Monday, November 15, 2010


When I was a child, my mother grew coleus plants in the shady part of our backyard. Seeing them evokes those childhood days and all the fun I had in the backyard. My brother and I would hang a hose over a large Massey tree and run through the water pretending to be in the wilds of Africa, plunging through our make-believe waterfall.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hibiscus Blooms Again

This beautiful peachy hibiscus is blooming in a garden on my street. These flowers remind me of Hawaii although they are native to many tropical climates. The petals are often used to make a tea.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pampas Grass

Pampas grass is blooming in Houston, as the summer segues into fall. Most of our daytime temps have been in the mid-80s for the last week or so, but today was a burner!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Luscious Berries

These luscious, wild berries have reached their peak of ripeness once again. The rain drops are visible on the leaves, which I always love to capture. I still have a long way to go as a photographer... but I enjoy taking photos, nevertheless.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tonight's New Moon

This photo was taken tonight. It looks like a Navy Bean to me, the way it is only partly visible. The Youpon shrub in front of the moon puts it in perspective.
You vote: Does the moon look more like a ...
___ Cannellini bean
___ Great Northern bean
___ Navy bean

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Morning Glories Blooming Again

Those wonderful, delicate flowers of the early part of the day are blooming again. This little vine creeped over from my neighbor's house and took root on an old elm stump that is getting bushy with leaves. I love the play of light in this photo.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Morning Sun Glow on Oak

Early one morning as I was opening the blinds, I was enthralled to see how the sun was striking the oak tree across the street, so I grabbed my camera and took off. This was one of those fleeting moments when everything seemed so glorious, but I was unable to really catch the thrill of the vision. Wish I knew more about my camera. Learning to be a better photographer is on my "Bucket List."
Another view, below.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Study of Moss

Lately Houston has been deluged with daily thunder storms accompanied by lots of rain, rain so deep that entire neighborhoods have been flooded. All this rain has birthed mosquitos as well as moss on many surfaces. Enjoy this collage of moss growing in the yard, on the fence and on rocks.

The fence in this photo is not altered in any way. It is truly green with moss. No special filters used, no techniques. Just a true photo of the way it looks.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

In Memory of Audrey Wade

Today's post is dedicated to a remarkable woman. This afternoon was the service for Audrey Wade, my beloved neighbor for more than twenty years, and my friend for much longer, who died June 29, 2010. Audrey was a truly wonderful person, full of life and smiles, full of love for all, truly guileless, inquisitive, adventuresome, and brave. She and her husband were fond of taking trips and they inevitably brought back some treasures for my children or for me. There are many reminders of Audrey around my house. Audrey and Jim raised six great kids and contributed mightily to their community and to their church. Audrey would frequently pop over to my house to chat or to bring a goodie. Other times we chatted over our common back wall. She was always ready to share something with me including late-night excursions to her backyard to see the night-blooming cereus. There are many tales I could tell and all of them good and wonderful.

Lucky for me, I saw Audrey in December last year when I had lunch with her and her dear husband Jim. Audrey will forever remain in my heart. She will be missed by so many to whom she was beloved. My prayers go out to Jim and all the family.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Galveston Mansions

There are a number of beautiful mansions in the coastal town of Galveston, TX. Many were built during the height of its affluence, in the late 1800s.

Some of the mansions are beyond what most of us can imagine, with hand-painted murals, custom iron work, amazingly intricate wood carvings, marble steps, and frankly, too many special features to describe.

If you ever have a chance to visit Galveston, take the time to tour one of their truly unique homes.

Galveston was originally inhabited by an extinct native American tribe called the Auias, whose influence extended all the way to Corpus Christi. Disease, conflict with Europeans, and numerous other reasons caused them to be extinct before the Civil War. Several Spanish explorers, beginning in 1528, had significant influence on the island town, including the naming of the town for the Spanish Count Galvez (Galvez-town).

The natural harbor there provided a base for pirates until the Texas Navy routed them with the support of Mexico. Galveston was a prosperous town and a progressive town until it was devastated by a hurricane in 1900, the deadliest natural disaster in US history. It never returned to its previous days of glory but the remnants, like the mansions on main street, are a testament to its once prosperous times.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Moss Roses (Portulaca Grandiflora)

This little plant can take heat and dry conditions, making it a perfect little summer plant. They can be used in hanging baskets to add color or they also make a great plant for a rock garden.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mandeville or Mandevilla Vine

One of the prettiest vines you can select for your garden is the Mandeville vine. It produces beautiful flowers that almost resemble a gardenia, if white; however, the plant does produce other colored flowers, such as deep pink and ruby red.

The vine must be supported by a trellis or fence, and it is important to aid the climbing shoots as the plant grows. It needs full sun and careful, slow watering.

The Mandeville vine requires grooming in the winter months, too, to ensure a good spring showing. This is a vine that will reward you with wonderful flowers if you give it the tender, loving care it requires.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Arrowhead Plants

Arrowhead plants love to grow in moist areas and these particular plants are growing near rain downspouts. They are neglected volunteers and therefore, they tend to come and go as the weather changes. During times of drought, I don't see much of them, but when the rains come, they pop up in many places and latch onto something to climb.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Maidenhair Fern

Maidenhair fern is a pretty little fern but it has the nasty habit of strangling everything in its clutches.

It tends to grow on the glass louvers of the patio and has finally won the battle. There is another fern that grows along side of it, but I do not know the name of that fern. Photo below.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fig Tree

This is a fig tree, growing, spreading, producing fruit in the Houston neighborhood. Figs are mentioned in the Bible all the way back to Genesis, when they "sewed fig leaves together to make an apron" to cover themselves. The interesting role that fig trees played in the Old and New Testament is that the custom was to plant a fig tree by the "front" door. It would grow to great proportions eventually becoming similar to an outdoor room. Often members of the household would go there for a quiet time or to study the Torah. It was just such a revelation that Jesus made to Nathanel, who eventually became an Apostle. Jesus said, "I saw you under the fig tree." The implication being that Nathanel was studying the Torah there.
Figs make a good jam or jelly. And who doesn't remember eating a Fig Newton, with the tiny, crunchy seeds?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thunder and Lightning

The rain is coming down in torrents.
Raindrops on concrete.

Today was a day filled with heavy rain showers, loud claps of thunder and the occasional too-close lightning strike.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sweet Gum Trees in Meyerland

There is an area in SW Houston called Meyerland. Along one street, sweet gum trees with their distinctive fruit are thriving.
The bark of the sweet gum is sometimes called alligator wood, which is easily understood upon inspection.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Zucchini Draped Over Fence

What a wonderful find when I was walking along a street today. At first, I wondered about the yellow star-shaped flowers and then in an instant, I realized, it was zucchini growing on a fence!
Here you see two zucchinis in various stages of growth. See the tendrils to the left of the Italian squash. Zucchini are exceptionally delicious when paired with chopped fresh tomatoes, onions and a sprinkling of Italian herbs.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Flags in Texas

The wind was not blowing and so we don't have that wonderful billowing effect on the flags.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunny Lantana

After taking a long gaze at the flowers, can you guess why this plant has the nick-name "Ham and Eggs?" Answer at the end of this post...
When I was a child, my friend and I would hunt around outside for some old cast-off can, like a soup or bean can. We'd gather lantana and add some water, stir it with a stick and pretend it was soup fit to eat. Thank goodness our mothers' generalized warnings about rusty cans and not eating this or that from the wild over-rode our play. We never drank our concoction.
I must admit, however, that I was not as careful about other berries and twigs I would find in the wild. All along the way from school to my house I would search out sea grape trees and would stuff myself with the dark purply ripe ones. Now I won't even eat a wild apple without washing it! I confess to eating unwashed thumbleberries that grew wild in Hawaii, though.
Back to Lantana: Lantana is a hardy plant that has, at times, the smell of sage. Best not to get too close, though, as the Lantana leaves are poisonous. The lantana is appreciated by gardeners for its drought-tolerant qualities and brightly colored flowers. The flowers are not poisonous to birds and are used by some male species to decorate their nest in order to attract a female. Many species of butterflies love the lantana. If you want to attract butterflies to your garden, you might try lantana. In many regions of the world, lantana is considered a noxious weed and is not desirable; however, its woody stems are used by some artisans in India in their wicker crafts. Although the ripe berries of the lantana are supposedly non-toxic, again, if ripe, I recommend not putting any part of the lantana plant in one's mouth. Stay safe!
Answer: The reason some people call this plant "Ham and Eggs" is because of the pink flowers (ham) that surround the yellow flowers (eggs.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lily of the Nile Or Agapanthus

From the first time I laid eyes on this flower, I was enchanted. I'm not certain when that might have been but when I lived in Hawaii, they were a familiar flower in gardens and public landscapes. These delicate tubular flowers are blooming now in Houston. The pre-bloom stage is especially pretty, and they are most spectacular when planted in masses. Despite the name "lily," it is not a lily. Originally from South Africa, the plant has been adopted by numerous tropical and subtropical locales all around the world.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Black-Eyed Susan

These wild flowers are growing at the end of my street, having somehow seeded themselves for another summer. Yes, near the Bayou that I wrote about in an earlier post. In all, there are not too many of these plants, but they seem vigorous and healthy. I've seen these same wild flowers in a few other places, but they do not populate many areas. Perhaps that is because they tend to grow near the roadside where the county comes along with their huge mowers and mows them down before they can even get started. I love the composition of the bright yellow petals, brilliant green leaves and the cloudy blue sky. I took these photos yesterday, and the wind was blowing hard. You can see the effect of the wind in the bent shape of the plants. For a while, I didn't think I could capture the flowers because of the constant swaying back and forth. In a split second, I was able to release the shutter. How divine!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


When I was a young child, we lived in what today would be considered a small bungalow: 3 bedrooms with a jack-and-jill bathroom between two bedrooms on one side and another bedroom with a small bathroom attached on the other side. But my favorite place was outside. My mother created a rock garden full of caladiums, crotons, and coleus with interesting rocks, various kinds of coral and brain coral. I would stand at a distance and watch her work in the garden in the early morning sun. I was quiet, but in my heart I loved that garden and believed it to be the most beautiful in the world. When we left that house for "a more prestigious location," I was heart-broken. Mostly, I didn't want to leave my friends and I especially didn't want to leave the rock garden that meant so much to me! Pink caladium hearts, always in my heart!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wild Roses

Wild roses don't grow very big or require much maintenance, like the roses grown by serious rose-growers. They are left to roam and ramble as they will. Wild roses have only five petals. Many of the flowers resemble apple blossoms with a pale center and pink petals. Aren't we fortunate to have these wonderful wild roses to add color to a meadow or a casual garden?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Crepe Myrtles Hanging Low with Heavy Blossoms

A feast for the eyes!

Crepe myrtles have busted out all over Houston - full of blossoms: Some are pink, some are white, and many are this raspberry color. Beautiful trees. I hope you get to see some this year.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Colorful Bedding Plants

Pink and white flowers, the names of which I do not know. The stems look like carnation stems. Long, slender leaves covered in raindrops... just for your enjoyment, dear reader.

Here are the colorful bedding plants that grace a public building in the neighborhood. The bright pink and the orange look stunning together.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Flores Silvestres/Wild Flowers

I was fortunate enough to capture these wildflowers along an area of W. Belfort in Houston before the county came along with their mowers and mowed them all down. I felt so sad when I saw that they had been cut down to the ground. Scalped, indeed. Their name escapes me, but I will research it and see if I can find out. They look a little like a daisy, a little like a black-eyed susan.