Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lovely Rainy Day

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After grumbling in my last entry about my allergies I felt rather guilty. I certainly don't want anyone to think I find Austin less than divine. Actually I think Austin is a cool place to live and visit. Where else can one find an Airstream with a giant cupcake on its roof that reads "Hey Cupcake!" and view the largest urban bat colony in the US? No place but Austin Texas that I know of!

Even better, there will be a Garden Bloggers Spring Fling 2008 as excellently planned by Pam from Digging. So please check out the link and RSVP if you can. The Garden Bloggers would love to meet you!

Now that the weather in Austin has turned to cold rain, I am feeling much better. Rain means less cedar pollen. Hurray! While cold rain doesn't sound like much fun, my mother in cold icy Missouri assures me I have it very easy. These photos of the colorful leaves near my son's school will attest to the fact that it's still pretty in spots.

It really does look more like October than January, doesn't it? I suppose I'll always have a Missouri mind-set.

While my bleak garden doesn't offer much color, I do have a few flowers inside. I bought the little pot below last week on the last day Potagers was open. Thanks to Annie at The Transplantable Rose for wanting to visit the shop on just the right day! I'm sad Potagers is closed, but will always remember the lovely day with Annie each time I see my very useful pot.

This image of my Wardian Case proves that very few indoor photos can be taken in my house without a cat coming into view, (can you find the cat head in the photo below?) ...

Here's a close-up of Mariah as she sits on my desk. She is very content to be a warm indoor cat, thank you very much...

And thank goodness for inside plants and water-heaters for outside water gardens. The 'lovely' orange cord running along the patio is the life-line for my goldfish. I'm still crossing my fingers that the urn doesn't ice-over with the inevitable freeze. Keep heating water-heater!

I often think the hapless goldfish in my outdoor container garden live rather precarious existences this time of year. They remind me of the Cat-in-the-Hat goldfish. One false move and it's going to be disaster for them. I hope the electricity doesn't go out one dark and icy night.

Though maybe they'll have a more pioneering spirit like the famous PBS goldfish...

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ~John Ruskin

Copyright © 2007-2009. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I'm Allergic to Austin

Copyright © 2008. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.

Well, not all of it. So far, I only seem to be annoyingly allergic to the Mountain cedar (Juniperus ashei) which populates my area of the Balcones Canyonland Preserve by the millions (billions?) and is pollinating enthusiastically this month.

Here are some cedars holding seige a few blocks from my house...

Being a Missouri farm girl I'd never heard of anything pollinating during January, but turns out mountain cedar is originally froma Northern Mexico. The Advocates at People Against Cedars kindly gave permission for me to use this scary photo of a cedar tree releasing pollen...[thank you!]

Now that's a lot of pollen!

People Against Cedars work hard to educate people about Mountain Cedars. Turns out Mountain cedars are bad neighbors. They are invasive water hogs, (one plant can drink 32 gallons of water a day!) and worst of all Mountain cedars cause a growing threat of fire as they spread. Mountain cedars are even illegal to buy, sell and plant in certain parts of the Southwest because of health and fire hazards. Sounds like it may be time to cull the little buggers. If I didn't think I'd expire participating, I'd get out there and start chopping.

In the video below it's not smoke you're seeing that's drifting through the air it's cedar pollen in an 11 second video by "WoedaB" ...


I did not realize I had allergies until we moved to Austin. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America voted Austin, Texas the 2nd allergy capital of the US. Now that's a distinction I could have lived without.

When I asked my doctor when allergy season was over in Austin she laughed rather too gleefully for my taste and handed over a big allergy sheet very much like the data sheet below from the Central Texas Allergy & Asthma Center.

Hmm...As you can see there is no real 'down-time' for the afflicted in Austin. But if you're bothered by Mountain Cedar you might not want to winter here. I pop antihistamines like Chiclets and take so many Skin-so-Soft baths I think my Avon lady is going to propose.

Yet see how the Mountain Cedars mock me...

Next week: "How to Garden In a Space Suit"


"I fear one day I'll meet God, He'll sneeze and I won't know what to say."~Ronnie Shakes

Copyright © 2008. Suburban Wildlife Garden. All Rights Reserved.