Sunday, October 31, 2010

More Owl

Quick update.... The owl wasn't stuck, because later in the evening we checked and he had gone. We were glad he wasn't stuck but sad that we probably wouldn't see him again. BUT.... this afternoon we looked, and low and behold he was back. Just as before. Head out, kind of squinty-eyed. Keeping an eye on things. I let Lily out who, in her oblivious way, strolled over and scratched on the trunk of the 'owl' tree. I watched and the owl watched her every move, craning his neck and looking straight down at Lily and following her as she sauntered around the yard. I watched closely thinking, "o.k. if the owl climbs right out of the box I'll rush over and scoop Lily up and bring her in to safety." The owl just watched.
We think we will call the owl Archimedes (after Merlin's owl)(Max's choice). If at some point the owl becomes a girl.... maybe Athena... who knows.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

OH! OH! OH! OWL!!!!

I can hardly write, I am SO excited. Joseph came running in to tell us that, well, see for yourself...
He/she(?) has been there all afternoon, and squinted at us impassively as we all trooped out and stared at it. We are hoping it is not stuck, or sick or something.
But it is such a thrill that an OWL has actually gone into the OWL BOX finally! I wonder if it will stick around.
We better keep an eye on Lily if she goes out, so that she doesn't become owl kibble.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Poke-o-we'en

The more purple they get, the more poisonous they are....

Picture me with my gnarled and muddy, beckoning finger in the dim light of a Hallowe'en Eve, "come leetle children, for Hallowe'en I have a special treat for you, eat your fill of the pretty purple berries from our garden...." heh, heh, heh...

Mimosa Seed Pod

Even though the Mimosa is not long for this world, it manages, even while dying, to have some beautiful moments. I feel sad for it. I know it is on its way out, and is not a good Texan tree, but it tried and I understand why people are enamoured with them.
p.s. I totally stole this photo idea... I admit it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pictorial Ode to Autumn

I went for a walk on a trail nearby, and saw such autumnal beauty I had to share...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Favourite Weed identified.... (see post from Sept. 24)

See what pretty stages it has been going through... Well guess what?.........

It is called Pokeweed and it is a highly toxic plant: "If taken internally, pokeweed is a slow acting but violent emetic. Vomiting usually starts about two hours after the plant or parts of it have been eaten. Severe cases of poisoning result in purging, spasms, and sometimes convulsions. If death occcurs, it is usually due to paralysis of the respiratory organs. Because of the danger of human poisoning, pokeweed should be eradicated when discovered. If only a few plants occur in an area, pull them up and destroy by burning.....!"
Well, there you go. It was my favourite weed in the garden, and now I will have to pull it up and burn it!! Maybe I'll do it on Hallowe'en Eve. Or MAYBE, I'll get out my cauldron and boil it, and offer it out as a special treat for its medicinal qualities, for which it is also known.... hee, hee, hee.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Another Eggplant Alert!

So, if you look carefully you can see FOUR eggplants growing simultaneously on ONE plant. Yep, that's right, we have officially moved up from single-serving to 'crop' status.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vines on fences: not everyone's cup of tea, I find.

Well, I am feeling a little sad because I have discovered that the neighbour behind me does not share my desire to completely cover the fence with vines of any and all varieties. I stood outside and watched as he went around flipping any part of my vines that had the audacity to encroach on his side back onto my side, and any part that wouldn't be flipped he cut off! And here I thought he was probably thinking how great it was that he could benefit from the greenery I had started, and the flowers I had painstakingly produced from seeds. I am sure that now he has a pristine privacy fence but it is discouraging to realize that not all the world shares ones vision. Why WOULDN'T he want to see those delicate lacy Alamo vine leaves, and sweet white flowers. Good Lord, what is wrong with him? He did the same to the Dolichos too. sigh.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bug update

Just so ya know, my Butterfly Weed has been swarmed by 'yellow oleander aphids.' Ugly, very ugly!
I particularly hate the little black legs. Oh well at least we know. And it wasn't 'yellow brain fungus with legs' but might just as well be.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New baby!

I am excited to say that we are hatching a new eggplant baby!

However I have to say I am feeling a little small and insignificant, having now seen a whole GROVE of eggplant with a MULTITUDE of very large eggplants hanging from the stalks, and most of the plants were as tall as me. Sigh.

O.k. none of those eggplants were as cute as mine, and it WAS a little excessive wasn't it? I mean who needs that much eggplant anyway? Of course he may be feeding it to the needy in which case, I've just become a little smaller still, but in case he isn't sharing at all.... well humph. When I am an internationally renowned landscape architect I'll have a grove of eggplant too, and I'll let anyone who wants one come in my garden and pick it whenever they want!!!

So much for the Dill..

Well at least something is getting to enjoy the dill plant. And I am not going to try to hatch these, so we probably won't get to enjoy much of it.

Garden gross out.

Not all is beautiful in Eden, I am afraid. Some colony of nasty little yellow things have taken up residence on my butterfly weed. They make my skin crawl just looking at them, and see, they have little black legs and antennae, yuck.
I don't know why they are there but as my butterfly weed is at the end of its season now, I have not played God and expelled them from the garden. Yet.
But I will try to find a name for them. May be the name will turn out to be 'yellow brain fungus with legs'. I'll let you know if I am right.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Every once in a while I need to pat myself on the back a bit... Here we see May 2009, six months into life in the new house, and then September 2010. The funny thing is, I think I was pretty pleased with how much I'd done by April 2009, so it just goes to show you.... Sometimes it feels as though the garden is improving soooo slowly, but it IS improving. (Compare the one little tendril of vine creeping up the fence at the bottom of the yard in 2009 with the profusion of Dolichos and Alamo vines now.) Once again exercising patience is the moral here.

When I look out and I see the same garden that I saw the day before, I wonder why the flagstone paths haven't emerged, or the vine-covered arbor, or the stone 'water feature'. Obviously I just need to stop and enjoy it all for a moment. (And then go for my shovel and get back to work.)

Planting Experiment

We decided to try a different sort of planter: this is our 'ah-ha' use for air-conditioning ducts, easily purchased at Home Depot for 7 or 8 dollars depending on the size you get.... I will keep you posted on the success of this experiment as the plants live, grow, thrive, or conversely, pine away and die (but we hope not). My concern at the outset, is that the metal, which conducts heat and cold, will cook the roots of the plants in the summer, and chilled them right down in the winter. But maybe the plants will prove hardy enough for their container. (Too bad I'm not in grade five because then I could be doing this for my science fair project).
I hope it works because I think they look very cool, and deserve to end up in Real Simple in that section on other uses for things...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I just had to put up these pictures because they create a perfect visual image of the word joy.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tremella Mesenterica

Oh brother! I am almost sorry I asked, but I found out what my cool fungus is (see post from September 22nd): The latin name is TREMELLA MESENTERICA.... Aren't you glad I looked this up for you?? One common name it has seems to be 'yellow brain fungus', which is disgusting. Another is 'witches butter' which is a little better. But I think I am just going to stick with the names I gave them.

The big picture

Taking a step back from some of the ultra close-ups, it is nice to see it all blending together.
This time of year seems to be the happiest for the garden. The intense heat is done, the sun is sharp and clear, the plants are at their fullest, and don't seem to wilt any more in mid afternoon. The recent gift of rainy days has left the grass a lush and vibrant green which is very easy on the eyes, especially at the close of day.

Studying stamens

I do go on a bit about the rock rose I know, but I couldn't resist posting this shot of the stamens. Like my post about the bulbine, it is when I get really close up that I find myself in such awe of the cleverness of each plant. And I love the fact that you can see both the festive little circle of stamen stems, that look like some kind of Dr. Seuss hairdo, and the shadow they cast down on the flower.

Taking a closer look

I love seeing a mass of colour in the garden: reds, yellows, oranges, different shapes and sizes, but all blending beautifully. Then I get closer and I am constantly amazed by the unbelievably perfect symmetry of each tiny individual flower.
Here is one little flower on a stem of many such flowers of a bulbine plant, and look at the delicate, feathery fluff in the center! How sweet is that.