Saturday, February 21, 2015

Moving Outdoors

Hopefully our last freeze of the season is behind us.  
The cuttings and seedlings in the greenhouse are doing well and some will be shared at the next Norchester Garden Club meeting. The rest will soon be moved outdoors.












                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   And this new raised bed should hold a couple of tomato plants very nicely. Is it only in this county where one has to BUY DIRT at the store ?

While the poppy plot continues to thicken.



Sunday, February 1, 2015

Signs of Spring

Feb 1 and it is 72 degrees outside. Of course we could get another freeze but let's hope not.  

Things are starting to brighten out there.



Here is the bed of our poppies that have come up from a few handfuls of seeds, gathered last summer. There are a few other wildflowers mixed in with the small white blossoms that are showing already.
What goes around, comes around. This is what this bed looked like in on the 10th of March last year



And for those that are more delicate, one can always start from seed indoors.

Here is a link to the latest Norchester Garden Club Horticulture Report which offers some tips on starting from seed.   CLICK HERE  Just give it a bit of time to load. 

Past Horticulture Reports are available as well .. see   "Useful Links We Like" in the column to the right of this garden blog.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cooper Comes Back

Yes... he is back. Looks to me like the very same bird.   In our Feb 7, 2014 blog post (you can see it HERE) a Cooper's Hawk visited and perched on the same spot while watching the other birds at the feeders scatter to the winds.   He only sat here a couple of minutes this time.  These two pictures are from this afternoon. 









You may also remember that in our July 28, 2014 post HERE we had a visit from a Northern Harrier.
He, however, much prefered the edge of our fish pond for a perch. 







Thursday, January 1, 2015

Preparing for Cold Weather

It is January 1st and we are not likely done with cold weather for this season.  As a result, a Norchester Garden Club Special report on Frost and Freezes has been prepared by the Horticulture Chairperson.  This document outlines the difference between Frost and Freeze and the options for preparing your plants to survive our changing Texas winters.



Included in the document are links to other Texas A&M resources including how to build a "cold frame" temporary greenhouse

Potted plants are the easiest to protect. Just by moving them into a corner under a protective overhang will help a lot. Incandescent lights (not LED) add needed heat when the plant is covered with a frost cloth. 


You may view, print or download the report by 
CLICKING HERE

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kinglet Return Visits

Why do we "mature" folks like birds?  Who knows? This fascinating little bird was discussed in the previous post. He is always by himself so has little else to do it seems.  He first showed up on Dec 21 and has returned several times each day since. This is Dec 31.  Today I had my zoom lens on so the pictures through the window are much better.



He is small. For comparison, the red and white portion of the bulbs on the "tree" are one and one eighth inches in length.  




Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Season Visitor

This post is somewhat of a repeat of one we placed on our family blog http://5cbs.blogspot.com/  a few days ago.  Yet, we are aware there are a number of bird watchers among the readers of this garden blog so thought it might be nice to post a version here as well.

As some of you know, our back yard is a favorite feature of our home. We spend most of our sitting time in the family room which overlooks it through the three 6x8 foot windows.  


It is in these chairs where we browse our computer and tablets, read our Kindles, papers and books, and watch the ever-changing wildlife shows in the bushes and trees. 

We have a funny little iron and vine "tree" which has some lights on it that sits just outside between the windows and the pool.   



Each of the last 3 days this little guy has come to visit.  He is a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet and is the only one we have ever seen.  http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ruby-crowned_Kinglet/id



The red crown appears to change in size as he chooses to display it. He doesn't sit still for more than a second and hops all around but seems attracted by the tree. He also sits briefly and looks into the window at us.  He didn't even fly away when I stepped outside to take a picture with my cell phone. The others are taken through the window. 

 He pays no attention to the two main bird feeders and the other visitors there; just our little weird tree. Maybe it's the red lights.   


Always something going on in the back yard.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Treats & Wishes

The gardens are taking a well deserved rest and so our thoughts turn to other things for awhile.  Like Christmas memories from long ago.  We remember making peanut brittle and divinity with our mothers as kids in Nebraska.  It always involved candy thermometers, raw peanuts, and long careful stirring at the stove.

But time moves on and so does technology.

Here is a surprising recipe we found a while ago that we really like.  No thermometers, no special peanuts, and no stovetop stirring.  Very good. Very Quick. Very Easy.  It is as good as we remember from the 50's.   Give it a try and treat your inner child. Or share some with good friends.

      Merry Christmas from our Master Gardner and Helper #1



         If you wish to print it out here is the link to the PDF file
                            http://bit.ly/MicroBrittle