Friday, May 29, 2009

Flowers in the Creek

Our house backs up to a wooded area that we have named the deer grove. Deer like to hang out back there. Beyond the grove is a dry creek bed. We've been told that in years past, the creek has run with water. During this drought, and ever since we've been here, it's been dry. Except for one short period, after we got a four inch rain. So now, it's a big wildflower bed.

So, after pulling weeds among the daylilies, I decided to take a walk down the creek to see what's blooming on a hot May morning. Some I know, some I don't. I guess more research is required.

There is what I call the regular Mexican Hat, Ratibida columnifera...rust color petals, with yellow borders. You can see one in the background that has a wide yellow border. And, an all yellow one. My camera doesn't seem to like the all yellow ones. I've tried several times, but can't seem to get a good shot of them.

This one is interesting. It looks as if a paint brush has been used to drag rust along the yellow petals.

This one is more orange than rust. The camera didn't do it justice.

Here's a Prairie Verbena. It looks like it could really use a drink. Another pretty purple, in a Texas Thistle, Cirsium Texanum.

So, here come the ones I don't recognize. I spent a few hours going through the Wildflower Center's photo database to find them. I have a few I can't find, even on there. And, my Texas wildflower book has gotten misplaced somewhere during the move.

There are several of these around. Some kind of coneflower/Indian blanket blend? Think I might save some seeds. It could be Pincushion Daisy, Gaillardia suavis...or Clasping Coneflower, dracopis amplexicaulis. But, the bloom is smaller than those say they should be. Maybe the drought causes that?

This one may be about finished blooming. There were several bloom heads, with just a few of these delicate little white flowers. The whole plant is about three feet high.

This really nice grass. There are a lot of grasses out there, but this one has the nicest bloomhead. I think it could be Prairie Wildrye, elymus canadensis. Not sure, though.

Now, these may be my favorite. I didn't find anything that looked like it on the database. There is a large stand over on the golf course, by the tee box, just beyond the creek.

The plants are about three feet tall. They have bright greens leaves and a bloomhead about six to eight inches long. The tiny pale lilac flowers are a bit like a salvia bloom. But, the plant doesn't have that salvia scent.

The deer don't eat any of these. There are more plants out there. I'm sure I'll be out again, taking pictures and trying to figure out what those plants are. Wonder what the neighbors think?

Oh, and in the other direction, the creek goes down a rock-lined fall area. It drops down from the cart path about three feet...

then another three feet or so.....
then about 30 feet!
When water does come, it falls on those big rocks and flows around the bend to a big pond. The pond is getting pretty low.
There are rock squirrels over there in the canyon. One comes to grab seeds from the ground under our birdfeeders. He's shy, so it's hard to get a good picture of him, before runs back home.
I wonder what else is down there?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


So, my daughter-in-law and I went to a garden center the other day. I'd never been there.....The Great Outdoors on South Congress. It's a great place.
I found a lot of things I'd like to have. But, there is only so much room right now, where the deer don't go. I needed a society garlic for the Rock bed. Then I saw this Malabar Spinach....and, I thought, "It's a veggie. It can go in the veggie garden".
Then, after I get home with it, I do my research. Seems this will get VERY big and possibly take over everything. But, it is so pretty. Nice greens leaves, that burgundy stem.....and it's really tasty.
So, I have to figure it out.
The veggie garden is pretty full. There are all those day lilies on the south end. Then, there are squash, tomatoes, beans, peas, and cucumbers. And, there are two very scrawny okra plants coming up. So, where to put a vining plant that could become a monster? And, this garden doesn't need anymore shade.
That's what I get for being a greedy gardener who thinks she has to have it all....although, I'm well aware I can't have it all.
Wish me luck. And next time, maybe I'll do my research first.


Back last fall, my daughter-in-law, Alice, picked up an artichoke transplant from the Natural Gardener in Austin. I've had Artichoke Envy ever since.

This is it by Mother's Day. That fence behind it is about four and a half feet tall. Don't you just love those leaves??

And that really cool "bud". Now, two weeks later, it's blooming and putting on quite a show. It looks like a giant thistle.

I guess it is a member of that family.

It could be a Muppet character.

Or, a not-too-comfortable powder puff.

And, there are more to come.

Where, oh, where, can a person, living with too little fence and too many deer, plant such a wonder?? Oh, deer....guess it'll have to wait. I'll just have to visit this one.

Oh, Deer!!

I know I complain about the deer....a LOT. What they don't eat, they pull up. Or, they stomp on it. I have had a little success with some plants lately. They've left them least for the time being. I sprayed some with a repellent that seems to work pretty well. And, I put some deer mesh around some others, to give them a chance to take hold. But, it's all probably just a matter of time, before they get chomped. Our neighborhood is well know for the deer problem. At our local garden supply, they say they should put a disclaimer on the plants marked "deer resistant", to say, "Except in Woodcreek". They show up in what I've named the Deer Grove, every morning and every evening. And, sometimes during the middle of the day. One day, I counted eighteen in the back yard! They stop by for a drink. This birdbath was in the middle of a flower bed. What was I thinking? They stomped down everything to get to the water.
So, now, it sits out in the yard.

Then, yesterday, we were visited by one of our new neighbors.

At first, he was curious.

Then, he decided it might be best to hang out with Mom.

He's not the only new neighbor. We've seen ones younger than this one, and a few a bit older. The population has been increased quite a bit. And they're so cute.

But I know, whatever I've planted will be in danger of becoming part of their salad bar. We'll just have more customers now.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I suppose anyone who lives near a tree has squirrels who come to visit. We have many of these little guys.
We also love to feed the birds. But, one of our feeders has rather larger openings, and the squirrels can get their little 'hands' in and throw the seed everywhere. So, we thought we'd be clever and get a baffle. That's a device that's supposed to keep the little critters off the bird feeders. Ours is plastic and slick. So, they can't get their little claws into it to hold on. Well...these are clever little creatures and apparently we didn't place our baffle quite right.
Holding on with his back feet, this little guy simply reached down, and pulled the baffle up.
Jumped down onto the roof.

And, lunch.
So, we moved the feeder further from the tree trunk....they can jump from there and land on the feeder...and put it on an extra hook, to make it too far to stretch.
So, now the squirrels don't empty the feeder in record time......but, the grackles do. Any suggestions for that???
As the saying's always something.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bloom Day, plus Three

I've been reading a lot of the garden blogs online. Many participate in the Bloom Day, on the 15th of each month. This was started by Carol at Maydreams Gardens, to show what's blooming at the middle of the month. I was looking forward to my first Bloom Day blog, but I was gone on a fun trip to Florida on the 15th, so hope it's ok to do this three days late. For a "new" garden, I seem to have a lot of blooms.
A bright fucia Autumn Sage, salvia greggii, that came with the house.

Indigo Spires salvia, moved from the old house.

A soft coral Impatient....on the porch, where the deer can't get to it. Another bright fucia....a Geranium....likewise on the porch.
Purple Heart, setcreasea pallida. Deer love, on the porch.
Plumbago capensis. I've read these are "deer resistant"...but, I don't trust, this is on the porch, too. It's good we have a big porch.... That fantastic Gaillardia.

More fucia, in a Calibrachoa, Superbells.

Yellow Lantana, that came with the house.

A pale yellow day lily called So Lovely. It is, isn't it.

Another, even paler yellow daylily, called Miss Amelia.

And, my beautiful Phalaenopsis orchid. A Mother's Day gift a few years back, it gives us a lovely, long showing each year. Not actually in the garden, but close enough.

And, finally, I know this isn't a bloom...but it came from one. Our first harvest from the veggie garden. This will be great tonight, roasted on the grill.

There are other things blooming. We're on water restriction already, so that will make extra work. The inch of rain we had Saturday surely helped. Maybe we'll be lucky, and get more soon.

Hope your Bloom Day was as nice as mine.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Queen for a Day

We bought our house in Wimberley last September. The inside desperately needed some updates. I set to work stripping the forest green paint off the pine kitchen cabinets, and stripping 25 year old wallpaper off the walls.
In the middle of all this, a surprise package arrived at my door. My friends...knowing I love day lilies...had sent me two collections of the little beauties....96 tiny, bare root plants!
Well...I had done a little research, and I knew that not only did I love day lilies, but the precious little deer around here would love day lilies, too.
So, the only place to put them in an unfenced yard would be the fenced veggie garden. If you saw my last post, you know that area was waist high with grass when we moved in. So, I got to work in the wonderful, September heat and humidity, and dug out a third of the garden so I could plant the day lilies.
I started with a plan. Yellow evergreens here...peach dormants there....Well, that didn't last long. I finally just plopped them in and watered them. During our very dry winter, I tried to remember to water them every ten days or so. I didn't always remember.
All but about three made it. And now, they're beginning to bloom. Having not stayed with the Plan, I'm having to depend on pictures in the little catalog that came with the plants. I hope I have their names right.
At the top of the page is "Miss Tinkerbell". She's a lovely peach.
This is "Happy Returns", and it does just that.
And, beautiful, deep red "Over There".
They're not to their full height, yet, and only three have bloomed, so far. But, won't it be grand if all them would bloom at once.
Their fleeting beauty lasts only one day, and then it's gone. But, that beauty makes each one a Queen.....if only for just one day.