Nature

This category contains 40 posts

Exciting Discoveries

My next door neighbor, who is very knowledgeable about native Texas plants, spotted a very rare plant on his property recently and invited me over to see it. The plant is a Spiked Crested Coralroot Orchid (Hexalectris spicata). I have never heard of this plant, nor seen it anywhere else. It is very unusual and […]

Birds, Bees and Butterflies

The buddleia alternifolia in the courtyard is attracting all manner of bees and butterflies. The plant is absolutely alive with activity. I got a nice photograph of a monarch feeding on it late in the afternoon.

Full Time Organic Farming – My New Life

Some twelve or thirteen years ago Ron and I, disappointed in our corporate high tech jobs, set a goal of starting our own small business. We weren’t completely sure exactly what kind of business it would be at that point, just that it would involve growing plants and vegetables. And so we set out on our journey of learning and discovery. There was so much to know, so many decisions to make, so far to go to get where we wanted to be. It seemed overwhelming and confusing many times, but we kept moving along at a slow and steady pace.

El Nino Showers Continue

Thanks to the el nino effect, this has been one of the wettest fall and winter seasons that I can remember since I moved to Central Texas over twenty years ago. The results of all this rain on the gardens and wildflowers is remarkable. The late winter, early spring blooming plants, such as the Carolina […]

Late February Central Texas Snowfall

We got more snowfall yesterday than I have ever seen in Texas. It was absolutely lovely, and gave me a chance to see my gardens in a whole new way. Here are just a few of the shots that I took while dodging silver dollar sized snowflakes.

Sizzling Summer in Austin

Every summer for the past ten or so I have said to myself, surely this summer won’t be as hot and dry as last summer, but unfortunately that just hasn’t turned out to be the case. According to Jim Spencer at KXAN, the summer of 2009 has already been the hottest summer on record so far, with more than 30 days over 100 degrees F. Add to that the fact that we have also had almost no rain for the past six weeks (see the drought map below), we remain in the worst drought that we have seen here for years. All in all, this makes for some terribly challenging growing and gardening conditions.

Easter Surprise

We didn’t have eggs or bunnies here for Easter, but this Indigo Bunting that we spotted in the back yard early Easter morning was a wonderful Easter surprise. We often see Painted Buntings here in the spring and summer, but I have never seen an Indigo Bunting. They are the most incredible shade of blue.

Fall Colors Abound

Our valley is more colorful this year than I can ever remember it. I don’t know what determines the level of color in our native trees, but we have had very little rain here since last May, very hot summer temperatures, and a very mild fall so far. The red oaks seem to get more […]

Another Positive Sign

Early morning rainbow sighting.

Just Another Day

There is so much to do in the gardens at this time of the year it is easy to get engrossed in the work and to forget to step back and observe the miracle of spring happening everywhere. The whole valley behind our house is literally turning green before our eyes. New wildflowers are sprouting […]

More Fun With Photos

I took a walk around the property looking for signs of spring yesterday, and I found them everywhere I looked. Here are some samples. If you click on them you will link to larger versions of the photos on my Flickr page. I found several nice clumps of bluebonnets near the green house. Ron has […]

iPhoto First Test

I continue to be impressed with the Mac’s functionality and ease of use. I was anxious to see how iPhoto’s functionality compared to Photoshop on my PC. iPhoto did not disappoint. I took the photo below with my digital camera, and when I plugged the camera into the Mac using a USB connection, iPhoto immediately […]

More Condo Project Photos

These pictures show a bit more detail of the features that were installed at the condo project. All of the plant material is native or well adapted to this area. Much of it is deer resistant. Lantana with Monarch Bamboo Muhly and Crepe Myrtle on Side Yard Path Front Steps Variegated Ginger Variegated Miscanthus Desert […]

This and That

It’s finally Saturday, and I’ve been out in the vegetable garden all morning spreading mulch. The heat finally got to me though, and drove me inside. I’m really getting tired of this heat…. I pulled out my cosmos plants to make room for more greens and broccoli plants. The green beans are coming out next. […]

Cosmos In a Vase

I haven’t used cosmos from my garden as cut flowers before, so I am not sure how long they will last, but the flowers were so large, and the stems so sturdy and long, I decided to cut some this morning. They are quite beautiful I think. Cosmos in a Vase Something has been munching […]

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