Thursday, October 19, 2017

Texas Native Plant Week: Lindheimer House

It's Texas Native Plant Week and I'm celebrating by featuring a visit to the home of  Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer also known as the "Father of Texas Botany" in New Braunfels, Texas just a half-hour north of San Antonio.

The timberframe saltbox style was common to Texas German settlers in 1852.  This building inspired our garage built in 2010.

In addition to botany, Mr. Lindheimer published a German language newspaper.  His office is through the door on the right and the family home on the left.

Inside we first toured the business side to see where he published his paper.

A second room showed his botanical work and the plants which now bear his name.  Guara lindheimeri (lower left) has become a popular garden plant around the world.  Vernonia lindheimeri (middle left) is one of my favorites.

His preserved specimens and seeds were sent to collectors in Europe who would send money by return trip.

After touring the house it was into the back yard to take in a view of the house.

The naturally turquoise Comal River glimpsed through trees.

Tubing is a popular pastime and big business in New Braunfels.

Fachwerk timber  structure infilled with stone at the back of the house is Texas-German 19th century construction.  The front of the house is constructed the same but was stuccoed over as was typical of the time.

Then it was into the garden maintained by Comal Master Gardeners and a great view of that saltbox style.  Love the trim color, a pretty blue-gray.  It's not clear from the website that he had a garden but I found it a nice option to visit an adjacent garden filled with plants he would have encountered in his studies.  Will Fleming Yaupons show well against the house though they are a recently discovered cultivar of our native yaupon hollies.

The house next door is modern but its vernacular styling doesn't distract from the garden.

How nice to live next door with a view of this garden.

Old yellow brick, common to early German buildings in the area, used as edging.

Lindheimer's senna with yellow blooms.

I think this is Lindheimer's Silk Tassel.

Not all the plants are named for Lindheimer.  Rock Rose and Turk's Cap are native plants which are well adapted to our gardens.

Most plants are labeled.  This is Texas Star.

Everybody's favorite Oxblood lilies just happened to be in bloom.     I planted some against my house a few years ago and would love to see them grow this well.

"Schoolhouse Lilies", as they are also called, were passed around early Central Texas gardens in abundance.

Another look at that great roof line.

Information on visiting the Lindheimer Haus and garden along with many other buildings in this historic part of Texas is available on The New Braunfels Conservation Society website.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

GBBD October 2017: Magic

When I posted my traditional October 9 "Before and After" of our front landscape fellow blogger The Outlaw Gardener commented that it was "magic".  I loved the word he applied to my gardening efforts.

This morning was an early one for me.  Yesterday I managed to successfully pull off hosting a Garden Conservancy Open Days Tour in six different locations across our rather largish city.  You'd think I would sleep like a rock afterwards.  Instead, I was wide awake before dawn and itching to get out in my own garden.

So I'll share these blooms for Garden Blogger's Bloomday.  Not too much commentary, just enjoy the magic of early morning in the garden.

White Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides) stopped me in my tracks and had me headed back to the house for the camera.  When did that start blooming?  Well, I have been busy.

Moving left for a wider view of the circle garden.

Silvery, billowy Estafiate,  a type of artemesia, which requires zero care as long as it gets full sun and little water.

Mexican Sage (Salvia darcyi)

Maxmillian Sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani

Up close

From the other direction

And another shot because I can't get enough of them so neither shall you.

Hyacinth Bean Vine decided to put in an appearance.  It's barely 18" high but blooming away.  Someday it will show up early enough to climb the post.  After three years I'm still waiting.

Triple purple Datura in the flower "bed".

That giant bouquet in the tank garden is still growing.

Plants grow into the paths where they will.  I long ago gave up trying to keep them in check.

Around front, Deer muhly (Muhlenbergia rigens) with a backdrop of white Plumbago.

El Toro Muhly (Muhlenbergia emersleyi) which I question all summer why I have this somewhat weedy grass in my front garden.  Then this happens.  Oh yeah, that's why.

Happy Garden Blogger's Bloom Day!   GBBD is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of each month and you can see even more blooms by heading over there to check out the links.

Monday, October 9, 2017

October 9th Before and After 2017

On October 9th, 2011, just a few days after I began this blog, one of my first posts was a "Before and After" of our front garden and I've kept it as an annual feature these past six years.

Here's the 2017 view taken this morning.

Mexican Feathergrass, which softens the rocks and gravel, has gone tawny for fall which allows the silvery yuccas and agaves to stand out.  The Yucca rigida which was planted by the garage corner about 18 months ago is not happy and a tall Yucca rostrata is on order as a replacement.  As it has almost every year, the front right corner has undergone a change with Agave cornelius from last year replaced by a Variegated Yucca gloriosa.  Agave cornelius has been moved to a part shade spot since it gets sunburned too easily.

There isn't much special about October 9th other than it just happened to be a date for which I had a good "before" photo from 2010 before I began this blog.  Interesting to note Salvia greggii seems to have bloomed earlier the last few years making photos since 2013 a bit colorless when compared to previous years.

From my original post a 2010 view from one year before I began this blog.

Looking very nice considering most of this reflected just two years work.  We had just replaced a brown shingle roof with standing seam metal and recently dug and divided existing pink Salvia greggii which produced a nice bloom prompting me to take the photo below.   Little did I know that we were about to get hit with a two-year drought that would kill or set back most of these plants significantly.

As the post was getting a bit too long, I condensed it into a GIF slideshow:

You can see details of all my previous October 9th posts and the changes I've made over the years at the links below.

October 9th 2011
October 9th 2012
October 9th 2013
October 9th 2014
October 9th 2015
October 9th 2016

Last year I mused about changing the date since the Salvia greggii have bloomed earlier each year.  This winter we will lift and divide them and I will probably post a full-bloom photo when they recover in the fall of 2018 instead of a fixed date.

The Garden Conservancy San Antonio Open Days Tour is this Saturday, October 14th from 10am to 4pm.  For more information click this link to the Garden Conservancy website.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Pumpkin Patch at Spring Creek Gardens

With the arrival of October we can get in the mood for fall even if our San Antonio weather has been hot.  While San Antonio doesn't get the spectacular autumn colors found in colder climates, we do our best and a good example is Spring Creek Gardens which goes all out with a huge Pumpkin Patch.  Here are photos from last October.

Colorful pumpkins brighten the shade under a nice stand of live oaks.

The different colors and patterns are always fun to see.

Lots of pretty vignettes set up to inspire for fall.

Spring Creek Gardens is in Spring Branch about 25 minutes north of San Antonio.

Annuals near the front gate are displayed in a welcoming roadside stand.

Mummies! how cute!

I was enamored with the awesome rockwork in these walls.

The nicest garden center gift shop around plus they sell wine from local wineries.

Stylin' way out here in the country

More garden goodies on display in the greenhouse.

Chickens!  They sell chickens and also poultry keeping supplies.

Will you take me home with you?

Shady seating areas to take in the view.

Ready for fall ya'll!

Butterflies approve of the extensive native plant selection.

I try to stop by Spring Creek Gardens whenever I'm up north on 281.

If you're looking for a place in the hill country to take the family, they're on US 281 just a few miles north of SH 46 on the west side of the road and have plenty of fun fall activities listed on their website.


The Garden Conservancy San Antonio Open Days Tour is this Saturday, October 14th from 10am to 4pm.  For more information click this link to the Garden Conservancy website.