long, so I’m pleased this photo came out as clear as it did.

Some trees provide shade and others are just for show.  If there’s room in a yard, I think both enhance the great outdoors.

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”       Cree Proverb