Gardens in Victoria

This is the last post about the Master Gardener demonstration garden in Victoria near the coast in southeast Texas.

Mexican Flame Vine (Senecio confusus) blazes that bright orange color that screams hot climate.  Information indicates that it can grow in zones 8 and 9.

However, I have one in a pot that must be carried into a shed for the winter.  It takes it a long time to recover each summer.  So I think zone 8 is stretching it.

But what a fabulous flower color.

Bamboo Muhly (Muhlenvergia dumosa) is an interesting shrub with loose, draping branches.  It also requires a mild winter.

Crimson Pirate Daylily is one of my favorites.  Pretty spider shape, not too tall and brilliant color.

This garden is impressive in so many ways.  First, there are hundreds of different kinds of plants.  It is well organized and neat.  These gardeners also have so much creativity.

The queen butterfly is one of our most prominent butterflies.  This clever one is made from a section of heating vent.

There are also lots of structures that draw one into the garden.  The mesh building in the far right upper corner of this picture is an enclosed butterfly walk-in area.

Many Texans consider the welfare of Monarch Butterflies to be part of their responsibility since their migration path comes straight from Mexico through Texas.  Milkweed plants are vital for their survival because it’s the only plant where they lay their eggs and the only food source for their caterpillars. Milkweed mostly grows in uncultivated land areas.  But now, many homeowners grow it in their yards.

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is one food source for Swallowtail butterflies.

This looks like it could be in the Scabosia family.  But I don’t know what it is and would love to find out.

Absolutely stunning.

There is an area that has small gardens donated by individuals or with specific themes.

While in Victoria, we also visited the city’s rose garden.  The layout is wonderful with paved pathways and excellent structures.  Since I’ve seen pictures of this online with mature bushes, I’m guessing that it was wiped out by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and has recently rebuilt.

A few large bushes survived.

Also read that the city accepted rose bush donations to plant.  My only complaint about this garden is that there were no ID tags to name the roses.

“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”  J.M. Barrie

Fredericksburg & Kerrville Gardens

The National Museum of the Pacific War or The Nimitz as it’s known locally, keeps expanding.  A one day visit is not sufficient to absorb all the information and view all the exhibits.  Maybe a younger person with lots of stamina would be more successful.  Down the street from the original building is an open air museum with military vehicles and more exhibits in new buildings.

fredericksburgcOn this visit we were focused on a new garden, a Japanese Garden, behind the the main building.

fredericksburgdThe Garden of Peace was a gift of the people of Japan.

fredericksburgccThe climate in Japan is very different than central Texas, so plant selection must have been tricky.

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fredericksburgdddMany of the plants used are favorites in the area because they are so hardy.  A Crape Myrtle shades this spot.

fredericksburgeWith the raked white sand and a few small pines, the Texas plants look right at home.

fredericksburgeeA traditional style Japanese house can be viewed from the outside.

fredericksburgeeeLooking back at the garden, we are standing at an opening in the wall that leads to a memorial area.

fredericksburgggHundreds of pictures of men and women who served during WWII are embedded in limestone walls.

fredericksburgfIt’s a quiet area with some traffic heard in the background.

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fredericksburgfffIt’s a wonderful tribute to fallen servicemen and others who served.  But also, it’s a grim reminder of horrific suffering.

fredericksburggA screw propeller from a ship makes a fitting statue.

fredericksburiIn Kerrville we visited the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at the AgriLife Extension Building.

In the above picture patches of different kinds of grasses are grown.  Made we wonder how they keep the grasses from creeping into the other plots.  Maybe our native Bermuda is the only one that is a monster.

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Firebush (Hamelia patens) is a Texas Superstar plant. It is very heat and drought tolerant once established and will grow in almost any soil.

fredericksburiiiPlus, it’s really attractive with bold color.

fredericksburkA large grouping of another Texas superstar Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans) was stunning.

fredericksburjPollinators, especially butterflies, love Dill plant.

fredericksburjjAnd I love the airy structure.

Our one day outing was beneficial to choose gardens for our Master Garden class to attend.  It was a beautiful cool-ish August day, which are normally rare.  This year we’ve been blessed with many such days.

Thanks for taking this trip with me.

“Happiness is a choice, not a result.  Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy.”  Ralph Marston

That’s Odd

The biggest anomaly this year is the weather.  So far, we’ve only had three days of 100 or 100+ degrees.  It’s August!  That is so odd that everyone talks about the beautiful weather all the time.

Most areas around us have had several rains.  We have not, but there have been many cloudy days.

Nice summer, indeed.

oddSeveral times when I have gone into the shed, a lizard would be in the bottom of a bucket.  He must has have fallen from the ceiling.  I would dump him into the yard, but there he would be again the next day.  I don’t know if it was the same one or not.  If so, he’s a slow learner.

odd2One day from my kitchen window, I saw a 5 to 6 foot snake slithering across the grass and climbing into a tree.  By the time I could react and find my camera, he was already in the higher branches of a small Red Oak.

odd3I could never find his head for a photo.

odd4Just a Bull snake, I think.  I hope.

odd5Why is this scene strange?  Because it reminded me of a green idyllic meadow.  Usually, the grasses are dry like straw.  But here the yellow is wildflowers.  “Cows are in the meadow”… type photo.

odd6The purple Balloon flowers or Chinese Bell Flowers have not bloomed much this year.  Many of the ones that opened were white.  For the past eight years, they have been heavy bloomers.  Don’t know what happened.

odd7This is like one of those pictures where one’s eyes have to adjust and focus by staring to see the image.  The heads of Dill (Anethum graveolens)  are full of seeds.  Black Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar are supposed to feed on dill, although I have not seen them.

odd8Mowing around a flower bed of Gregg’s Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium greggii) brings on a flurry of rising butterflies swirling around me.  The flowers are small but obviously a favorite of Viceroys.

oddcThe compost heap behind a shed is producing vines.

The blue lid from a barrel is to cover food scraps and discourage racoons who often climb over the wire barrier.  Unfortunately, if they want to move the lid, they can.

odd9There are two different kinds of vines.  Last year we had canteloupe grow here.

oddbA Strawberry Gomphera (Gomphrena haageana) plant found its way here and is blooming.

oddaThis one looks like it is producing yellow summer squash.

I don’t often remember to pour water on the decaying compost.  But when I see the vines, it reminds me to do so.

odddWhy is this mule sniffing or eating a small cedar?  Don’t know.

praying mantisThis Praying Mantis appears to be in the process of molting, which they do several times during their lifetime.

snyderWhat is this plant, you ask.  This photo was taken in West Texas.  Those are actually plastic stems from an artificial plant.  Given the fact that watering is severely rationed, it seems like an interesting solution.

“A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.”    Old cowboy adage