Thursday, April 17, 2014

Three Mornings at the Park

The cell phone did well on these three mornings but it would have been nice to have my good camera along.

Matzke Park has a lot to offer.  In addition to the Butterfly Garden it has fine old trees and a great walking trail.  I especially like the trail very early in the morning from about 6:15 AM.  Yes, it is dark.
I try to get out most mornings for 6 laps of brisk walking. (4.2 miles).  

This morning (Apr 17) about 7:00 AM it was getting light and I caught the moon setting over the Cougar Country water tower which the sun was starting to highlight.  You can see this when walking to the west along the north side.

I was a bit late, 7:20 AM this morning. (Apr 18) I saw this as I was driving toward the park.  It was floating very low right over Jones road at about the Met.  By the time I parked and got out.. it had risen again and was to the west of Jones.... Not exactly the Albuquerque Balloon Festival but another gorgeous morning to be outside..

And Easter Morning, April 20, about 6:30 AM... ground fog blanketed the cricket field while the morning sky was a fitting welcome to this special day.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring at Fawnview Ranch

Wow... isn't Houston great in the early spring ?  

This is a wonderful time to stay at home and literally "smell the flowers."      I have decided that after being in this same spot for 32 years, it is as close as we will likely come to owning a few acres in the country. So I have now designated it The Fawnview Garden Ranch.

The front lawn is a work in progress since Saint Augustine has decided to present us with a good bit of decline.

Three yards of special mulch delivered from Conroe is supposed to help this problem.  Thank goodness for a cheerful helper as there are a lot of wheelbarrows in 3 cubic yards

This year, our resident Master Gardner has worked especially hard. And things were looking very nice. However, a number of plants, like our roses, are still just in the bud stage.

Of course there is a good reason things look so nice... it has to do with one of my favorite little stories; modified just a bit......

The stranger said "the Lord has blessed you with a beautiful ranch." And I replied...
"Yes, and we are thankful. But you should have seen it when he had it all to Himself.

If you would like to see more pictures from this week's tour of "the ranch,"  you can CLICK HERE and take the short slide show.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Annual Children's Programs

Norchester Garden Club will present free educational programs for children ages 4-7 at  Precinct 4 Matzke Park Butterfly Garden located at Jones & Grant Roads.  Groups of up to 21 children are invited to hear the 45 minute story of the Monarch Butterfly in the garden which is an official Monarch Butterfly Way Station.           

Children’s Educational Programs are available on the following dates: May 6, 12, 14, 15. Reservations are required by April 30 at

Noon.  No rain date.  For current details CLICK Here

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March Mart Time

The annual Mercer Botanic Garden's "March Mart" plant sale is this Thurs, Fri., and Sat.   This major event takes three days to set up: plants to be moved from the greenhouses, price tags inserted in each of the thousands of pots, and then placement in the designated areas.  Thankfully, we haven't had to do it in the rain the last two days.  These pictures were taken this morning (Tuesday)

All plants are open to the public for sale on Friday and Saturday... BUT.. if you are, or become a Mercer Society member, you are able to shop one day early; on Thursday.  This is a great advantage as some varieties get sold out quickly.    You can show up on Thursday and join on the spot for as little as $25 per year. Click Here for Info 

The Mercer Society (TMS) is a non-profit organization which has as it purpose to provide financial and volunteer support to the Botanic Garden.

Our Master Gardner is on the TMS board of directors and heads the education committee.   As usual, she and Helper #1 will be manning the "Childrens Corner" in the vegetable section which has dwarf and smaller vegetable plants suitable for container gardens and that appeal to the younger folks

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

March Horticulture Report

Here are two pictures from the latest Horticulture Report for Norchester Garden Club which is on the subject of Verbenas. This is a picture of our white one on the cold morning of Feb 6, 2014.  A dusting of snow is on the deck.

 "Baby Verbena"  picture is just below.

 The link to the full report and past ones, is available just below the "Archives" section in the right hand column of the blog.

This month's report as well as any of the previous ones may be downloaded and viewed, printed, or saved from the index provided in the link.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Early Spring Cleaning

A water garden is a great attraction for a variety of plants and critters:  birds, herons, squirrels, frogs, turtles, coons... we have had all show up in addition to the few goldfish we provide to keep mosquitoes out.  Today we took advantage of the beautiful spring weather to tackle something that is very easy to put off... Otherwise known as a very "Dirty Job"...  

The first picture was a very early morning shot on Feb 6 to show the light dusting of snow on the deck behind the fish/lilly pond.   And the second is how the pond looked this afternoon about 5:00 pm.   Every few years we clean it totally... the worst part being the deep, fine, heavy, muck that accumulates on the bottom from years of decaying pine needles, and plant materials...   Would you believe a wet/dry shop vac sucks it up and then I have to figure what to do with gallons and gallons of slop.  I hope the compost piles like it.

Actually the dirty jobs guy stopped by with his TV crew to take a look and help, just as dear Master Gardner was ankle deep in the "mucking out" process... and he soon decided to leave after losing his lunch.

But we have enjoyed the pond, goldfish, and lilies for about 25 years and it doesn't require much else in the way of maintenance. So I think we are good for another 5 years or so.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Through Our Back Window

A cold (high 30's) cloudy day all day.  After filling the bird feeders,  the grocery store, and picking up the RV for it's monthly battery charge we have been sitting and reading in the chairs looking out at the back yard.

As you can see, the birds are enjoying our offering.... so I got my telephoto lens:

Well... they were enjoying themselves until THIS GUY showed up.

 I think it is a a crow sized accipiter called a Cooper's Hawk.  Which, if you are playing a trivia game, is almost identical to a "Sharp Shinned" Hawk.  See more HERE if you wish.

Well... the light was getting dim, but he looked guilty of something.   So I asked him to pose for some quick
mug shots...

What the...?????   Is that a small pile of feathers on the ground ?