Monday, October 17, 2011

Transplants for next spring

Yesterday, we got busy and transplanted some volunteer natives into plastic pots. On the right are turk's caps. In the right bin are salvias, one lantana, rock roses and a longwood blue. We've also got two baby mountain laurels (in the pink pot) that a friend of my son's gave us last year. I hope to dig up more volunteers before it gets too cold.

October 2011 in our Wildscape

It's amazing what a difference that 2 inches of rain can make! Our Wildscape is blooming and greener since our rains October 8 and 9. Thank you, Lord!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Life in our Wildscape

Another frillitary child! This one's in the front yard. It's eaten ALL the leaves on this passionflower vine.
Portrait of that hungry Gulf fritillary caterpillar.
The dalea's blooming! We planted it on my birthday last March.
Ants visiting wild petunias.

'Hot Lips' salvia bloom with a fly passing by.

Mexican bush sage bloom

Fly dining on a cowpen daisy.....

Fly not dining on cowpen daisy any more...

While I was outside reading, several titmice, chickadees and wrens started fussing in the elbow bush. I figured "snake" but couldn't find one in the shrubbery. James came out later and spotted it–a young rat snake. Cool!

Another lone turkey

Seems there's another turkey gal who has taken up residence where she really shouldn't. Check out this story by Roy Bragg in today's San Antonio Express News: Turkey pays no heed to 'birds of a feather.'

Our neighborhood turkey hen? She's still around, only she doesn't drop by our back yard any more. She sticks in one yard across the street so at least we can still see her occasionally. I saw her last night....

Monday, October 10, 2011

So beautiful....

I just had to give this photograph its own post. Since Saturday's rains, the salvias and lantanas have burst into bloom! Last May in honor of Mother's Day, James created this flower bed as a surprise for me. He bought the bird bath and picked out the plants, then planted/arranged everything, all while I was gone, helping with a nature activity at Blanco State Park. I believe it's my favorite spot now in our Wildscape.

I must say that this lovely surprise is one of the nicest things anyone's ever done for me. Thank you, James! I love you!

Praise God for rain!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below....

Yes, God blessed us with around 2 inches of rain Saturday night! By the next morning, the plants had already responded. The oxblood lilies shot up. The salvias bloomed. So the blue mistflower and lantanas. What a blessing the rains are! Thank you, Lord!

Blue mistflower

Oxblood lilies

'May Night' sage

Our lone Gulf fritillary child

Happy rock roses (in spite of the drought)

Rock rose blooms
'Mystic Spires' salvia

Dwarf goldenrod, barely hanging on

Mountain sage

Cowpen daisy

Cowpen daisy blooms

Maximilian sunflower about to bloom

Maximilian sunflower

Nature photographers

Brian Loflin, author and photographer
Last Saturday, I made a special effort to attend a session of the four-part "Authors' Day" at the Blanco Library. I listened to and enjoyed the tail-end of author Taffy Cannon's presentation (she wrote Blood Matters). Since I'm into nature, I was more interested in hearing Shirley and Brian Loflin, who authored Grasses of the Texas Hill Country: A Field Guide and also Texas Cacti: A Field Guide. Next spring, their newest book, Texas Wildflower Vistas and Hidden Treasures, will be published. Alas, Shirley had to duck out for another commitment. But Brian did just fine on his own.

As authors and photographers, they've logged more than 50,000 miles across Texas since 1999, collecting specimens and taking pictures for their book projects. "We've got 100,000 images in our library," Brian said. "Shirley likes to say that she finds the plants, and I photograph them."

Naturally, we have a copy of their grass field guide, and Brian gladly signed it for us. "Ah, I like to see that our book is being used," he commented when he saw several sprigs of dried grasses poking up between the book's pages.

Check out the Loflins at their website, Nature Connection.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Last year, I remember digging up some baby turk's caps from the back yard and putting them in little plastic pots. I watered them over the winter in our garage. Then I transplanted them this past summer. I put three in the back yard and one out front in our new bed. A week or so ago, I spotted a bloom on the one in our front bed. I leaned over for a closer look and thought Hmm, that's a different pink! In the back yard, we have three varieties of turk's cap: native red, white and 'Pam's Pink.' The pink on our front turk's cap was in between the 'Pam's Pink' and native red. I even told James that the turk's cap in the front had a different shade of pink.

Or so I thought.

This morning, we watered plants, using the washing machine water (a time-consuming project). In the front yard, James hollered, "Hey, Sheryl, look at the rock rose!"


"We don't have a rock rose in the front," I replied, feeling very befuddled. Then I took a look. WOW! James was right! It's a rock rose, not a turk's cap! And oh, boy, is it BLOOMING! So last year, I also dug up a baby rock rose from the back yard! (My memory does not recall doing this at all.) It's just stunning, thick and full. Plus, as you can see, the pink blooms are gorgeous. Rock roses are on my drought-tolerant list. Now they're moving up!