If you're particularly interested in rainwater harvesting, see these posts: "900 and Counting" on 4/28/08, "First Crop" on 4/10/08, "Ongoing Saga of the Rain Tank" on 3/2/08, and "The Debate" on 2/7/08. Vermiculture was covered 8/12/08.
Pond construction was covered in "The Heart of Our Garden" on January 22, 2008.
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The Little Things
Funny how the smallest things in nature can give us so much pleasure. This past weekend I noticed that one of the new metalwork items in my garden had been blessed by the addition of a line of lacewing eggs.
If you're not familiar with lacewings, click here to see the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension page on this fascinating and welcome garden visitor. Delicate in appearance, they're fairly voracious and consume a long list of undesirable garden pests.
There HAVE actually been some good things happen in 2020. One for me was being fortunate to join a small group working to certify Austin as a Bee City through the Xerces Society. As part of that effort, we've formed Pollinate Austin - PollinATX for short - and, of course, I wanted to share it with you. We intend to publish a newsletter with articles we're sure you'll find of interest. We'll link to events and resources within our community as well as simply delight in our favorite "gateway bugs" (yes, they're not true bugs but well, you know.) If you share our passion, you'll want to be part of the fun. Subscribe to the newsletter here: https://forms.gle/VcYiKxqmi618PjBSA And follow us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/PollinATX Looking forward to seeing you!
There are a couple of groups on Facebook where I lurk and occasionally dip my opinion into the fray. They're places where people with knowledge of unbelievable scope can be observed, deftly identifying this obscure native plant or that scraggly left-behind orphan found in the backyard of a newly purchased home. One such backyard orphan recently was posted in need of identification. If it were a native plant, two people on "Texas Flora" would've named it within minutes. Even the taxonomy of those impossible grasses is typically put to rest in seconds. Not so with this poor guy. At first I was fairly certain it was one of the purple leafed basils, maybe 'African Blue'. It's fairly impossible to find it still thriving in a Texas January, but two plants in my yard are still hanging in there. They even look like they'll come back if we don't have a deep freeze before spring. BTW, this basil has one heck of a botanical monik
Ironweed Vernonia fasciculata is my pick for Wildflower Wednesday as it's just starting to bloom in my garden and is one of my all-time favorites. One look at that color, and its mop of flowers often covered with bees, and I knew it belonged in my garden. But where to find it? As with too many native plants, it wasn't available locally so I deployed an even better option - found it in a field slated for commercial development, asked permission, and "rescued" several. It took a couple of years to seem happy, but now it dies to the ground each winter only to return the following late spring/early summer to make me and the bees happy. Evidently ironweed doesn't make everyone happy. Check out this quote I found online: " Ironweed was named for its rugged stalks, which stubbornly persist throughout the winter. Its underground stems are equally tenacious, sending up sprouts even when repeatedly mowed. The plant's vivid purple