Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Winter Wonderland

DSC_0307

Looking outside now it is hard to believe that the picture above was just this morning. It warmed up to a still-chilly 52 degrees today and melted away last night’s magic.

It started snowing yesterday evening when the temperatures were already dancing around freezing. It continued dusting us for several hours, enough to actually accumulate. That is quite a feat here in Austin.

The snow wasn’t predicted. Instead we were supposed to hit a light freeze. I covered the more tender of the veggies beds, but left the spinach, chard, and carrots uncovered.  I was a little worried at the scene this morning, but other than a slight burn on the chard, the veggies looked pretty good this afternoon.

 Scenes from the Frontyard

Scenes from the Backyard

Can’t forget the Yard Art

Latest Front Yard Project

DSC_0164

A few months ago the front garden contained one large bed, one smaller bed containing pink autumn sage, and a smattering of fruit trees. Although the idea of fruit trees as a complement to the vegetable garden seemed great, the reality turned out quite different. In Austin we don’t get adequate water, so supplemental water is a must. In the summer I was watering each of these trees for nearly an hour each week. With water costs in the summer I found myself paying hundreds of dollars for a few pieces of fruit that I had to battle the squirrels for.

This summer I decided to rip out the fruit trees and go with native pollinator plants instead. Initially these plants will need supplemental water to get established, but eventually they could get by with water only in the warmest and driest of conditions.

Along with drought conditions, I also had to plant deer-resistant varieties. The bed varies from full sun to shade, which made plant selection both challenging  and fun.

DSC_0211

I spent August and September planning and prepping. The first step was to have the Austin Garden Bloggers over for one of our monthly Go-Gos. In exchange for brunch, these talented gardeners shared a wide variety of creative ideas – many of which I implemented. My prepping included rock borders and hand removal of the grasses. My mother-in-law spent several weekend mornings helping out. Thanks Mom! I left much of the ground cover (frog fruit, horse herb) in place and chose to mulch with crushed live oak leaves.

DSC_0209

My October weekends were spent shopping and planting, the fun part! Even though I planted all gallon-size pots, it will still take a few years to really fill out.

DSC_0201

One of my favorite suggestions was from Pam Penick at Digging. She recommended that I break up the large bed with a grass river. I loved the idea, and went with Mexican Feather Grass. Not only do I love the size and coloring of this grass, but it is also readily available. The river will slowly blend with Ruby Crystal Grass as well.

 

I’ve got a few plants in bloom …

 

The new beds are a combination of new purchase and garden transplants. Due to the large size of the bed, (20X40) I decided to plant in clusters. Aside from really large plants, I went with 3 or more of each.

DSC_0191 2

New Purchases : Blue Glow Agave, Flame Acanthus, Copper Canyon Daisy, Trailing White Lantana, Native Texas Lantana, Wedelia, Desert Willow, Pink Skullcap, Purple Skullcap, Shrubby Boneset, Russian Sage, Texas Sotol, Mexican Feather Grass, Black Mondo Grass, Pigeon Berry, Lyre Leaf Sage, Dwarf Barbados Cherry, Thryallis, Limoncello, Turks Cap, Black and Blue Salvia, Inland Seaoats

DSC_0205

Transplants from elsewhere in the my garden : Green Goblet Agave, Variegated Society Garlic, Betony, White and Pink Autumn Sage, Multi-color Irises, Chocolate Daisies, Russian Sage, Ruby Crystal Grass, Passalong Agave

Already Existing in Bed: Mountain Laurel, White and Pink Autumn Sage, Four O’clocks, Mexican Feather Grass, Damianita, Agarita

 

 

 

DSC_0796

Summer means cicada season in Texas. If you look carefully you can usually catch a few as they’ve just emerged from their larval shells. Immediately after molting their wings are still wet and can be easily damaged, so they stay put until the wings are completely dry. I saw this one last weekend, a bit before sunrise.

DSC_0891

This morning I was lucky enough to find another one. I noticed that it seemed stuck in its shell, and as I looked closer something didn’t look right. There were spider webs all over the cicada.

DSC_0901

This small spider, a fraction of the size of the cicada was working on its next meal. I figure that it must have paralyzed the cicada before it went to work.

DSC_0899

Here’s another view of this crazy scene.

DSC_0916

I decided to come outside every half hour or so and check on the progress. My next visit made me question my sanity for a moment. The cicada was gone!

DSC_0914

I heard a squawk and looked to my left. One of the guineas was devouring both the cicada and the spider! It happened so quickly I couldn’t snap a photo.

DSC_0923

Here’s all that remained. I guess the shell wasn’t too appetizing.

Such is the circle of life!

DSC_0267

Pathways have a way of showcasing the personality of the garden and it’s owner. The ones at this year’s Fling in DC/Virginia/Maryland were no exception.

Formal

Whimsical

Freeform

DSC_0075

Living dangerously!

Focused

DSC_0592

Leisurely, as my friend Cat,  The Whimsical Gardener  demonstrated.

One of these days I’ll figure out how to add these to my own garden!

DSC_0366

I had the pleasure of attending my third Garden Bloggers Fling this year. We spent an incredible weekend touring the Washington DC area, including Northern Virginia and Maryland.

One thing that caught my eye was the plethora of concrete yard art. I noticed this more than in Texas, or any of the other Flings I’ve been to, maybe it’s the historical nature of the area.

One of our first stops, was Hillwood Estate, which had French-themed statues.

Throughout the garden, there was loose symmetry, which I love, and have implemented in my own garden.

DSC_0374

Several different gardens displayed St. Francis. This is not only my favorite from the Fling, but my favorite depiction ever.

DSC_0133

I think everyone on The Fling has this picture. The concrete columns of the monastery we visited were masterpieces.

DSC_0070

Even this chipmunk was a fan. This is the first one I’ve ever seen, as we don’t have these little creatures in Texas.

Some concrete was the star of the show.

Some blended effortlessly into the background.

One of these is from the Fling and one is just outside my front door.

 

 

Spring Babies

DSC_0733

These two cuties are the newest addition to the flock. The chick was born yesterday, and the duckling today. These two ducks are sitting on another few dozen eggs, so we are hoping for  several more in the next few days.

Aside from the two new mommas, there are another 4 ducks and 1 chicken sitting on eggs.

So far this season the hatching rate has been very low. We have 4 juvenile ducks and 7 juvenile chickens. We had 5 ducks and 1 chicken sitting a few months ago, but a rat snake and possum got into the coop and ate the majority of the eggs.

DSC_0741

The juvenile ducks are currently in their awkward stage. This one’s wings are a bit too big for his body.

DSC_0711

Here are a two of the seven juvenile chickens. We currently have 3 Bielefelders, 3 Maran/Bielefelder mixes, and 1 White.

DSC_0705

It looks like our new Bielfelder rooster is doing his job.

 

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Garden for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day the 15th for each month.

Here is what’s blooming in my garden.

The Roses …

The Rise N Shine rose is especially happy since I moved it to a pot. It used to be shadowed by the Livin’ Easy rose where it succumbed to fungus and rarely bloomed.

The Lantana …

The Wildflower Meadow …

DSC_0046

The rest …