• Gardening

    Iris Season

    Iris season is in full force this week. I always forget to go wander the pond shoreline but Chris sent me photos a few days ago of some of the iris and so last night I wandered around the yard getting some dusky garden photos in and stopped by the pond to see so many colors! They are all Louisiana iris cultivars, excepting the first and last two, which are Iris virginica. I have only recently really read enough to understand what defines a “Louisiana iris” thanks to the Society for Louisiana Irises. According to their website: Louisiana irises belong to the subsection Apogon (without beard or beardless), series Hexagonae…

  • Gardening

    The March Garden

    Well, March zoomed by and between being gone for over a week plus recuperating from travel the week after, its been a lot to take in and even keep up with everything going on around the yard. Here’s a sampling of what was blooming this month: The mulberry tree started putting on fruit so those should be ripening within the next month to six weeks! Forest loves to grab what he can from lower limbs but we’re always competing with birds and squirrels. Spider lilies are particularly stunning right now and in wetlands throughout east Texas. Iris virginica are looking fantastic down by the pond. Chris has done a lot…

  • Gardening,  Memes,  Outdoors,  Wildlife Wednesday

    American Lady Caterpillars (Vanessa virginiensis) | Wildlife Wednesday

    Last spring we were fairy negligent about weeding our paths. Up popped all sorts of interesting but less desired native and non-native plants, including what I think was Pennsylvania cudweed, Gamochaeta pensylvanica. I knew they hosted American lady caterpillars but I had never seen any on the plants around our yard before so I left them to see what would happen. We had adults flitting about the Texas ragwort that grows in the front yard during March-late April and I knew there was a good chance we would see the caterpillars if I gave them time. And they arrived! The caterpillars make little leaf nests like other species such as…

  • Gardening

    Early Summer Blooms (May 2023)

    Standing cypress, Ipomopsis rubra Sweet pea Black-eyed susan vine, Thunbergia alata I did not share a lot of gardening posts last year. It was a very hard summer, with a drought and extensive heat. I wrote a few times over the summer but for the most part I was not very in tune with what was going on. This year will change all of that–hopefully. I missed gardening and garden writing. And digging through my Flickr archives to catch up on posts I was really glad to see some of these photos. Again, how much I missed getting my camera out to take photos instead of always reaching for my…

  • Gardening

    Frost Flower Morning

    No snow and thankfully no power outages (crossing fingers) with this Polar Vortex, but we did have some sleet yesterday morning and a smidge of ice. Other than that, it is just very cold (though I think my friend Patrice would say it is downright balmy compared to Healy, AK!). School was cancelled for today so I’m working from home and I ventured outside to check out the frost flowers on the frostweed this morning. I think these are probably the most interesting frost flowers I’ve seen so far in our yard! I hope everyone is staying warm out there!

  • Gardening

    Arkansas Green Lint Cotton

    Arkansas Green Lint Cotton I’ve not been a very diligent gardener this year. One of the ornamental crops I planted back in the summer, when I was trying to find anything that would thrive in the drought, was some green cotton I’d bought last year off of Etsy. I have grown brown cotton in the past and did try to germinate some this time around but because I didn’t label things how I should have, I wasn’t sure which plant row was what so I didn’t know if it was green or brown I would be getting because one of the rows had poor germination. The bolls have been ripening…

  • Gardening

    In Which the Gardener Actually Does Some Gardening

    It’s dry, y’all. We had a smidge of rain last Thursday evening when a small storm blew through but it was mostly a talkative storm without a lot of precipitation action. I still try to skip watering every now and then, not always with intention, but it isn’t something the plants in the edible garden care too much for, as you can see. I’ve been watering deeply but it isn’t enough. In the main gardens closer to the house, I’m slowly working my way through weeding paths and eventually weeding those beds. Several need some attention but others aren’t too bad. A summer of neglect isn’t a big deal when…

  • Gardening

    Pineland Hibiscus Blooms in the Garden

    Last year I bought pineland hibiscus (Hibiscus aculeatus) seeds from Chill Hill Farms in the Florida Panhandle. Well, my plants are finally big enough to start blooming and I am so delighted! Pineland hibiscus are relatively rare in Texas, primarily seen only around the Big Thicket in Tyler and Hardin counties. They are a little more common in western Louisiana and then much more common in Florida. Once these go to seed, I’m planning to start quite a bit more and I’m tempted to put one plant out in the main garden to see what the deer do. The deer generally eat any other hibiscus plant I’ve put out there…

  • Gardening

    Return of the Orange Dogs

    Over the last year or two we’ve planted out several new understory trees on the side yard, including several Hercules’ club, Zanthoxylum clava-herculis. Hercules’ club are one of the native host plants for giant swallowtail butterflies and I’d wanted get some established for years before we finally buckled down and bought some trees. Previously, and really still, they can be found on our citrus plants (same Family – Rutaceae), but now we have an alternative to move the caterpillars to if we see too many leave are being noshed by these little friends of ours. I dug out my macro lens for these photos and after editing the photos I…

  • Gardening

    The Irises of Spring

    Iris season came and went pretty quickly in our yard. I say quickly, but in reality it was just that I was barely down near the pond during their blooming period so I wasn’t exactly noticing their blooms. I spent a lot more of my time up in the edible garden working on those beds there and trying to stay on top of it all–which of course I have not stayed on top of it all. I’m far behind on so much and will likely never catch up this season. I was thinking a bit the other day about how much time I used to spend outside before I had…