We have seen several fledgling birds in our garden in the past few weeks. I was surprised by this fearless young Carolina Wren as he investigated my plant shelf just outside my backdoor. With the help of his doting mother he seemed to give my fertilizer container and gardening clogs the Better Wren and Garden Seal of Approval.
We had the pleasure of a visit from family last week. It was fun to show them around some of the beautiful places we've discovered in the last year here in Austin. One of the first places we took them to was the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum where I found some plants I hadn't seen on our last visit.
The red of the Turk's Cap (drummondii) popped under the shade of the tall live oaks. I've read that this is an excellent plant to attract hummingbirds, so it's on my list to add to my garden.
There were numerous butterflies on what looked like Texas Wisteria, also called Wisteria frutescens (W. macrostachya).
There were dozens of Silver-spotted Skippers (Epargyreus clarus) flitting from flower to flower like ballerinas across a stage.
And this meditation area in front of the panel Come Unto Me brings to mind a peaceful, ancient monastery. It's no wonder the full-sized original stands just over the entrance to a real church in San Antonio.
I was drawn to the wildlife and plants as always. This Neon Skimmer was flying loops around the pond. No doubt he has plenty of mosquitoes to eat with all the rain we've had here in Austin.
There were several turtles in the pond as well. This Red-Eared Slider, (Trachemys scripta elegans) took a moment to bask in the sunlight that peeked through the trees.
We even watched a fat Cottonmouth Water Moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorous). We watched him slide between the rocks into the water. I was happy to give him a wide berth since Cottonmouths are poisonous.
After a nice tour we walked past the manmade waterfall...
...and said "Goodbye" to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden once again.
In days to come I'll share the other lovely places we included while giving our guests the Austin Grand Tour.
"All great art ... creates in the beholder not self-satisfaction but wonder and awe. Its great liberation is to lift us out of ourselves." ~Dorothy Thompson