Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Frolicking Fish

For the last month or so, I've been dealing with algae bloom in my pond. It was so bad, I couldn't see more than a few inches down into the water. Things are slowly clearing up and visibility is improving greatly! I think my three goldfish appreciate the clear water, as they have been swimming at or very near the surface for the past few days. I've been adding fish flakes to the pond since I installed it, but this is the first time the fish have swum up to eat it... practically out of my hand!

Oh, and if anyone needs some mosquito fish (gambusia affinis) come on over and help yourself. My initial four have multiplied to, I'm guessing here, approx. 70 or 80. No kidding. Each female is capable of giving birth to 60 live young. There are fish of different sizes so I'm assuming they are of different ages... which leads me to believe at least two females have given birth. Sheesh.

We've been having quite warm temperatures lately... into the mid 90s. My garden is just starting to finish it's crazy bloom. My roses from last year are already suffering from the heat. I might have to pull them out and try something more sturdy in their place. But for now, it looks quite pretty. 

Here are two friendly visitors to the pond. They come back daily and always seem to land on "their" perches.

My iceberg roses and white hollyhock about three weeks ago. The hollyhock has almost finished it's bloom, and is now over 9 feet tall.

 Blue mist flower is still attracting butterflies!

Look at the shape of this amazing fungus!

I love this wonderful color combination that only nature could provide... bright yellow yarrow I planted last year blooms happily amongst  the self-seeded blue mist flower.

Nature is such a marvel!  I have so much to look at and so many things that bring me pleasure and joy... from the butterflies, dragonflies, lizards, snakes, and spiders to flowers I carefully tend and flowers that nature has sent from seed.

Oh, and I can't forget my three frolicking goldfish!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Butterflies Flutter By

What a gorgeous day  for communing with the butterflies! Wow, they are really out in force today. I find it difficult to go inside the house as they are fluttering all around my back garden! It helps that the green belt behind our house is blooming with hundreds of gaillardia (blanket flower) and my own garden is in full manic bloom right now. But I also put out some butterfly bait and they seem to be enjoying it!

How cool is this? Just sliced oranges on a wire and in a bird feeder tray.
Give it a try...

I'm going to set out a plate of sliced watermelon now... I've read they love that also! I'll keep ya'll posted!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Bunny!

Good bunnies have been spotted in my garden!

These lovely bunnies like to sit in quiet corners of my garden, silently enjoying the fluttering of butterfly wings, buzzing of the bees and zipping of the hummingbirds visiting the bright flowers of my garden.

They are thoughtful bunnies and would never dare to snack on my newly planted flowers or rose bushes. They would never stoop so low as to taste the fresh new leaves of a recently sprouted vegetable plant. They respect the garden!

These bunnies are patient bunnies. They have been known to move about the garden as their view gets overgrown and the open space around them gets smaller and smaller. They don't mind the opportunity to get to know their new surroundings and they wait patiently for something exciting to happen close by.

These bunnies are well-behaved bunnies. They don't like to give chase to two crazed border collies. They would never tear through the garden, pop through the fence, and watch the mayhem from the other side.
They are calm and mature bunnies.

Perhaps you have good bunnies in your garden too?

Or do you have naughty bunnies?

Austin Art Yard Tour 2012

Saturday April 14th

Austin has it's own inimitable style, and our yards and gardens are no exception.
Check out Austin Art Yard Tour 2012. More than 30 yards will be showcased in and around Austin. As of today, the official website for the tour takes note of yards that have been invited to participate but not yet confirmed, yards you may stop by and chat with the creator, and yards that are drive-by only.
Here's their info:

Some of the installations, it must be said, look like someone just piled up their beer bottles and bowling balls; one features mannequin heads and crutches; one is truly a "cathedral of junk".

Not your typical garden tour.

1511 Suffolk Drive (photo Google Drive-by)

402 El Paso Street art bridge (photo Google Drive-by)

Monday, April 2, 2012

I SPY . . .

I went out on my back deck to sip my coffee this morning, and what should I spy with my little eye? Something that starts with an L.

Or is it WL?

Alright, anyway...  it's another water lily! But this is my first bloom from my Moon Dance water lily. It's the very pretty white flower in the foreground.
In the background you can see a fresh new Colorado bloom.

I just fertilized the plants yesterday, and noticed many buds growing from these two plants. Nothing yet from my third... can't remember the name of that one, and the water is a tad murky with algae bloom right now for me to peek at the label. Will have to let you know on that one.

I've been taking so many pictures of the garden lately, I forgot to charge my battery. I just managed to squeeze this one off before the camera died.
I will try to take more tomorrow, and wait for better light.

But ain't she per-tee?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bluebonnet Portrait Time!

It didn't start out as a portrait session.

 It was meant to be me, with my camera, in the field behind our house, taking photos of the wildflowers.
What I ended up with were portraits of my "kids" in the blue bonnets.

Isn't that what every good Texan does... takes pictures of their children in the wildflowers?

Who says Border Collies can't sit still?

I think they quite enjoyed this! 

 ... and they're off!

Here's what I went for:

Friday, March 30, 2012

Party lights are hung... where's the party?

My son and I purchased some party lights and  solar japanese lanterns from my all-time funnest and favorite-ist store ever (bulls eye logo) yesterday. Got them hung and they are shimmering beautifully tonight. Couldn't resist sharing. But where's the party? Y'all are welcome anytime!

My Louisiana iris is blooming... so pretty! Can you see the adorable solar dragonfly planted in the iris' pot? It cycles through different colors. In the pic below it is red.

Happy Friday

This happy praying mantis was in my garden last year. I caught it nibbling on a butterfly's head. I love the way it's looking at me, like I'm the one doing something weird.
Always makes me giggle when I see this photo; thought y'all might enjoy it too!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lilies are blooming!

I am so excited today... two buds from the Colorado water lily have opened up and have brightened my stock tank pond. LOVE THEM! Aren't they gorgeous?

The rest of my garden is really starting to flower now, too! Spring is such a wonderful time of the year for gardening. I've added quite a few new plants to this side of the yard. Going to the nursery in March and April I act like a kid in a candy store. So much to look at, not nearly enough space.

My lawn guys ripped out the last of the lawn on this side of the yard, so I was able to plant it up yesterday. I've added some shrubs (Photinia) and a few more roses, more salvias (LOVE those, such wonderful variety and heat loving!) and still need to plant a crepe myrtle. I never have a grand plan of what I want to plant where... I just buy why looks pretty and stick it in the ground. It's kinda a riot of color in late spring, not exactly soothing to the senses. But I love the variety and somehow, nature figures out how to make it all work visually.

My white iceberg roses planted two years ago are looking so healthy and loaded with buds. I moved them this winter and I'm SO happy that they not only weathered the move but are thriving in their new location along the fence line. I'll be posting more photos in a few days when they are blooming!

If you need me... you know where to find me! I'll be sitting in the purple chair enjoying a cold glass of lemonade!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Alone in the garden

It's Saturday afternoon and I'm all alone.

Hubby and son went off to the movies and I'm here alone with time on my hands. Took a wander through the garden and took some photos. Enjoy!

Colorado Water Lily in the stock tank pond

Hellebore - This plant is in my front yard, purchased from Home Depot about 5 years ago. I can't believe it's still going strong and survived the dry, hot summer last year. A must-have!

Pink Knock-Out rose

Double Knock-Out rose

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stock Tank Water Garden is in!

In between drizzle, rain, and fog, I've managed to purchased my stock tank and get it installed in the garden. I am SO excited.

Living in the hill country west of Austin means zero soil in the garden. OK, I might be exaggerating. I have 2". Then it's pure, solid limestone. How wonderful it would be to have a pond in the back yard, and to enjoy another element of gardening: water gardening! But here? In my backyard? Not gonna happen. 
I came across the idea of using a raised stock tank as a pond, or water garden (thanks again Pam Penick), and I knew I had to have one. No digging! What a perfect solution for practical reasons... but how cool, different, and very Austin!

A few weeks ago, my son and I drove out to the McCoy's lumber store in Bee Cave and picked up a 6 foot diameter stock tank. My pick-up bed is, fortunately, 8' long... but only 4' wide. That was one scary drive home, what with 2' hanging out over the side of the truck. I had a movie playing in my head of it rolling out of the truck, down the highway, with cars swerving left and right trying to avoid it's oncoming path. Lest you think I didn't strap it down, I did. I don't think it could move an inch. Couldn't stop me from imagining pure and total mayhem behind me as I cruised down the highway.

Well, we made it home with no drama, thank goodness! Rolled it out of the truck, through the back gate and across the yard to it's reserved spot in the garden. Oh, and a tip for anyone thinking of rolling a tank across a back lawn... make sure you clean up any doggie doos first. Finding surprises on the side of the tank as it's 130 pound bulk is rolling towards you isn't pleasant!

Here are some pictures of the tank in position and getting filled with 394 gallons of water:

After visiting the nice people at Hill Country Water Gardens and purchasing some great water lilies and bog plants, I think it's all starting to take shape!
I'll post more on the great pond plants I got there! But for now: 

I am so excited for the weather to warm up so I can add some little mosquito fish to the pond... and of course for those lilies to start blooming. One of the plants already has two buds on it! oooohhh. Can't wait!!