It has been so busy on the farm getting ready for spring that I haven’t had time to post lately. I have, however, taken the time to take some pictures so I thought I would create a slide show to share some of the activities that have been keeping us busy. We are planning to [...]
The signs of spring are everywhere, and with all of the rain we have been getting since fall, this spring promises to be a glorious one.
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 [...]
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.
As I was pruning the native plants that surround our deck; agarita, evergreen sumac, Texas persimmon, grape vine, Mexican silk tassel, and escarpment cherry, I glimpsed a small flower out of the corner of my eye.
We planted the first plants in the courtyard raised beds late last winter, so this is the first real spring for them. I am watching with great interest to see when each plant begins to bloom as I have tried to group plants according to sun requirements, complimentary color and form characteristics, water needs, and I also want continuous blooming from early spring to late fall. So far I am happy with how the courtyard gardens are progressing. The most prolific bloomer in the courtyard at the moment is the pink Laura Bush petunia, which has been blooming since late February, and is starting to choke out the Texas Sotol cactus. I’m going to have to cut it back soon so as not to lose the cactus.
I inherited this plant from a friend who moved from the area a couple of years ago, and I had not identified it until now. I haven’t grown many lilies or irises in my life, so I wasn’t really sure if this plant was an iris or a lily. I took some close ups of the blooms friday and googled ‘orange lily’ and looked through the images until I found the one that matched my plant. It turns out that this plant is actually an iris that has been classified as a lily. The botanical name is Belamcanda chinensis, and the common name most often used is blackberry lily because of the black seed clusters that it produces in the fall. According to the Univ of Wisconsin horticultural site, this plant can be easily started from seed, so I think I will try to cultivate more of them this winter in the greenhouse.
Once again I have been graced by the visit of another beautiful swallowtail butterfly. As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, we haven’t had many butterflies this year, but the few that we have had have been large swallowtails.
It is during these really hot summer days that working in a shade garden is especially appealing. So with the help of my other half, Ron, doing most of the heavy lifting, I doubled the area of the Zen shade garden, built a higher retaining wall, and backed the bed with a bamboo curtain to hide the propane tank.
Early morning rainbow sighting.
An early morning walk with the dogs and Ron this morning provided a perfect opportunity for taking some photos of the gardens. I selected some of the best shots and put them into the slideshow below. There are many more on my Flickr page, and the full sized jpegs are there as well if you [...]
This is the first time I have tried direct seeding poppies. I planted them in the fall, and they are finally rewarding me for keeping them alive through the winter. California Poppy The ice plant over-wintered well and I expect it will produce many blooms this year. I am planning to take some cuttings off [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
I am thrilled by my first attempt at taking night time photos of our outdoor holiday lights. The new front yard landscaping looks good even in the dark. Peace.