Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Christmas Water Lily?

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

I've heard of a Christmas Cactus, but never a Christmas Water Lily. This morning when I went outside to refill the bird feeders I was very surprised to see my water lily, Texas Dawn, blooming in my container water garden.

Perhaps the heater in the container garden -- that is meant to keep the water from freezing overnight in winter -- is tricking my lily into 'thinking' it's living in some kind of strange tropical paradise even when the air is rather chilly at night. Or maybe it's just that we're having unseasonably warm weather here in Austin. *shrug*

It was a nice surprise at any rate. What sorts of surprises did you receive this Christmas Day?

"Those virgin lilies, all the night
Bathing their beauties in the lake,
That they may rise more fresh and bright,
When their beloved sun's awake." -
Thomas Moore, Lalla Rookh--Paradise and the Peri

Merry Christmas to All!

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Monday, December 24, 2007

'Tis the Night Before Christmas...

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And all through the house...not a creature was stirring...except the fat cat Lily on the ottoman. The presents were ready under the tree...

And the baby was lying in the manger...

Birds and bobbles fill the tree...

while favorite Christmas toys were brought out to play...

The stockings are hung on the mantle ready to be stuffed by Santa tonight...

And the Alcove Horse turns festive with red bells and ribbon...

Finally the Nativity Carousel is lit this Christmas Eve night...

Here's wishing you and your family a day full of love and joy.

"Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart...filled it, too, with melody that would last forever." ~ Bess Streeter Aldrich (1881-1954), American author, 'Song of Years'.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Nature in Christmas Cards Past

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Each year I looked forward to receiving a very special Christmas card from my great Aunt Totsie. Though she was my step-aunt she always treated me as if I were her blood relative. She and her sister, my step Grandmother, kept excellent correspondence with me throughout my childhood and adulthood. They were both gracious ladies whom I loved and miss very much.

Since the recent blog theft debacle, I've hesitated to share any of Aunt Totsie's cards on my blog, but have decided to risk a few in the spirit of Christmas. Though I will add a warning that every card has been woven with invisible worms & charms by all my hacker & pagan friends, so insidious thieves beware!

In addition to being a talented artist, Aunt Totsie was also a master gardener. Her flower garden on the Lake of the Ozarks was full of blooms and birds.

I've saved each one of her watercolor Christmas cards and take them out to read. Her gifts continue to bless my home each holiday. And for that and for her love I'm truly thankful.

I wish you and your families a very Happy Holiday and a Joyful New Year!

* * * * *

Oh and here's a silly Christmas treat for all of you...

DJ Europe's Christmas Bells

"I don't know what to do!" cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laoco├Ân of himself with his stockings. "I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!" Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol

Flash Christmas E-Cards!

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Potagers Gardens and Verandas

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

Special thanks to Annie at The Transplantable Rose for letting me know my content is being stolen by Unscrupulous Thieves and to Mr Brown Thumb for his excellent article: The GrowSpot.com Gets TheSmackDown.

I'm not much of a shopper, but I am a soft-touch for a nice garden shop. Since moving to Austin I've been attempting to visit many of the nurseries and garden-themed stores in my area. One beautiful shop that's not too far from my house is Potagers on 620.

They have a lovely outdoor terrace with statues, plants and French & Italian pottery.

The Japanese maple is a work of art in this Tuscan-yellow Anduze Pot...

I love the angel at the center of the terrace...

There are angels inside as well along with many different kinds of specimen plants. They are decorated for Christmas this month.

The circular greenhouse room is my favorite space in the shop.

Everyone should have a round garden room. Well, I can dream at least...

There are tons of tempting pots, plants and decorative items at the windows.

I cannot seem to leave this room without choosing something for myself.

This time I bought a little shell planter...

I added it to my Wardian Case at home along with a fern and some Reindeer Moss (Cladonia rangiferina), which is really lichen...

Back at Potagers, Suzanne and Teresa are very talented at putting each display table together for aesthetic appeal.

The shop offers items for living room, bed and bath as well as the garden.

The beautiful poinsettias on these tables are as huge as they look.

The butterfly pillows on this antique bed bring the garden to mind as well.

I admired this dried arrangement and wonder if I could make one myself...

Before leaving I took one last look at the gorgeous surroundings.

Hope all of you are enjoying your holiday preparations. May you find beauty in nature and the Yuletide season this year wherever you go.

"There were pears and apples, clustered high in blooming pyramids; there were bunches of grapes, made, in the shopkeepers' benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks, that people's mouths might water gratis as they passed; there were piles of filberts, mossy and brown, recalling, in their fragrance, ancient walks among the woods, and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves; there were Norfolk Biffins, squab and swarthy, setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons, and, in the great compactness of their juicy persons, urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner." ~ from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Visit to Wimberley

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A few weeks ago I met a friend in Wimberley, Texas. Wimberley is a quaint little town full of history and adorable cottages turned into shops. It's an easy trek from Austin, so I like to take friends and family there when they visit. This time we saw lots of lovely plants and animals that are well worth blogging.

One of my favorite garden stone walls in Wimberley is so thin it seems likely to topple over, but I'm told it's stood there for many years.

On the edge of the wall stand pillars with shells embedded into the concrete.

Nearby was this mystery vine with purple berries.

As well as this American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)....

One little shop has a fine garden in the front yard. This pomegranate tree (Punica granatum) was host to some lovely fruit...

Cutting through town, not far from the shops, is Cypress Creek.

My friend discovered a B&B in Wimberley called Highpoint Manor Inn that is home to several farm animals as well as some lovely wild plants.

I was impressed by the tenacity of this pink wildflower that happily bloomed out of its rock home. I'm ashamed to say it's another 'mystery plant' to me. I tried to find it in my copy of "Texas Wildflowers" to no avail.

Peacocks roam freely on the little farm.

While the chickens and bunnies have safer houses behind raccoon-thwarting wire.

My favorite animal on the B&B farm is this frisky miniature horse.

He was very greedy for the apples we were sharing with him. As a matter of fact, he reminded me of Tom Bombadil's wise little pony, "Fatty Lumpkin" in the Lord of the Rings novel.

"Hey! now! Come hoy now! Whither do you wander?
Up, down, near or far, here, there or yonder?
Sharp-ears, Wise-nose, Swish-tail and Bumpkin,
White-socks my little lad, and old Fatty Lumpkin!"
J.R.R. Tolkien in 'The Fellowship of the Ring'

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

FreeRice.Com: Rice for Words

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Well, rice is a plant and I'm always interested in a good cause. Yesterday a friend directed me to FreeRice.Com, a site where you can play a free vocabulary game and earn free rice for hungry people all over the world. For each word you get right, they donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

If you haven't visited yet, please take a look. It seems like a very cool site. So far my Vocab Level is only at 48, but I'm still working on it. Enjoy!

"To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, THIS is to have succeeded." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Giving Thanks

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November weather has been pleasant here in Austin. I really enjoy autumn. My parents are coming down to visit us for Thanksgiving, which should be fun. I won't be blogging for a week or so, but in the meantime here are some photos from my last visit to Natural Gardener Nursery. Enjoy!

The butterfly garden in all its glory.

By far this blue mistflower was the most popular plant with the butterflies that day. We counted at least 7 varieties of butterfly on one bush.

There greenhouse holds various tropical plants.

These red berries near the climbing vines reminded me of Christmas.

The metal chickens made me laugh.

My son prefers the real thing. He'd just given these chickens some grass which they slurped up like spaghetti.

The donkeys were waiting patiently for their supper.

While their newest garden cat was fast asleep inside the main building.

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
~Author Unknown
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
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