Saturday, April 26, 2014

Color in South Texas

Roger here...  Time to do another "real time" post. 

 Dianne and I have never been farmers (even though we are from  Indiana :-).  However, we have always enjoyed landscaping the properties that we have owned.  Our last sticks-and-bricks house was on the annual garden tour in the small town of Pendleton.  We thought we would be leaving that behind when we opted to travel full-time.  Guess not.

We have always been amazed by the lushness of the plant life in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.  

When we lived in Indiana we always thought that this part of the country was dry, windy and full of cactus.  

There is some truth to that.  It can be dry (during droughts).  It can certainly be breezy.  There are enough cactus (and myriad other thorny plants --  lots of thorny plants) to give this place a western feel.

However, it is also tropical.  The area is filled with palm trees and exotic plants.  This is to be expected, since we are at the same latitude as Miami.

What truly surprises us about the plant life here is the color and the health of the plants.  All of the photos in this post were taken in our small yard.  We do have a drip irrigation system that solves any water problems that might occur, but it seems that once you plop something in the ground, like these irises, they explode with color and growth.

Here are a few of the many plants that thrive in our yard:

Purple Skyflower.  This is a large shrub that is covered with deep purple blossoms.

Roses --- one of the thorny plants. We have two varieties in our yard.  These red and pink ones circle our palm tree in front.
These large pink blooms line our driveway.

Mexican Olive Tree.  This is a beauty --- covered with white blossoms that litter the yard.

Firecracker Plant. These bright red flowers attract hummingbirds as well as butterflies.

Esperanza (yellow bells).  If not trimmed, this shrub can become enormous.  It is covered with bright yellow, fragrant blooms.

Jasmine Vine.  We planted three of these fragrant vines to wind their way up to the top of our pergola.  As you can see, they were successful.

Sage Bushes.  We planted these along one side of our back patio to provide a little bit of privacy.  They are about five foot tall and topped by purple flowers.

The plants that fill our pots also thrive with a little bit of water.

Begonias with a fern.

Pencil Plant.

In the picture below, the pink flowers with the white impatiens were potted plants that we plopped in the back yard when we left in the spring.  They not only survived the hot summer and the winter, but they are thriving.

Our plantings also add a different element of color to our lives.  The prolific mist flowers in this photo attract hundreds (not an exaggeration) of butterflies.

Here's a pretty one I managed to photograph the other day (..D):

Dianne worked very hard to get this photo of a giant swallowtail in our purple skyflowers.

This festive plant is called Butterfly Weed (Mexican Milkweed).  It is related to the milkweed plants further north.  Several times a year, larva (caterpillars) eat all the leaves from the plant....

Older Chrysalis
... The plant grows new leaves quickly while the larva spins its chrysalis.
Fresh, New Chrysalis

With some patience we have been able to witness the emergence of several fresh, vivid Monarch Butterflies.

The flowers and the butterflies are present year-round here.  However, some seasons provide bigger shows than others.  We are in the middle of the spring blooming season right now.  In September/October the butterfly season will be in full swing.  Can't wait to see it!

Dianne here:  I'm adding the pet photo of the day. This is my pal Bart, who is still up for adoption at Cinderella Pet Rescue.  Bart won't have a chance to forget me this summer (not that he would), because I am staying in Texas and we'll continue our walks/treats/hugs, no matter how hot it gets!   
My Pal Bart

1 comment:

Bill and Nancy said...

Thanks for the garden tour!! You sure have done a beautiful job. Can't wait to see what you do with the landscaping in you new home!!