Thursday, June 21, 2007

Here be Dragons

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Well, not dragons exactly, but lizards of respectable size. One frequent visitor to my garden is this Texas Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus olivaceus).

He's a bit longer and plumper around the belly than the anoles that I was accustomed to seeing in Florida. These Texas Spiny Lizards are much faster moving as well. Once I shot the photo below he panicked and took off so quickly I lost him in the bushes.

The weather has been very mild here for Central Texas this time of year. We've had a lot of rain, which I love. Hopefully the Edwards Aquifer and Lake Travis will fill up nicely.

Now that I'm feeling better I'm taking walks again. I've enjoyed the purple blooms of the Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus) trees in my neighborhood.

I'd plant a vitex, but seem to recall someone telling me they are invasive. Must look that up. I'd prefer to add more native plants to my property that will attract the local birds, mammals and even more lizards like my little friend above.

Somehow all this lizard talk makes me think of that silly bumper-sticker..."Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup."

Great Animated Cartoon Postcards

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Snakes and Blooms

Hello! I've really missed blogging these past few weeks and am very thankful to be feeling better now.

There have been a few changes in my garden in the past month. My passion flower has grown up and over my back fence. The Mexican Fritillary continues to show interest in laying eggs on the leaves. I'm hoping for some caterpillars soon.

The passion flower blossoms offer a nice touch of color to my back garden.

A few days ago I saw this pretty snake (photo below) on my driveway. It was close to 4 feet in length with a narrow head. I'm not sure of the species, though I did check with the Austin Herpetological Society web links. A few walkers said they saw two other snakes just like it a block or so away from my house on the same day. I was glad when the snake finally reached the safety of the grass where misguided people would be less likely to see and kill it. The South Texas Poison Center offers some good advice as to how one can let snakes live in peace.

My container water garden continues to flourish. This week's waterlily bloom has a much longer stem than the previous flowers which seemed to just lay on top of the water before.

It really is lovely!

I'm also pleased that my pots of sedum are doing so well. My cuttings originally came from my great-grandmother's garden. I'm trying to grow the sedum as groundcover in some of my flowerbeds, but they seem to prefer containers like this one.

Speaking of groundcover, I have a mystery plant in one front bed that I have not identified yet (see photo below). I'm not sure if it's friend or foe, but the little purple flowers are cute.

I enjoy watching the activity in my front garden. The Cannas are blooming by the front stairs.

My Bat-faced Cuphea (cuphea llavea) is thriving in the warmer summer weather.

And this purple buddleja still attracts its share of butterflies, though some of the blooms are beginning to fade.

One plant that's in bloom all over Austin right now is a kind of Leucophyllum, or what some here call Texas Sage. I'd like to add at least one to my garden.

I'm hoping to visit some more flora-rich Texas sites like the Fredericksburg Herb Farm soon. And when I do I'll certainly blog about it.
"Courage is a special kind of knowledge: the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared." ~David Ben-Gurion