Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue Moon Tonight

About 8:00 PM, I went outside to see if the moon were visible and it was not.  I walked around for a while to see if it were in some unfamiliar place but did not find it, so I retreated to the air-conditioned house.  It's a muggy August in Houston.  About 9:00 PM, I gave it another try and there it was!  This time I didn't use a tripod and most of the images turned out a bit shaky.  Those are real clouds that are reflecting the moon's light.  I winked at the moon, to honor Neil Armstrong, as his family requested.

What is a blue moon?  It often refers generically to a rare occurrence; however, a blue moon refers to an extra moon in a season or more recently, a second moon in the same month.  A blue moon is rather rare.  If you didn't get to see it in person tonight, enjoy these photos.

The "Blue Moon of August 31, 2012."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Yellow Blossoms Grace the Garden

There are two plants that really dress up a Houston garden:  Lantana and Esperanza.  My Lantana are not doing well due to excessive rain that destroyed their flowers and saturated the ground and their roots shortly after they were planted.  The Esperanza plants are doing very well, having been established for more than two years, surviving all the drought, the freezes, and the super saturation of recent rains.

 Above: Lantana - with their flower heads of multiple tiny flowers.  Mine have grown skinny and flowerless but I am hopeful they will make a comeback with the right growing conditions.

Above: Esperanza - a delicate trumpet flower with a beautiful buttery color.  The name is inspiring: Hope.  These plants often have to be staked because they will droop over, their tender stalks unable to cope with the weight of all the shoots.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


 Angelonia is native to Mexico and the West Indies, which accounts for its satisfactory growth in Houston with proper care, although our summers have become quite brutal, which makes the plants suffer and require a good deal of water.  Otherwise, they will just wither away.
 The Angelonia plant blooms in a variety of colors, from purple to white and various shades in between.  Angelonia can be propigated from tip cuttings, by division of the root mass, or by seed. For a head start, sow seed indoors at 70-75 F,  6-8 weeks before the last expected frost. Of course, the patented cultivar 'Angelmist' may not be commercially propagated without a propagation license from the patent holder.  (Not shown in any of these photos.)
 Some gardeners liken their blooms to those of the snap dragon, and there is a resemblance.
 These are so pretty they look like they could be part of a natural bridal bouquet.
A new variety of these plants is called Angelmist.  If you like the looks of these, check with your local grower for these and the new Angelmist.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pretty Periwinkles

 Periwinkles are also known by the name of Vinca or Vinca Vine.  They have been around for hundreds of years and are best known as a ground cover because of their hardiness and ability to grow in many different soils and in both shade and sun.  They are generally drought tolerant.  They make a good bedding plant.
 In some places, periwinkles have become invasive and have taken over woodland area, causing their banishment.
 White and deep rose colors add variety to the landscape.
I especially like this color of Periwinkle, the pale pink. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Moon Over the Bayou

Tonight, a view of the moon was fairly clear with some buttermilk clouds that dispersed into bigger clouds.  The day was filled with intermittent rain showers, some heavy at times.  We welcome the rain because our gardens have been so adversely affected by last year's drought.  This rainy season has brought life back to our grasses and trees.

Yet, the rain has filled up the bayous and low-lying areas with water perfect for breeding grounds for mosquitoes.  We are plagued with mosquitoes constantly biting us.  They are even in our homes!  One cannot open the door that they do not fly inside ready to feast on our blood.  Some humans in our area have come down with West Nile Virus.  Even the geckos cannot keep up with the opulent feast of their favorite food.  It is the worst mosquito season I have ever experienced. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Purple Sage Blooms Once More

This purple sage plant is a beauty. 

The Last of the Pansies

The weather has been consistently warm and the pansies are beginning to show the stress of the warm weather.  Soon it will be time to plant something else.

The combination of lavender and yellow pansies has always been a favorite of mine.

Dusty Miller Looking Good

This Dusty Miller plant is looking healthy.

Rain Brings New Shoots

New shoots on Sago palm.

At last, Houston's drought seems to be over and the plants are again thriving; however, the days are getting warm and summer will arrive sooner than expected, again this year.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rain Comes to Houston

On Monday, January 9th, Houston got a good soaking and a few tornadoes.  The trees at last had a deep, deep drink, down to their deepest roots.

The streets in my area of town were impassible, as a few drivers found out. 

Unfortunately, the pansies I had just planted a few days earlier in the balmy weather washed away.  Along with the pansies, the top soil and mulch swirled and receded to the storm drains, too.

It was warm enough for shorts and I ventured out; however, when the water was three inches above my knees, I retreated to higher ground.
 A driver who took his chances without a good result.
 This fire hydrant is normally at the curb of my yard.  You can see the concentric circles the rain drops make.
 One row of pansies already doomed.

 Deep water.  The mulch is swirling around in about 2-3 feet of water in the yard.
 Rain drops obvious in the deep pool of rain.  Rain continued to fall the entire day and night.  A real good soaking, so desperately needed after a year of drought.

That little island of grass is actually the yard across the street!

The two stumps are remnants of pine trees that died in this past year's drought.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Moon Mesmerizes

There is nothing like a full moon to mesmerize... especially when it is shadowed by clouds.