Apr 16, 2012

April in South Texas

Playing with the new camera, still have a long way to go!  But while I was out, I got some good pictures of our place, blooming wild from the late winter rains.  (Praying for some late spring rains now, so we don't have a summer like last year!)

The slide show feature (click on the first picture) shows them to best advantage, but doesn't show text/captions, so maybe read first then see the slide show.  :~)

We live in a subdivision that is a mix of manufactured and site built homes, but the HOA keeps it tidy, requiring all the houses to be set way back from the road.  The average lot is an acre and a half.

Our back yard wild flower meadow...we don't mow the back part until they finish setting seeds.

This is Pete.  He guards the front door, and the rosemary.
The flower bed by the front door...some would say I have an odd sense of humor...
This is a volunteer Cilantro plant.  The seeds are known as coriander.
This is "Wild Indigo", and will (eventually) become a large shrub.  Supposed to be an insecticide plant, but so far it's just pretty.  It's also a relative of the pea type plants, which fix nitrogen and help enrich the soil.
Native Lantana, grows wild here.  The leaves smell like a horse's saddle blanket.  Seriously.
The veggie garden gate.  Schultz is waiting, because he LOVES veggies harvested here.  The rows on the left are asparagus, allowed to begin growing after some weeks of harvest.  The vine growing up the right side is a Sky Vine, and makes snap-dragon type flowers as big as your fist.  The garden has four sunken framed beds, each is 4' by 24' long, and a perimeter bed for herbs, roses, domestic grapes, and whatever else feels like climbing. 

This is the "Katrina Rose" or Peggy Martin climber, in one of the perimeter beds.  I planted it three springs ago from a one gallon container.  That's a six foot fence she's growing on, and she seems pretty happy there--not even in full bloom yet.  (That's bronze fennel and Italian oregano to the lower left.)
Peggy Martin was a rose grower in New Orleans.  When Katrina hit, this was the only rose of over three hundred varieties that survived the hurricane and subsequent salt-water flooding.

I have a messy veggie garden, but I love having poppies and native phlox growing wild among the beds.  The wildflower "weeds" attract pollinators and predator bugs which are useful, because we garden organically with no chemical insecticides or fertilizers.
This bed has nasturtiums, peas, morning glories, bottle gourds, onions, parsley, basil, and the last of the fading bluebonnets.  Eventually the vines will create shade for what grows underneath.

This is another native wildflower growing between the veggie beds, called Spiderwort.  Ugly name for such a beautiful flower!
This is Schultz (my constant companion) and a butterhead lettuce that I've let go to seed.  When I let them seed (they poof like milkweeds), they volunteer all over the garden so we have organic lettuce nine months out of the year.

This is dill, another volunteer from last year's seeding, and almost 5 ft tall already.  Butterflies go crazy over it, and I have to exercise restraint when I see caterpillars on it.  Between the good bugs, the bad bugs, the lizards, snakes, frogs and birds, Mother Nature creates a fine healthy balance without my help.
Poppies!  These are from seed given to me when I volunteered at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens.  I will have enough seed after all these bloom to supply everyone on my street!

The purple is larkspur, the funny pods are poppies--both average 3 to 4 ft tall.  The poppy seed pods dry hard and make wonderful nature crafts.  I plan to harvest these to teach my grandsons how to make tiny dolls.  Both the larkspur and poppies are from seeds scattered around last fall.  No planting required.
Indian Paintbrush, a native wildflower that went especially crazy this year.  Extremely hard to grow from seed or starts, so we let them seed as much as possible before mowing.  That's the main part of the wildflower meadow picture above.  There between the three large blossoms you'll see a tiny beneficial wasp looking for bugs.

This is a honeysuckle vine I planted three springs ago from a one gallon pot.  I have since rooted another five plants from cuttings of this one.  Used in Chinese herbal medicine, but I'm not familiar with the application.  I just grow it for the incredible fragrance and year 'round green.
Schultz is wondering when the cherry tomatoes will ripen so he can have some.  Sugar snap peas and asparagus are okay, but he luuuuuvs cherry 'maters.


  1. And, you have time to make dolls? Your gardens are awesome! I love your wildflower meadow. Your gardens must be heaven for hummingbirds and butterflies. I am so inspired by your veggie garden to add some framed beds to our garden. And, do you have a sense of humor?!! How many times have I wanted to throw a doll out the back door!

  2. Love your garden specially the wildflowers. It's so nice to see growing things as our spring is lagging behind although my daffodils have finally decided to flower.

    1. Funny how different climates dominate our lives, eh? Our "growing season" is almost at a standstill--by the end of May, we just stay indoors and try not to melt until September. But we can grow veggies gardens pretty much all winter.

  3. I lived in South Texas for a couple of years and was so amazed at the amount and variety of spring flowers and birds. I fell in love with Texas but couldn't stop yearning for the mountains and clear streams and lakes of Montana..

    1. That's funny, Anita. We lived in Montana (Great Falls AFB) for a few years, and I loved the mountains and the river, and all, but couldn't stand having a three month growing period! :~D

  4. Gorgeous Jan! I am always amazed by how much you accomplish!

  5. That is a really great picture of your house! You must be getting the knack of how to use your new camera. Good for you!

  6. I lived in Texas when I was a kid and remember the wildflowers in the spring. I hope you guys get some rain - we need some, too! It's weird to be in a drought here, but we are! xox

  7. if this is April in South Texas, then Summer is going to be beautiful. I'd like to have a pete, by my front door. Flowers always cheer me up, thanks Jan.


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  9. Your plantings are just beautiful, I especially like the dolly parts!!
    You are one busy gal! Thanks for your kind comments about my dolls. Did you notice I put in a plug for your walnut dye???? I hope that is okay, I will remove it if your want, just let me know

    1. Seriously, Sherri? I LOVE that you put in a plug for the walnut dye. Silly girl. :~)

  10. You have lovely gardens. I especially like your wildflowers in your backyard. -- barbara


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