Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Springtime in the Fall

An iris thinks it's Easter.   And here are some updated pics of the dry creek bed I'm building.  It's sort of on hold while we wait for the city's approval to build a little second residence in the back yard.  Its plumbing may have to go right through where my creek is.

A Turk's Cap, above.  These grow like weeds here.  Best in part shade.  They hold up around a lot of child's play too.

We have a Hyacinth Bean vine growing up the side of our back porch.  Bright purple flowers that turn into dark purple bean pods.

 This Bougainvillea has kept going through the hot summer.  Incidentally, I don't water any of our plants, except for a drip now and then on our few trees.  So everything blooming here is going purely on what the little rain we get can provide.

Here's the whole front yard, below.  Black foot daisies are doing great, with the Mexican blue sage in foreground, big Muhlys in the background.

 The Pride of Barbados (tall orange-on right, above) is the tallest and fullest it's ever been.  Remember: hardly any rain this summer or fall!  Amazing.

 And of course there's the Autumn Sage, below.  Hooray for fall!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Toast!

A friend gave me some winecups, these are called, at the start of Spring.  Each plant bursts out of one point in the ground, and spreads out above in beautiful symmetry, one stalk remaining overhead.  Just delightful.
 It's hard to capture the symmetry in a photo.  It's like a little burst of pink fireworks.

 And of course I have to raise a toast to our annual sunflower visitors.  Now at least 7 feet tall.

 The Mexican feather grass we put in in 2006, has reseeded and come back every year.  The more mature ones turn blond in late Spring.  With a breeze, they really go "Barbie."

 A little progress on the creek bed...I'm using some old pavers for now, to hold the sides in place, and help me see where I'm heading.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Testing the Creek & Catch-up on Spring Activity

Our Spring started out with buckets of rain.  It was a good chance to see if the run-off would flow the way I wanted it to down the creek I'm digging out.  Mostly it did.  It also went UP, overflowing the banks.

 A more recent photo of the Spring explosion of flowers.  This is a star jasmine vine I've been coaxing along for several years.  No help needed this year.  It smells awesome.

 We potted a poinsettia last Christmas to see what would happen.  All the red flowers dropped off, it stoically stuck out the cold snaps, and sprung back in the spring; and, voila, new red flowers (which I used to think were leaves).  My kids wondered why it would do that Easter?  It's always been a Christmas plant for us.  Nice to see it do what it does naturally.

 Here's some catch up on the front yard, where grass used to be. Hooray!! No more sprinklers!!

 I topped off the granite mulch around the perimeter, and added some winecups a neighbor gave me; put in a new century plant and a plumbago where we had lost our old ones; relocated some pale leaf yuccas, and copied my neighbors by adding some trailing (purple) lantana.  I just want to put in native plants I have witnessed survive through both tough summers and tough we'll see how these do.

 That space down by the road I'm proud of - did a lot of weeding around the bluebonnets coming up, so  by the peak of our Spring, I had mostly blackfoot daisies, a big sunflower plant, and plenty of bluebonnets.  See result in last photo of this post.

 The mountain laurel, like everyone's this year, just burst out in purple blooms (hard to see here I know).

This Mexican dagger plant (two actually) I had to capture in pictures - saw them on a dog walk.  This was back in March.  One had bloomed, one was on its way up.  Each plant was at least 5 feet tall.

 This photo was from a few weeks ago.  The Mexican feather grass seedlings have really filled out in the empty spaces since then, making parts of the perimeter beds sort of "wave."  What a great season Spring is in Austin!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Progress on our not-so-dry creek bed

 Well, I know it doesn't look like much, but it's a start.  I'd been wondering how to continue the ditch (still hard to call it a creek at this point) under the fencing, without giving our dog a clear exit point.  The nice discovery was that (duh) the fencing goes down into the ground about 6 in.; and with some strategically-placed rocks in the same spot, we should still have a dog in our backyard.
 I started out drawing a design of the curvature I wanted for the creek, but gave up and just dug.  I like how it turned out and can still adjust if I want.
 Since this last photo, I've doubled the width of this section of creek.  We're debating how wide to make it in the end.

Creating it slowly does have its advantages, esp during our "rainy season."  I'm able to see the grading and how the water flows after each rain, and can make adjustments.  The downside is, the rain ends up washing back in some of the dirt I'd previously excavated.  Not much, but it does feel like two steps forward, one step back.  Onward!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dry Creek Bed

 This was last fall.
 This was last December.  I pulled up more grass, and just kept digging, so I have a depression at one end (the visual end of the creek) and the "creek" then going alongside our house.  The creek bed's shape is being designed by our kids, as they discover where they like the water to go or not go.
It will be a slow process, but I'm liking the joy I find in this slowness.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Grass continuing to go

Just a progressive account of the disappearance (deliberate) of our lawn.  I decided to relocate the turf to the back of our garage, where we just had mulch.  Even if it doesn't spring back, it'll be something less likely to get worn down by the dog, when she makes her turn arounds after catching balls.
 This wavy pattern was abandoned as you'll see a few photos down for one that makes a full circle with the other side of limestone trim.

 Just bags of cedar mulch from Lowe's and voila.  The only thing I've found tricky with a mulch "lawn" is that you can't spot poop as easily.  Now for the other side of our front lawn (actually that's almost done...but haven't got pics of that yet).