Back to the Rose Emporium

This post continues with our last visit to the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham.  Although I have lots of favorite nurseries, this one is probably at the top of the list.

We arrived early before our meeting to wander around the grounds.  It was foggy and the camera lens kept fogging up, but it created a mystical look to some of the pictures.

This bottle tree made my husband suggest that we do a Dr. Pepper tree, which is his drink of choice.

This looks like a sage, but I’m not sure.

Little touches here and there make this a unique nursery.  I consider it an idea place to inspire gardeners.

Often, gardeners overlook the cheap plants, like Zinnias.  A packet of seeds can provide a whole season of brightly colored flowers.  Behind the Zinnias are some Potato Vines.  Although they are annuals, it’s not too expensive to cover a good sized space because they grow fast and spread out.

Cute flower pot man.  Probably has rods through the legs to hold it up.

This is a cheap way to erect an arch.  The wire fencing needs something steady, like the wooden fence to give it strength.  Also, some kind of tree has been trained over the wiring, so it would be strong.

Really like the row of these arches over a pathway.  Antique roses give it a classical look.

This smiling face makes me smile.  Wouldn’t have thought to put it in a birdbath.

Pink Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii,) was hybridized by Greg Grant in honor of his friend Pam Puryear.  She was an avid plant lover who went rose rustling with him.

A hiss can almost be heard from this arched back cat.

Salvia Greggii White Autumn Sage is not seen as often as the red flowered ones.  It has the same wonderful scent and is a refreshing change.

Cute little green house that would be a great backyard addition.

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people; to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.”           William Arthur Ward

Roses and More

This year, Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas, is celebrating its 30th year of operation.

Inside the chapel, where the annual symposium is held, rose decorations set the theme.

This wreath hung on the podium.  By the way, the speakers we heard on Friday were excellent.

A frame on an easel held this vase of gorgeous roses.  We all wandered up to try and figure out how it was created.  I think wet florist foam was behind the half pot and all the rose stems were stuck in it.

A couple of these frames were hung on blacked out windows.

And, of course, there had to be a cowboy boot filled with sweet smelling roses.  We were so glad we attended this special event, even though we were only able to stay for one day.

Arriving early and using the lunch hour to wander around the nursery is always a treat.  This is so much more than a nursery.  It’s like an arboretum.  There are flower beds everywhere filled with all kinds of plants, like this fancy Zinna.

One of the things I like about this place is the whimsy scattered all around.  A living bedroom provides a smile.

All sorts of plantings show ideas for lots of different tastes.

Beds of simple, common flowers like these Dianthus or Pinks illustrate that gardening doesn’t have to be expensive.  Although, it definitely can be because it becomes a consuming hobby.  I speak from experience.

Simple, yet elegant setting.

A dying vine with some berries left provided a viewing spot for this bird above our heads.  He certainly seemed oblivious to our presence.

A small fenced in area contained lettuces and other greens and edibles growing beside flowers.

Brightly colored peppers are eye catching.

A bed of one of my favorite perennials:  Henry Duelberg Salvia (Salvia farinacea ‘Henry Duelberg’).  Another common name is Henry Duelberg Mealy Cup Sage.  Loves the sun and attracts bees.

But the heart of this place is roses.  So many choices to choose from.

Several posts will follow to show more of Antique Rose Emporium.  Thanks for stopping by.

“I was born with a reading list I will never finish.”  Maud Casey

A Healthy Garden

The day we were in the community garden in Menard, butterflies were everywhere – one sign of a healthy garden.

gardenmenard6A Southern Dogface Butterfly is enjoying the Zinnias.

gardenmenard5Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia Leucantha) has a wonderful velvety texture and butterflies gravitate to them.

gardenmenardaA Pipevine Swallowtail also like the Zinnias.

gardenmenardbWhat is it about butterflies that is so spellbinding?  The fact that they are fragile?  Always in motion?  Or just plain gorgeous?

gardenmenardThis garden has many purposes besides looking pretty.  It provides raised beds for citizens to rent for growing vegetables.

gardenmenard1Some okra pods look ready to be picked.

gardenmenard7Our group of Master Gardener students was here specifically to learn about water conservation.  In a demonstration, Billy Kniffen pours water into four different plastic boxes on top of a rack.  The water then flows down into other boxes on the lower shelf that have drain pipes.  The purpose of the demo is to show how much water pours out of the pipe and how quickly it empties out.

What is planted in the ground makes a difference for water absorption.  The bin on the left has native prairie grasses growing, which allows the rainfall to soak in, and the long roots of the grasses leads the water further into the ground, replenishing the water table.

gardenmenard8The next container is turf sod or grass like what is used in most yards, which allows some runoff.

Then there is a container that has very little growing in it.  Bare ground becomes hard and doesn’t absorb water, which then washes away even more soil.

This shelter and some other small sheds have gutters that direct rainwater into water storage tanks.

gardenmenard9The last container has a house.  Sponges are placed around the house.  Once they have soaked up water, then it will gradually seep out.  He suggested having water permeable hard surfaces to prevent water runoff.  Replacing concrete with other materials like gravel would help.  There are products that have a strong enough surface for walking or even parking a car, but have holes that allow water to pass through.  Those have been in use in Europe for many years.

Manufactured permeable blocks that look like concrete are available, but are extremely expensive. Hopefully companies will come up with ways to produce more affordable materials.

gardenmenardcLarge ornamental grasses similar to the native prairie grasses hold water and are good choices for landscaping.

gardenmenarddAnd of course, every garden needs pretty plants like Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus drummondii).

Enjoy the butterflies in your garden now before cold weather comes.

“You can’t fix stupid, but you can vote it out.”  unknown

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Menard Community Garden

Menard, Texas, is a small town with concerned citizens.  One couple has taken on the project of educating children about gardening through the Junior Master Gardener program.  They have classes for students from kindergarten through junior high.

This couple also maintains the citys Marjorie Russel Education memorial garden.

menardgarden5Following a relatively wet year, the garden has grown tremendously.  My husband and I were there in early spring this year to help other volunteers do clean-up to get ready for the new season.

menardgardenOn this visit with the Master Gardener students who were finishing their course for certification, the garden was alive with butterflies.  Bluemist Flowers (Conoclinium coelestinum) is a must have plant for central Texans to attract butterflies.  I admit that I’m prejudged about this plant because it has been so successful in my own yard.

menardgarden1A Viceroy butterfly busy feeding.  In front of the Blue Mist Flower is Artemisia, another wonderful plant.

menardgarden2Monarch butterflies absolutely must have milkweed plants to survive.  This tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is one of the showier milkweeds that is a beauty in the garden.  Unfortunately, mine freeze each year and don’t return.

On the right are rose hips from spent roses.

menardgarden3Lots of Zinnas are scattered throughout the garden.  Anyone who says they can’t afford plants should consider buying cheap zinna seeds.  The flowers reseed, so they keep on giving.

menardgarden4Behind the zinnas is Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) which adds another dimension of form and texture to the garden.

menardgardencThe layers of plants, even with their intertwining, appeal to me.  Guess I just like a jungle look.  Not for everyone; I understand.

menardgarden6Not only do the Junior Master Gardeners meet here and plant their own plots, anyone in the community can rent one of these plots for $10 to $30, depending on what they can afford.  The city provides the water, and the couple in charge do the watering.  What a deal.

menardgarden8Another popular plant that appeals to pollinators is Salvia Greggii.  Not sure what kind of butterfly this is.

menardgarden7I think this is a Black Swallowtail.

menardgarden9This Salvia Greggii is called Lipstick.  The grower that came up with this name had quite an imagination.

menardgardenaBluemist Flower usually has lots of dead blossoms.  Doesn’t seem to bother the butterflies.

menardgardenb

menardgardendThere are several fruit trees in the garden, including this Fig.   Many of the plants and trees have been donated.

menardgardeneRock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) is a hardy Texas native with small flowers.

I admire people who give of themselves to their communities.

“Trump and Clinton are like divorced parents fighting over custody of us. And we just wanna live with Grandma.”  unknown

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Lovely Autumn Days

There have been studies about the affect of weather on people’s moods.  High crimes rates have been linked to long periods of hot weather.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a syndrome noted for depression during winter months when there is less sunlight.  So why am I writing about weather and moods?  Because this autumn is so fantastic that everyone is talking about it.  “What a beautiful day.” is a common phrase now.  Just so thankful for this time of the year.

autumnblooms1These mild sunny days have brought flowers to my Rock Roses (Pavonia lasiopetala Scheele)  that have hardly ever bloomed.   They are also know as Rose pavonia or Rose Mallow.

autumnblooms2They have a woody stem and can grow in shallow soil on limestone.

autumnblooms3Also still blooming a little is Blue Curls (Phacelia congesta Hook).  Another popular name is Fiddleneck.  This year mine has grown to about four feet tall.

autumnbloomscThe buds are slow to open, so it’s hard to find a cluster of all flowers open at once.

autumnbloomsjThe Zinnas just keep on giving.  About six or seven years ago I planted one package of seeds.  Over the years, only pink and a few orange ones have survived by reseeding.

autumnbloomslThe bees continue to enjoy them, probably even more than I do.

autumnbloomsiAfter last year’s winter, I thought this Sweet Almond Verbena (Aloysia virgata) might not make it.  The Dirt Doctor calls this the most beneficial insect-attracting plant he has ever grown.  Not sure about that, but I do agree that the fragrance is wonderful.

autumnblooms9This year at the Garden Club plant sale, I bought an Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana).  I’ve always shied away from them because everyone warns how aggressive they are.  But those are the kind that do well for me, so I grabbed a couple.  And I love their look.

The Obedient name comes from the fact that the stems can be bent in any direction and remain there.  So that’s nice in floral arrangements.  Unfortunately, in the garden they don’t stay where they are put.

I hope this is a wonderful season for you.  Thank you for taking time to read my blog.

“Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart.” Zig Ziglar

Kerrville

The “dog days of summer” have finally arrived bringing the stifling heat that causes us to gasp for air.  But that image of a panting dog with his tongue hanging out is not the origin of that saying.

In summer Sirius, the dog star, rises and sets with the sun.  The ancient Romans thought it was a source of heat as well as the sun.  Given the circumstance of the summer’s deadly heat, that sounds logical.  But, of course, it’s the tilt of the earth that brings that good old summertime.

But this post is about the town of Kerrville in central Texas.  We are constantly discovering new places and activities available in the small towns in the hill country.

Kerrville “Texas Hill Country Magazine” spring issue had an article about a nursery south of Kerrville.  One of the attractions of the Natives of Texas Nursery was its history.

It was established by Betty Willingham after 30 years of teaching algebra.  After her death, her husband and another helper who worked along beside her kept it open as a memorial to her and her love of native plants.

Kerrville4The drive out of Kerrville seemed longer than 11 miles.  From Hwy. 16, exit onto a caliche winding road which leads into the narrow valley where the nursery is located.

Kerrville2Potted plants are displayed on terraces with a gravel sloping walkway connecting them.

Kerrville3One encouraging sign to me was they grow successfully in soil that appeared to be even more rocky than mine.

KerrvillekKerrville has several worthwhile museums and an amazing live entertainment theater with two different auditoriums.  We saw “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” there and were impressed with the quality of the performance.

Mamacita’s Restaurant in the above picture is large for a Mexican food restaurant, even in Texas.  The food is excellent.

Kerrville7The gardens in front of the restaurant were beautifully done.  Several people were snapping photos of this bush with the purple blooms.  But no one could identify it.

Kerrville8It had no scent, had flowers that looked similar to those of Desert Willow, and had multiple branches covered from bottom to top with blossoms.   Another mystery waiting to be solved.

Kerrville9A wide assortment of sun loving plants created a full, lush look.

KerrvilleaThe shady areas made it possible to get pictures but the plants in the sun looked like a bright blurry spot in photos.

KerrvillebThe soft pinks and yellows in these zinnias and Lil Miss Lantanas contrasted with the other brighter reds and oranges.

KerrvilleeEven a stand of Cattail Reeds grew in a shallow stream.

Kerrvillef

Kerrvilleg

KerrvillelHuge rose bushes with draping branches were covered in tiny red roses.

KerrvillemThis was the best shot I could get since the sun was directly overhead.

To those who think there is no culture in the flyover states or in small towns just haven’t given them a chance.

“Behave.  What happens today is on Facebook tomorrow.”  modern adage

The Ordinary

There is a spot in one of my flowerbeds where the soil is about 8″ to 10″ deep because there is a 10′ x 4′ rock just under the surface of the ground.  It works well to plant flowers with shallow root systems there.  So I usually seed it with ordinary Zinnas.

zinnaangelFinally, after seeding that area with Zinnas for four years, they are coming up voluntary.  Before this year I was gathering seeds and replanting.

The above picture shows why I have come to dislike garden cloth.  We used it because we thought it would keep the native Bermuda grass out of the flowerbed.  Wrong.  The grass and weeds just come up through the cloth.  Then they are even harder to pull out.

Plus, after time, the cloth gets uncovered by animals or heavy rains, even with mulch on top.

zinna3Back to Zinnas.  They’re pretty flowers that are very inexpensive.  I guess they’re ordinary because they are they are a common sight in older gardens.

goldlantanaAnother plant that is common in Texas is Lantana.  There is a native one that has yellow and orange flowers.  The one here is New Gold Lantana (Lantana x hydrida ‘New Gold”).

goldlantana2It grows low to the ground.  You can see the grass that has come up into the garden cloth is in the middle of the Lantana.  It is impossible to pull it all out.  Believe me.  I’ve tried.  Each spring I plan to get after it and keep ahead of the game.  Obviously, I have not suceeded.

goldlantana3The color is so bright on this plant.

goldlantana4All Lantanas are hardy and deer resistant.

goldlantana8Last evening I spotted something that is not ordinary, but unusual.  Several Hummingbird Moths (Macroglossum stellartarum) are feeding on the Gold Lantana.

Hummingbird Moths are also called Sphinx Moths or a Hawk Moths.  The wing span is about 5″.  It’s easy to be fooled into thinking that the Moth is a hummingbird because they dart so quickly from flower to flower.  But there two antenna on top of their heads.

goldlantana7They are in flight the entire time they are feeding.  From this picture it is possible to see the pink color in the wings.  The back part of the body looks like a bee.  The proboscis seems even longer than a hummingbird beak.  While hummingbirds use their tongue to lap liquid, the Proboscis functions like a straw.

hummingbirdmothThis picture is from the internet and gives a clearer picture of a Hummingbird Moth.   To get this picture must require a special feature on a camera or a more masterful photographer than I am.

goldlantana5Seeing them made my day.

sedum2This ground cover Sedum is great to fill in gaps.  I’ve been using it at the edges on some of my lasagne gardens (see previous post) to help hold the soil in place.

Sedums are great plants to share with friends.  Just break a stem and stick it in dirt.  Water regularly until it roots.  Voila – a new plant.  My original plant came from one of my Mother’s.

I love having plants in my yard that remind me of people who them gave to me.

“Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”  Jim Rohn