Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Complaints about the Rain?

During our recent years-long drought I was pretty sure I would never complain about rain again.  But now it's been raining for weeks.  Amazing amounts of pouring rain.  Almost an average year's worth of rainfall in five months and double the annual rainfall of our recent drought years.  In this weather map from Sunday afternoon my house (and garden) are within those darkest spots near the top of the map.


Our typically dry creek is way up.


We have emptied our improvised rain barrel system over and over.  Remembering those drought years keeps us putting out the rain barrels even though there's no place to use the water.


With the ground saturated, rainwater stands on the dry-loving buffalo grass.



Mulched paths have washed out.  Standing water is usually a rare sight even on rainy days.


Some of my xeric plants are showing signs of stress and I've moved as many as I can under cover.  A few are already lost and rain is predicted almost every day this week.  These things are not problems, all this can be repaired or replaced.

It is much worse in neighboring areas.  In the beautiful town of Wimberley, just over an hour away, more than 300 homes have been destroyed by the river's fury and dozens of people are still missing.

More rain is on the way, but overall I can't complain.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day May 2015

It's Garden Blogger's Bloom Day and time to join bloggers from all over to share what's blooming in our gardens.  GBBD is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of each month.  If you've been reading Central Texas blogs you already know that it's been raining for weeks.  In San Antonio our rainfall for the year is seven inches above average and our nearly four years of drought are officially over as of this week.  Here's a look at what's blooming in my garden the last few days.

Indian Blanket or Firewheel.  I just love having wildflowers take over the back garden.  Most were not planted, they just seeded themselves in from a nearby field.


Mexican Hats


Greenthread or Navajo Tea


Native Monarda, Bee Balm or Lemon Mint is just beginning to bloom pale purple backed by those bright Indian Blanket flowers.


There are plenty of cool hues in the garden this week.  Purples in the form of Larkspur still blooming due to our cooler, cloudy spring.  The red accent is Gomphrena 'Strawberry Fields' which reseed every year and there's even a remaining Bluebonnet tucked in the mix.


Salvia Amistad which attracts hummingbirds


Verbena Bonariensis continues to hold up in the stock tank garden though it is listing a bit.  I've been trimming it back a bit at a time so as not to upset the butterflies.


Duranta 'Sapphire Showers' is almost eight feet tall since it didn't die back this year.


Pink phlox, no tag and I don't remember seeing it before.


Delicate pink canna bloom with an oddly colorless canna bloom.  These canna were grown from seed so just about anything can happen.


Clammyweed draped in Mexican Feather Grass



Bunny Ears cactus blooming bright yellow with Larkspur.  The silvery foliage is Wormwood started from a 4-inch pot several years ago.


Iris Dietes (left) and St. John's Wort (yellow), an invasive that I keep contained in a small area.


Heading back to the warmer side of the color wheel.  The flowers of St. John's Wort are so delicate.


Yellow Cestrum, another plant that did not die back so it's blooming much earlier.


Dyckia 'Frazzle Dazzle' with cute yellow blooms against silvery foliage.


Gray Santolina topped by yellow blooms.  Ruby Crystals grass in the background.


Reds supplied by Shrimp Plant


Yarrow 'Paprika'  with its gold centers fits right in to the spring garden.  It will retreat when the heat sets in.


Bat Faced Cuphea is both red and deep purple.  Can you see the little bat face?


Magenta Gomphrena 'Fireworks'.  Gomphrena will always have a place in my garden, it's so reliable and drought tolerant.


Coral blooms on the Hedgehog Cactus and ...


Hesperaloe which the deer are leaving alone this year.


Lantana 'Bandana' brings in the orange hues.


Lion's Tail, another plant that did not die back this past winter and is already blooming.


A very special pair of orange Zinnias.  Not only are the flowers a color I loved adding to the garden, they were gifts from our garden club president in recognition of my service in putting together several programs and field trips this past year.  Thank you Karen!


There are two Zinnia plants because I have volunteered to be club historian next year (or two).  I'll attend all the meetings, events and field trips to take photos.  It's something I look forward to and expect to enjoy since I blog about most of our trips anyway.  I just need to work on including more people in my shots.

See May Dreams Gardens for more from Garden Blogger's Bloom Day.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Celebrating National Wildflower Week with Wildflower Center Tour

It's National Wildflower Week and a tour of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a great way to celebrate.  In April my neighborhood garden club headed to Austin for a guided tour.  We had perfect weather and spring wildflowers were at peak, so the timing was perfect.

First though, finally spotting the resident Great Horned Owl near the entrance arch was an exciting moment.  This was my third trip to the center in the last two years and each time I managed to miss her.  Even better was having the right camera lens along to get the shot.  She's on the right peeking under the the curved sotol leaf.


Iris at the nearby pond.


Bluebonnets were in bloom just past the main courtyard.


They're always planted here, along with deep purple winecups.



We had a tour with Doug who presented a detailed history of the center and its architecture.



Jenny of Rock Rose blog also led another part of our rather large group and we enjoyed a visit to Jenny's own garden later in the day.  (Photo below by Janne Aubrey)



Into the demonstration garden area where Scutellaria wrightii was in full bloom.


Touring the Wildflower Center always prompts me to note which ones are currently growing  in my own garden like the Scutellaria wrightii, Dichondra Silver Ponyfoot, and Hesperaloe,


Evening Primrose and Prairie Verbena also grow in my garden but not in combination.  Something to try next year.


Penstemon Cobea, with its cute little glove fingers which I planted last year has returned.


The tank gardens were in fine form full of great native blooming plants.



Stock Tank ponds are fascinating visiting children


I always take plenty of photos of the plants and tags like this Texas yellow star so I can compare with plants I need to ID later.


Since I'm usually here a month later during National Wildflower Week it was a treat to catch the fleeting blooms of crossvine brightening this fence and other parts of the garden.


This bench, which typically blends into the border, is a stand-out when the crossvine is in bloom.



Native Wisteria in bloom.  I'm looking for this one, it's gorgeous!  


Better behaved than the commonly grown asian version.  Crossvine brightens the stone wall in the background.


Art on display in the gardens includes this exceptional stone sculpture which is available for purchase.



More crossvine on an arbor and the spot where we enjoyed our lunch in the courtyard.


Hill Country Penstemon blooms bright.  Mine is a little behind in blooming but it gets more shade.



And now for the main event, Texas Hill Country views and fields of wildflowers


These Blubonnets are a deeper blue than those I grow.



More of those views




Texas Persimmon I think.


On my own for a few minutes after lunch, the San Antonio Tower near the main courtyard beckons.  The website states that the tower evokes the old Spanish missions built along the San Antonio River.  Our guide told us that the tower was originally cut from the construction budget until generous San Antonians raised the funds to complete it.


Wild flowers planted in the stairwell include Four-nerve daisy and Fleabane.  I just love the natural, casual way the flowers are grown in these gardens.


View from the tower.


The path winds over to the Luci and Ian Family Garden which will be featured in another post.


Seeing the Wildflower Center at peak time and with perfect weather made for a very enjoyable day.