Friday, January 20, 2012

Wildflower Center free admission January

Beautiful thoughts by Lady Bird Johnson...

Mexican feathergrass
Warmish temperatures and fairly clear skies created the perfect day for a field trip to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. Plus, ADMISSION IS FREE UNTIL JANUARY 31! So off we went, James, me, my mother Marcelle Smith and Blanco neighbor Jeri B.  I especially wanted to look at native grasses, which I want to plant more of in our Wildscape, and also water features.

Big muhly


Pine muhly

Thorn-crested agave

Crossvine ... We have one growing on our chain-link fence. James is worried now.

Gulf muhly

A galvanized trough turned into a water feature!

Lace cactus

Another trough but smaller. We're thinking of adding of these to our Wildscape....

Big muhly


Bushy bluestem

Indian grass

A pond "in the wild"

Wax myrtle

Elbow bush

Yaupon holly and bushy bluestem

Common bee-bush

Mexican beautiful!

A Blanco crab apple tree!

Betony-leaf mistflower
Woolly stemodia, a groundcover

Mom, me and Jeri

We had a Great Day Out!
After I returned James' camera to him, he shot photos, too....

I liked this rather artistic shot by James Hearn.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lost Ladybug Project

Ashy gray lady beetle (Olla v-nigrum)
Even supper time can turn up surprises. This evening, over shrimp Alfredo and fresh roasted asparagus (prepared by chef James), a lady beetle appeared! James spotted it on the ceramic candle holder on the lazy Susan that sits on our dining table. Time for the camera!

I submitted these two images to the Lost Ladybug Project, a citizen scientist project underway at Cornell University. If you visit there, you'll find ladybug photos submitted by me and other volunteers across the country. I've got several pages of contributions: one, two, three.

UPDATE: See yesterday's ladybug contribution here!

Tracks and transplants

 This afternoon, I was on the phone, talking with expert tracker Jonah Evans when I happened to glance out my office window. "THERE GOES THREE DEER!" I exclaimed as they trotted across our Meadow and then ambled north to a neighbors' yard. "Hey, James, come see!"

I apologized to Jonah for yelling in his ear, and he laughed. "Oh, it's OK," he said, "but go out there and check for tracks! They left some, that's for sure." So after we hung up, I did go out later with my camera. The prints weren't that great, but I took one photograph. Then I walked over and took a picture of the four little bluebonnet plants that I transplanted last Monday from another neighbor's yard. They were growing nearly in the street, and Jeri said, yes, I could have them. Here's hoping I can keep them alive and maybe get a patch started in the meadow.

I also saw one of the antelope horn seeds that I anchored across the meadow Monday.

Bluebonnet babies
Antelope horn seed

Friday, January 13, 2012

A tree disease near Boerne

This week, my mother had several Spanish oaks (Quercus texana) cut down because they were infected with hypoxylon canker (Hypoxylon sp.). She sent photos of the fungus.

According to the Texas Plant Disease Handbook, hypoxylon canker spreads through spores, which enter through injured areas on limbs or the trunk. "Trees which have been damaged by excessive fill soil are often attacked by this organism," states the handbook. "It is also suspected to be a fungus that can invade on oak wilt-infected trees. Control is achieved by maintaining the trees in a healthy condition. Avoid injury to the trunk and limbs and never apply fill soil around the trees. Chemical treatments would not be effective because the fungus is located within the tree."

According to Texas AgriLife Extension Service's East Texas Gardening, "hypoxylon canker has been noted in the death of many oaks in the East Texas area over the last several years. This disease is not rare, but due to the stressful droughts of the last several summers, a large number of trees are being affected." 

The Texas Forest Service has more information on hypoxylon canker, too. So does AgriLife Extension.

Mom told me that surviving trees nearby were fertilized, and now she's giving the trees soaking drinks of water for several weeks. Hope they survive!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 2012 in our Wildscape

Recent rains continue to brighten and green up our Wildscape. As mentioned before, we've got a LOT of henbit. It's outran the horseherb!

See how thick the henbit is growing?
I'm not sure (yet) what this "weed" is, but it feels soft and acts like a groundcover.