Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day February 2017

What blooms in South Texas in February?  Quite a few plants, especially this year with above average temperatures most days.  And this year one of my favorite plants that usually doesn't bloom until March is already in full bloom.  That's why I'm joining in with Garden Blogger's Bloom Day this month.

Texas Mountain Laurel (Sephora secundiflora) surprised with early blooms despite a couple of deep freezes and a long run of cloudy days.

Love those grape-scented blooms.

Still emerging

Cooler weather should help the blooms last for a while.  Some years the heat does them in.

Covered with bees ....

.....even though the camera could only get one at a time!

More blooms on this pretty February day

Blackfoot Daisy is a reliable survivor of hard freezes.  It barely slows down and begins blooming quickly again.  Even better is seeing this native plant shrug off our summer heat while blooming away through July and August.

 Ditto Four-Nerve Daisy

Golden buds on a red barrel cactus promise the first blooms on this plant since I planted it about three years ago.

Succulents kept under wraps during the coldest nights bloom early like this Echeveria.

Kalanchoe daigremontiana blooms on a stem so large it dwarfs the plant

Rosemary thrives in my garden and commonly blooms through the winter

Suprisingly similar to Rosemary are these Silver Germander blooms

Bougainvillea were stuck in the garage during the freeze.

Mexican Honeysuckle is another plant that seems to have powered through the freeze on the northeast corner of the garden.  Sparsely blooming, but still it counts.

Purple Oxalis hiding under stems of perennials

Meyer Lemon blooms forming fruit already.  I made a Lemon Cheesecake in December with last year's fruit.

The first wildflowers are Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida)

and Greenthread

Buds forming on the Texas Bluebonnets mean blooms will be here soon.  You might have to look way down in there to see it.

Turns out there are quite a few blooms this February.  Garden Blogger's Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday January 2017

Between busy December and the weather keeping me out of the garden, it's a challenge to find enough photos to post for Wildlife Wednesday in January so I usually come up with something a little different than documenting my wildlife visitors.  This month I'm joining Tina at "My Gardener Says..."  with a look back at a year of favorites from my 2016 posts.


As mentioned above, January is a challenge so for January 2016 I went to the archives and shared photos like this acrobatic spider bridging a gap in the old fence from before I began my blog.  The fence was replaced with a garage so the view is quite different now.


Animated photos are a regular feature in my Wildlife Wednesday posts and in February I featured a literal birdbath.  Rub-a-dub-dub...


Many of my wildlife visitors sport various forms of camouflage.  The Common Buckeye butterfly has to be one of the best especially when dabbing in the damp gravel.


I'm so glad I added Damianita to my garden.  This small evergreen native shrub looks great all year and attracts wildlife like this not-so-camouflaged Common Buckeye featured in my April post.  Those eyes on its back would still confuse a predator.


warbler turned up in the May garden.  Warblers are not uncommon in San Antonio though sightings in my neighborhood are infrequent.  After some email discussion with a reader we think it might be an Audubon Warbler though it's not positive.


I've mentioned before that I didn't start out to create a butterfly garden, it just happened to work out that way.  The more tough native flowering plants I added the more butterflies turned up.  In the case of this Greenthread wildflower, I didn't even add it to my garden.  They just seeded themselves over from a nearby field and joined the party.


We tend to think of Cardinals as winter birds with their bright red plumage standing out when the garden is at its dullest.  This Cardinal was quite outstanding with a backdrop of green live oak leaves in July.


Too hot to chase butterflies and bees so I posted a deer story featuring our neighborhood Whitetail Deer.  I try to feature a new deer photo on each Wildlife Wednesday post.  It's pretty easy since the deer are always around.  They migrate away for a few weeks but always come back.


September featured a skink.  Skinks are fast and wiggly.  I'd chased them around the garden with a camera for several years until finally one slowed down enough to make it to Wildlife Wednesday.  It's an accomplishment that other bloggers would understand (maybe).  They eat cockroaches if that helps.


I changed things up a bit and featured five recommended plants for Monarch butterflies in my garden.  I also observed that these plants may or may not be in bloom when the Monarchs show up so see November for my butterfly favorite.


Monarch butterfly numbers may be down overall but I saw many more during this year's fall migration than in the past few years.  Crucita or Chromoleana odorata could be the reason, it's delicate blue blooms are apparently addictive.


A tattered butterfly reminds me of the end of another blogging year.  Out with the old and in with the new.

Looking forward to blogging more from my garden in 2017!  Be sure to join Tina at "My Gardener says..." to see more garden wildlife.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from San Antonio!  Our wedding anniversary is during the week between Christmas and New Year's and it's always fun to celebrate this time of year.  Downtown is festive and fun all year round, but especially so at holiday time.

The view from our table at Bohanon's, an excellent place to celebrate a special occasion.

After dinner we strolled around town for a bit.  Perennially one of America's favorite Christmas towns, San Antonio never disappoints this time of year.  This seemingly random spot along the sidewalk sports a decorated Christmas tree.

Very cool window displays in an empty storefront are part of downtown revitalization plans.

Two different windows facing across the building entrance with color changing lights.

We skipped the Segway tour and kept on walking.

The lights are still up along the River Walk for a few more days.

 Outdoor heaters blasting with temps in the 50s.  Nice for walking, a bit chilly for dining.

Trees filled with cascading, twinkling light.

I'd heard a new Biergarten had opened up downtown. View from above, the River Walk is below street level.

Candy cane stripes on the main city tree at the Alamo.  It's different every year.  I like this effect which might be fun to try next year at home.

Giant ornaments.

There's always a crowd.

Tree lights blink to sounds of the season as carriages roll by.


The Alamo at night looks quite surreal.

Across the street, not so nice.  The usual Guinness World Records Museum, Ripleys, Tomb Raider....we keep hearing that changes are coming to Alamo Plaza.  It's going to be less commercial, more historic.  Maybe, I'm pretty sure my grandparents heard that too...back in the 1920s.

There's always that great view back across the street.

It never gets old.

2017 rings in the countdown to San Antonio's 300th year celebration in 2018 and a year-long fiesta.   New Year's Eve we'll have dinner at home and watch fireworks from a nearby church.

Happy New Year!