Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Winter Walk-Off 2013

It's time for the Winter Walk-off sponsored by Les at A Tidewater Gardener.  Last year I gave the walk-off a try and the resulting photos were so boring I didn't even post them.  So you wanna see my neighborhood?  Yes? No?  Either way you're going to see it this year.

The Winter Walk-off 2013 rules are

On your own two feet, leave the house and share what can be seen within walking (or biking) distance of your home (if you want to drive to your walk that's OK too).  Your post does not have to be about gardening or a travelogue, unless you want it to be.  Maybe instead you will find some unusual patterns, interesting shadows, signs of spring, a favorite restaurant or shop, questionable landscaping or local eyesores.  Whatever, just keep your eyes and mind open, be creative and have fun, but don't show anything from your own garden.

I considered posting one of my River Walk adventures instead.  After all, Les said we could drive to our walk.  That's too easy though and I really want to show you my own neighborhood.  There are many special things that make it one of the more desirable areas of the city:  the live oak trees chief among them. They set the backdrop for a wide variety of gardening and landscaping options.  But among the challenges are the lack of sidewalks and deep set-backs for the houses mixed with a very laid-back approach to yard maintenance.

So here we go on a walk around the 'hood.  Of course I picked trash day and brush pick-up week to do this so the photography would be more fun!

Boorrring!  This isn't my street, but a nearby one just like it.  I actually forgot to get a picture of my street.



Let's keep going, there are some fun things to see along the way.  I promise.


This is the "Feliz Navidad" house I featured in a Christmas lights post.  They have replaced the luminarias on the wall with cheerful red geraniums for spring.


Live Oak trees in a back yard on the corner.  Because each house was custom-built by different builders most trees in the neighborhood were preserved.


The front yard of the same house.  You don't need a lot of landscaping or yard ornaments with live oaks dancing playfully on your lawn.


A low water crossing across the same creek which runs behind my house.  This is flash flood country.  We don't get rain often but it can be dangerous when we do.  I have seen a three foot wall of water wash through when there wasn't a drop of rain in sight.


Looking south is a deer feeder (middle left) and redbud tree in bloom.  There's another bridge on a parallel street.

   
We'll head west where there is a problem with Oak Wilt fungal disease in the area and these affected trees are dying.  The spread of Oak Wilt has slowed with treatment but it is still a huge concern.


This area was once a large ranch so western themes are common. 


As are homes with Spanish-style elements


Stars are popular in the Lone Star State.  These two face-off directly across the street from each other.


When these cacti were blooming last fall I posted photos on the blog.  The Texas bluebonnets are in full-flower today.


 This is the "Train Yard".  The joys of living in a neighborhood with no HOA restrictions.



There seems to be a disconnect here


Plenty of warning signals to keep the driveway and front walk safe from approaching trains.



A very artful pile of brush next door


This pile is a puzzle.  A few pulled up agave pups tossed in among still growing agaves.  The silver agave leaves on the right must be for brush pick up.


This style fence of upright cedar posts is called a "coyote fence" and this is a very nice version with wood trim.

 
 

Green barrel cactus setting blooms

 
 An example of laid-back maintenance also doubles as a "No Parking" sign.


Some homeowners opt for no landscaping other than the oak trees.


An elk statue with blooming yucca and hunting bear.


Two agave blooms in this yard, the second one is on the right down by the telephone pole.  The blank spot in the middle was left when the agave I posted about last year finished blooming.


More oaks as yard sculpture
 

Another front yard patch of bluebonnets blooming here with salvia greggii


These large purple blooms look like wisteria, but they are Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) blooms which are native to this area.


Redbud tree blooming in this very nice yard


I'll finish with my neighbor's yard which was reworked about three years ago to replace the dead lawn with drought tolerant plants.  These agaves are watered regularly and they have more than doubled in size.


That concludes my tour of the neighborhood for Winter Walk-off 2013.  It was a beautiful day for a walk and I enjoyed scouting out fun stuff for this post.

24 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your walk. It was neato to see the different features. I learned a few things too.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Felicia.

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  2. At first I thought you must live in my mother in law's neighborhood but I think I would have remembered the railway decor. I think Central TX neighborhoods just have an iconic look to them.

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    1. The railroad is memorable, isn't it? Iconic in that you really couldn't be anywhere else with the oaks and rocks.

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  3. Thank you so much for participating in my Winter Walk-Off. I must say you have a very interesting neighborhood. This is my third year of hosting it, and I can honestly say no one has ever posted a picture of a front yard railroad line. Did you ring their doorbell to see if see if a train horn sounded? I think my favorite feature are all the live oaks. They are one of my favorite trees and are sort of a signature of this area as well. They do really well along the coast here, and we are at their natural northern limit. Thanks again!

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    1. Glad to have brought another "first" to your challenge. The doorbell probably does sound like a train.

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  4. Agaves on a trash pile, say it isn't so!!! My heart aches. (Of course not as bad as it would if I had to live near the train house).

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    1. Agaves on the trash pile and I could see no reason for them to be there. The train house is far enough that I don't have to see it often.

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  5. I loved this post, I have never been to Texas, so this was a trip to a very different landscape to any I am used to, even to Arizona, which I have been to several times. I love the Live Oak trees, living sculpture, I hope they don't get too badly decimated by disease, they are such a presence.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Janet, I'm so glad you enjoyed this tour of my Texas neighborhood. Texas is not quite the desert you see in Arizona and we have our own gardening challenges.

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  6. Live oaks and blue bonnets--and lots of surprises in this neighborhood. There seems to be more than the usual (little) attention to environmentally appropriate plantings.

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    1. We have learned that the best plants for our climate are natives and we have so many great options. They are also mostly deer resistant which helps.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it ricki!

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  8. A great walk! I especially liked your third and fourth pictures. The third showed live oaks in safe, fenced-in captivity and the fourth acts as a warning about what they'll do if you open the gate and they get loose! So beautiful and simple, the oaks & lawn!

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    1. That's a fun way to look at it outlaw.

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  9. Boring? Not at all. Someone with a train in the yard and Agaves escaping and growing in cracks? Neighbors who actually grow something other than grass? No, no, no, this is not boring. Thanks for the tour!

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    1. Fortunately grass lawns don't grow well around here so we get all manner of options.

      Glad I didn't bore you.

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  10. That's a great tour, and I must say all those oaks make everything look great. What variety and character, including the large-scale model railroad. SA is the only other place other than NM where I hear "coyote fence", though that's a nice, refined style of what I see here.

    My mind churns on the oaks-house only front property, and if it were mine...

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    1. Trying to decide if you would or wouldn't add anything.....

      In some places the lawn up to the house would look like they neglected to landscape but it somehow works with the mature oaks in this neighborhood. I decided to landscape under mine because we needed privacy on the curve at the bottom of a hill.

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  11. Dancing live oaks -- I love that image and will always think of them that way now. I enjoyed seeing the sights around your 'hood.

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    1. They do seem to dance on some of the lawns, at least that's how I always saw them.

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  12. Congratulations Shirley, you were one of the two winners in my Walk-Off. If you will send me a mailing address, I will send you several packs of heirloom annual seeds. You can contact me at morehiways@cox.net. Thanks again for playing along.

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    1. Yay! I'm a winner! I'm sending you my address.

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