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Monday, November 22, 2010

"Wild Life Gardening" Goes a Bit Too Far

As soon as I saw the pansies in flats at the local garden center, I knew I had to get some.

After all, the ones I had planted last year lasted from Thanksgiving until well into spring.

I purchased the same ones that did so well last year - Matrix Yellow Splotch and Matrix Purple - and spent a pleasant morning a few weekends ago putting them in the ground around the young live oak trees in the front garden, and also a couple in the border by the dining room window in the back garden.

I planted them, watered them in and left them to it.  (In my garden, if a plant can't make it on its own, it doesn't belong!)

Then I got busy, as always seems to happen and it was a couple of weeks before i looked at them again. When I did, what I saw saddened me.

A couple of the pansies had been pulled out of the ground and were dried up and dead or dying.

Those that were still in the ground had all the blooms neatly nibbled off.

Who could have done such a dastardly deed?

Um.. it could have been this guy...

... seen here in the vacant lot on the west side of our house.

Here's a longer view, showing our fence... perhaps we should take the Welcome sign off the gate...

Seriously though, I love having deer around and I hope the pansies come back and bloom through the winter and spring. After all, they managed it last year, and presumably we had deer then too. Hopefully in a few weeks, they'll all be looking like the one below, which is blooming, unmolested, in the back garden.

In other garden news...

The Toad Lily that hosted the family of Carolina Wrens this summer, is now blooming. I'm especially happy about this since it suffered some serious water deprevation in the heat of the summer when the nest was in place and I couldn't water it.

Here's another one -- thanks for these Ursula!

I'm rather taken with the way that the sweet potato vine, growing rampantly in the front bed by the garage, is now showing some seasonal color. 

I'm not sure if this can be left over the winter, or if I need to cut it back, pull it out or whatever.  I'm sure I'll do what I always do - leave it to fend for itself :-)

I hope readers in the U.S. have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday this week.  For the rest of you, have a great week :-) See you on the flip side

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Weekend Out of Doors

I didn't have to work (much) this weekend, so Eric and I took the opportunity to take advantage of some lovely fall weather out of doors.

First, we went to the barn in Hockley, Texas, where I keep my horses.  the barn owner has just opened up some trails in the woods in the adjoining property, so I saddled up my almost-32 yr old ex-racehorse, Annapolis, and we went for a woodland stroll.

You might think a horse that old would be easy to keep up with on the trail (32 is about the equivalent of 90-something in horse years) ....

... but you haven't met Annapolis.... He's got personality and attitude and he just keeps going. He's been in my life for 22 yrs and I love him dearly, even when he's being a pill.

Back when Eric and I first went to Kleb Woods I thought how great it would be to ride through woods like that.  And now, I have access to wonderful woodland trails right next to the barn.

Life is good!

On Sunday, we headed out to Plantersville, to the Texas Renaissance Festival. Again we were blessed with perfect weather.
We saw lots of entertainment...

...  cheered on Phillipe, the French Knight in the jousting....

... and paid our respects to His and Her Royal Majesties...

But, since this is a gardening blog, I thought I'd show you something garden-related from this weekend.

There are several gardens on the grounds of the Texas Renaissance Festival, among them the Rose Garden Wedding Chapel.

The climbing roses and other vines were still quite lovely, even in November. Here are some photos...

Right across the way from the Rose Garden Wedding Chapel is the English Garden Wedding Chapel.

It features formal hedges, vine-covered trellises and statues.

You can see this bloom over the right shoulder of the statue in the photo above.  I have no idea what it is, but it was quite striking!

There were other gardens too, but there's so much to see and do at the Texas Renaissance Festival and by the time Eric had watched the belly dancers and we had listened to Tartanic, watched the jousting and strolled around watching people try to Drench a Wench and try their aim at Tomato Torture, tested out some wonderful wooden swings and eaten some Festival Fare, it was time to head home.

I hope everyone had as nice a weekend as we did :-)

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Weekend Meet-Up and Winged Visitor to the Garden

At our weekend meetup at Ursula's house, it was great to meet and chat with some of the Houston Grows garden bloggers. We had a wonderful time browsing around Ursula's garden, swapping plants and enjoying a nice lunch.  I was also blown away by the butterflies flocking around Ursula's Mexican sunflowers! I've never seen so many butterflies in one place!  Of course, you can bet I came away with some Mexican Sunflowers!

Back in my own garden, I have some orange too, in the form of this Indian Blanket/Blanket flower (not sure which, I apparently neglected to note this in my garden journal when I planted it)

I'm particularly taken by the chocolate brown speckles at the ends of the petals.

It's popular with butterflies too.  I didn't have the swarms that graced Ursula's garden, but this one allowed me to take photos.

That's it from me today. I was working till midnight on Sunday and was busy at work today too.  I need to catch up on some sleep!

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.