Friday, December 8, 2017

Snow in South Texas!

Snow happens in San Antonio but it's pretty rare.  Even more rare is snow in December with just six November-December snowfalls recorded since 1895.  We've always thought wrapping snowflake lights on the big Agave ovatifolia was a bit of a joke.  Last night they were in their element.

The snow fell after dark making photography a challenge.  At least I'd already started putting out the lights and adding bright plastic Christmas balls to their tips.  Agave neomexicana in green and yellow lights.

We had fun walking around in the falling snow with holiday lights to help highlight the scene.

What about my plants?  Cold was predicted so I had already brought in the begonias and frost tender succulents and had time to cover most of the borderline hardy garden plants.

The fan palm next door is quite hardy.

Cycads are fairly hardy and it only went down to 34F last night.

Yuccas and Mexican Feather Grass are all hardy in near-freezing conditions.

Three well-established Golden Barrel cacti which can survive down to 15F if they are well-drained.

Snow slides right off flexible Yucca rostrata leaves.  Yucca rostrata is native to higher elevations in West Texas and quite cold hardy as well.

Native grasses can take whatever our weather throws at them.

Back out with the camera early this morning

Especially pretty view from the garage corner.

One frosty Agave ovatifolia in the back garden might show a few marks from the cold, wet weather.

Naturally silver Yucca rigida looks great in snow.

Buffalo grass with a nice coating still in place.

It 's been warmer than usual so the garden was still growing and blooming until this happened.

Rosemary in the holiday spirit.

Birds will show up as soon as this thaws.

Golden barrels shedding their snow covering.

That hardy fan palm next door.

Agave cornelius hardy to 20F except I recently planted two more which might not have established yet.

Hedgehog cactus might get a bit of scarring from the cold but it will come back.

Brave Maya still blooming this morning.

By mid-afternoon ice was pelting down from trees above and...

 ...there was still a bit of snow on the northside roof.

Usually these ornaments are the only frost on the agave during December.

We thought we'd left this and our snow shovel behind when we retired to Texas.

No snow shovel required.  It's all gone now.  Snow is fun once in a while but we don't miss shoveling and scraping just to get to work on a winter's morning.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday: December 2017

The first Wednesday of December brings Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina at My gardener says.... which provides an opportunity to show some of my garden visitors during November and early December.

Fox in the garden!  Of course one of our favorite sightings are the gray foxes which live in the wooded area behind the house.  Unfortunately, these photos turned out a bit blurry due to incorrect camera settings but still worth showing since they don't give me that much time to grab the camera and properly set up when they quickly skirt along the back property line usually in the early mornings.

Umm, well anyway...

Monarch butterflies continued to cycle through.  These are at the Healing and Therapy gardens for wounded soldiers where I volunteer each week which is about 20 minutes south and usually a bit warmer than where I live.

Queen butterflies caught mating near the Chromolaena odorata or fragrant mistflower.

This goes on for a while.

They even jumped up into a nearby Live Oak Tree

A Milkweed Bug, which feeds on milkweed seeds, is distinguished by the orange and black "X" pattern.

I tried to ID this unusual white caterpillar but could only conclude it's probably a moth.

Today's movie is a ringtail cat getting a late-night drink.  They are common here but totally nocturnal and very hard to catch so we resort to surveillance cameras.  The best part is right at the beginning where you can see the fluffy ringed-tail.

A Whitetail doe grazing on garden plants.  Those plants are supposed to be deer resistant!  

Now she's looking for more plants!

Trying to avoid this highly attentive buck.

We just went through the "deer rut" or mating season where deer are running all over the place.

I thought these two might get into a fight so stayed well back.

May the best antlers win!

You wanna do what!

That's the wildlife news from my neck of the woods this December.  Check out more wildlife posts  at "My gardener says....".

Thursday, November 23, 2017

On the door for Thanksgiving

     Happy Thanksgiving!

Warm holiday greetings at the front door

The grapevine wreath basket has been filled with pansies and draped with foraged spanish moss for its return to the front door after a summer vacation.

Thank You all for reading my blog and may all of you have a wonderful day with your family and friends!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Scene on the Street for Thanksgiving Week

Let's start off this holiday week with an impressive display I spotted from my car a few weeks ago.

"Whoa!  That's nice!"  Even though I was in a hurry I had to stop for a minute.

Cornucopia, mums, the bench it's beautifully done.

Hundreds of neatly placed same-sized pumpkins keep on going along Terrell Road.

And on down the side street!

Beautifully done arrangement viewed from the road.

That's a lot of pumpkins!

A fun drive-by and I look forward to seeing what they do for other seasons.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your  holiday week!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Golden hour in The Briscoe Western Art Museum garden

We were invited to an evening reception in the McNutt Sculpture Garden at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.  The event was sponsored by San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) and we made a point of arriving early to take advantage of the light.

The courtyard incorporates an ancient access pathway to the San Antonio River so it's open free to the public during museum hours but is usually closed in the evening and early morning making this quite a treat to catch native Lindheimer muhly grasses grazed with the sun's last rays of the day.

The "golden hour" for photos as one of our SAWS hosts put it when she welcomed our early arrival.

The Rainmaker

Lake|Flato architecture designed the Jack Guenther Pavilion event space in 2013 as an addition to the 1930 Art Deco gallery building.  Austin-based Christy Ten Eyck landscaped the courtyard.

Another excellent Lake|Flato and Ten Eyck collaboration in San Antonio and it's been on my must-see list for a while.

These two firms are so prolific it's a challenge to keep up with them.

Riverfront hotels form a backdrop to this small urban space.

El Caporal
Live Oak trees screen nearby buildings.

Or at least screen as much as possible.  Someday those oaks will meet and the parking garage across the street should disappear.

Dance of the Eagle

Golden Wings

Cow's tongue opuntia native to Comal County just north of San Antonio and Hesperaloe set the stage.

The century old original waterworks for San Antonio forms one side of the courtyard.  It's small because our underground aquifer water source is so clean it's simply piped out of the ground and into our homes with only a spritz of chlorine to keep bacteria at bay.  

The Eyes of Texas
Lindheimer's Muhly in a slight evening breeze.

Sculptural Live Oaks, like the one at the end of the walk, fit right into this garden repeating the curvy form of those longhorns.

Horses on these large panels which also function as gates.

The 'Partners in Conservation' event celebrated a milestone of a trillion gallons of water saved through conservation over twenty years.  Another milestone, a new desalination plant is up and running.  We're about 150 miles from the beach so what gives with that?  We have a major source of brackish, but otherwise clean, water in the Wilcox aquifer south of town which now provides 12 million gallons of drinking water a day.  More importantly, the Wilcox aquifer is not subject to drought restrictions.

Strength of the Maker
Variegated ginger adds a bright highlight.

More of those sunlit grasses.

The event got underway just as the sun set.  During regular hours you will find tables and chairs to enjoy lunch or a break from a day of walking in the city.

On the right is a group learning about the first artesian well in San Antonio depicted in a tile mural.

The gusher just right of the Alamo marks the waterworks and museum location.

The museum's river portal has a spectacular waterfall.

A look down at live oaks from the upper level of the pavilion with the San Antonio River just visible through the trees.

Bird Woman

What a beautiful place to spend an evening!

I'll be sure to detour through the Briscoe sculpture garden during future trips downtown.

The Briscoe is open until 5pm most days and until 9pm on "Downtown Tuesdays" which is a popular night for locals to visit.  Parking is free on Tuesday night plus many restaurants and other venues feature specials enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.