Monday, September 12, 2011

The Force of Nature

While I was in England I was fortunate enough to stay in a lovely, very old house in the country. The house has lived in this spot for a long time, but I am afraid that nature has decided to reclaim the space for its own.
I am not sure if you can see from the next picture, but the Virginia Creeper is creeping in on the house...
In all the rooms, the windows were just unable to hold back the unrelenting advance of this intrepid plant. Yikes. Don't mess with Mother Nature.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Seed Pods from Abroad

On our first day in Athens, we climbed Likavitos. A tall hill behind our house in the center of Athens. From the top, there are spectacular views, but I enjoyed capturing the micro images more than the macro:
These little dried seeds are smaller than a dime in circumference, and were so enchantingly sweet. They reminded me of old coins one might dig out of an ancient archaeological site.
Then there were the Catherine Wheel seeds, which made me think of fireworks.
And finally my favourite, these tiny almost glass-like pods, which I had to bring home and photograph a multitude of times, but the little discs are so small, it was almost impossible to really get a good picture.
Each one of these is only about the size of a small lentil

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's Time to Say Goodbye

I said goodbye to the garden today. Tomorrow morning we depart on our nine month adventure to Greece. It is very hard to leave the plants, especially as they are struggling so much in the heat. Another surprise showed up in the form of this yellow wildflower (or weed), which I know I didn't plant, but which decided to join the garden somehow.
Before we left, I did an final mowing and weeding and watering, and the garden looked so serene in the early morning light.
I hope the young trees survive. The fig has completely leafed out again, and so has the pecan.
I keep telling myself that even if it gets totally over grown, or sun burnt and dry, I can't possibly have to start back at square one. Right? Right?? Surely not.
So now, while we are away, I will be using this blog to write about Greek gardens that we encounter during our stay. Stay Tuned! (For more of the day to day adventures of settling in to a life in Athens you can visit
See Ya.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In Memoriam

On Sunday morning I went out to admire the garden in the early morning light, and was amazed to see that the whole garden had burst into bloom. Plants that had been struggling were now flowering. It was an amazing and beautiful sight and it filled me with awe and wonder. I found out shortly after that stroll that my father had died the evening before. I would like to dedicate these blooms to him, because certainly their colour and beauty will always remind me of him.
The Rock Rose was covered!

How splendid she looks!
Blue salvia,
Red salvia
and the longed for Pride of Barbadoes....

A surprising cluster of Blue Sky,
and the promise of more to come.
Even the seed pods of the Mimosa looked fabulous as they caught the early morning rays.
Forever in my heart, my dear old curmudgeon of the hills. xoxoxo

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I'm On My Way...

I'm on my way, from misery to happiness today... uh huh, uh huh, uh huh, uh huh...
Oh yeah, oh yeah! I know you aren't supposed to count your chickens before they hatch...BUT, I am pretty sure that I am going to get some Pride of Barbados flowers soon. Please, PLEASE let them bloom before we leave!

Ruellia Bouquet

Nothing like a cluster of blossoms to cheer one up.
Ruellia blossoms are so chubby and cute and crinkly, and purple. And they are darker purple in the center.
From behind, the light shows us all the little veins and creases. The delight is in the detail.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Out of the depths of the drought...

When I first returned from Canada, I was distressed to see that parts of the garden looked like the deep mid-winter in July, Texas style. Our baby pecan tree had dropped its leaves onto the burnt grass, and so had the poor little fig tree.
But, these plants are INTREPID, and after some babying and A LOT of water for their parched little roots, they are gamely putting out new foliage. You Go little trees!!
See? Isn't that festive?
Happy days are here again.

Cavorting Cacti

I was out in the garden today, and I saw that the cacti are involved in a very elegant dance together.
I saw the prickly pear leaning in to ask the young tree cholla cactus if he could have the next dance. See how he asks with such a debonair nod in her direction.
I can understand the Prickly Pear's interest because most certainly the tree cholla was looking very willowy and beautiful. When I gaze at her, I want to join in the dance too. She is also very clever, because her original stem leaned quite dramatically to the left, so to compensate she has put out all her new growth to the right. Isn't she gracious? However, gallant as is his request, her reply to the Prickly Pear is a polite decline today. She is already engaged in the current dance with the Bamboo Muhli.The Bamboo Muhli grasps her spiny arms with the most delicate, green, lacy fronds. Of course Cholla said yes to the Muhli!
Prickly Pear is a good sport and bides his time. "I'll just do my impersonation of an elephant while I wait," he says.
The dance in the miniature zen garden is nothing if not charming and refined. As I walked and watched, I realized that just as with people, plants have very different ideas about what type of dance they prefer:
Umm. All I can say about this dance is it must be a Rave. Hey! Who's in charge here!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

One of the Plagues of Egypt??

I think one of the ten plagues of Egypt was drought, or if it wasn't it should have been. Well, actually, come to think of it, drought was probably just normal weather. HOWEVER, I DO know that there was a plague of locusts, and when I saw this GIANT, and I do mean giant, grasshopper on our patio (3 1/2 inches long)(with wings), I was sure we were seeing something of biblical portent.... dun, dun, dun, dun.....
watch out ya'll. (Enlarge for the full, horrific effect!)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

And To Think that I saw it on Delaware Street.

I went for a walk up Delaware Street, a zone that seeks calm, but that's not what I meet....
I looked at each home, and at each little yard and saw more that was wild than was calm to my eyes...
A riot of thistles filled this home's front yard,
and a shadowy arch was enticingly private
I think Seuss himself imagined these balls, so round and so blue, so spiky and tall.
The ginko was fine, all ruffled and green,
the Japanese maple glowed red in the sky,
Then the riot of colour spread to some houses, a cheerful red door for a sweet yellow porch,
And speaking of yellow, well yellow is yellow is yellow is gold. This squash blossom truly was fine to behold.
I continued my walk and saw cone roofs galore, here five in a row like blue and brown hats
Even the Taj Mahal found its place on this street, with its own little riot of blue morning glory, all twisty and tangled, and climbing up skyward.

At each stop on my walk, I was happy to see, that calm was for cars, and the rest was let be.
This turned out to be good, because guarding the house was a ferocious black dog the size of a mouse. He was ever alert, and so kept the place safe. Not too much calm can spoil this place.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Positively Prehistoric Bug!

This fellow was not fazed in the least by the camera clicking right in his face.
He turned this way and that, as if to show off just how very fine he was.
He has such an intelligent expression, he almost aaahhh bug.