Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Friday stroll through my garden

What's the use of having a garden if you can't stop occasionally and enjoy it?

I had a busy day of gardening today and I barely even scratched the surface of what needs to be done, but that's what tomorrow is for. Today, I decided to stop for a bit and take a stroll through the garden to see what I could see. I took the camera with me.

A few years ago, when I was about to add some roses to the garden, I offered my younger daughter the opportunity to pick one variety to add. This is the one she chose.

It is 'American Beauty.' I think she was taken with the name more than the rose itself. Maybe she had just seen the movie by that name. For whatever reason, this is what she chose. It would not have been my choice probably, but, oh well... We sent our order off to Antique Rose Emporium and then planted the rose bush and waited. For the first three or four years of its life, it didn't do much for us, and finally I moved it to an out-of-the-way bed next to the garden shed. It seems to like that spot. It bloomed well last year and this spring it has been absolutely glorious. Maybe Sarah didn't make such a bad choice, after all.

This is what the blossoms look like, close up. They also have a nice fragrance. My mother used to grow this rose when I was little so I have good memories of it.

As I walked around the garden, I saw this anole displaying on the veggie garden fence. I tried to get a picture of him with his red throat pouch expanded, but he wouldn't cooperate. Then he caught a bug and stopped to have a snack. No more displaying for a while!

The 'Early Sunrise' coreopsis has started its bloom.

So, too, finally, have the amaryllis.

'Apple Blossom' amaryllis is several weeks later than last year, but who's complaining? I'm just happy to see these wonderful blooms.

And here's a very different kind of beauty! This is the caterpillar of the Giant Swallowtail butterfly. Can you see why it is called the 'bird dropping' caterpillar? This one is very new. That's my thumbnail on the corner of the leaf, so you can judge the size of the larva.

Here's a second caterpillar. There may have been more but two were all I saw. I hope they do not attract the attention of the wasps as, unfortunately, my Monarch caterpillars did. But these guys are very well disguised. I'm not sure that even a wasp would be interested in a bird dropping.

On a trellis next to the garden gate, the Mexican flame vine shows how it got its name.

Near the vine, this heliotrope provides a bright counterpoint of color.

Through the garden gate and into the front yard, the bed at the entry of the house is beginning to fill in nicely. Those two taller plants in the back are Texas Star Hibiscus on the left and 'Fourth of July' buddleia on the right. The hibiscus has come back strongly from last year, as has the buddleia. This buddleia bloomed beautifully for me last year, all summer and fall, right up to the first frost.

At the post "bird" feeder in the front yard, three rather furry "birds" settle down for a snack.

While at the backyard feeder where squirrels are forbidden, the White-winged Doves reign.

This purple verbena never completely went down during the winter and was one of my first plants to come back into bloom this spring.

'Graham Thomas' didn't get in any hurry at all to give me that first bloom, but I guess he's worth waiting for.

Yes, he's definitely worth waiting for.

Not to be outdone, in the backyard, 'Dortmund' has been putting on a nice show.

'Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow' also is showing us some color.

I love the 'Red Cascade' with its miniature red roses. It is full of buds but so far has shown only a few blossoms.

The backyard birdbath was a popular spot today, especially with this mockingbird. Taking care of a nest full of babies is hard and thirsty work!

Leave it to a Blue Jay, though, to know what a birdBATH is really for!

I love the way this Mexican feather grass in the bottletree bed moves in the wind.

After a hard morning of gardening, it's time for a catnap in the shade! I know just how Nicholas feels.


  1. I need a bottle tree! Love all your blooms (and feathered friends) and learned something about caterpillars. Looks like Nicholas enjoys the garden, too.

  2. Every gardener needs a bottletree, Snap. It helps keep the evil spirits away! Probably because it makes one happy just to look at it.

  3. Displaying or not, that anole made for a fantastic photo.