Sunday, March 29, 2009

Harold! Where WERE you???

One day last week after work I cooked dinner as usual, cleaned up..then went outside to feed the fish. I could hear the trickle of the water from the old red pump hitting the pond, but there was a strange, stillness in the backyard. I walked over with food in my hand to toss in the water, and realized what I sensed..there were no fish!
Remember last May when we got back from my son's graduation I came home to find that a Blue Heron had himself a nice dinner from my pond. Oh my gosh..the same thing happened again! I was sick. I bought Harold to fool any Heron that might fly by thinking the pond already had a bird . (Herons are not very social. They don't like to visit a pond that already has another bird feeding.)
I was very mad and very sad, but last week was so busy that I didn't have the time to dwell on it. I did have a talk with Harold, but he just stared at me.
Two nights later my husband decided to clean the submersible pump. He came and got me to tell me he saw where the Heron did his fishing as he knocked off one side of a plant sitting on the edge of the pond. We also noticed a tiny little baby fish hiding behind the pump. That was not a big surprise as I thought a baby or two might have survived the attack since they are so little. So..hubby cleans the pump and puts it back in the water.
I got busy with backyard chores and happen to glance at the pond. What is that I keep seeing? I walk over, peep in, and guess what I see? Lots of fish!! I couldn't believe my eyes. They were very skittish, darting in and out from behind the pond plants, but they were there! Where had they been? I looked at Harold who stood there very proudly but wasn't talking, and I figured it out. I couldn't see them because they were hiding from me, just like they hid from that Blue Heron! We have lots of underwater grass and when the fish swim down to the bottom of the pond, you cannot see them in the grass. I'm sure Harold told the Heron this pond was taken and he would have to find another feeding spot which gave the fish time to seek protection. (Actually, I think the Heron had a small snack before he left which gave the other fish time to swim to the bottom) The weather turned cold on Friday and Saturday, so the fish went back to the grass. Today it is much warmer, but I can only see spots of color in the tall grass-the fish remain in hiding. That's ok--they have pond algae to eat and are much safer staying where they are until the pond plants start to cover the surface again. You can't help but grow fond of something you feed everyday-even fish. Herons are one of the problems ponders have. Hubby has done lots of research on the best plan of action..and we have a few ideas we may try in the near future. In the meantime I'm leaving it all up to Harold--he really was there doing his job!
Thanks Harold!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

They're Blooming!!!

I've loved Bluebonnets for as long as I can remember. I waited with such anticipation to see blue appear along the highways every spring. I never thought about growing them myself until a few years ago. I went to a class on Texas Wildflowers at the Arboretum and learned that I could grow Bluebonnets in my own yard!

Unlike other seeds, lots of varieties of wildflowers require planting in the fall. As you may remember from a post I did in September, I soaked the seeds overnight. The next day I "sowed" the seeds rather than plant them in the ground. Something I learned from the class--wildflowers must touch the earth. I have a corner bed in back that I devote to wildflowers and that is where the bluebonnets are blooming. I planted some in another bed in back, and they were doing great until we got ice in January. I lost a really big group of flowers. I was so disappointed, but the bluebonnets in the wildflower bed are huge..and doing great.
I even have a few bonnets in our little garden. I think I tossed some pods from last year's flowers in the garden..and look what happened! You can never have too many flowers!
I don't have spectacular fields of flowers-but for a few weeks one corner of my backyard is filled with these beauties! Just one more's SPRING!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring at the Arboretum

Wednesday was the most beautiful spring day you have ever seen (I know, it's not spring on the calendar yet!) And what could make it better than a trip to Spring Blooms at the Dallas Arboretum. The Arboretum is celebrating it's 25th anniversary. So of course, they have a flower cake to celebrate. Sorry this view is from the back-too many people in front for me to take a picture!
The theme this year is storybook playhouses. Can you guess what story this house is from??
The trial gardens are always beautiful and interesting. You will see varieties of flowers here you never see at garden centers.
There was a daffodil or two..
...and a few pansies and violas.
The azaleas are just starting to bloom.

This variety is appro-
priately called

Can you find the one pink flower among all the white?
And of course the Texas drought tolerant garden with cactus and bluebonnets.

But the star of the show..oh my goodness..were the Tulips! Every color you can imagine were here and at their peak. Just stroll through and no matter what the weather is like right now where you live, you will feel spring!

"The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth."
Dorothy Frances Gurney

Happy Spring everyone!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Front Porch Geraniums

I don't have a greenhouse so keeping potted plants over the winter is not an easy task for me. There are a few in back I move to the patio, put in a corner and cover, but most things are perennial, or I just "let go."
However, there is one big exception-the 2 pots of red geraniums on the front porch. I have keep them through the winter for several years. They are so big, and so showy, and bloom so well I cannot bear to leave them out in the cold. Because they are so big though, they are hard to move. Poor hubby helps me move these 2 plants around all winter.
Sometimes they stay in the garage, sometimes they are inside, and sometimes they stay in the protected corners of the front porch covered with sheets. Now remember, it does not get very cold here in my part of Texas , and even when it does, it warms up quickly.
This is what the geraniums look like today. As you can see, they have lots of blooms-and even more buds! I do not feed them at all during the winter months, so they are blooming like this without food!
It has been cool and cloudy for a week or so here. Seeing these beautiful flowers remind me that spring is almost upon us and sunshine is on the way!
"Flowers are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul!" Luther Burbank

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Kitchen

If I can't be outside in the garden, I want to be in my kitchen. Several years ago we took down the wallpaper and painted the kitchen a buttery yellow. It is so bright and cheery. My goal is always to bring the outside in, and I felt like I accomplished that with the breakfast room part of the kitchen.
At that time, we decided to just leave the counter tops with the beige laminate . And I liked it just fine, but after 25 years of wear and tear, we needed to replace them. This was not an easy job for me--I am terrible at picking out things and making decisions. We knew we wanted granite, but there are way too many colors to choose from for me. We spent 2 months (yes, really!) looking at slabs and narrowing it down to 2 colors. It took 3 weeks to finally decide between the 2 colors, but we made our decision and are very happy with the results!
It is very hard to take a picture of granite-there is always a glare, but here are a few pictures of the "new" kitchen. The granite is New Venetian Gold. The back splash is tumbled marble Torreron. I used 4 x 4 tiles set straight with a rope border, then tiles set on a diagonal above.
I got a new sink--that is so deep!! Love the sink!
The faucet is new, and I even got a new coffee maker!
This is the area around the stove top. No back splash here, just a yellow wall. We thought this New Venetian Gold would go well with the brick, and we were not disappointed!

This project has taken lots of time and thinking and decision making, and we are glad it's over and turned out so well. And's time to get back out in the garden!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Monday, March 9, 2009

My Favorite Spring Flower

These cute little things are without a doubt my very favorite spring bulb. They are Jonquil, Early Louisiana (N. Jonquilla, 1612). They have the most delicious scent you will ever smell! I keep a watchful eye ( and nose!) for these cuties to start blooming in the spring.
Aunt Debbi (Aunt Debbi's Garden) has some of these and posted about her blooms a few weeks ago. On the way back from Canton Trade Days 2 weeks ago I also saw some along the side of the highway. However, I have never seen the bulbs in the garden centers.
I got these as pass-alongs from my Mother's neighbor. Mother would tell me stories about growing up in the country, and having these jonquils on either side of the road that led to her house. What a sweet memory! I thought the only way to get them was as a pass-along, but my wonderful neighbor's sister gave me a website where you can order them! (Thank you Jane and Sally!) Old House Gardens sells Heirloom Bulbs. You can buy them online, or they have a catalog you can order--which I immediately did! It came in the mail this weekend, and I will tell you there are lots of good things to order. Even if you don't want to place an order, it has very good information in it about all types of bulbs.
This is how they describe this little Jonquil:
"The sweetest smelling flower your grand-
mother had in her garden...It's clusters of nickle-sized flowers with tiny cups seem made for fairies."
Now, who could resist these precious little flowers!

Do you have a favorite Spring bulb?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sharing a little bit of Spring

I know..
according to the calendar it is not Spring, but the temps are warm, the birds are singing, and the flowers are blooming! This past week I had to clear everything out of my kitchen because we got new counter tops. I took off early yesterday to start the clean up and put back process. I got up early this morning all prepared to get things back to normal. I put on a pot of coffee, opened the blinds, looked out and I saw it! Spring!! So, while I work on getting my kitchen back (pictures of the re-do to come!)--I hope you'll enjoy this little bit of Spring from my backyard.
There are tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and candytuff.
I planted bulbs on either side of the walkway in hopes they would bloom about the same time. it Spring yet??