Sunday, October 15, 2017

GBBD October 2017: Magic

When I posted my traditional October 9 "Before and After" of our front landscape fellow blogger The Outlaw Gardener commented that it was "magic".  I loved the word he applied to my gardening efforts.

This morning was an early one for me.  Yesterday I managed to successfully pull off hosting a Garden Conservancy Open Days Tour in six different locations across our rather largish city.  You'd think I would sleep like a rock afterwards.  Instead, I was wide awake before dawn and itching to get out in my own garden.

So I'll share these blooms for Garden Blogger's Bloomday.  Not too much commentary, just enjoy the magic of early morning in the garden.

White Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides) stopped me in my tracks and had me headed back to the house for the camera.  When did that start blooming?  Well, I have been busy.

Moving left for a wider view of the circle garden.

Silvery, billowy Estafiate,  a type of artemesia, which requires zero care as long as it gets full sun and little water.

Mexican Sage (Salvia darcyi)

Maxmillian Sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani

Up close

From the other direction

And another shot because I can't get enough of them so neither shall you.

Hyacinth Bean Vine decided to put in an appearance.  It's barely 18" high but blooming away.  Someday it will show up early enough to climb the post.  After three years I'm still waiting.

Triple purple Datura in the flower "bed".

That giant bouquet in the tank garden is still growing.

Plants grow into the paths where they will.  I long ago gave up trying to keep them in check.

Around front, Deer muhly (Muhlenbergia rigens) with a backdrop of white Plumbago.

El Toro Muhly (Muhlenbergia emersleyi) which I question all summer why I have this somewhat weedy grass in my front garden.  Then this happens.  Oh yeah, that's why.

Happy Garden Blogger's Bloom Day!   GBBD is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of each month and you can see even more blooms by heading over there to check out the links.

Monday, October 9, 2017

October 9th Before and After 2017

On October 9th, 2011, just a few days after I began this blog, one of my first posts was a "Before and After" of our front garden and I've kept it as an annual feature these past six years.

Here's the 2017 view taken this morning.

Mexican Feathergrass, which softens the rocks and gravel, has gone tawny for fall which allows the silvery yuccas and agaves to stand out.  The Yucca rigida which was planted by the garage corner about 18 months ago is not happy and a tall Yucca rostrata is on order as a replacement.  As it has almost every year, the front right corner has undergone a change with Agave cornelius from last year replaced by a Variegated Yucca gloriosa.  Agave cornelius has been moved to a part shade spot since it gets sunburned too easily.

There isn't much special about October 9th other than it just happened to be a date for which I had a good "before" photo from 2010 before I began this blog.  Interesting to note Salvia greggii seems to have bloomed earlier the last few years making photos since 2013 a bit colorless when compared to previous years.

From my original post a 2010 view from one year before I began this blog.

Looking very nice considering most of this reflected just two years work.  We had just replaced a brown shingle roof with standing seam metal and recently dug and divided existing pink Salvia greggii which produced a nice bloom prompting me to take the photo below.   Little did I know that we were about to get hit with a two-year drought that would kill or set back most of these plants significantly.

As the post was getting a bit too long, I condensed it into a GIF slideshow:

You can see details of all my previous October 9th posts and the changes I've made over the years at the links below.

October 9th 2011
October 9th 2012
October 9th 2013
October 9th 2014
October 9th 2015
October 9th 2016

Last year I mused about changing the date since the Salvia greggii have bloomed earlier each year.  This winter we will lift and divide them and I will probably post a full-bloom photo when they recover in the fall of 2018 instead of a fixed date.

The Garden Conservancy San Antonio Open Days Tour is this Saturday, October 14th from 10am to 4pm.  For more information click this link to the Garden Conservancy website.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Pumpkin Patch at Spring Creek Gardens

With the arrival of October we can get in the mood for fall even if our San Antonio weather has been hot.  While San Antonio doesn't get the spectacular autumn colors found in colder climates, we do our best and a good example is Spring Creek Gardens which goes all out with a huge Pumpkin Patch.  Here are photos from last October.

Colorful pumpkins brighten the shade under a nice stand of live oaks.

The different colors and patterns are always fun to see.

Lots of pretty vignettes set up to inspire for fall.

Spring Creek Gardens is in Spring Branch about 25 minutes north of San Antonio.

Annuals near the front gate are displayed in a welcoming roadside stand.

Mummies! how cute!

I was enamored with the awesome rockwork in these walls.

The nicest garden center gift shop around plus they sell wine from local wineries.

Stylin' way out here in the country

More garden goodies on display in the greenhouse.

Chickens!  They sell chickens and also poultry keeping supplies.

Will you take me home with you?

Shady seating areas to take in the view.

Ready for fall ya'll!

Butterflies approve of the extensive native plant selection.

I try to stop by Spring Creek Gardens whenever I'm up north on 281.

If you're looking for a place in the hill country to take the family, they're on US 281 just a few miles north of SH 46 on the west side of the road and have plenty of fun fall activities listed on their website.


The Garden Conservancy San Antonio Open Days Tour is this Saturday, October 14th from 10am to 4pm.  For more information click this link to the Garden Conservancy website.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday October 2017

It's the first Wednesday of October and time to share wildlife from the garden.  Just a few shots this month, but some interesting ones for Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina at "My Gardener Says..."
on this sixth anniversary of my blog.

What's on that camera wire?  A Texas Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri) which, true to its name, has alerted us to the presence of a rat in our attic.  The rat's days are numbered and repairing that fascia board has been on our list for a while.  I think we should move it up in priority although the snake might object.

Texas Rat Snakes always have a gray head even as their patterns vary slightly and look vaguely like a rattlesnake.  They also pretend to be rattlers by shaking their tail when threatened.  Non-venomous and helpful snakes are welcomed in my garden.

On to prettier wildlife like this pair of Painted Lady Butterflies on the Gregg's Mistflower.  Butterflies are returning to the garden in greater numbers now that the heat of summer is past us.

Queen Butterfly on Gregg's Mistflower.  There's a theme here.  Want more butterflies?  Plant more Gregg's Mistflower (Conoclinium greggii).

Except for that Giant Swallowtail enjoying the Gomphrena 'Fireworks'.  They all have their favorites and it seems that Gomphrena 'Fireworks' is a popular second choice.

I have seen a couple of Monarch butterflies on the tropical milkweed but did not get photos.

Our golf course correspondent brings us this tall fire ant mound complete with golf ball for scale.  This high mounding happens after deep soaking rains, as the ants go into hyper-mode to build mounds and escape the soaked ground.  You can see two ants on the golf ball if you look closely.  They were not amused.

A Whitetail doe hanging out by the compost pile.  Our deer herd frequently check for fresh cuttings of their favorite plants which have been fenced off.  We've had tons of rain so there should be plenty to eat out there.

Thanks for reading all along the way these past six years.  Be sure to follow the links to "My Gardener Says..." for more wildlife in the garden.

Friday, September 15, 2017

GBBD: End of Summer Garden

While northern climate gardeners are watching their gardens slow down and prepare for winter we are watching our gardens wake up and head into a second season of blooms.  I'm linking up with Garden Blogger's Bloom Day to share photos from walks around the garden the last few weeks.

In the tank garden Henry (blue) and Augusta (white) Deulberg Salvia farinacea work great together.  Both went dormant during summer heat and are now back in full bloom.  Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) on the right backed by orange Zexmenia (Wedelia texana) along with magenta Gomphrena 'Fireworks'.

It's like an 8' diameter bouquet.

The little pink gomphrena are 'Pinball Snow Tip' and they go perfectly with 'Fireworks' and blue and white salvia.

Evening view of Gomphrena 'Fireworks' from the backside.  The entire circle becomes a 30' walk-through floral arrangement.

Zexmenia and Gomphrena 'Strawberry Fields' line the circle garden,  Zexmenia grows naturally on undeveloped land behind us and has been easy to transplant.  It's a prolific reseeder so one or two plants have turned into many.   I bought one Gomphrena 'Strawberry Fields' plant years ago and it has faithfully reseeded every year.

Brazilian Rock Rose (Pavonia hastata) is a wild spreader filling the late summer/early fall garden with its pale pink flowers.

"Monarchs this way."  Just in case butterflies need a sign to find freshly planted Tropical Milkweed.

Morning blooms on tall purple Ruellia make the fence less boring.

Pink Ruellia on the other side of the garden.  Just a few Ruellia plants are all you need to fill in a garden.

Fluorescent orange aloe adds fall color near the side gate.

Mexican Olive topped with tissue paper blooms.

Moy Grande Hibiscus, looks tropical but is hardy to zone 5!  I planted it in a protected spot just in case.

Red Lantern hibiscus is not so hardy and spends winter in the garage.  Worth it for lacy blooms.

Native Passiflora foetida grows wild along the creek behind our back fence and has naturally found its way into the garden.

As found "in the wild" just steps outside our back fence rambling over Dewberry vines near the arroyo which feeds our creek.

Snapdragon vine grows wild in the same field with the above Passion Vine and now twines the fence.

Texas native Damianita was purchased from a nursery but now looks natural in the gravel garden.

Texas Twist-rib cactus was shared by a friend.

Red Barrel Cactus blooms don't fully open.

Crinum Native Hymenocallis have been nonstop for weeks.

Double yellow Datura from my friend Cliff Bingham.  See my visit to his garden here.

Red Salvia microphylla rarely stops blooming.

Ending our tour with Grandma's Yellow Roses appropriately paired with a Texas flag we painted on metal roofing,

Hosted by Carol Michel on the 15th of each month, GBBD gives bloggers a meme to share what's blooming in their gardens.  For more garden blooms see Carol's Garden Blogger's Bloomday post at May Dreams Gardens.