Community Garden

The pictures in this post were taken at a Community Garden in the small town of Menard.  There are raised beds that can be rented for growing vegetables.  The garden is also used to teach Jr. Master Gardeners. They have a separate section with raised beds for them.

A large section of the garden contains different bushes, flowers, and vines.  This is a type of Salvia.

The flowers on Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) have a velvet look and feel.  The problem is that it needs warmer winters.  So, alas, it freezes back when I try to grow it.  But it is a gorgeous plant.

Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana) also needs more tropical growing conditions.

The unique flowers have the paper-thin look of Bougainvillas.  The actual flower is the white part.

Zinnas are an economical way to bring color into the garden.  So easy to grow.

A must for Texas gardens:  Gregg’s Blue Mist Flower (Conoclinium greggii.).  Queen Butterflies flock to it.

Morning Glory Tree (Ipomoea carnea) loves our heat but not the freezing winter times in my area.

The rains have made it difficult to keep up with weeding.  Since this garden is manned by volunteers, it’s easy to see how it’s possible to be crowded with plants growing unchecked.

One couple teaches the Jr. Master Gardeners and takes care of this garden.  They recruit volunteers whenever possible.  What a heart for their community.

Another tropical plant is Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima).  Their bright color certainly steals the scene and makes us all drool for one.  Unfortunately, I’ve learned that no matter how much you want some plants, if they won’t survive the winter, forget them.

Just look at that flower that screams the Caribbean Islands.

Now back to a solid performer.

Esperanzass (Tecoma Stans) are coveted for their beautiful yellow tubular flowers.  Mine always freeze.  Some people say they have better luck than I do.

And what would a Texas garden be without a pepper plant.  Not sure which one this is.

Good old Zinnas grow wherever there is a little bit of soil.

Anyone with a garden anywhere knows that plant choices are important.  Sometimes we cannot plant something we really like.

“The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”  John F. Kennedy

City on the Concho

In West Texas, San Angelo is a town with a river, the Concho, which gives it many advantages.  Having a water source in an arid region is huge.  Therefore, the town boasts some green areas.

Although we’ve visited the town numerous times, on a recent overnight trip, we saw some places previously missed.

As we walked toward a Mexican restaurant (what other kind!) in the center of town, we passed the library, which has some large windows that jut out and are trimmed with this tile work around the door.  Always fascinated by symbols chosen to represent reading.

Outside the library is one of San Angelo’s ubiqutous painted sheep.  This one features children’s books.

I recognize pictures that represent Charlotte’s Web, Hank the Cowdog, and Alice in Wonderland.

The statement:  “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”

Here’s the favorite of many.

The San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts’ unusual building is constructed of many different materials inside and out.  The inside space features a main two story central area with smaller exhibitions rooms around it.

One current exhibit displays the work of local artist, the late Jimmy Don Cox.  Western paintings and sculptures show his eye for detail.

Another show called ‘Critical Angles’ by Cathy Cunningham Little from San Antonio contains unique art using glass, mirrors, and light.

The small pieces of glass and instructions for placement were mailed by the artist to the museum.  This involved a complicated placement of the materials to achieve the exact light forms.

The only light in the room came from the small lights above each set of glass.

From this angle, you can see some of the glass.  Beautiful.

The serene outside area is nicely done with landscaping and well thought out green space and hardscape.

Love this little girl reading.

The Aermotor Windmill Company in San Angelo still manufactures and constructs the old fashioned windmills that have character and hark back to the settling of the west.  Not like the intrusive giant wind turbines that are taking over our beautiful countryside and destroying land values.  I could go on and on about that.

This succulent ground cover has lots of pretty small flowers.  Looks like a type of ice plant but don’t really know.

A cowboy teaching a kid about rope tying.

Walking down the street from the museum, this horse sculpture made us stop.

The wood in front with the holes is from Cholla Cactus.

Several old buildings along this street have been renovated for businesses.

The next morning we attended a short seminar about Gardening with Natives.  Afterwards we went to a small nursery outside of town that has a demonstration butterfly garden.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  I failed to get an overall shot.  My mind must have been on what was for sale in the nursery.

This is a Blue Potato Bush, Paraguay Nightshade, or Blue Lycianthes (Lycianthes rantonnei) for zone 8b to 11.

Clever idea that is easy.  Just paint some molded forms that are used for garden bed borders.

Behind the caterpillar on the right is an Italian Basil and on the left is Curly Parsley.

Using a wheel barrel for a fairy garden has been on my to do list for a while.  Maybe this will nudge me to get busy.

A strong wind was whipping the flowers on a Morning Glory Bush pretty good.

Bush Morning Glory, Morning Glory Tree, Badoh Negro, Borrachero, or Matacabra (Ipomoea carnea) survives in zones 8b to 11.  Several years ago I had one that lived about three years.  Then it became too tall and cumbersome to move into the shed.  So adios to that.

The star of the show is always Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) because it is so bright that it’s hard to look anywhere else.

Pride of Barbados is a zone 9 tropical evergreen, but in zone 8b, it is a perennial that dies to the ground.  It’s on the Texas Superstar list.

I’ve tried one that froze.  Some people cut them to the ground in early winter, mulch them heavily and cover them, so I’m going to give it another shot.

“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.”  Hugh DownsSave

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Pops of Color

The warm weather continues with some record-breaking highs.  Still no rain.  Both of these circumstances are cause for concern around here.  And yet, some flowers in the yard are still hanging on.

This Bottle Brush Bush (Callistemon) was planted in the spring.  When it blooms, it is covered with bright red blooms.   But there are long periods in between these flowering times.  I’m not sure if that is characteristic or due to weather conditions here.

Today the blooms are not as full and colorful as they were earlier in the year.

The flowers really do look just like a brush used to clean narrow necked bottles.  It needs full sun, which is perfect for my yard.

Early in autumn, the first noticeable change in the Chinese Pitasche  (Pistacia chinensis) tree is the appearance of orangish red berries.

Then the leaves turn this golden color.

Finally,  the leaves sport a bright orange hue before they turn brown and drop off.

The golden leaves of this small elm have defied the wind and remained on the branches.

A Chinapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) in our yard is covered with orange and yellow leaves.  The color is seen on the branch in the left of the picture.  In the distance the burnt orange tree is a sumac.The blooms on this False Foxglove (Agalinis) surprised me the other day.  In the spring I transplanted it from a bar ditch on our county road.  Late spring is the normal blooming time for this wildflower.  I guess this warm weather and water from the sprinkler system has confused it.  But I’m so glad it survived the move.

Most of the leaves and blooms on this Morning Glory Tree (I. arborescens) bit the dust after the first freeze.  Just one branch bravely blooms on.

A Spanish Oak looks like it’s on fire in the late afternoon sun.

This is the third autumn for this Possum Haw, and the first time there have been berries.  I was beginning to worry that it was a male plant and wouldn’t produce berries.  They are smaller than I expected but a nice sight.

I wish I knew what kind of tree this is.  This one grows beside a county road near a dry creek bed.  I love the yellow berry clusters.

Update – a couple of readers tell me that this is a Chinaberry Tree.

The berries actually look like dry pods. It’s a smallish tree.  When you look up, it has great composition with a clear blue sky behind it and bunches of pale yellow berries at the ends of the branches.

“The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color.”  Hans Hoffman

Morning Glory Tree

Two years ago I bought a Morning Glory Tree, I. fistulosa, at Barton Springs Nursery in Austin.  That’s the only place I’ve ever seen one.  I knew it would be risky in our zone 7b if we had a cold winter.  Austin is a little over a 100 miles south of us and usually doesn’t have the low temperatures we do in a cold winter.  So the plan was to put it in the shed before a freeze.

This picture shows the tree the next spring after it spent the first winter in the heated shed.

This spring we re-potted it into a larger pot.

The tree is 5 feet tall now.  The flowers look just like a morning glory vine blooms but are larger – 3″ to 5″ across.  They open in the morning, but the whole thing looks droopy and sad in the midday sun.

I haven’t found much information on them.  I’ve read that they are root hardy.  I definitely hope that is true.  It is a member of the sweet potato family and can reach 6′ in height.  One source said it is multi-trunked and drought hardy.  I’m not sure about the drought hardy part.  It’s needs lots of water, but it is in a pot that is too small for it.  So far it has one main trunk.  We still have it tied to a pole for stability.The leaves are a different shape from the morning glory vine and are thicker, like tree leaves.  I’ve read that they produce pods with seeds.  Not yet.

I have a grand solution for potting it next year.  I’m not sure it would survive directly in the hard, rocky ground.  If the plan is successful, I’ll let you know.

When I step out on the back patio and see the tree across the yard, I love the sight of the large, white flowers greeting me in the morning.

“Life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don’t.
Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!”    Listening to Your Life – Frederick Bueckner