Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A visit to Lake Buchanan - Let's Play Guess That Plant!I

{Reminder - simply click with your cursor on any photo to retrieve a larger version}
Growing up my Daddy liked to pile us all in the car after church was over and then drive us what felt like hundreds of miles out into the country to eat Sunday lunch at a family style restaurant in the Hill Country.

Funny how the ride home was always so much shorter than the ride there.

Along the way he would point out flowers that caught his eye, every single cow or horse or goat grazing behind a fence.  My little brother and I would sigh and complain and sure, yes, we would ask "are we there yet?".   I would roll my eyes and wish for the earth to swallow me up and get me A W A Y from these old people in the front seat who thought driving out to the boonies was a reasonable enterprise, much less a fun way to spend time.

Fast forward a few decades and predictably enough, the Hub and I are now the geezers in the front seats, enjoying the countryside, pointing out livestock and wondering aloud what the name of this or that flowering plant might be.

Our own experiences as kids taught us a thing or two.  Our children are all grown up now.   We don't drag them along, heck, last go round we didn't even invite them.

This past weekend specifically, when we took the opportunity to check out the relatively new Canyon of the Eagles Resort out on Lake Buchanan, set in a 940 acre nature park.
I'll let you peruse their web site on your own if you're interested.

We had a nice lunch in the all but deserted restaurant with spectacular views from a high bluff overlooking the North shores of the lake.

We were both quite taken with the Senna Lindheimeriana.  These were in bloom all over the Hill Country.

I'd never seen climbing snapdragon before.  I think it is charming.

Art imitates life or life imitates art?  You decide.

Pollinators were busy everywhere we looked.  This hummingbird was really working over the Turk's Cap.

The grounds featured very lightly landscaped mostly native plants.
Not sure if this was intended to be scenic or is the resort's actual firetruck.

Down by the water there were huge slabs set out as tables and benches for picnic lunches.
Truth be told however, what we enjoyed most was the overcast day bringing cooler temperatures.  The change of scenery included a good look close up at the after effects of so many inches of rain from Hermine on the Texas Hill Country.  Many plants I knew or could easily identify.  There are a few however that I simply can't get a handle on.  Anybody want to help out?

I think this was a blue heron (left) sharing shoreline with an egret.

Final Update:  Winner winner chicken dinner!  This is (according to Mr Smarty Plants again - this guy is absolutely THE go-to guy for help with plant ID - Croptilon divaricatum, otherwise known as Slender Scratchdaisy.  How fun is that for a common plant name?
This was my first sighting of Spurred Butterfly Pea (Centrosema virginianum).
Update:  I have on authority (Mr Smarty Plants himself!) this dragonfly is a Flag-tailed Spinyleg - probably a male. 
Update:  Mr. Smarty Plants and Lancashire Rose have both IDed this as Bull Nettle.  Thank you!
Yet another heron - they were all along the shores of the lake.
I think these large fellas are quite handsome when they are found far far away from my own plants.
Please feel free to chime in with the missing plant names in the comments section.  All part of the fun.

Friday, September 17, 2010

What we are really liking right now...

Pink skies in the morning...

A giant cosmos (that tall spindly thing in the center of the photo) that doesn't bloom until late September - early October (thanks for the plant ID help with that Bob!)....

I was sorry to see the flowers are small despite this plant being over six feet tall, but it is just getting started setting blooms so I am excited to see how many flowers will eventually show.

Fall obedient plants that have more blooms opening every day.

Mockingbirds attracted by poke salat and beauty berries.

Seed heads forming on the sea oats.

All this and temperatures cool enough to have the windows open for at least a bit in the morning to appreciate those pink streaked skies!  Summer weather is being slowly but surely shown the door.  Welcome, Autumn!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2001

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me show love;
where there is injury, pardon:
where there is doubt, faith ;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
where there is sadness, joy
O divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Prayer attributed to Saint Francis

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Listen to the rhythm

of the falling rain, telling me just what a fool I've been.....
One inch so far and counting....
Well, maybe not so foolish.
Coneflower Seed Bombs
I did borrow a great idea (I know 'em when I see 'em) from The Grackle and had already put out my own Seed Bombs here and there weekend before last.

I took time over this past long weekend to get a small packet of wildflower seed mix (a freebie with piquillo pepper seeds I'd ordered previously) in an area that could use a bit of a boost.

What I did not do was get out, clear, prepare and seed the bed designated for a complete make over into a winter garden veggie bed.
With all the rain expected from Tropical Storm Hermine (forecast to be anywhere from 2 to 12 inches depending on where you live) in the Central Texas area, I can't imagine freshly planted seeds, especially of the "just press lightly into the soil" variety doing anything but washing around.

My seed bombs, well, if they migrate in the rain that will be just fine.  I will be happy with additional coneflower plants anywhere out front.

I was the opposite of this busy outdoors over the long weekend
Today I intend to enjoy the cooler temperatures with windows open. I am actually relieved I don't have tiny seeds or plants out yet.  For this once, my tendency to procrastinate has served me well.

UPDATE:  We had between 8-10 inches of the wet stuff here in Rollingwood.  Our little rain gauge was totally overwhelmed at one point so we can't be more precise.  The gusty wind had our chimes clanging around in a most non-soothing way!  Glad we got the watershed all charged up and even more glad Hermine is finished with Texas.  See ya Hermine!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Odds are...

If you have been gardening long enough in one place, odds are you have made a few mistakes.

I certainly have.  There are times I purchased and planted something in a spot because it looked good there at that moment, without taking into consideration the light, drainage or space requirements.
I have mint that for years was perfectly well behaved until the year it wasn't.  I spend hours now cursing myself, cutting it back to make room for anything and everything else in the bed it dominates.  It is a lot of work but that smell!  Is there anything more delicious than working with mint?  Maybe I let it go just a little bit on purpose.  Certainly the bees are happy when I do.

There were times when capricious weather did my plants in.  A colder than usual spell took a tecoma stans I couldn't shelter adequately, and a dry spell eliminated a New Guinea impatiens because I decided long ago not to try to keep anything that needed daily watering.  Not to mention the free lance landscaping courtesy of our neighborhood deer.

Occasionally,  it all goes well.  Some of the time because I made a well informed choice, more often than not because I got lucky.
This year the basil I seeded in with the wildflowers has tolerated my neglect and is doing quite well.
This year one of several morning glory vines I planted survived long enough to come into its own.  I can't help it y'all, I get a little weak at the knees over blue flowers.
This year, out admiring my blue flowers close up, I was reminded how glad I am to have gathered the seeds from a thick stand of purple ruellia in a public parking lot bed (after getting permission from the owners).  I like the pink and it has replanted itself liberally.  The purple seems more well mannered however and I do love the color.
Last but certainly not least, once again this year, I fell back in love with my Texas Kidneywood (Eysenhardtia texana) for its delicate leaf structure and its wonderfully fragrant white flower spikes.
It has persevered through cold, heat, drought, deluge, crowding out and severe trimming back.  Best of all it keeps coming back for more.  Sort of like I do.

About Me

My photo
Rollingwood, Central Texas
Family historian by default. Oldest surviving matriarch on my branch of the Family Tree. Story teller, photo taker, gardener, cook, blabbermouth.