Sunday, January 20, 2013

Back to Blogging.

One of my goals for 2013 is to revive my blog. Twitter and Facebook came along and I let my blog languish.

I enjoy blogging about my garden and the wildlife that visit my part of Texas. We are lucky to have 30 acres of land surrounding our house. I attempt to garden and landscape about 2 acres. The rest is woodland and pasture.

Below are some photos from last summer and fall. I am getting excited about spring 2013 and starting to prepare beds for planting.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Painted Buntings.

We are lucky to have many birds that visit our backyard.  One of my favorites is the Painted Bunting.  Although it looks tropical, the Painted Bunting is native to our part of Texas. 

As is usual for birds the male is the more colorful bird.  The female is kind of hard to see in the upper part of the picture below.  She is mostly green in color.

We normally see painted buntings at the bird baths so it was unusual to see them under the bird feeders.

Below is a male Cardinal sharing space with a Painted Bunting. We have many Cardinal pairs at our feeders and bird baths every day. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Texas Wildflowers.

The wildflowers are spectacular this year. 

Indian Paintbrush and Texas Bluebonnets.

Lucy enjoys the bluebonnets.

Yucca blooming among bluebonnets.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring at Last!

Spring has been slow to get started this year after our wet and colder than normal winter.  Everything is greening up now and the blooming trees have been so pretty this year.  Above is my Aristocrat Pear in bloom.

My snowdrops were beautiful this winter and are still blooming into Spring.  Here are some of them with Columbine growing in front.

My tomato plants are finally in the ground and I have wrapped the cages with muslin fabric to protect them from strong winds while they are small.  I will remove the fabric when they get bigger and the weather heats up.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Getting an early start with Tomatoes.

I always get impatient as spring approaches to get my tomato plants going.  Since our last average frost date is March 15 it is a gamble to put the plants in the ground this early.  When I found some small pots of healthy looking tomato plants in varieties that I like to grow I grabbed them.  I know I will take better care of them then they would get sitting on the shelf at Home Depot.

I watered them well and let them rest for a day or two on the workbench in our garage under a flourescent light during the day.  Today I repotted them into larger pots.  I gently cut and peeled off the peat pots they were in.  (They say you can plant the whole pot but I don't like to; it takes time for the pot to disintegrate and the roots to spread out.)  The plants had lots of healthy looking roots.  I cut off the lower stems and planted the plants deep in the pots.  This encourages lots of roots and makes strong plants.  When I plant them in the ground in a few weeks I will again take off some lower branches and plant them deep.

These pots will stay in the garage under the light on cold days and sit outside on mild days like today.  I will put them in the garage at night.  A few days before I plan to plant them outside I will leave them out day and night to acclimate them to the outdoors.  When I plant them outside I put large tomato cages around them and wrap the outside of the cages with muslin fabric.  This serves as a protection from strong wind.

This may sound like a lot of work but it really isn't..  It surely is worth it to have those wonderful home grown tomatoes all summer.  I can't wait!  

Saturday, March 6, 2010

February to March.

This was the scene at our house on Feb. 22, 2010

This was March 4, 2010 after plant shopping.

Spring has sprung and I can't wait to start planting and gardening!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stop Crape Murder..

Well, it is that time of year when the butchering of crape myrtles runs rampant. Many of these crimes are committed by so called "professional" landscape people who advise homeowners and businesses who don't know any better that this is a good idea. I took this photo at a local apartment complex. Someone had done this to all of the many crape myrtles in the complex.

This "topping" is totally unnecessary and ruins the shape of these beautiful trees. Every year my frustration grows when I see this all over town. Crape myrtles can be shaped up from the bottom by taking out small limbs and any suckers that start to grow. Other pruning should be confined to twigs smaller than a pencil in diameter.

Many varieties will grow into beautiful medium sized trees that bloom nearly all summer, love the heat, are drought tolerant and give much needed shade.

When choosing a crape myrtle for your landscape be sure you are getting a variety that will fit the space you have. Dwarf, intermediate, tall and weeping forms are available.

Crape myrtles are listed as hardy in zones 7 and 8.