Friday, August 14, 2009

"Sage Advice"

We planted the long, green spikes with deep blue flowers two summers ago. The following spring, the plant sent up vigorous shoots and quickly bloomed. Originally, we’d chosen the plant for its striking beauty. Now we had another reason to feel enamored: It came back! ....

Thus begins my essay on salvias, which was published this month in Texas Co-op Power magazine. Click here to read the entire article.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Robber fly

Yesterday morning, I was watering our bed of turk's cap in the back yard when I spotted something BIG crawling atop the mulch. Yowzzzer! I dashed in the house for my camera and then snagged these two shots....rather fuzzy but you can still discern the body shape and big eyes. Looks to me to be some species of robber fly.

To learn more about this insect, check out Ro Wauer's great article, "Robber Flies are Deadly Predators."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hot weather winners

OK, folks, here's something new to feel guilty about: I don't blog like I used to.

The thrill's gone.

At least, temporarily.

Until the rains return. As I've whined about before, I can't bear to go outside and see our Wildscape. The plants (and animals as well) as struggling to survive. A month or so ago, we set out a 5-gallon bucket filled with water in the Meadow. It's for any white-tailed deer that happen by, and they do! Last week, our neighbor, Marcella, called to alert us about two deer drinking from it. We ran to a window, and–sure enough–spotted a mother and her fawn. Beautiful. The deer child out ran its mother when James startled them, trying to get a photo.

In the meantime, I've thought how I should post something about my favorite "hot weather" plants. The ones that are faring well during this drought. That is, with morning waterings, of course.

Here goes:

Salvia 'Hot Lips'

Mexican oregano
(Lippia graveolens)

Bicolor sage
(Salvia sinaloensis)

P.S. I should mention that the lesser goldfinches are already coming back! We spotted our first male maybe two weeks ago. I think some American goldfinches have shown up, too. I'd put the leftover thistle seed in our freezer, but I may have to take it back out! Seems so early for them to return.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Neighborhood cenizo

Just since Saturday, the little cenizo across the street from our house busted into blooms! I don't remember seeing it yesterday so maybe the big event happened this morning. At any rate, I walked over to take a closer look and got a whiff of something not so nice. I think it was the blooms. I'll have to double check that. But wow, you should have seen all the bees! There were so many, the bush buzzed!

Last time, this cenizo bloomed was about nine months ago (see my November 10, 2008, post).