Friday, October 17, 2008

Bloom day Oct 15th.....a few days late

So my bloom day post is a few days late. Better late than never. Here is the rundown:

Coneflower with flowering senna in the background:

Giant Swallowtail on coneflower:

and again:

Greggs blue mistflower is blooming and attracting Queen butterflies by the dozens:

Flame anisacanthus:

Mexican Bird of Paradise:

Hot Lips Salvia:

Golden Ball Lead tree:


Flowering Senna with a Sulpher butterfly Caterpillar. The flowering senna is a larval host to the Sulpher butterflies:

Turks Cap and Pipevine swallowtail:

Some red tropical salvia being visited by the last hummingbird hanging around:

Leaves on the Scarlet runner bean. Look how big these have gotten since the weather cooled off and we had some rain the other day:

The last of the sunflowers are attracting the Goldfinches:

And somebody keeps eating my tomotoes! Probably a raccoon as they seem to be nicely picked off the vine, then muched on.

Friday, October 10, 2008


This afternoon a wildfire kicked up behind our neighborhood. I heard sirens, took a peep outside and saw quite a bit of smoke billowing up from the street directly behind my house. Just as I walked out the front door to investigate, a fire truck flew by and tore around the corner. They set up a few houses down from mine at the corner of our neighborhood. The fire was igniting the brush along the fenceline of the houses. They had to douse the brush and houses with water to keep them from going up in flames.

Here is a photo from my back yard. You can see they set up right around the corner from me:

Here they are wetting down the houses and attempting to put out the brush fire:

Concerned neighbors:

Check out the rainbows:

The wildfire got really big, really fast. It tore down the fenceline consuming brush and tinder dry grass and quickly spread across the field and back towards the elementary school. Luckily the kids were out for the afternoon.

Here the fire officials are discussing their next move:

Fireman moving towards the fire:

The fire got bigger and the smoke thicker:

The brush in this photo is directly behind a house in my neighborhood. You could hear the fire crackling and eating away at the super-dry cedar trees, grass, and shrubbery (fairly nerve racking I might add):

Looking beyond the brush, you can see the fire spreading out into the field that contained some horses. They were awfully panicked and were running in frantic circles and back and forth. Look closely at the photo and you can view the horses through the smoke:

The fire progressed at an alarming rate when the wind kicked up. Note the progression of the smoke to flame in what was about a 60 second interval:

Then in a split second, the fire quickly jumped to a cedar tree and up it went in a whoosh of flames:

At this point, I decided I better back off, because there was no way I could outrun that! Better to let the professionals come in and save the day:

The fire then headed off northwards. The aftermath:

Luckily, all the homes were saved and nobody was hurt. Turns out the fire started directly behind the HEB a few miles up the road. A flicked cigarette I am guessing. Didn't I JUST write a post on how one should not litter, ESPECIALLY cigarettes when it is tinder-dry and we are in an extreme drought? Unbelievable. All it takes is a little spark and before you know it an entire neighborhood, forest, or field or all of the above have gone up in flames.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Butterfly Garden Project

I have been busy creating a new little flower garden plot around the fountain I put in earlier this year. I dug out a section of lawn, removed the garbage left over from building the house that is ALWAYS hiding under the lawn, added some dillo dirt, mulched it with pea gravel, then added a few plants and a pile of seeds. I just put the seeds in and then it rained last night - My rain dance/voodoo ritual must have actually done something! - so bonus on that!

Here it is:

That grass path behind it will be dug out and replaced with gravel and a stepping stone path. I just haven't gotten that far yet.

OK, so it doesn't look like much yet - use your imagination. The few plants you can see in the plot right now include dwarf gulf muhly, mexican milkweed, mexican oregano that was languishing in a shady spot and moved to the new sun-shiny bed (I split it and cut it all the way back), a Russian Sage, and Big Red penstemon. I also have a few Byzantine Gladiolus bulbs on their way that I am going to throw in the bed. Many of the seeds I added in are Texas natives. It is supposed to be a butterfly/hummingbird garden so I figured the more natives, the better. I also tried to mix up plants that had different bloom times so at least something would be blooming at any given time.

The seeds in the new garden include:

Red Corn Poppy - spring bloomer
Black-Eyed Susan - blooms May-Nov
Wine Cup - Feb-June
Farewell-to-Spring - Spring bloomer (Hates hot weather)
Parry's Penstemon - Spring bloomer
California Poppy - Spring-Fall
Eryngo - Aug-Nov
Greenthread - Feb-Nov (food source for Painted Bunting so I HAD to throw this one in)
Yellow Prairie Flax - Feb-Sept
Blue Flax - May-Sept

Oh - I also ordered some Texas bluebell seeds, but they are on backorder. If I ever get those, I will toss those in as well.

Now I just have to wait and see if any of my seeds come up. I threw a ton of them in there so SOMETHING ought to come up! I do hope this flower bed turns out as nice as it looks in my imagination!