Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Texas Native Plant Week

When I posted Native Wildflowers Around Me last week, I had no idea this week, October 19-25, is Texas Native Plant Week dedicated to celebrating home-grown native plants.
Today, I will celebrate the Asters that grow on our property.

I can't say they are "home-grown".
I would say they are native to the property and are just here without my say-so. 
There are a bazillion different wild asters and I haven't a clue which one these are. 

What I have learned about taking pics with my iphone is that the iphone doesn't do such a good job for me on these wild plants.
There is always a bit of a breeze when I'm out and the camera has a hard time focusing on the plant I'm looking at.
Also, as you can see, there are usually layers of plants that confuse the lens. 
Even if there is not a breeze, my Stupid Kitty is always following me around like a dog and manages to put the plants in motion.
These first three pictures are from the same clump that is growing near the tank behind the greenhouse.
I love the heavy dew that I captured this morning with my point-and-shoot.  

 This clump is actually here near the house in an overgrown flower bed. 
That's just fine with me because I am about to turn many areas near the house into native plant beds.

This is a different aster that was in bloom in mid September and it is erect and about 5 feet tall.
The blooms look like they are drying and very tiny at about 1/4 inch wide.

I discovered the celebration of Texas Native Plant Week from some gardening blogs that I read. 
One is My Gardener Says... and you might want to click over and read her post. 

I'll be back with more before the week is over. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Native wildflowers around me

 I am surrounded by nature's beauty. 
Early Fall is just as vibrant as spring here in my part of Texas. 
I swoon over the goldenrod which as you can see grows taller than me.
Partridge Pea
 And the partridge pea captivates me. 
Though you cannot see the little yellow flower so good because of the focus, do note the seed pods. 
I planned all summer to collect seeds pods as the partridge pea is an annual and I want to incorporate some in the gardens nearer to the house. 
I was successful but as the pod ripens, it twists open and flings the seeds. 
Don't you love natures secrets.  
Rough-leaf Dogwood
 Rough-leaf dogwood is an understory tree that has beautiful creamy-white flowers and then white berry fruit in the spring and I am so tempted to plant some in my yard gardens but I know from watching it grow wild here on my acreage that it can take over and I fear I might regret its rampant spreading from underground shoots.  
Ladies' Tresses
 Ladies Tresses is a small erect orchid that is supposedly rare here in my county but I have recorded its presence as far back as May 1999. 
The white flowers are spirally arranged and according to, Wildflowers of Texas Hill Country by Marshall Enquist, "they are next to impossible to transplant". I would love to try but may not bother them. 
The problem is they grow in a mowed area. 
 I am unsure what this plant is but I do love it. I think it may be a type of Amaranth but haven't been able to identify it. 
I love the rust color on the stems and the way the flower head hangs. It grows taller than me.
White Boneset
 Another beautiful tall plant that is used in native gardens. 
Low Wild Petunia
 How can you not love this? 
Well, all I can tell you, it is a self-seeding perennial that you can not just pull up to remove. The root system is such that you must dig to get rid of it.
 The fox-glove were beautiful this year.
Western Ironweed

American Beautyberry
 The birds devour these seeds and you'll miss seeing them if they find them first. 
Wild Violet
The violets aren't in bloom now but I do have a nice stand of them down near the creek.

I have been trying to photo and document the native plants growing right here because there are so many. 
Most of the photos are from mid September.
I can enjoy them where they are but I do have plans to bring some closer to me.

Hope you are enjoying your fall gardens as I am.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sixty-Six Morning Glories

Floor Cloth Update
Morning Glory Floor Cloth

I confess I got pretty tired of painting morning glories before I got to the magic number of 66.
Yep. The cloth is 57.5 inches wide, 122 inches long, 66 morning glories and 73 leaves.
I sketched them with charcoal five at a time.
It took me just over a month to paint.
I had to push myself many times because my little secret...
...I get bored with repetition.

The thing that kept me going was my daily visit to the morning glory trellis in the garden. 
Each morning I took new shots of the beautiful display for more floral reference in the studio. 

Before starting with the design, the front and back sides of this heavy duty canvas were primed with two coats of house piant. 
After painting 66 morning glories the back side was painted with one coat of the gray (floor paint), and three coats of high traffic formula polyurethane floor finish. 
The front received four coats of the floor finish. 
I moved the cloth off the studio table and onto the studio floor when it was time to use the poly floor finish. 

Not until I was totally finished did it occur to me what a folly the whole project was.
As you know, this is going to the Garden Palace.
A place where few others may ever see.

And that my friends is when I realized,
I did it for myself.
Even though I had to push at times, It please me very much and that is all that matter. 

The Four Corners

Now it is time to get back over to the Garden Palace and paint the floor. 
Having this finished, as well as, the cooler weather is a real incentive to get back over there.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Wild Things in my Garden

Rain Lilies (Zephyranthes Citrina)
 We had rain this week!
One and six tenths inches to be exact. 
Everything is perking up and greening up and popping up.
I never remember that we have rain lilies until they pop up. 

I'm going into a new direction with my gardens and landscaping. 
Well, I'm deep into the research and mostly day dreaming about a new direction. 
More on all that later.
For now, suffice it to say that I am embracing all the native plants that grow right here and now on my property. 

Rain lily ( Cooperia Drummondii)

Each day I go out with camera (iphone) in hand and select plants to research and identify and basically learn more about.
I want to learn their formal or botanical names even if I can't pronounce them.
Sometimes it is not easy to identify one from the other.
Consider this white rain lilie for example.
The only way I could differentiate Cooperia drummondii from Cooperia pedunculata was by the length of the floral tube, and their primary bloom period.
This one, the Cooperia drummondii has a floral tube 3-7" long and blooms most frequently in September and October.
Where as the Cooperia pedunculata has a floral tube 1-1.5" long and blooms primarily in the spring.

Yesterday the yellow rain lilies were blooming.
I didn't remember until I saw the blooms that I planned to dig some to plant in a garden rather than depend on seeing them in the lawn that gets mowed.

I stopped after potting 15 or 20.
And then I discovered a white one.
Only one. 
I didn't disturb it.
I was surprised this morning to discover all the yellow lilies closed and a large area of white lilies opened.
Why would one color bloom one day and the other color bloom the next day?
A curious thing until I dug the first white one and discovered the white lilie bulb was deeper than the yellow lilies.
I remembered from my research yesterday that the bulbs will suck themselves down to the correct depth.
I know this is more than you may be interested in but here is one more observance from by bulb digging.
The yellow lilie has no fragrance at all. 
The white lilies surprised me this morning with a sweet fragrance.

Creature of the Week 

Isn't he beautiful. 
I did a quick google search but could not identify him. 
He is just a Lizard.

 Old Business

I finally did get photos of the Four O'clocks. 
I think they are stunning.

Friday, September 12, 2014

My View This Week

 Yesterday's harvest.
I always pick the tomatoes just after they start turning so I don't have to share them with creatures.
Peppers and morning glory seed pods. 

 My ever present buddy always checking out whatever I'm doing. 
Who is this in my garden?
As I was watering this week, he scampered out from under the big leaves of a squash vine. 

On closer inspection, I found a nest with at least one more and probably several. I didn't disturb them.
After editing this photo, I can see that his fur looks wet and that is why he ran. 
Look at that cotton tail. 

 This bed hasn't been too successful.
But I do love the cosmos that are finally blooming.
 In the foreground is a four o'clock in full bud. 
I keep forgetting to go out in the late afternoon to catch them open.
Next year I will plant more four o'clocks at the feet of the trellis.
 Just me gazing ;)
 Forever, I have had this broken pillar. 
I left it outside on the Garden Palace step and it fell off and broke. 
I could not part with it and now look. 

 I love it now better with plants in it rather than in a pot sitting on top of it. 
In case you are wondering, the plant with the bamboo like leaves in the taller section is Inland Sea Oats that grow wild on my place. It is a grass native to central and eastern US that has beautiful seed pods. I dug this small clump that actually had been mowed; therefore no seed pods. 

A parting shot of Stupid Kitty because I can never get his eyes. 
He won't look me in the eyes. 

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Go Away bad creatures

Produce bucket from yesterday. 

Floor Cloth in Progress

Progress seems slow on the floor cloth. 
Maybe because there are many times that I'm in the chair zone and thinking I should be painting morning glories. 

That little halfway mark above is the halfway mark for this one side.

 Here is another view of this half of the cloth.
 This morning.
 When I get to the end of this corner, I will be halfway around. 
I have picked up speed a little because I need to get this done and off the table. 
I plan to turn the corner today.

In the Garden

From yesterday's pickin.
This was good.
And just above it I found........

.....Creatures in the morning glories. 
This was bad.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Shadow Selfies in the Garden


The garden is looking like Texas in August. 
In addition to the heat, we had some high winds that blew the Marigolds over so they even look frightful.

 The peppers are getting a beautiful red. 
Finally an eggplant but something (unknown to me) is eating on it.  

 I let the dill go to seed for volunteers next spring. 
Besides that, isn't it a beautiful!

Same for the basil. 
However, I'm pretty sure plenty of seeds have fallen and I'm about to cut it back now and let it continue growing into the fall. 
I am enjoying the basil so much and look forward to having it in the sidewalk herb bed next year too. 

This was an experiment to see if the white zinnias seeds  (in the top pic) were viable. Yep, they are so I will continue saving the seeds.

  Photo bombed by this garden creature
chasing green dragon fly

 I chased him around the corner.
(the last one was blue)
Dear Husband says this is a bullfrog.
He knows things like that.
Look at his eye and how the lines in his body follow through the eye.
Don't know why he was visiting the greenhouse.


Check this project off the list. 

This makes me so happy.
Kitchen herbs will be planted here when the time is right. 
In the meantime, I love seeing this bed all ready to receive.

I stand and look through the kitchen door because I'm so thrilled to have accomplished this. 
Do you do that? 
I mean, keep going back to see something that you did that pleases you.  
You might also note that I did move the mint from the greenhouse patio.

bugsville under construction

 I still have a ways to go but I think I'm getting there. 
It's not that hard after all the components gathered.


Look look look!
at this amazing bamboo.
I am so excited about it. 

I needed just a little bamboo for the bugsville habitat.
That was my excuse to get DH to take me to the bamboo place. 
But in the back, dark corner of my mind, there was a project brewing that I knew I would want bamboo for .....
if I could get it. 

I took my battery powered pruning saw and away we went to the bamboo place. 
When we got there...
Poison ivy, knee high was surrounding the stand of bamboo. 

DH will not participate with any poison ivy in sight.
But, as you know, it doesn't stop me.
Anyway, I tromped through it and managed to get home with this much. 
It's not enough for my winter garden fence project.
But enough to get me going with the design.

Garden Palace Floor Cloth Update

 I haven't made much progress on the Garden Palace floor cloth. I only added two more flowers and started tweaking the first ones that I painted. 
My mornings in the heat of the gardens pretty much zaps me and I can't manage to leave the chair zone.
Did you happen to notice the shadow selfies in last weeks post? 
I realized while editing those pics that I rather like them in the photo. 
It is the early morning sun that I'm working in and so...
there they are... 
my shadow selfies.