Newbies

Newbie means that they are new in my yard and some of them are new to me, period.

newbiesA good source of hardy plants is garden club events.  This was bought at a regional meeting where the host club sold plants.  The prices are always reasonable, the plants are reliable, and the cause is good.

Many times I don’t know the plant but I trust the source.  This one was labeled Barbados Cherry (Malpighia glabra), so I expected some red berries.  This has pink berries and flowers that look a lot like Lantana.  It is hardiness zone 8 and 9, so it will have to go in a shed during the winter.

Barbados Cherry are large shrubs, and it will evidently have large red berries.

newbies1Another good source for plants in Central Texas is the Lady Bird Johnson Center.  Texas Kidneywood or Bee Brush (Eysenhardtia texana) is doing well in our alkaline soil.

newbies2It has a slight citrus smell and attracts pollinators.  The Mesquite looking leaves is a sign that it will do well in an arid climate.

newbies7Bought at a garden event, this plant was tagged Germander.  From what I’ve read, it’s an herb that is in the mint family.  It has grown, but doesn’t have much scent and hasn’t flowered.  The jury is still out on it.

newbies4Another garden club event purchase, Mexican Flame Vine (Senecio confusus) is a woody vine that grows up to 10 ft.  Senecio means confused old man which refers to its matted growth if not supported by a trellis or fence.

newbies6Since it is tropical, it has to brought inside here.  So I’m not quite sure how I will work out support for its branches.

newbies8New here means that at last I’ve gotten Lavender to survive.  I’ve tried it a couple of times before.  First, I thought it didn’t need much watering, so it withered.  The next one I watered a little, but rain from a roof flowed into it and drowned it.

These were given to us when we paid for a gardening seminar.  I’ve watered them but the pots drain really well.  So far, so good.

newbies9Oxblood Lily or Schoolhouse Lily (Rhodophiala bifida) is thought to be native to Texas but actually was brought here from Argentina in the early 1800’s.  My blooms were short lived, but so bright that they seem worth it.  Don’t really remember where I got them.

Experimenting in the garden can be fun and challenging.

“Long after this election is over Trump and Hillary will still be rich.  Half of us will be able to claim we ‘won’.  The other half will have 4 years to say that’s why I didn’t vote for ____.’

‘Just remember that we live in a different America than they do.  We have to live, work, and eat with each other in OUR America.  We don’t get to hop on a private jet and fly away from our communities’ problems.  We are what makes this country what it is, not the President.

‘He/she will not stop crime in our neighborhoods.  He won’t stop people from stealing your identity, and she will not stop any one from shooting up our local night clubs.  Hillary will not come teach your child right from wrong, but you can.  Trump will not come to your home and teach your child math, but you can.

‘WE as a UNITED people with sound morals, values, and ethics can make this country whatever we want.

‘Vote for whomever you want, but remember WE are the ones that shape our communities, not them.”     Barbara Janovetz

Garvan Gardens, Part 2

Garvan Gardens outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas, is a serene, calming place.  Because there were few people visiting that day, it seemed like we were alone in forest far from civilization.

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garvangardensmmSome workers were constructing this exhibit out of brush.  This art installation by W. Gary Smith is to last for a year.

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garvangardensnn Miniature fairy gardens created in pots are a current fad, but this Fairy Garden was built using tree stumps.

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garvangardensooEach one stood about 3 or 4 feet tall.

garvangardenspA small patch of Oxblood or Schoolhouse Lilies (Rhodophiala bifida) make an impact statement.

garvangardensppVery tall Pinks or Dianthus in a semi-shady spot.

garvangardensqThe Children’s Garden entrance is below this metal twig looking bridge.

garvangardensqqEverything we saw in this part of the garden is mostly rocks to climb on and secluded small areas to explore.

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garvangardensrrThe boulders were intriguing with the quartz in the stones forming sharp ridges.  Over time, the rock, whatever type it is, has eroded, while the quartz remained intact.

garvangardenssSome of the Children’s Garden might be intimidating to young kids.

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garvangardenttBack on the main trail …

garvangardentttwe continue past this small pond with water Iris.

garvangardenuAlthough this peacock was alone, his loud mating cries broke the silence of the forest.  Guess he just wanted some attention.

garvangardenuuAnother pergola leading to a grassy area surrounded by flowerbeds.

garvangardenuuuAlliums towering above other flowers, like these Pansies.  I really wanted some Alliums and tried them once, but they didn’t come back the next year.  Don’t really know what the problem was.  Too hot, too cold, soil too alkaline?

garvangardenvMore Dianthus

garvangardenvvDelphiniums, maybe?

garvangardenvvvJust outside the Chipmunk Cafe were several miniature trains at different levels circling around a tree.

garvangardenwwwAnthony Chapel is a wedding chapel with construction similar to the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  I think this chapel was built in 2006 while ThornCrown opened in 1980.

garvangardenxThe wood is southern yellow pine.

garvangardenxxAnthony Chapel is a wedding chapel.  Lovely setting.

There is a separate building for wedding party members with a bridal changing chamber.  It can be rented for an additional cost.

garvangardenxxxThe whole intent of the design with 55 feet tall windows is to have full view of the surrounding woods.  The handcrafted scones are made of oak.

garvangardenwwHeading to the parking lot takes us past more trees and bushes.  This looks like Coral Honeysuckle.

garvangardenwBeautiful bloom on an Oakleaf Hydrangea (‘Hydrangea quercifolia’).

Thanks for reading our visit to Garvan Gardens.

“The only limit to your garden is at the boundaries of your imagination.”  Thomas Church

San Angelo Water Lilies

To say unusual and unexpected is an understatement about the San Angelo International Water Lily Collection.  The fact that it exists is due to the dream of one man – Ken Landon.

First, a little history.  San Angelo is located where five spring fed streams converge.  As early as the 15th century the Indians that lived there were peaceful hunters and gatherers.  Early Spanish explorers named them Jumanos.   These same people groups would go to Spanish missions and settlements further west seeking protection from the warlike plains Indians.  They described their home area as a land of water and flowers.

In the early 1600’s two monks from a Franciscan monastery near present day Albuquerque were sent to investigate their claim and found a crystal clear pond covered with water lilies.

This information comes a pamphlet provided by the city at the Visitor Center.

waterlilykToday the water lily collection is part of the city park system but is supervised by Mr. Landon.  This is the most extensive collection of different varieties of water lilies of any place in the US.

The ponds are about 12 feet below street level.

waterlilybAlong the street side a steep wall covered with Cross Vines is a striking backdrop as well as the plantings in front of it.  These include the hardy Texas Superstar Yellow Bells (Tacoma stans).

waterlilygThe two side “walls” are terraced beds filled with many different varieties of plants.  Some are well adapted to the area, like the hardy Hibiscus with the large blooms.  In this same bed are some tropical Hibiscus, which have to be dug up and taken into the park system’s greenhouse.  Others are replaced from new rootings already being grown in the greenhouse.

The back ‘wall’ opens into another park area.  There is also some construction there.  Maybe new ponds?

waterlilyfThis shrub with the greyish green foliage is Cassia.  I only know that because the ground crew had just finished their lunch and answered a few questions for me.

waterlilyeHas the characteristics of other Texas survivors.

waterlilydThe dark color foliage might be Potato Vine.  The bright green is Ice Plant and the Red is Oxblood Lily or Schoolhouse Lily (Rhodophiala bifida).

Now to the eye candy.

waterlilyj‘Texas Dawn’ (Nymphaea elegans) is the variety of Water Lily that is native to the area.  It was named the official state water lily in 2011.

Because the Texas lily is so hardy, Dr. Landon cross pollinated it with other lilies for stronger strains.

I don’t know the names of the following varieties.  Just loved the soft colors and different forms.

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waterlilyaThe giant pads are usually from Asia.

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waterlilyA great place to visit even if you think it isn’t your cup of tea.  I don’t plan to have a pond of any sort because it would be an invitation for more wild animal visitors in the yard.  But nature is amazing and can be enjoyed in its many forms.

“Communist until you get rich; feminist until you get married; atheist until the airplane starts falling.”  The Hypocrite Diaries