Monday, May 28, 2018

Remembering Memorial Day 2018

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and traditionally celebrated on May 30th.  Gradually the date became known as Memorial Day and a time to honor those who died in military service.

Today there are flags on the graves at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery placed by volunteers from the community.

On other days decorations are poignant reminders that those buried here were sons, brothers, husbands, uncles, and increasingly, daughters, sisters, wives and aunts. 

There are many different ways grave sites are decorated at the cemetery and this sweet display caugh my eye last fall.

Not everyone buried here died in battle or during their active service but they all served.  I drive past this cemetery at least once a week and there's almost always something interesting to see.

The best way to honor their sacrifice is to celebrate Memorial Day while remembering those who made it possible for us to enjoy our freedoms on this day.

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.