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


Anonymous said...

Is it a TX rat snake? I have similar ones in my yard( I live in the Oakhill area) and have never known for sure what they are. The markings one the ones I see appear reddish in color and they quite long as the one in your photo.I know they are good friends in the garden but snakes really creep me out. Especially the idea of them being able to climb. Ick!

Dawn said...

Hi Robin!

It might be a rat snake. I'm honestly not sure. Its head was narrow enough that it didn't look poisonous, so I wasn't afraid of it. All it wanted was to get into the grass and away from all us pesky humans.

Don't get me wrong though. I once accidently picked up a snake with my bare hands while raking leaves. My monkey-brain went into panic-mode until I could back-off to a safe distance and evaluate the situation. My cortex may say snakes are good, but my brainstem said "Run!" Heh.


Sinda said...

hey, your mystery plant's flowers look like a Ruellia, maybe?

Was doing some random googling and found you - great garden pix!

Dawn said...

Hi Sinda!

Thanks for the plant name. I had no idea what it might be. So glad you stopped by.


Andrea's Garden said...

Wow, I think I'd freak out if I saw one like that in my yard. In KS where I lived for quite a while we got to enjoy rattlers. That was more snake I ever wanted to see. Nice pictures of your garden. Andrea

Dawn said...

Hi Andrea!

I'm calm with snakes as long as they aren't poisonous and I know where they are. Rattlesnakes need to be given a certain amount of distance and respect. I haven't seen any rattlers in my garden yet, which is fine with me.


Green thumb said...

Hi Dawn! Lovely flowers you have in your garden and, well, a slithering admirer too! I personally have nothing against snakes but the sight of them freaks me out.
It was very noble of you to be concerned about its safety.

Anonymous said...

Love the snake. All I have are little tiny wines that live in the compost pile and look like earthworms. I'm happy to say, however, that in the years that I've been stewarding this yard that the toads and lizards have returned.

Hope you're feeling better and enjoying this unusually mild June weather.

Dawn said...

Hi Green thumb!

My mother and sister both freak out, as you say, when they see snakes as well. An initial reaction really can be viseral and difficult to control. Reading about snakes has really helped me calm my response to them.

Hey MSS!

I hope all is going well in your world. I'm feeling much better, thanks. The weather really is nice. I even love the rain. Now if I could only learn to love weeding as much as buying plants. ;-)

Glad to hear you have toads & lizards. Very cool critters! You mentioned "little tiny wines". Are they a type of snake here? I have a lot to learn about the fauna in Austin. I'm still hoping to see a ringed-tailed cat someday.


LostRoses said...

Your passion flower is gorgeous, and your snake is too big! Four feet, yikes!

Dawn said...

Thanks Lostroses!

You're right, the snake was long, but its size and shape were a clue to me that it was not poisonous, which would be my only concern. Personally, I'd rather see a non-poisonous snake in my yard than a rat. ;-)

Happy Gardening!

Unknown said...

Dear Dawn,

Thanks for stopping by and good to see oyu back online. Cool new links!

Seeing your snakes, I thought you'd enjoy this blog Niches:
Wayne may not call it "suburban wildlife" but I think that's what he's interested in too.

Dawn said...

Hi Julie!

Thank you for the link. I checked out his site. What a large snake he has in his pond. Wow! Looks like an interesting blog. I'll keep reading it.