Friday, September 15, 2017

GBBD: End of Summer Garden

While northern climate gardeners are watching their gardens slow down and prepare for winter we are watching our gardens wake up and head into a second season of blooms.  I'm linking up with Garden Blogger's Bloom Day to share photos from walks around the garden the last few weeks.

In the tank garden Henry (blue) and Augusta (white) Deulberg Salvia farinacea work great together.  Both went dormant during summer heat and are now back in full bloom.  Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) on the right backed by orange Zexmenia (Wedelia texana) along with magenta Gomphrena 'Fireworks'.

It's like an 8' diameter bouquet.

The little pink gomphrena are 'Pinball Snow Tip' and they go perfectly with 'Fireworks' and blue and white salvia.

Evening view of Gomphrena 'Fireworks' from the backside.  The entire circle becomes a 30' walk-through floral arrangement.

Zexmenia and Gomphrena 'Strawberry Fields' line the circle garden,  Zexmenia grows naturally on undeveloped land behind us and has been easy to transplant.  It's a prolific reseeder so one or two plants have turned into many.   I bought one Gomphrena 'Strawberry Fields' plant years ago and it has faithfully reseeded every year.

Brazilian Rock Rose (Pavonia hastata) is a wild spreader filling the late summer/early fall garden with its pale pink flowers.

"Monarchs this way."  Just in case butterflies need a sign to find freshly planted Tropical Milkweed.

Morning blooms on tall purple Ruellia make the fence less boring.

Pink Ruellia on the other side of the garden.  Just a few Ruellia plants are all you need to fill in a garden.

Fluorescent orange aloe adds fall color near the side gate.

Mexican Olive topped with tissue paper blooms.

Moy Grande Hibiscus, looks tropical but is hardy to zone 5!  I planted it in a protected spot just in case.

Red Lantern hibiscus is not so hardy and spends winter in the garage.  Worth it for lacy blooms.

Native Passiflora foetida grows wild along the creek behind our back fence and has naturally found its way into the garden.

As found "in the wild" just steps outside our back fence rambling over Dewberry vines near the arroyo which feeds our creek.

Snapdragon vine grows wild in the same field with the above Passion Vine and now twines the fence.

Texas native Damianita was purchased from a nursery but now looks natural in the gravel garden.

Texas Twist-rib cactus was shared by a friend.

Red Barrel Cactus blooms don't fully open.

Crinum Native Hymenocallis have been nonstop for weeks.

Double yellow Datura from my friend Cliff Bingham.  See my visit to his garden here.

Red Salvia microphylla rarely stops blooming.

Ending our tour with Grandma's Yellow Roses appropriately paired with a Texas flag we painted on metal roofing,

Hosted by Carol Michel on the 15th of each month, GBBD gives bloggers a meme to share what's blooming in their gardens.  For more garden blooms see Carol's Garden Blogger's Bloomday post at May Dreams Gardens.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday September 2017

It is a busy time for wildlife in the garden: harvesting berries, raising babies, and trying to eat my plants.  It all makes for quite a Wildlife Wednesday show.  Wildlife Wednesday is hosted by Tina at "My gardener says...." on the first Wednesday of each month.

Male House Finch feasting on American Beautyberry (Calicarpa Americana).

Its bright magenta berries ripen in stages from the trunk.  Mockingbirds and Cardinals are the usual visitors and often wait patiently in nearby trees during the day to snatch each individual berry as it ripens.

Beautyberries are edible and apparently make a nice jelly but that will have to wait since all berries are now gone.  Fortunately this graceful native shrub roots easily where branches touch the ground, otherwise it wouldn't be easy to make new ones from seeds alone.

Black Carpenter Bees at work on Texas Sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) after recent rains.

If you've been noticing brown branch tips like this on trees in San Antonio....

.....those noisy Cicadas are the likely culprit.

While we don't get the crazy 17-year Cicada emergence cycles common on the East Coast and in the Mid-West, there was a large population of Cicadas this summer in my neighborhood.   Female Cicadas lay eggs in the branch tips by sawing an opening which leads to this effect.  Here's an explanation from State of the Planet by Columbia University's Earth Institute:

"Each brown branch tip you see is a spot where a female cicada sawed through a small twig with an appendage on her abdomen and laid a group of eggs.   When those eggs hatch – six to ten weeks after being laid – the newborn nymphs will drop to the ground, burrow down into the soil, and begin feeding on tree roots."

The effect is quite recognizable once you know what to look for.

Browned tips are noticeable all over my neighborhood this year.

Not the prettiest spot in the garden, but the toad likes it just fine.

Time to check in on the resident deer.

A fawn quickly losing its spots.  This one is probably about three or four months old and likely not the same newborn I featured in last month's post.

Mom is still watchful and will continue to nurse for another month or so.

An eight-point buck has taken up residence by the gate where we put garden trimmings out to compost.  He's probably eyeing that Evergreen Sumac (Rhus virens) in the foreground which wouldn't stand a chance without the fence.  I am that close to him.  No way would I be able to get that close a few months from now.  He'll soon be looking for plants to polish those antlers ahead of mating season.  The "antlering" of plants is the most destructive thing they do in the garden.

If they would just stay in the woods and away from the garden.

Visit "My gardener says..." for more garden wildlife posts.   This month Tina has excellent information on how you can help hummingbirds with their migration since their favorite stop in Rockport, Texas is out of commission as result as Hurricane Harvey damage.

Friday, September 1, 2017

34 minutes at CTG

It took just 34 minutes from the time I parked the car.

My trip to KLRU in Austin to appear on Central Texas Gardener and promote our upcoming San Antonio Open Days Tour for the Garden Conservancy went so quickly.  My first time in a TV studio so I was more than a bit unsure.   Meeting Tom Spencer and working with producer Linda Lehmusvirta was awesome and the crew was great to work with.

Put on the mic, a few other prep items were checked and then Tom and I talked about the six gardens featured on the October 14th tour.  The amazing thing is that when we were wrapping up and Linda reappeared to say the interview went well, I thought "wait, those cameras were on!?"

They are that good at what they do.

I truly appreciated the opportunity to promote the tour, to get the word out and help raise money for the Garden Conservancy and for Gardening Volunteers of South Texas to continue our work.

Special thanks to my friend Linda Peterson for her notes of encouragement which made me smile this week.  Linda's garden will be on the tour and I can't wait for everyone to see it.

Thanks to my friends at Central Texas Gardener for an experience I will never forget.