Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Orchids for Valentine's Day!

It's Valentine's Day and the perfect time to visit E. D. Huntington Orchids + Tropicals.  Last fall my neighborhood garden club took a tour of this local orchid grower and retail shop.  Owner Liz O'Toole started collecting orchids when she lived in Santa Barbara, California and eventually brought her passion back home to San Antonio.

We were quickly taken by bright colors and interesting structures of a variety of orchids.

I didn't try to document the names, just enjoy.

I had fun exploring orchids not in bloom.

Aisles of hanging orchids with so many structured forms.

Official greeter Andy Warhol the rescue dog enjoying the attention.

Other tropicals like a giant Huernia were on display.


Liz O'Toole, the owner (front and center), sharing her tips for growing orchids and tropicals.

Orchid arrangements in a variety of containers ready for customers to take away.

Iron Cross Begonia looking impressive

Banana-shaped stems called pseudobulbs are used in propagation.

Staghorn Fern fans were in love with this unusual pleated fern which a friend dropped off as a small seedling for Liz to keep.

Another of the impressive Staghorn Ferns on display.

Nicely planted screens on the outside of the greenhouse.

Liz started out as a customer and eventually purchased the business about six years ago.

Open daily from noon-6 p.m. and well worth stopping by if you are in the area just north of the San Antonio airport.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wildlife Wednesday: February 2018

It's the first Wednesday of February and that means Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina at "My Gardener Says....".  It's still cold down here in South Texas on most days so wildlife sightings are not as easy. But I did observe a few interesting things this month.

One bright spot in winter are the Cardinals which visit our feeder almost daily.  The best squirrel-proof feeder we've found is this small basket suspended on flexible electrical cable.  The original top degraded in the sun and we replaced it with a plastic bowl from the thrift store.  The feeder is too slippery for squirrels and also keeps out larger birds like Pigeons and Jays.

They often appear in pairs taking turns at the feeder and are quite thoughtful of each other.

Speaking of squirrels.  What we have here is a stand off....

...with the cat.  She arrived as a feral cat and has tamed down quite well though she is still an outdoor cat.  We have also made sure she cannot reach the feeder so it all works.

We have both foxes and coyotes in the neighborhood.  Last month I showed you a coyote walking through the yard in daylight.  Below is a fox on the deck.  She's not happy there's no food in the cat bowl and leaves a mark in disgust.  I originally labeled this as a coyote but Anna pointed out it is a fox.  They are similar but the fox is smaller with shorter snout and more fur.

We now place a gate across the steps to help keep coyotes away from the house.

The deer herd has migrated back to our end of the creek and we should be seeing new fawns soon.  Not much to eat with such dry plants out there.  They don't eat the prickly ash juniper which is the only green in the background.  While several of our neighbors feed the deer, we have chosen not to with the exception of water in the heat of summer.

She's still not happy about being fenced out of the garden.

Check out the comments section at "My Gardener Says..." for more blogger backyard wildlife.