In the yard.

Today is the 7 year anniversary of starting this Sheila365 photoblog!  I’ve enjoyed it.  I hope you have too.

Big day at the ranch today.  I saw so many different species of birds.   Even so, I missed a few of the regulars, but, hey, I can’t stand in front of that window ALL DAY.  🙂

  • House Finch male (M) & female (F)
  • Orange Crowned Warbler
  • Northern Cardinal M&F
  • Downy Woodpecker M
  • House Sparrow M&F
  • Red Winged Blackbird M&F
  • Bewick’s Wren
  • White Winged Dove
  • Blue Jay
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Yellow Rumped Warbler
  • Carolina Wren
  • Red Bellied Woodpecker M&F
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • European Starling M
  • American Robin
  • Lesser Goldfinch M&F
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Black Crested Titmouse

I got some ok bird photos, but I’ll share a few of the garden, instead.

About 8 or 9 years ago, a neighbor gave me a dozen or so purple iris cuttings when she was thinning out her beds.   I’ve had them in the ground since then but rarely have they bloomed.   A year or so ago I moved them to a few different beds that get much more direct sunlight.  This year I’m thrilled to see them in bloom!  I love these short-lived flowers.

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We have bluebonnets coming up in the front and back yards.   Nothing says central texas like these beautiful wildflowers.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Monte’s got baby salad greens planted.  Fresh lettuce every night!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I simply love spring.  Oh, wait, we have 2 weeks to go before spring.   I can’t wait!

Late bloomer.

I planted a 2-gallon sized Pride of Barbados shrub yesterday.   It’s a bit late in the season, but I’m hoping that planting it now will give it a good month or so to acclimate to its new home before the cold weather hits.  That should make for a good winter’s nap before spring.  We’ll see.  If this one doesn’t pan out, Monte’s starting a few from seed.

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Garden guest.

I was walking back from the shop today when I saw a butterfly fluttering among the zinnias.   She flitted around, while I stopped to watch, for a good 2 minutes, posing, in perfect light.  Of course I didn’t have a camera with me.  When I got back in the house I grabbed my phone and popped back out.  She was still there, but wouldn’t let me get as close, and didn’t pose as perfectly this time — camera shy, i guess.   I took some zoomed-in shots, not crisp, but pretty.  I think this is an eastern black swallowtail.  She does love the zinnies.

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Fuchsia fuchsias. 

As long as we are blessed with rain and mild spring weather that we haven’t enjoyed for years, I’ll keep snapping photos of what’s blooming in our yard. 

This is a fuchsia I planted about a month ago.  It’s over transplant shock and loaded with buds.   So pretty!

  

Every rose has its thorn.

When we moved to this house, I scoped out all the plants and trees in the yard, looking forward to taking care of them:   the amazing live oaks all over the place, a couple of pecan trees that are majestic but don’t seem to want to produce nuts, a redbud that has since died (sniffle), the ginormous red oak in the front yard, the (now ailing) flowering pear, the resilient Texas mountain laurels, several red yuccas that I love to watch bloom, silverado sage that forecasts the rain, a mimosa tree in the back with its fine pink puffy blooms… just to name a few…AND one tiny cactus that seemed to be too much in the shade.

It was small in the beginning.  Monte mowed over it accidentally way back when, after which I staked it out with a ring of limestone.  But now after 9 (!) years and much thinning of the small forest under which it sat, it has sunlight, and has thrived.   And I am happy to see two buds on it this year!   The first one opened today.  I’m enjoying my flowering prickly pear cactus.  Perhaps this is the yellow rose of Texas?

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Renewal.

We have been working in the yard quite a bit lately.  Two weekends ago we set out to save a stand of 5 or six struggling young liveoaks in our back wooded area that had been dealt two bad cards:  they were being overshadowed by invasive hackberry trees, and completely defoliated by catepillars this spring.   They looked like goners.

So we cut the hackberries down, fertilized the oaks, and sprayed to get rid of the remaining catepillars.  For the last two weeks i’ve been checking on them every day, watching tiny lime green buds pop out up and down each branch, and then watching the buds turn into tiny leaves.   And with all the recent rains they are starting to look like trees again.  I think they’ll make it!

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Red zinnies. 

My first zinnia picture of 2015.  🙂

Last fall we visited Wildseed Farms on our way home from a trip to Fredericksburg.   We picked up some zinnia seeds.   We have a patch or two every year, but they always tend to be shades of fuschia, orange or yellow.   Monte was looking for something more vibrant so he chose seed for red zinnias and planted them this spring. 

They are just now coming up and are lovely.