Sweet, Sweet Spring

Freed from our cocoons at last.  The warmth of the sun, the green buds on the trees, and a few colorful flowers is a blessing.  I’d do cartwheels, if I could.

Native Redbud trees by the side of rural roads in our area signals spring.

Some of them have paler blossoms.

Although you can’t see them in any of my pictures, there are tons of bees on the flowers.

The Redbuds with the darker flowers really pop.

Love them.

In the yard, things are greening up.  One the left is a Mock Orange bush.  To the right is a David Austin rose.

The Maple is forming leaves.  Not sure which variety of maple it is.

First couple of Dutch Iris have flowers.  After that artic freeze, it’s so reassuring when a plant shows signs of surviving.

Last fall I planted some tiny bulbs of Lady Jane Tulips (Tulipa clusiana).  The foliage had appeared this February when that devastating freeze hit.  But now, here the flowers have popped up.

I like their short stems that make them more sturdy in our strong winds.

This is how they look after the sun has risen high in the sky.

Lady Janes are Species Tulips, which means they are native to warmer areas, like the Mediterranean area.  So they do not need a deep cold to survive and should be a perennial.  Of course, time will tell how well they do here.

There are other species tulips, like the Texas Tulip and Tubergens Gem Tulip available at Southern Bulbs company in East Texas.  Usually, they only show the bulbs that are to be planted at that time on their website.

Redbuds only bloom a short time, so it will be time to say good-bye soon.  Enjoyed having you.

As spring wakes up our plants, this year it will be especially important to check out what survived the winter.  If we’re patient enough, maybe we’ll see that some things that look dead actually aren’t.  But if you’re like me, I’m ready to get on with it.

“If you think nobody cares if you are alive, try missing a couple of car payments.”  unknown

A Touch of Autumn Color

Autumn color in central Texas is definitely different than in other parts of the U.S., especially, the northeast.

The first obvious color is Prairie Flameleaf Sumac (Rhus lanceolata) that forms colonies in limestone.

The wind can quickly blow off the leaves, leaving a somewhat bare tree with its heavy seed clusters.  Recently a friend of mine was trimming branches above her head and didn’t realize that she was standing in poison sumac.  Made me wonder how one can tell the difference between the poisonous and nonpoisonous.

 This web site shows pictures and descriptions of Poison Sumac.

But that’s like remembering which snakes look like poisonous ones and which ones are poisonous in the heat of the moment.

So I’ll try to remember to enjoy Sumac from a distance.

One of my favorite trees in our yard is Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis).  It’s a pretty tree any time of the year, although it does require some shaping as the lower limbs grow downward.

Just to show how recommendations change, Chinese Pistache was once considered too invasive.  Now it’s a Texas Superstar tree.  In my book, it’s a winner.

Its autumn color gives me a sense of season, even if the temperatures waffle from cool to hot.

The light and wind seem to give it a different color each day.

The berries have a somber look when it’s cloudy.

Or bright and shiny when sunlight hits them.

The leaves on the Texas Maple turned yellow before the wind snatched them away.  Not sure exactly which type of maple this is.  The man who bought it and planted it got what was available.  I should have asked more information.

With the inconsistent temperatures, the Yellow Lead Ball tree (Leucaena retusa) looks like spring and fall at the same time.  The yellow puffy balls have returned while the seed pods dry and drop.  This is a Texas native and has done well in our yard.

Yellow pom-poms make this a festive sight.

Red Oaks can turn a deep red or burnt orange like this one.  Autumn leaves with Showbiz red roses blooming in a pot and evergreen cedars in the background – that’s our fall.

This wispy Copper Canyon Daisy (Tagetes lemmonii) tends to bloom in late summer or early fall.  But this year, the flowers came late.  The bush doesn’t look like much.

But up close, the bright dainty flowers are pretty.  This bush has a sharp, nose wrinkling smell, so it should be planted away from the house.

A native in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and northern Mexico, it adapts well to our soil and climate.

Re-blooming Irises have also shown their flowers late this year.  The Strawberry Gompheras  or Globe Amaranths (Gomphrena globosa) will continue to bloom until the first freeze.

Texas Ash (Fraxinus texensis) joins in the color parade.

Red Robins flew in for a quick visit one cloudy day.  They never wear out their welcome.

Hope your fall has been colorful and enjoyable.  It’s the time of year for being thankful and for spending time with friends and family.

“Being married means mostly shouting ‘What?’ from other rooms.”  unknown