Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Between now and Friday, November 21st, you can visit the State of Texas DMV site and register your preferences for a batch of newly proposed specialty license plates. One of those plates, the first specialty plate offered up for public approval in this particular group, features wildflowers.
If approved, a portion of the fee for the plate ($22 out of the total $30) will be distributed to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center to "increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes in Texas".
You don't have to buy the license plate, you don't even have to register any information to vote your preferences. You simply visit the page, scroll down to the choices section, select the "I like it" button for the wildflower plate and submit your vote here at this site. Boom. Done.
How easy was that! Now go have yourself another cup of coffee or tea and put your feet up for a while. Then get out there and cover those plants you forgot about last night before tonight's hard freeze hits.
What? You didn't forget to cover any of your tender plants last night? Well, we sure enough did. All that misty wet yesterday lulled us into a false sense that the lows were going to be plant friendly overnight. And as the mercury is hovering at thirty degrees here currently, I'd say we were sorely mistaken. I'm not sure how many hours below freezing the plants have already endured, the resulting browning to come will let us know how wrongfooted we've gotten. And it isn't even Thanksgiving!
The "forgetting to cover" mishap occurs for us every year at some point in the season, just not usually so early on. We consider it a bit of Darwinian overlay, a long range natural approval (or rejection) process around the plant choices we've made for these spaces.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
I'm optimistic the tree is well established enough, a year later, to withstand the inevitable ruminant pruning. Because most of the time, deer don't kill my plants outright. They simply eat most of what they've targeted, leaving a remnant to grow seconds.
As captured here.
From fence removal to deer pruning, it took less than seven days.
This little tree has been a tough customer so far. It will either bounce back, regrow branches and get taller in self defense, or I'll have to try something slightly less deer-licious in that spot. Talk about a rough micro-climate!
Saturday, November 8, 2014
As we stood with coffee cups and shared horror stories, exaggerating the pain and suffering inflicted upon the innocent child-versions of ourselves by our initial contact with asp caterpillars, we acknowledged that 1) we were both unusually brave and fine young people, and 2) this spiny window walker was a relative perhaps, but no asp. Asps are hairy and this guy is spiny. Very very spiny.
I was having a terrible time trying to get a reasonable image as the reflectivity of the window coatings played games with the auto-focus on my camera. Knowing I could not leave such a stingy thing crawling on the house so close to a doorway anyway, I carefully transferred the slug from window to trowel, and carried it out into better light.
I took a few more shots and, uttering a few words of farewell, gently heaved this guy over the fence to a spot where there is no regular human or even much animal traffic. A spot where both slug and other neighborhood travelers may stay safely separate one from the other.
It didn't take long to discover that our intimidating visitor is a Spiny Oak Slug. More scientifically, a slug caterpillar of the Limacodidae family, genus Euclea.
BugGuide, there is little to no information on how to further distinguish larvae of Euclea between E. delphinii and E. nanina. Their ranges overlap and larvae vary widely. That's all right. Spiny Oak Slug will do just fine.
Sometimes, a common name tells you most of what you really need to know.
Friday, November 7, 2014
Am I communing with nature when I watch the bees? Am I respecting their industry and their inter-relationships with the seasons and native plants? Am I joyful to see that some of them remain healthy, a productive part of the pollination process?
I believe the answer to all of the above is "yes!". A final question that qualifies the ones just posed: Does it matter?
Answer: Certainly not to the bees!
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Saturday, November 1, 2014
"While I am up here", I thought, "I might as well take some wide shots. Just in case." "For the meme!".
So I did. Then I went out front and took more wide shots there. Like so.
|These wide views don't allow much appreciation of new plants recently placed (due to scale) but next year! Next year I'll be happy to point out new blooms in the mix.|
One of the results of editing wide shots was a renewed resolve on my part to get out and weed more. I have no excuse not to at the moment. The path and bed weeds are all taking full advantage of my laziness. Raking those pecan leaves off the front curb and putting them in the compost would be doubly beneficial.
Yup. As October closes out and plants begin to go dormant, these wide shots remind me it is time to do a little less appreciating and a little more maintenance.
While I'm temporarily using a narrowed frame, let's hear it for passalong plants, and natives to boot. Tina of My Gardener Says is the source for these welcomed natives. (Thank you, Tina!) Hopefully as time goes by, I'll have my own extras to share. Out front? Yarrow!
In this instance passalong plants are acting as a "favorites" cognate. As in, "my favorite kind of beer is cold and free, not necessarily in that order". Out back?
Shared plants are part of the repertoire in nearly every bed. Pavonia! More skullcap! Maybe a goldeneye?!
Here we go, back to the wideness for one last shot. Bidding a fond farewell to The Hub's Plethora of Potted Plumeria.
And there you have it. This post, digression and all, is my end of October - beginning of November contribution to Heather at Xericstyle's monthly wide shot meme. Hope you'll join in and share your very own wide views of the places you care for.