Willow City Loop

These pictures show the Willow City Loop drive from our trip above and below Llano.  I am repeating a link to wildflowers drives for those who might not have seen it.

WillowloopA small two lane road forms a loop beginning and ending on Hwy. 16.  It doesn’t have the large sections of Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes scattered along the main highway but provides a leisurely scenic drive.

Willowloop5The road crosses private property with pastures on both sides.  Some of the ranches are not fenced and have cattle guards across the road.  A cow trail parallels this section of the road.

Willowloop1Even though traffic was heavy on a Saturday, there were ample places to pull over and enjoy the flowers up close.

Willowloop2These look like native Prairie Phlox (Phlox pilosa).

Willowloop4Just to prove this area is open to roving cattle, note the dried cow patty.

Willowloop6Nice views as the road winds from the valley up to the hills.

Willowloop8Bluebonnets in natural setting.

Willowloop9It’s common to find them among Prickly Pear Cactus.

WillowloopbWee little flowers form a nice ground cover.

WillowloopeOne ranch got everyone’s attention starting with these gimme caps.

Willowloopf

WillowloopdThen for half of a mile every fence post was topped with a boot.  Parked cars in the distance indicate a prime photo spot.

Wonder where all the boots came from.

WillowloopgNice property with no underbrush and mowed fields.  Lots of work to keep it looking like that.

WillowloopiBluebonnet patch just across the fence.  Another electrified fence at the other edge keeps cows from trampling the flowers.

The loop drive took us about an hour with several stops for pictures.  Very pleasant way to spend the day.

“We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it.” Jean-Claude Juncker

 

Trash or Treasure

If  you like to browse through what other people have tossed, have I got the place for you.  Whether you consider discarded items trash or a treasure trove, this is a good wandering through store.

junkstoreD and J’s Good Ole Days store in Brady, Texas, is worth a stop, especially if you want to see the unique and unexpected.  They have it all from vintage clothing to old-time hard candy like sassafras, horehound, licorice, and taffy.

junkstore2Even though it is definitely crowded, there is some organization to the areas.  But who cares because each turn brings something you either haven’t seen in a while or ever.

junkstore3Obviously, this is the medical section.  The mannequin in the dentist chair has her mouth open wide in a scream.

junkstore4Here’s the music corner.  The owners were out on a buying trip the day we went to the store.  The young girl was very helpful.  It is reported that the owners know the history of each item, so we need to go again to hear the stories.

junkstore5There were stacks of plates that were a little too precarious for me to rummage through, but the clerk told us to feel free to lift them off of the shelf.

junkstore6It is definitely not possible to see everything in one visit.  Wandering back through a second time, we noticed totally different things.

junkstore7Two hours of looking and questioning the purpose of some items left our minds in overload.  A second trip would still be enjoyable.  Plus there is a bigger turnover than one would expect.  That day a dealer was spending several hundred dollars.

If you don’t have something like this in your neck of the woods and are interested, there’s always flea markets.  I guess I just like the nostalgia and the expectancy of something out of the ordinary or an item that I just can’t live without.

“A knife wound heals, but a tongue wound festers.”  Turkish adage

Garden of Eden

Recently I visited a garden in Eden, Texas, with a gardening class. Eden is between Brady and San Angelo and has a population of just over 93,000.  That fact is a total surprise because we only made this one stop and drove on through it.  I thought it was probably smaller than that.

Here is a description of the town from their website:
“Founded in 1882, Eden is located at the intersection of US Hwy 87 & 83 where the Texas Hill Country and the rolling farmland of the southeastern extremes of the Permian Basin merge.

Eden is a scenic transition of cattle, sheep, and goat country, cotton fields, forage crops, oil and gas wells and some of the best hunting to be found in Texas.”

gardenofedenThis public garden used to be an abandoned lot that attracted drug dealers.

gardenofeden2A few people proposed the idea of a garden.  One man made it happen and continues to maintain it, mostly alone.

gardenofeden7He is a landscaper, and his skills show in the garden.  This rustic water feature used a cattle water trough, rocks, posts, and an old milk can.

gardenofeden3

gardenofeden4Very clever.

gardenofeden5It was a surprise to see Moon Flower there.  I don’t see it in many gardens.

gardenofeden6They are considered night bloomers.  I think this one is in the Datura species.

gardenofeden8The sun makes this grass pop.

gardenofeden9This Asparagus plant was new to me.  Makes me want to try it.

gardenofedenaThis gardener used lots of the same flowers scattered throughout the area.  He also wisely used reliable plants.  This is Esperanza (Tecoma stans).

gardenofedenbSurprises around every corner.

gardenofedendLantanas do extremely well in dry hot areas.  This New Gold Lantana (Lantana x hybrida ‘New Gold’) is an example of the spreading branches of Lantanas.

gardenofedencHis use of native stones enhanced the garden.  Especially liked the benches near the walkways.

gardenofedenfA migrating Monarch butterfly enjoying Lil Miss Lantana.

gardenofedeng

gardenofedenkNative wild Morning Glories.  They can be seen on barbed wire fences all across the central part of Texas.

gardenofedenlA nice job of mixing cacti and agaves with other plants.

gardenofedennAnother technique used was the placement of plants with the same colors together to create a large sweep of color.

gardenofedeno

gardenofedenpDuranta (Duranta erecta) is one of my favorite bushes.  This picture doesn’t do it justice.  For a better one, see other posts.

gardenofedenqCross Vine (Bignonia capreolata) is a popular vine that grows to massive sizes.  I’m not sure what the plan is for this one’s future – maybe to allow it to cover that rock structure.

gardenofedenrThe achievement of lush looking plantings can be difficult using our native plants.  But it’s possible by filling in with softer plants like this Dusty Miller or Artemesia.

gardenofedensThe garden is on the highway, but it’s winding paths through tall bushes allows one to feel lost in a secretive place.

gardenofedentBlue Potato Bush (Lycianthes rantonnei) is also known as Paraguay Nightshade.  It’s an evergreen that blooms repeatedly.

gardenofedenuThe flowers resemble those of Mexican Petunias.

gardenofedenvA walk though arch was covered with this Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens).  The vine itself looked pretty sad, but a few flowers still showed their stuff.

gardenofedenxThe shadows of these cacti create more interest than if they had been planted in the middle of other plants.

An impressive garden, especially since it’s the work of one man who works as a volunteer and in his spare time.  Sometimes the people in a community aren’t aware of the gift of time by some of their citizens.  Thanks to volunteers everywhere.

“When we stand back to consider the premise – that God owes us a good life – it is clearly unwarranted. If there really is an infinitely glorious God, why should the universe revolve around us rather than around him?”        Tim Keller