Saturday, May 12, 2018

Flinging with National Wildflower Week

It was a dark and stormy morning at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center when 90+ garden bloggers from the USA, Canada and UK arrived for the first stop on our Austin Garden Bloggers Fling.  We had just enough time to grab a few photos before the skies opened up and rain poured down.  I had a great time last weekend meeting so many bloggers I previously knew only from their writings and photos.  Surprisingly, or maybe unsurprisingly, it was easy to recognize and get to know many bloggers quickly since I already knew a lot about them from their blogs.

It's National Wildflower Week, so I'll begin by sharing wildflower photos from three days of Fling tours.  I think I took the photo below while on a full run back to the Visitor's Center because thunder and lightning were on the horizon and I didn't want to get caught out in the open.  So different from the bright sunny visits I'm used to, it pretty much captures our first Fling day.



A few more from photos from the wildflower center when it was a little brighter at first.  



I love the deep magenta color of Wine Cups which refuse to grow in my garden.



These do grow in my garden - blue Salvia Farinacea and Firewheel.



A nice, if slightly soggy way to celebrate wildflowers.  After a rainy stop at Diana Kirby's garden we toured the Mirador Garden with blooming Yucca rostrata.


Firewheel and other wildflowers lined Mirador's drive in front of a tall Cor-ten steel wall.


Still raining, we next toured Rock Rose blogger Jenny Stocker's wildflower filled garden.


Poppies by the pool at Jenny Stocker's garden.



Lavishly filled to the brim with wildflowers!


Did I mention it was wet?


Typical Texas weather with just one day of pouring rain so the next day and the rest of our tours were sunny.

Saturday we saw butterfly magnet Gregg's mistflower (Conoclinium greggii) planted in the median across from Colleen Jamison's Garden.  Colleen planted the median for her neighborhood to enjoy and you can see bloggers did too.


Hesperaloe parviflora blooms were just some of the wildflowers in the Fowler's garden in Hutto north of Austin.


We were greeted by Engelmann Daisy and many other wildflowers lining the driveway at the Ruthie Burrus garden on Sunday.




Mexican Hats (Ratibida columnifera) left standing in the Burrus' garden.


Masses of Firewheel or Gaillardia along the driveway.


At Tait Moring's garden we found more Gaillardia on both sides of the drive.


Gaillardia tucked in among the Mexican Feather Grass.



Not all wildflowers were planted.  Gregg's Mistflower (Conoclinium greggii) in pots awaiting installation at Tait Moring's client's garden.


Tait Moring directed us to this impressive Opuntia gomei 'Old Mexico' forest just beginning to bloom.



More bright sunshine and Firewheel.


Kylee Baumle passing Gaura (Oenothera lindheimeri) at Kirk Walden's garden.  Gaura is sometimes called "Whirling Butterflies" which brings to mind Kylee's latest book on saving the Monarch butterfly.


That incredible view enhanced with wildflowers from our last garden stop on the tour.


Just a few of the wildflowers we enjoyed on a wonderful weekend of garden tours in Austin.

I returned home to wildflowers peaking in my own garden this week.





Just the first of many posts from my weekend of flinging with garden bloggers in Austin last weekend.

Happy Wildflower Week!


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Wildlife Wednesday May 2018

It's the first Wednesday of May and that means Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina at "My Gardener Says...." as an opportunity to share wildlife in our gardens.

Male Green Anole (Anole carolinensis) puffing his dewlap which is meant to impress a mate or express dominance in the case of feeling threatened.  Both males and females have the dewlap and the female has a brown stripe down the back.


Mockingbirds have been serenading the garden daily from high in the trees.


Inspired by Sue at My Wild Australia last month here's a bit of its awesome mimicry in an audio file:



Alternately you can go to this link:

Mockingbird song - Click to open

That is the same bird throughout the audio.  Worth a whole minute to experience the full range of sounds once those vocal pipes get warmed up.  Mockingbirds are so amusing and have been known to imitate car alarms, phones, and other noises from suburban life.  They also love an audience and I've seen them repeatedly checking to make sure I'm still listening while out gardening.

Wolf Spider with egg sac crawling around a wheelbarrow.


A green-legged spider created a very large web.  I didn't get a close enough look to positively identify but it is probably not a green lynx spider which typically creates a linear or trip wire style web.


Red Paper Wasp carefully getting water.



A beneficial garden visitor if they don't bother these Monarch Butterfly caterpillars enjoying tropical milkweed.





This crew polished off the milkweeds in no time and I spotted a few Monarch Butterflies floating about the garden a few weeks later so it all worked out well.  The plants are recovering in time for another round.

Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar spotted yesterday probably looking for a place to attach and pupate.


Live Oak trees are beautiful but the fallen leaves are messy and impossible to remove.

I like to think all this leaf litter brings me such garden scenes as a happy Giant Swallowtail enjoying Prairie Verbena.


Be sure to visit Tina at "My Gardener Says...." to read her owl's tale and warning about how using poisons outdoors negatively affects wildlife.  Then check out the comments for more Wildlife Wednesday posts from garden bloggers.

Monday, April 30, 2018

End of Month View: Spring Garden Tour 2018

Those yucca blooms keep drawing me outside, even though I'm trying to blog more (by request).  But whenever I sit at my computer I see this view!


Silvery Yucca rupicola is blooming for the first time having been planted as a small pup about four years ago.  Sometimes yuccas go on the wane after blooming, fortunately it has produced a number of pups to keep going should the originals die out.


Gorgeous!


Since I'm already out here let's take a tour of the spring garden which I'm linking to End of Month View hosted by Helen at The Patient Gardener.  Helen and several other UK bloggers are making the trip to Austin for the annual Garden Blogger's Fling.  I look forward to meeting so many bloggers I know mainly from photos of their gardens.

It's been a good spring with cool to average temperatures featuring more than a few cloudy days.  Clouds are good because we will have endless sunny days all summer.  For now we can use the extended opportunity to get seedlings and transplants off to a good start without a pounding from hot sun.

Just enough sun breaking through momentarily to show off Mexican Feathergrass inflorescences with pink Salvia greggii.  This is the view we see most often when returning home and I love the way everything has worked out.  I'm pretty much done and any tweaks will be minor from now on.


More than one yucca bloom is on the way!  Yucca rostrata by the garage is happy enough to bloom during its first spring in the ground.


Straight on front view showing lots of green and silver.  Later in the year yellow and gold flowers fill in as the green of spring fades.


Experts advise against pruning up the Cycad.  But they don't have to get to the mailbox through all those prickles.  So prune we did.


Entering from the north end of the drive.  A little deer proofing to protect Agave cornelius planted to replace Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' which bloomed and died out.  The garden needs a spot of yellow and green color here and the agave fits the bill.


Pale yellow blooms on purple pads of Opuntia Santa-rita  creates a perfect complementary scheme.



The island bed in silver awaiting more gold flowers later in the summer.


Callistemon 'Little John' nearly froze to death in a rare snow fall last December.  I'm happy to see it has recovered well enough to bloom.



Down through the courtyard garden collection of vintage white clay pots which coordinate much better with Ilex vomitoria 'Grmicr" or "Micron Holly" instead of a random collection of plants.




Wildflowers have changed over from Bluebonnets to oranges and yellows of Greenthread, Firewheel, and Mexican Hats.




I've tidied up the "Flower Bed" and added Salvia guaranitica 'Amistad' in a pot to better watch hummingbirds from the porch.


The view from the porch where I spend a lot of evenings watching darkness cover the garden.


The beginnings of a wildflower meadow on a scruffy slope below the deck.  First task is to get native grasses going but Larkspur has other ideas.


And my tours always end with a peek over the south side fence where it seems that as soon as I clear out potted plants from under the trees, more take their place.


Now there you have it; a dual purpose spring tour of my gardens to both link up with The Patient Gardener and a place to point if someone at the Garden Blogger's Fling should ask how my garden is doing.  It is doing very well, and thank you for asking.