Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Exceptional Guest

This year’s 4th of July holiday included a welcome extra day off, giving me time for a few garden “chores”.  I just replaced a blade on one of my Felco pruners and was testing them out on the coral honeysuckle that grows around my rain tank.  An odd leaf attracted my attention … do you see it?
CamoMothJuly2010
It’s a Eumorpha pandorus, also known as a Pandora Sphinx moth or camouflage moth.  Here’s a peek at the underside, too.
CamoUndersideJuly2010 
In my garden, 2010’s been a great year for Lepidoptera, especially giant swallowtails.  But this?!!  WOW.  I have no idea where it came from or how I happened to see it, but it was certainly an honored guest.   
Anyone see these regularly in their garden or know their migration route? 

Saturday, February 27, 2010

And the winner is ...

Does your garden have a signal of spring?  The first flower to bloom or tree to bud out?  In my little garden, it's often the "Homestead Purple" verbena or the occasional brave iris.  






This year the winner is an Avalanche narcissus (also called Seven Sisters)  that just joined my motley crew last fall even though it's been cultivated in this country since the 1700's.

There was a "Feedback" iris in the race, but it couldn't quite get opened in time to claim the lead.









  And as much as I appreciate the color it brings to the garden, my flowering quince is a dependable late winter bloomer so I don't really think of it as heralding spring.


Like a lot of other Austin gardeners, I'm grateful for any plants that have managed to survive a broiling hot, dry summer followed by a winter full of snow and sustained freezes.  All of the "antique" roses are happily putting out new growth, and most of the herbs appear to wonder what all the fuss is about.   I'm hoping the five Amarcrinum bulbs that were also planted last fall make it.  Three times they began to put out green shoots only to be slapped down by a hard freeze.    This one just keeps trying, but the others look like they've given up.  Oh well, what's a garden but a lesson in gratitude, resilience, and flexibility?



Friday, January 8, 2010

Pond Ice Pearls and Winter Blackberries

We saw temps in the low 20's last night, leaving this string of ice "pearls" on one of my pond plants.  They're telling us to expect something between 7 and 17 degrees tonight.




It also made my thornless blackberries' leaves turn this lovely red.





Maybe not your typical winter wonderland, but a nice change as long as it doesn't last too long and we don't have to drive on ice.  That's not a skill many  central Texans have mastered.