Friday, June 14, 2019

Mystery on the water fountain

Yesterday evening, I happened to spot something on our little water fountain. I stopped for a closer look....and photos. Lots of photos. I also took some videos using Messenger (see below) to share with my daughter, who's into nature, too. There was something familiar about the insect, but I couldn't figure it out. A beetle? A bee?

And was it enjoying the bath? Or trying to survive? I'll never know the answer. I did turn off the water, and the critter began to run around and even groom itself. I went into the house, and it was gone by the time I returned. 
As always, I sleuthed and determined that my wet friend was a tumbling flower beetle, likely Hoshihananomia octopunctata (try saying THAT three times, if at all!). In the past, I've found two other (unconfirmed) species in our Wildcape: Mordellistena comata and Mordella sp. Nature's so amazing! MYSTERY SOLVED!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Notes to myself

This past week, I "processed" bluebonnet seeds that I gathered from our neighbor's driveway. She insisted that I get them, and I picked a lot of them green. So I let them dry out. I threw most of them along the Ninth Street side of our Meadow.

Now that's TALL!

Check out some of our standing cypresses (Ipomopsis rubra) this year!

Rubeckia blooming

Like an old friend, my 'Autumn Colors' rubeckia, bought from the Arnosky Family Farms in 2012, came to visit (reseeded) and is blooming right now. I am so happy to see it again. It bloomed in June 2016, too. I think it's a beautiful flower. Don't you think so?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

My sensitive plant

Awhile ago, I transferred my sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) into a larger pot. It's growing on a window sill in our dining room. You might (or might not) recall my past post about the children's book I wrote that stars a sensitive plant as part of the plot. Anyway, I ordered some seeds (non-native) off eBay and germinated some. Alas, the first few tries ended with death. But finally I planted the seeds deeper in the dirt and VOILA–these two are still alive! Below are photos of the growth process.....I hope they bloom! 

Here's a funny story. My son and his wife, my daughter and her boyfriend, and my mother visited here in March for my birthday. Before my daughter-in-law left to go back home, she made a quick dash over to the window sill. She touched my plant, watched the leaves close, then tore off for the garage to join my son. I still laugh when I remember that scene. Everyone loves a sensitive plant!

The bigger pot

One good decision

I ran across this spiral notebook with notes the other day. It has to date back to 2007 or '08 when James and I first started putting in plants. At the time, I considered keeping a hand-written gardening journal. Back then, blogs were just getting started. I was nervous about having one of my own. But then I decided, why not? So I jumped into Window on a Texas Wildscape, and the rest is history, nicely archived in my blog posts.

But, wow, am I EVER GLAD and THANKFUL I decided going this route. I could have NEVER kept up with our plant inventory using a paper journal nor could I have searched for whatever I wanted to search as easily as I do using the search engine on my blog. PLUS, I couldn't have shared what I've learned along the way with YOU without this blog. Thank you for reading and listening all these years!

P.S. My notes also show how we weren't totally into native plants back then. So there's another good decision––we plant primarily NATIVES!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Another garden tour

This morning, we hosted members of the Native Plant Society of Texas/Lindheimer chapter from New Braunfels. The weather was PERFECT for wandering through our gardens. Thank you for coming, Al, James, Peggy, Sara, Mickey, Bob, Susan and Jeff!

Monday, May 13, 2019

First a bee, then a nest, then....

Awhile ago, I spotted a bee and immediately dropped my limb debris. I walked over and discovered the coolest nest made of tiny pebbles. I took LOTS of photos of the bee, working away on the nest. Experts on iNaturalist so far say my bee is a member of the Tribe Anthidiini (mason, leafcutter, carder and resin bees). I think my bee must be in the genus Dianthidium. Here's a similar nest.

I walked back over to check on her and observed a SECOND bee hovering nearby. When she came out of the nest, he jumped on her. What was going on, I wondered. Well.....

A little hanky panky, that's what was going on.
 But not for long. He finished, then flew off. And she went right back to work. So interesting to watch! Not to mention the cool nest.

UPDATE JUNE 13, 2019
Photos below show how she's enlarged her nest.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019


This morning, James drove me down RR 1623 so I could get some shots of this new-to-me species. It's Indian-turnip (Pediomelum cuspidatum), obviously a cousin to our famous Texas bluebonnet. Pretty, eh?

Monday, May 6, 2019

New additions

Welcome to our Wildscape! Additions from the Mostly Native Plant Sale in Boerne. 

Carolina buckthorn (Frangula caroliniana)
Mexican silktassel (Garrya ovata)
Purple horsemint (Monarda citriodora)
Texas honeysuckle (Lonicera albiflora)

Plus a Salvia greggi 'White'
Dragon's blood (Sedum spurium)
Crassula sedum (ride-along...looks like Crassula muscosa)

Another plant sale!

Last Saturday, the Cibolo Nature Center's Mostly Native Plant Sale at the Kendall County Fairgrounds opened to gray but dry skies. As always, James gamely escorted me there.

We got to see our friends from Natives of Texas nursery in Medina–owner David Winningham and Pablo. I always hear Pablo before I see him–I love his friendly voice and laughs!
One of my favorite booths is the one hosted by the Boerne chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas. They always have a tremendous variety of natives, not to mention familiar faces.

One of my plants that I purchased at their booth included a ride-a-long. What was it? So a group of chapter members huddled together to come up with an ID for me. Finally they announced it was in the pepperweed genus of Lepidium.

We briefly parked our plant purchases here. 
Beekeeper Mike Mendez from Austin shared his passion with visitors. Kids especially loved his hive display.
 Adios until next time!