Monday, October 30, 2017

Happy Halloween!

A few scenes from around town appropriate for the season.

There's usually that one house in a neighborhood where they go all out for holidays.  This display had me going back for another look.

I'm told they do this several times a year for different holidays.  Where do they store all of it?

It's animated, very animated

Fun decorations at the Warrior and Family Support Center where I volunteer in the gardens.

Gorgeous wreaths on the door.

Pretty pumpkins on the fireplace.


Uh oh!  Ghosts have busted through the windows.

What a welcome!

I also spotted these fun masks at Target.  Might be hard to wear though.

The past several years I have featured photos of our neighbor's unusual sphinx cat for Halloween.  They are moving and Patches now resides with their daughter so today I'll feature our cat.  She arrived as a feral about two years ago and we began caring for her.  Over time she has become more friendly but is still wild enough to remain an outdoor cat.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

More from Fredericksburg Trade Days Flea Market

While we were in Fredericksburg to acquire The Yucca we also enjoyed wandering the Fredericksburg Trade Days flea market and taking in a beautiful fall day.

Texas stuff is popular especially if it's flag themed....

or Texas shaped.

Upcycled style is big here and a great source of ideas.  I had been considering cowhide to recover my dining chairs but these bright serape chair covers have me thinking other possibilities.

Hill Country scenes like this pasture of longhorn cattle visible over the fence are fun.

Another look at Kenny's Del Rio Cactus booth where I found my gorgeous Yucca rostrata.

Lots of raw junk.  Neal found a vintage Harley helmet for $5 and he doesn't even ride anymore.

This vendor was a little pricey compared to my friend Mario at Yeya's in San Antonio.

Looks like they decorated for Halloween.  The spider web and spider are new while everything else was already here.

Windmill blades need a little work but could be pretty cool if you had the space.

Plenty of places to sit and enjoy the weather and a coffee while watching other people shop.

Spineless prickly pear is a good choice with so many people walking by.

A working blacksmith on site with beautiful BBQ tools that would make great gifts.

Trevor (in the cap) is learning the blacksmith trade so he can carry on the tradition.

A live band gets going in the dance hall around lunch time.

Walk up to the bar which serves indoors and outdoors.

On a nice day take your beer outside under the oaks and enjoy the music.

It's not all barbeque and burgers on offer for lunch.  Fresh wood fired pizza, gumbo, red beans and rice are all available.  The whole place smells amazing.

A pause on the way out to snap a photo of my favorite Belted Galloways, the most stylish cows on the prairie.

What did I buy along with the yucca?

A smallish concrete seahorse birdbath pedestal.  I've always thought seahorse birdbaths were cool but when I find them they are usually too large and damaged.

A creamy white clay pot to add to my collection.

And a white clay melon pot stamped "Mexico" which joins one already on display in my front garden.

All in all a great fall day at the flea market.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Yucca rostrata has landed

Texas Native Plant week finished in rather spectacular fashion with the addition of a Yucca rostrata to my front garden.

And it has quite an adventurous story to tell.

First, it's been a while since the original Vitex which occupied this spot for 20 years met its demise.  Shortly afterward I replaced it with a silvery Yucca rigida purchased from Barton Springs Nursery in Austin.  The next morning we found the Yucca rigida had fallen over in high winds during the night.  We set it upright but apparently the damage was done and it never recovered.  There were times when it looked as if it might grow again so I left it in place until the base finally rotted through about 15 months later this past July.  Meanwhile I had discovered Kenny at Fredericksburg Trade Days flea market.   As a Texan and yucca lover how could I walk by this setup and not go in to look around?

Kenny lives out in West Texas in native Yucca rostrata territory.  His friend grows yuccas (actual location is a secret) and allows Kenny to dig and transport these beauties himself making his prices and yucca stock the best around.  When my Yucca rigida died I contacted Kenny and after some back and forth discussions over several months I was disappointed to hear the Yucca rostrata I finally decided on had been sold and we agreed he would bring more in November.

On Saturday I called Kenny to find out what sizes would be available in November and learned his customer had decided on a smaller yucca, so the five foot stunner was still available.

"I'll be there in the morning."  Since the flea market is open just one weekend a month I had to act fast and enjoyed the beautiful 75 mile drive through the Texas Hill Country.

Kenny modeling his brand new "JB" aka Stetson hat.

There she is!  The big one straight back behind and slightly right of the table.  He also has some beautiful Thompson blue yuccas at incredible prices.

A major issue all along was how much yucca we could fit in the SUV.  We had measured and knew it would fit.  Six feet (72 inches) with the root ball.

Just fits diagonally.  What a mess!  Per Kenny's recommendation we brought along something to support the trunk, and this empty laundry detergent container did that perfectly while also working as a shock absorber on the road back.

There's Kenny washing dirt out of his brand new hat which was knocked off in the loading process.

Back home we already had the hole ready to plant.

In it goes and the next step is carefully slicing the plastic off.  This one has been in the pot for a year so the root ball stayed intact (another problem we had with the freshly dug Yucca rigida).  Slightly mounded to ensure good drainage.

That's Neal making sure it's straight and level.  Very important given the prominent location.

Hello, you great big beautiful yucca you!

You look "mahvelous" next to the Agave ovatifolia.  Looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Did I mention Kenny's prices are really good?  No email, no website just call Kenny at 817-319-3343.  If you live anywhere near Texas and need a native yucca Kenny is your guy.

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.