Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran's Day 2017: A rare license plate

With so many veterans living in San Antonio, known as Military City USA, license plates indicating the driver is a veteran are a common sight.  This veteran's license plate stands out above the rest.  A Congressional Medal of Honor plate is very rare since most receive the medal posthumously.


There are quite a few Medal of Honor recipients who have proudly called San Antonio home throughout our history and we are proud to have them as residents.

Happy Veteran's Day to all our veterans and especially my favorite veteran who will be treated to a nice home cooked dinner.  It's something that happens almost every day at our house and that fact never gets old.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Exploring Lori Daul's Foliage-filled Garden

While I was in Austin over the weekend to tour gardens as part of the Garden Conservancy Open Days Austin tour I spent some time Lori Daul's garden.  Lori's garden wasn't on tour that day but I jumped at the chance to get a peek at it while waiting for Diana of Sharing Nature's Garden who is also one of the organizers of the upcoming Garden Blogger's Fling 2018 in Austin.  Diana had generously offered to drive us on the tour route Saturday which I so appreciated since getting up early and driving to Austin is challenge enough.

I'd toured Lori's garden three years ago in the spring so I knew it would be fun to see the changes both time and fall weather bring.

While I enjoy garden tours, I especially enjoy touring fellow blogger's gardens.  Lori blogs (occasionally) at The Gardener of Good and Evil.  We'll start in the back by admiring the new tank pond which adds a great focal point just off the back patio.  Lori's artistry stands out right away with the placement of a lavender chair on the left repeating the color of the swing against the blue fence.


Lori's blog subtitle is "Lush Landscapes for Tough Climates" and the arrangement of pond plants which works beautifully here  is just one example of her skill.



A mesmerizing touch of fall color in Central Texas as Mexican Buckeye foliage contrasts against the deep blue fence with Crape Myrtle trunks for structure.  Lori painted the fence blue so it would fade into the background and it makes a great backdrop for foliage.


A bowl water feature which once sat here has been replaced with a bright blue jar and Lori has plans to add a copper spout.  The original clay bowl water feature lives on in many a shared photo but it had begun to deteriorate and had to be replaced.  Pink Flamingos originally in the front garden now echo pink flowers in the back garden.


Lori has a number of matching face pots in different sizes which she changes around.


One face pot is currently elevated with dreadlocks and curly bangs in the form of Foxtail fern and Manfreda 'Chocolate Chips" with a tradescantia crown.  Another idea to take away.


We all loved this bottle branch idea and I stole it for my own garden. Some of her bottles fell off during Hurricane Harvey but it still looks great.   Once I polish off a few more bottles during the holidays I'll share my version.


More of that fall color which seems so elusive to Texas gardens.  The Crape Myrtle trunks are perfect here.


Beautiful combination of Turk's Cap, Purple Heart and a ground cover with blooms similar to Baby's Breath.  I hadn't appreciated the fall color on Turk's Cap until now.  How did I miss this in my own garden?


Blue mistflower or Chromolaena odorata against the back of the house is a gigantic Monarch butterfly magnet.


Right on cue a Monarch shows up.


That's me in the mirror leaning in for a photo of another great container arrangement.  I don't remember the exact variety of lime green sedge there but was surprised to learn it will grow in our climate.  Thanks to Lori I'll give it a try next year.


Lori says maintenance on this impressive espalier is a lot of work.  I thought about doing this with a pomegranate several years ago but the plant has now grown into an unruly shrub.


Foliage vignette in the front courtyard garden.


Lori in the round mirror watching me enjoy her garden.



Want a garden this amazing?  Lori is a garden designer in Austin and you can contact her through her blog The Gardener of Good and Evil.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Haunting Magnolia Pearl

The look of it always draws me in.  Magnolia Pearl, a shop just east of Fredericksburg, looks so cool from the highway that I must stop.  Every time.

Appears almost as a haunted house tucked among the oaks with its fanciful styling though it is newly constructed from old wood and vintage building materials.


The well-lit interior with large windows and glass doors quickly dispels the haunted house notion.



Every single thing here is just so cool.  Great accessories on the porch and ideas to take away.



Chicken coop on an old pickup truck.



No chickens today.


The incredible containers and succulent displays are literally mesmerizing.



I could spend a lot of time just taking in all the details.






An iron bed frame dangling by ropes and pulleys is a fascinating take on the day bed.



White painted faux bois graces the porch.




A few unpainted faux bois pieces for good measure.





There's even a tree through the porch roof


It turns out the merchandise is the most haunting part.


Inside you'll find an imaginative line of clothing designed by the owner.  Vintage fabrics and art are her primary inspiration though she draws from many sources.  The current collection is a tribute to Frida Kahlo rendered in surprisingly muted tones.  I didn't take any photos inside but their website shows the interior.  The style is a bit unusual for walking around the Texas Hill Country so most of their customers live elsewhere and they ship all over the world.

It's especially fun to go back through their gallery of past collections like this one from Winter 2016 which was on display when I first visited last fall.

Interesting to peruse but $95 for a tattered Lone Star Beer Tee Shirt?  $400 jackets with moth holes and patches?  Not for my closet but I do appreciate the artistry.

Enjoy haunting Magnolia Pearl as much as I do.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Día de Los Muertos

Día de Los Muertos, a day to remember departed loved ones, is a big celebration in San Antonio with festivities known as Muertosfest held the last weekend in October.  The remembrance actually lasts three days from October 31st through November 2nd.

While downtown recently I passed these great shop windows in the spirit of the holiday.


I even went inside for a bit of shopping.



It's fun to be a tourist in San Antonio.

Click here to see my previous post on Día de Los Muertos celebrations in La Villita.

You can see more photos and a short video about Muertosfest here.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday November 2017

It's November 1st and a Wednesday which means it's time for Wildlife Wednesday.   This wonderful meme provides a look at wildlife in blogger's gardens on the first Wednesday of each month and is hosted by Tina at "My gardener says...."

Here's a look at wildlife visitors in my garden during October.

Monarch butterflies continue to migrate through my garden on their way to wintering in Mexico.  Their journey of over a thousand miles one way is an amazing story.  This year I've been encouraged to see a few more Monarchs in the garden indicating their numbers are increasing.


Gregg's Mistflower continues to be the best butterfly magnet.  Queen Butterflies are all over it.


Queen up close.


A whitetail buck scavenging the compost pile just outside our back gate.


Deer often arrive as soon as I put the clippings out.  A little uneasy to have been caught out in the open.


He's a symmetrical eight-point with antlers all polished and ready for mating season.


Moving for cover nearer the trees.  As hunting season approaches antlered bucks instinctively understand their best camouflage is among tree branches.


Hunting is obviously not allowed within our city limits but he's still not safe since poaching from wooded undeveloped areas nearby is a problem.

For more Wildlife Wednesday photos check out the links in the comment section of "My gardener says".  Each month she finds an amazing array of wildlife to share from her garden.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Happy Halloween!

A few scenes from around town appropriate for the season.

There's usually that one house in a neighborhood where they go all out for holidays.  This display had me going back for another look.


I'm told they do this several times a year for different holidays.  Where do they store all of it?






It's animated, very animated




Fun decorations at the Warrior and Family Support Center where I volunteer in the gardens.

Gorgeous wreaths on the door.


Pretty pumpkins on the fireplace.


Oops!


Uh oh!  Ghosts have busted through the windows.


What a welcome!


I also spotted these fun masks at Target.  Might be hard to wear though.


The past several years I have featured photos of our neighbor's unusual sphinx cat for Halloween.  They are moving and Patches now resides with their daughter so today I'll feature our cat.  She arrived as a feral about two years ago and we began caring for her.  Over time she has become more friendly but is still wild enough to remain an outdoor cat.



Happy Halloween!