Goodbye old friend

If you’ve visited my house one of the first things that greeted you was a giant prickly pear. When we sold our old house in 2007 I took two paddles and put them in a pot with some dirt. They sat on my Mom and Dad’s back porch for 4 months, then spent an entire winter shoved into the back of our new shed. I planted it sometime that summer.

To say it thrived was an understatement. It grew into a lovely specimen.

2011 xeriscaping

But then it kept growing. It started making it difficult to get into the house and needed constant pruning. It was like a friend who was clingy, always wanting to play with your hair.

2014 yard remodel

It was impressive in a “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a prickly pear that tall before” way. But not in a “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a prickly pear that beautiful before”. So Julie and I decided today that the time had come. As part of our spring cleaning we took it out.

It has provided some lovely landscaping beams, however.

So what next? We don’t know. I’d love to hear any and all ideas.

Butterflies and Immigration

I try to keep my ranting in other blogs. But every piece of gardening feels like such a political activity that I don’t really know why I try. Here’s a great thread from Austin City Council Member Gregorio Casar on the intersection of immigration and Monarch butterflies.

Bloom Day – January 2018

So here we are on a very bizarre Bloom Day. First off – the blooms!

We had a couple Bluebonnets.

And I found a lone verbena.

But the fear of tomorrows high in the 20s couldn’t keep us inside on this lovely day in the high 60s. So off to the Ladybird Wildflower Center we went.

We improperly operate exercise machines.

Found a sculpture that in other seasons is hidden in tall grass, much like the birds it portrays .

Built a shelter of dubious quality.

And sat on a bench trying to decide where in our yard could accommodate this lovely tree (or three).

The school hasn’t called yet, but it’s looking like we’ll be stuck inside for at least a day this week. But it was nice to get out while we can.

 

Christmas at Big Bend

We had a fantastic opportunity drop into our lap. A friend had 3 days reserved at the Chisos Mountain Lodge. So off to Big Bend we went for Christmas. I, of course, drove my family a bit batty taking pictures of plants. It was an amazing trip and I was shocked by the amount of variety. The Pine Woods and Guadalupe River were so different from the more expected desert areas.

I’ve labeled most of what I can. If you know a plant or I’ve mislabeled please leave me a comment!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have a yearly Friendsgiving feast. It’s a potluck full of fancy food. Tonight promises the children engaged in an epic Nerf gun battle, plenty of a food, and a nice fire to cap off the evening. It’s hard to believe all the blooms. I went out today and noticed my Mealy BlueWhite Sage blooming. It’s a fantastic temperature and our plans to convert the outside into an extension of our living space is really coming along.

^ Mealy Sage and a lovely agave that was transplanted from the front yard.

^ Outdoor seating looking up at the fire pit.

^ The fire pit looking back at the house.

^ The back of the house including new supports for lights. The plan is to have those supports also support a canvas roof and mosquito netting to make it truly an outside room. The ugly brown box attached to the wall is our outdoor TV. It needs a coat of paint, but we have plans to repaint the house as it is, so it’ll probably happen as part of that project.

And finally please excuse the egg crate hanging in our bedroom window. That was some temporary sound proofing that has become a bit permanent.

One of our projects for this weekend is getting all our succulents re-potted and inside for the winter. 

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and get to some of your outdoor projects in this lovely weather! 

Not enough people plant this

While Texas will never rival the North East in fall, there is fall color here. A love of planting dark green Japanese plants and native evergreens has left the area bereft of these signs of fall. Here’s the lovely Flameleaf Sumac that brightens up a cloudy day with it’s mix of fiery colors. These are great as border plants (they grow quickly and spread freely) and you could easily use them as a lush back border that shows off dramatically in as much of the rest of your yard begins hibernating.