Saturday, March 31, 2018

Happy Easter!

An Easter basket was just the ticket for my friend Melody who needs a little extra cheer this spring.  Three colorful Zinnias which are a favorite of hers, and because every Easter Basket needs chocolate I tucked in a pot of Chocolate Mint.  Chocolate mint smells like Thin Mints but lasts a lot longer.

She is a gardener so I left the plants in their 4" pots wrapped with tissue paper and twine making them easier to transplant later.  The eggs are cascarones, a tradition from China by way of MexicoColorful eggs filled with confetti meant to be broken over the head of a friend.  Good fun for our upcoming Fiesta season.

Tucking the eggs in the basket works too.

A surprise visit found her in the garden and she said those magic words "do you have a few minutes." It had been a while so we spent at least an hour walking and talking through her large gardens.  As we talked I took a few photos to share with you.  Enjoy!

Columns of Crossvine blooming by the pool.  I can't remember seeing these in bloom before so this was a treat.  Melody uses a lot of vines and climbers in her garden and after my first visit to Melody's garden nearly five years ago, I was inspired to plant more vines in my own garden.

Blooms in a large honeycomb rock which I don't remember what they are.  She will let us know I'm sure.

Pink Poppies and matching roses by the arbor entrance to the woodland shade garden.

Masses of Texas Gold Columbine mixed with Bluebonnets and poppies yet to bloom by the barn.

The sign of a real gardener, a potting bench with works in progress and a bouquet of bluebonnets.

She was delighted with the basket and even told me she had planned on getting Chocolate Mint at the nursery this year.  Love it when that happens.

A nice spring day to spend time in the garden to catch up.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wildflower Wednesday March 2018: Damianita

Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana) has been blooming in the front garden this week and I've been going out there almost every day just to enjoy their golden beauty.  I'm joining Gail at Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday to take a closer look at a great native landscape plant for Central Texas.

Soft, daisy-like flowers on bright green foliage make it so attractive in the landscape.  Highly aromatic woody stems with the scent of camphor makes it icky to deer.  Not so much as a tiny nibble.

Great view from the street side.

A nice walk especially on a cloudy day.

This October 2017 photo shows Damianita remains evergreen when not in bloom which is why I chose it to replace the under-performing Lantana originally planted here.

Still back in October showing off a good landscape plant year round.  The green mound in the island bed is also Damianita.

Green even in the snow!

Damianita is a local native which survives on rocky outcroppings in the Texas Hill Country with no supplemental water so it stays happy with just an occasional deep drink during hot summer months.  The Lantana it replaced required a lot more water to look good in this hot spot.  Damianita thrives in the reflected heat from gravel mulch, the driveway and a full southern exposure with 10+ hours of direct sun in the summer.

They are picky about pruning.  When the blooms are done I will lightly shear the tops to encourage another round of blooms which will continue until fall.  Shearing keeps them from getting leggy and topping out around 12" high though I have seen them get closer to 3' in the wild.  Sometimes a few brown stems will show and I just use clippers to cut the stems back about halfway to green them up again.  Making sure not to cut the woody stems too far back is about the only concern with Damianita.

Damianita is polite enough to set out a seedling (left) exactly where I would have added one anyway.  I'd like more seedlings because I have a lot more places to add these little wonders.

Damianita is a great choice for the streetside bed too so I added another one recently.

No wonder I'm adding Damianita wherever I can find a sunny spot in need of year-round green and bright yellow flowers!

Join Gail at Clay and Limestone on the fourth Wednesday of each month for more ideas on native wildflowers for your landscape.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

GBBD March 2018 - About those Texas Bluebonnets

It's Garden Blogger's Bloom Day and time to show what's blooming in my garden.   March is all about our Texas state flower, Lupinus texensis or Texas Bluebonnet.

They've totally taken over the gravel topped crevice garden.

And they continue through the fence.

My favorite part is they've begun to spread into the Buffalo Grass lawn.

Very appropriate star pattern from the top view

A few more blooms, mostly in the tank garden.

Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) another native wildflower which is evergreen and very nearly everblooming.  It only takes a break during the coldest and hottest weather.

Behind the Blackfoot Daisy are Tazetta Narcissus 'Golden Dawn'.

Tazetta Narcissus are one the only narcissus bulbs which can reliably naturalize in our climate.

A nice combination with the daisies and narcissus.

Reve d'or Rose is a climber and early bloomer.

Native Scarlet Buckeye (Aesculus pavia) is becoming quite a specimen.  It's dormant most of the year so I must be careful not to cut it down. 

Mexican Buckeye (Ugnandia speciosa) is happy we fenced the deer out and is now growing into a nice tree.

One more Bluebonnet shot, I can't resist!

For more bloom from garden bloggers worldwide check out the links at May Dreams Gardens.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Wildlife Wednesday March 2018

It's the first Wednesday of March and that means Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina at "My Gardener Says....".  With windy. cloudy, chilly days still outnumbering clear warm days wildlife sightings are slow.

A Red-shouldered Hawk landed on a low branch just long enough to pose for photos.  I'm pretty sure this is a Red-shouldered Hawk since they are the most often sighted soaring high above open fields in our neighborhood.

They are in the process of teaching their yearlings to fly with much squawking and screeching several times a day.

Butterflies are returning to the garden but were not most cooperative in posing.  This Black Swallowtail butterfly mesmerized by Texas Mountain Laurel blooms was an exception.   The profile shot shows the swallowtail outline beautifully.

I followed for a while trying to get a photo of open wings.  Almost.  Score a yellow sulphur butterfly along with the swallowtail.  Large dark patches inside the wings indicate a clouded sulphur.

Two whitetail doe grazing behind the fence but probably not touching the prickly agarita in the foreground.  The odd angle gives a good view of the tail.  They are preparing to give birth and increase the herd yet again.

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