Wednesday, June 30, 2010


South Dakota Badlands

That would be Four Thousand, Two Hundred and Fifty MILES.  That's how many miles we drove, on our Ten Day trip, to the Dakotas.

Chimney Rock National Landmark, Nebraska

We had two of our Austin granddaughters with us.  We told them, when we left, that this was going to be a 'Rock Tour'

There were many other big rocks in the same area as Chimney Rock.  Chimney rock was a significant landmark, for pilgrims going west in wagon trains.  It's, it's eroding a little more, each year.
I'm always awed, by what people were willing to endure, to come across the country, in wagons or by foot.

Carhenge, Nebraska

There were, of course, other intersting sights, along the way.  Above is 'Carhenge'....a replica of Stonehenge, built with old cars.  This was more interesting to persons in the 13 and 10 age groups, than some old rock.

Mount Rushmore, SD

We met up with our daughter, and her family, in South Dakota.  Then we set out to see the big Rock Star....Mount Rushmore.

This is quite impressive.  It took them many years, and lots of hard work, to create this piece of art.
The museum there, gives an idea of just how difficult this was to computers, or today's technology.

Speaking of 'Rock Stars'....we had our own, right along with us.

Close by Rushmore, is the Crazy Horse Monument.  This has been in construction since 1948.  They still have a long way to go.  It's a monument to the Oglala Lakota people, whose leader was Crazy Horse.
It's HUGE.  Mount Rushmore, as big as it is, would fit in the upper part of the face of Crazy Horse.

It's a private endeavor, funded by donations, gate fees and the gift shop.  The children of the sculptor and his window, are carrying on his dream.

I don't think Mr. P and I will see it finished.  Maybe, our grandchildren will be able to.

The Black Hills of South Dakota, are quite pretty.

Lots of wildlife.

There are roses, growing wild along the roads.

And, the largest dandelions I've ever seen.  That seed 'poof' is about six inches aross.

And, we were lucky enough to see a double rainbow.  We could see the whole thing...but, I didn't get a good shot.  It was the brightest rainbow, we'd ever seen.

There is a Mammoth dig site, in the area.  It was very interesting.  They've found many whole skeletons of mammoths.  And, they're still digging.

On our way to North Dakota, and our daughter's home, we saw on the map 'The Center of the Nation' site.
It's a red letter point of interest, on the map.  And, the travel book we had, said that in Belle Fourche there is a large compass to mark the spot.  Only, that compass,  is 20 miles from the actual site.  We wanted the 'real thing'.

So, we drove until we saw a sign pointing the right direction....down a gravel road.  We drove down that road.  Out in the middle of a field, is an American flag.

But, up on the road, was this sign....painted with markers, on the back of an old road sign.  We thought it was a joke.

Our son-in-law went out to check.  Sure enough...this was the place.  The geographical center of the United States....that includes all 50 states.

I actually think we'll remember this more, than some piece of concrete twenty miles away, in town. 

We spent a few days at our daughter's home.  They've bought a house, built in 1902.  It has a lot of work that needs to be done.  But, I think it has potential. 

About fifty miles south of their house, in Minot, is The Scandinavian Heritage Village.  Most of North Dakota, was settled by people from Scandinavian countries....mostly Norway.

Finish store house

There are structures to represent the various Scandinavian countries.

Swedish horse

The centerpiece, is this exact replica of a Norse church.

Quite lovely, and the docent there gave us a great deal of information.

This was our first trip to North Dakota.  Because it's the home of our daughter and her family, we're interested in the surroundings.  It's mostly agricultural.  Somehow, that amazes me.  It is very cold, for very long.  There is a short growing season.

And yet, the fields are full and growing.  Above is one of many fields of Canola.  They are beautiful yellow fields.  Later in the year, there will be fields and fields of sunflowers.  The wheat and green peas are going strong.

I didn't get pictures of the lovely flowers of the neighbors.  There are gorgeous peonies in almost every yard.  Iris are still blooming and pansies and petunias are blooming everywhere.  We missed the lilacs, unfortunately.

We had a great visit, and saw lots of countryside.  We miss our daughter, our son-in-law, and those two preciouse grandchildren, already.

But, it's great to be back home.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Goin' North....

The sprinkler timers are set.  The pots on the porch are moved to the beds.  We're off to the North.

We're meeting our daughter and her family, at Mount Rushmore.  Then, we're headed up to her home, in North Dakota.

Here's a chance to see just what grows, fifteen miles from the Canadian 3 or 4.

The Patchwork Garden will been ok, while we're gone.  Our son and daughter-in-law, will be coming by to check on things.  It's a fair trade-off.  We'll have two of their girls with us.

So, stay tuned.  I hope to have a lot to show you, when we get back.

'Til then....

Happy Gardening...


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Foliage Follow Up...June 2010

Agave lophantha

I love flowers.  But, my favorite thing in the garden, is the foliage. 

Flowers are like sprinkles, on top of a cupcake.  They're pretty...they add interest.  But, the real substance, is the cupcake.....the foliage.


Foliage comes in every color of the rainbow.

Persian Shield and coleus

You get color, without flowers.

Spider or Airplane plant, Chlorophytum comosum

It works in shade.

Two shades of sweet potato vine.

Or, bright sunshine.

Cuban oregano

I particularly like variegated foliage.

Oyster plant,  Tradescantia spathacea


Black Pearl pepper

Mexican Feather grass,  Nasella tenuissima

Grasses for sun...

Inland Seaoats

...and, for shade.

Artichoke agave

Textures range from pointy....

Powis Castle artemisia soft and feathery.

Our 'back-from-the-dead' Sago Palm


Lamb's Ear, Stachys byzantina soft and fuzzy.

Pencil cactus, Euphorbia tirucalli

This is the 'small piece' of a Pencil Cactus that our neighbor Elli gave us last winter.  Hers was too big to get back in the house.  It's a bit hard to make look good, in a photo.

I think it likes its new spot.  See the new growth....interesting.

Haworthia attenuata

In fact, succulents have some of the most interesting foliage.  The flowers on this one, are not much to celebrate.

But, look at that foliage.

Even 'wild' foliage adds interest.  This Virginia Creeper is lush and green.  I wired this sunflower feeder to the fence, amidst the green vine.  The squirrels have chewed the wood and the wire.  So, now it's not a's an ornament.....more yard art.

In Texas, when the heat sets in, the blooms back off.  That's when we really depend on great foliage to make our gardens look alive.

If you want to see more green, and other colors of foliage, go over and visit  Pam at Digging, for
Foliage Follow-up Day.

What are your favorite foliage plants?

Then there's this:

I went out to check the veggie bed, as I do morning and afternoon.  You have to stay on your toes, to keep ahead of tomato Hornworms.  I don't like Hornworms.

Well....this is what I found.  I've never seen this before.  Whoa!...I freaked out a little.  Not before getting a picture.  I have a blog, after all.

Then, with gloved hand, I peeled him off the stem and stepped on him.  I didn't kill all the little white things, though. 

Then, I came in and checked my Texas Bug Book.  Turns out the little white things are Braconid Wasp pupae  cocoons.  These little wasps lay their eggs in caterpillars, and the pupae feed on the caterpillar bodies.

So, the white things are good guys....sort of.  I suppose they eat ALL caterpillars. 

Isn't it great, how we learn new things in the garden, every day?

Happy Gardening...


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloomday...June 2010

Salvia greggii

Here we are, at June, already.  This year is speeding by, fast.

Bloomday, is the day that gardeners around the world, show what is blooming in their gardens.  Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Garden, for hosting Bloomday.

Daylily...'So Lovely'

Things are finally beginning to bloom, here at Patchwork Garden.  The daylilies are a bit behind last year.

Daylily...'Pink Playmate'

I'm not sure if they're late because I moved them this spring, or not enough sun.
Or, both.

Daylily...'Miss Tinkerbell'

But, better late, than never.

Salvia coccinea...Coral

Salvia...'Indigo Sprires'

I have serveral salvias.  They're great for our hot and dry area.  And, many of them are actually DEER RESISTANT.  That puts them on my Favorite Plants List.

Butterfly Weed...Asclepiadaceae tuberosa

This Butterfly Weed is in the Tree Bed.  Not many flowers right now.  I'm wondering if some have been chomped....hmmmm...

yellow Calibrachoa

pink Calibracoa

I like the little, petunia-type flowers of Calibracoa.  The pink one is a Mother's Day gift from last year.  It made it through the heat last summer and the cold last winter...a real keeper.

Speaking of Mother's Day gifts....this cedar box, planted with Autumn Fern, and Impatiens, was this year's gift.  It's doing well, on the porch.

Plectanthus...'Mona Lavender'

This Plectanthus is from last year.  It lived inside, during the winter.

It's just now beginning to show off.

Cleome...'Senorita Rosalita'

This 'Senorita', has been showing off, ever since she arrived here.

The Plumbago is beginning to put on quite a few blooms.  It might like more sun, but so far, so good.

The Ruby Chrystal grass, looks like it might be throwing some seeds.  That's fine with me.  I'd like more of these.  It's outside the deer damage.

The Shasta Daisy is beginning it's bloom.

There are several different Wax Begonias around.  This one is a basket, high over the deer's heads.

And, lots of these Periwinkle, around the garden.  The deer really don't seem to like them.  And, they don't mind the heat.  What more could I ask?

I don't know what this is.  It's what my mother would've called, a 'volunteer'....something that just shows up in the garden.  It's probably from some seed in the compost.  But, it's green, it has a nice yellow flower.....and it was FREE.

Last, but not least....there are several of these on the Fig tree.  As I understand it, this is the bloom, as well as the fruit.  There was ONE, last year.  It just fell off.  I'm hoping whatever has to happen to make this an edible fruit, happens this year.  Time will tell.

There is lots going on, here at Patchwork Garden.  This is one of the best months....before the REAL heat sets in.  That heat is fact, it just might be here, already.  Then, things will slow down, and just try to stay alive.  For now, we'll enjoy the blooms.

What's blooming in your garden?