Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Walk Around

Sometimes I'm surprised at the strength of life.  How little seeds and plants can grow beyond bounds.

<---Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis).  Favored by hummingbirds and through-the-window-birdwatching cats.

Left foreground, Firebush (Hamelia patens), beloved by hummingbirds and butterflies.  On the right is American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), seen close-up in the next picture.  And yes, the cardinals, wrens, mockingbirds, robins, eastern phoebe, jays, etc. love it.

Waiting for the birds...

It looks bare, but unseen seeds will grow into Standing cypress, with red blooms like little upraised trumpets, and hummingbirds will go to war to claim the patch.

All this bloom and color is drought-tolerant and hardy. When we pickaxed the little planting holes in our limestone clay, I didn't know it would eventually grow into a hummingbird resort, but I'm glad.  

Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. That purple berry thing is otherworldly. What is it?

  2. This weather is great, isn't it.

    Your garden is looking good.

  3. Hi Elizabeth, that's American Beautyberry, Callicarpa americana. It's a native in 14 Southern states, including some of your old stomping grounds. I love it because the berries last long after the leaves have fallen and it feeds the birds into winter when there are fewer seeds and berries. It would grow well in your climate too.

  4. That is one vibrant berry bush. I think it reminds me of eyeshadow I used to wear in High school . Only more classy. Love your garden. What an oasis!

  5. I really find it amasing that you have a Rose growing in your temp'.
    On the shrub, Callicarpa, it would not grow up here if Maryland is as high as it grows wild in the States.
    It looks very like a Vibernum.
    On the Lavender, do you have problems with them dieing off after a few years. If you do, you need to plant them where there is air, like on a corner and you also need to clip back hard after flowering.
    The only problem with planting them on a corner is you end up with something of a full-stop. And it might be an idea to put the terracotta pots before the stone. At the moment they are blocking the eye from the verge of trees behind them, and the stone will give that line between that which is controled and the wild.
    Used to work as a Landscape designer in London and South of France.

  6. And I intended to add that your garden is very very good indeed.

  7. We have many of the same plants and the hummingbirds spend their days sipping from the fire spike right beyond my back porch. As you know, we too have the beauty berries.
    What a beautiful yard you have, Kathleen! You are like my own Kathleen- a bounteous gardener.

  8. Our hummingbirds seem to have moved on but the joy they bring lasts and lasts. What a wonderful preserve you've created for them and fortunately, so pleasing to the eye whether or not the birds are busy feeding. Thanks for sharing your lovely garden beds.

  9. It is all very beautiful Kathleen, I love the colours, no wonder the birds and butterflies visit the haven you have created for them.
    xoxoxo ♡

  10. Yes! This garden is bird and people attractive. What a gift you have been to this plot of land, Kathleen. x0 N2

  11. Is this your yard? It looks like a beautiful botanical garden. I am so jealous.

  12. During the first two or three years after you and Denny moved to Texas, my wife and I visited you a couple of times while your backyard paradise was...well, it was sort of "in progress." I recall a lot of dried-up, sun-baked clay instead of dirt or soil; rocks were scattered everywhere, but not in the places they should be; wild boulders had plopped themselves down in the middle of what you said were supposed to be flower gardens (at the time, the boulders had not yet realized that they were trespassing); a rain runoff gully zigzagged across your backyard, following whatever wandering course it and gravity decided it should take during any given rain storm; weeds grew rampant everywhere, choking out anything that might want to show a little color or fragrance (heaven forbid that those ugly little weed monsters might attract any birds, bees, or butterflies); and there were lots of trees, a few lovely tall ones, but also many straggly and ugly bushes and vines that longed to be trees, but their stubby little trunks and thick twisted limb structures just couldn't make the grade to tree-hood, no matter how hard they tried.

    Oh yeah, I remember a small natural waterfall just a few steps outside your back door, but the only problem was that nature had neglected to provide a perpetual water source for the waterfall...or a collection of multi-layered rocks over which the water could flow, even if a water source had been available. (On second thought, maybe there was no waterfall and my aging memory is only recalling the strong metal picture painted by Denny's mind at the time, which at a later date he willed into existence -- after hours of do-it-yourself water flow engineering, natural rock architecture, and back braking hard work.)

    Finally, I vaguely recall that a few birds would flutter by every now and then, but they rarely stayed for more than a few moments before moving on...as if to say, "Oops, landing here was a mistake. I think I can do better down the road a piece."

    But you and Denny were undaunted. You had ideas; you had vision; you had the Internet for research; and over time you made friends with local experts, who were more than willing to share their Texas Hill Country expertise with you. But most important, you both had the necessary work ethic encoded into your respective DNA structures that is required to make things happen...even hard things...in fact, especially hard things --even if those hard things could only be done during your "spare" time.

    Before continuing this comment, I took another look at the photographs of your backyard that you posted today. I do not have a thousand or any other number of words that could add to what your pictures have already said loudly, clearly, and beautifully. So I'll just take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and mutter only one word...WOW! --Wilson

  13. well , I feel like I know you better Kathleen, after reading the above gushing comment. and yet, somehow I knew.

  14. Beautiful, and also inspiring. Do you have any "before" pics that show your land the way it looked before you worked your gardener's art?

  15. It looks wonderful Kathleen. I love the Cardinal flower. I'm going to have to look for that.


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