Monday, December 17, 2012

Lend a Hand ? - Bring Gloves

Helpers Needed on Saturday 12 January.. 9:00 AM  - And Other Info

On Saturday the 12th, 9:00 AM  Chuck and son-in-law Tim will remove the existing fence panels and stack for the Garden Club if they want to pick them up.  Also to be done is the removal of some bed pavers (that will be impacted by the new fence) and moving them to a  storage area. And move rock edging along roses and mark sprinkler system.

This is our work list for the 12th of January and beyond 

  • Remove existing fence panels             
  • Remove roses, vine roots, and 
  • Place new soil ( Additional good soil for reworked rose area has been stored at Meyer Park until delivery on the 12th)

    On Monday the 14th January                  
  • County will help remove the old posts with a back hoe
  • Stack posts for trash or NGC removal
  • Spray root  killer after back hoe work is done by the county 
  • Install new fencing when fabrication is completed
  • Spray soil again 
  • Plant new plants in Feb-March 2013

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bless The Gardener

I spend my spare hours growing shrubs and flowers. I tend the land with spade in my hand. I gather the fruits of my labor and sow cuttings and seeds.  The scent of my roses just lingers with love and great care.  I tend all that is there.  Thank goodness for the land - and the hands that help Matzke Butterfly Garden.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Coffee and Treats at the Garden

The Norchester Garden Club has a new Butterfly Garden Director, Jean.  She provided a wonderful treat (with table cloth) of coffee, fruits and homemade bakery.  Some very lovely ladies have taken on individual beds to maintain.  You are going to see some wonderful happenings as this idea is expanded.  This is a fun group and please join them December 1 at 8:30 a.m. to prepare the beds for winter with mulching.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Comments on Watering

Reminder Note... if you would like to get an automatic email to alert you whenever something has been added to this blog, just enter your email address in the white box on the right, just below the archive list.  Also, you can provide comments below each post.. and/or comments and questions to 

I stopped by the garden this morning with a compressor to refill the tires on the garden cart.  The garden really looks quite nice except for a few of the plants.  The issue is water.   Pictures below.

The garden has a sprinkler system on a timer that was installed to water the three main raised beds.  Since then, I have added on to the lines three times as new beds and the roses were added.  The system does a very good job  ...  where it is able to reach.  As plantings and things change, there are always a few areas that need hand watering.   In particular... the north end of the roses, the east side of the fence, and the south end where the two crape myrtles are.  These areas must be watered with the hoses.

Now the hoses are in very poor shape.  But they work.  Whenever I have replaced the hoses with "good" ones, they "walk off."   No one bothers stealing these hoses.  And, earlier this summer, we were having a real problem with kids running the water and then leaving it on... flooding the garden area and path.  Although the Pct 4 guys have been very patient with this, I finally removed the handles and "hid" them.. one still remains.  It is under the metal dog water dish on the south end.

Yet, in the last week, there have been two more cases of running water anyway.  I talked with the park guy this morning and we decided that I'll find new handles and re-install them and we will just take our chances.  At least people might water the needy plants or turn it off when left running.

  Nice new bedding plants ... these among the roses on the west side of the fence.   These guys look great. 

Although close by... this guy doesn't.  The sprinklers do not reach up over the top of the pot.
These bedding plants are on the north end of the roses and the sprinklers do not quite get to them .  In this picture the difference in color is not a shadow.. On the right, it has been watered by the sprinklers in the previous hour.  On the left.. the plants are dying.          

Another issue to watch out for... in some places we have a rather fine, red mulch.  While fine for keeping weeds down this stuff does not hold water and for sure, does not hold the root ball of a new plant to which this poor guy can attest.                            

The following are plants on the west (soccer field) side of the fence.. These areas have no sprinklers that get to them.  The hose will reach these areas.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Shout Out to the Lovely Children's Program Ladies

The general public ( 30+) kiddo's experienced the wonder of "Catherine The Catapiller" this morning at Matzke Butterfly Garden.  The garden is loaded with butterflies and beautiful flowers, the perfect time of year to enjoy.  The Norchester Garden Club Garden Committee has done a wonderful job in maintenance.  Thank you Meda, Kathy, Kathleen and her friend, Loretta and Joan.  Especially Joan who provides the wonderful handouts to the children.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Workday Friday Oct. 19th at 8:30 a.m.

With the Butterfly Event on Saturday Oct. 20th we want to spruce up Matzke Butterfly Garden a bit.  A workday is planned for Friday Oct. 19th at 8:30 a.m.  Some planting, some weeding and some general dead heading to be done.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Gardening News

Gardening News
    I have been working with Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens to develop and offer quality programs to gardeners.  Coming up is an exceptional trip on Friday Oct. 12th to Lady Bird Wildflower Center near Austin.  Those attending have a fabulous opportunity to buy plants at their members only sale.  Check The Mercer Society Website for details  Watch for other trips planned for 2013 including in the spring Shangri La in Orange Tx and a 3 day trip to the Dallas Arboretum, Fort Worth Arboretum and The Botanical Research Institute and other surprises.
The Norchester Garden Club will be presenting " Catherine The Caterpillar" at Matzke Park Butterfly Garden on Sat. Oct. 20th at 11, 11:30 and noon.  Please join us.
In January, the plastic white fence will be replaced by a white wrought iron fence.  Funding for the new fence has been developed through Association for Better Community Schools. Precinct 4 will support with soil and man power.  ABCS continues to support the maintenance of the butterfly garden, stewardship of the garden, and the children's educational programs.  Most of the monies come from individual donations and support of the Kroger and Randalls Reward Programs.  Thank you for you support. 
I will post work days as they are determined.  Please drop by on these days to help or make suggestions, your opinions and time are important elements to having this garden survive.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bending and Clipping

Lots of bending, stooping, stretching, and clipping in the garden this morning.  Thanks to the good turnout of willing helpers.  They created two huge piles of cuttings as vines were pulled from the roses, and most of the shrubs were pruned and the beds weeded.  The garden really looks good but it does take constant effort by those who really care.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Work Day - Thurs 13th - 8:30 AM

Hoping for a cool down in the weather?  Got to do the work anyway and plant Mamie's seeds including Larkspur, Milkweed, Poppy, Rock Rose Pavonia and Texas Bluebonnet's.  These will go go in the bed with the bird bath and should provide a nice spring array of blooms.  Yes, I will scarify the Bluebonnet seeds.
The vines are back from the August workday and will need to be removed.  Lots of dead heading on crepe myrtles and vitex. Pruners and gloves will be needed.
Please remember to sign up at Kroger and Randall's with their reward programs.  These monies help to provide continuing support of the Butterfly Garden. Randall's is a one-time sign up. Just provide their service desk with our charity number:  # 1969

The Kroger program needs to be "renewed" beginning each June.  Have checkout  or service desk scan this bar code or ask them to enter our number:    #  1 00000 82607

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Passion and A Bit of History

Common name: Gulf Fritillary
We stopped at the garden this morning.  The passion vine is really doing well, although most of it is on the east side of our fence.  It is the host plant for the Gulf Fritillary which are in abundance. 

This area is rich in history, as are many in Texas.  The Cypress Historical Society has begun to collect and capture some of that history.  They now have a library building for collecting information on families in this area and have hours when they are open to the public.  The vintage photos and cemetery maps interesting.  They have two albums of unidentified photos also which have been donated and some are being labeled with help from visitors.

Our ABCS board member Martin Hemmer has a lot of knowledge of this area as he was raised on family land on the north side of Norchester.  We will see if we can capture some of that history in the next couple of months."

A link to the Cypress Historical Society may be found HERE

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Work Day Tuesday, Aug 13th at 8:30 a.m.

Tuesday Aug 14 at 8:30 AM will be a work day.  While a lot of trimming was done last week, we have to spray the replanting area once again and the garden is still in need of trimming, and dead heading.  There were lots of butterflies this morning at the park. They appreciate the dense foliage. 
You might have noticed all the Day Care programs this spring and summer at Matzke Park. A big shout out of thanks to Joan for increasing the awareness of the park to all the day cares she had contacted this spring.
 I am looking forward to connecting with the Garden Club's Butterfly Garden Director.  ABCS continues to view the Butterfly Garden as its main project.

The county continues to work to connect Cypress Creek Greenway Project to Matzke Park. When that happens there will be trails for miles that begin for us just behind the bank at Jones and Grant.

Words for the Day: " It is what it is--but it will become what we make it."

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Tough Morning

We are most grateful for the faithful support of Cathy C, and Joan as we spent this morning on on vine removal and trimming the overgrown plants.  This is hot nasty work, requiring tugging, pulling, and grubbing amongst the roses and the overgrowth.  The milkweed is covered with white flies due to the lack of air circulation.  Thankfully, Pct 4 staff Roger and Dustin  helped remove the piles of cuttings we created.  Thank you guys!  
Please note the picture of the 2 1/2 inch spider that was resting under the Betty Gonzales Roses.  He may not be poisonous but his bite will certainly hurt.  So gloves are good and always look before you put your hands into the beds. 
Some contrasting pictures, starting with what a nicely maintained garden area looks like. This was taken on Saturday at Mercer Arboretum.  Things are beautiful there.  It is worth the trip.

And these are before/after from this morning's work.  Things are starting to look reasonable again. July 31 is not an ideal date for this kind of work but it badly "needed doing"

Maintenance and the lack of volunteers willing to do it continues to be a significant issue.  In other words your help, short or long term,  time or money, is needed to keep this public garden going.  If you would like to receive emails regarding work days, have questions or comments,  please email...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tackling Vines at Park

On Tuesday July 31st at 8:30 a.m. we will be working the first step in vine control.  A small test patch will be cut and sprayed in hopes of eradicating that area of vines and ready the soil for planting in September.  Please wear a long sleeve shirt and gloves for rose protection.

As a reminder, this is a public garden, funding is through individual support with time and money.  These are tough times but you can help by signing up with the Kroger Program.  See the June 14th posting for details.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Current Condition

I turned off the irrigation system following the heavy rains on July 13.  And stopped by again this morning to turn it back on.   This time I took some pictures in case others of you might not have visited in a while. The bench can likely be repaired by the park guys, eventually.

The flowers are certainly "healthy" and spreading.

And, once again, the weed vines are choking out what is left of the roses.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Update on Monarch Watch

I checked the garden this morning to see how it is holding up with all the rain.  Other than being rather overgrown, things look very wet but otherwise OK.   The following is a report we recently got from the Monarch Watch organization.  It has some useful links:

Greetings Monarch Watchers!

It has been a while and it seems we have quite a bit to say, but we'll try to keep it brief...maybe we'll save back a few things for next month :-)

Monarch Population Status
What a spring it was - the warmest in 117 years of record keeping and the warmest 12 months ever recorded in the United States. In response to the warm conditions the plants and insects made early appearances. Some plants bloomed 6 weeks early, others a more modest 2 weeks. Most insects appear to have kept pace including monarchs that arrived 2-3 weeks early over most of the northern breeding range - raising the possibility of a large fall migration - maybe the last big migration of this decade.

Climatologists are telling us that hotter summers with strong droughts are ahead and that won't be good for monarchs. Habitat decline will continue as well - so let's tag while we can!

Monarch Tagging Kits
Tags for the 2012 tagging season have been manufactured and orders for them are coming in rapidly. If you would to tag this fall, please order your tags as soon as possible. If your fellow monarch enthusiasts see a large migration shaping up, we are likely to be out of tags by the 1st of September and we don't want you to be disappointed.

Monarch Watch Tagging Kits are only shipped to areas east of the Rocky Mountains. As usual, each tagging kit includes a set of specially manufactured monarch butterfly tags (you specify quantity), a datasheet, tagging instructions, and additional monarch / migration information. Tagging Kits for the 2012 season start at only $15 and include your choice of 25, 50, 100, 200, 300, or 500 tags.

This year we are going to make it a little easier for you to submit your tagging data to us electronically (though you can still mail in a hard copy if you like) - details will be included in the kits and available online soon.

Monarch Watch Tagging Kits and other materials (don't forget to pick up a butterfly net!) are available via the Monarch Watch Shop online at

Monarch Tag Recovery Database Updated
The Monarch Watch Tag Recovery Database ( was updated this spring - more than 16,000 records now, in a searchable format. Check to see if any of your tags were recovered in Mexico this year :-)

Tip: to generate a list of all tags reported to us this year, simply select 2012 from the "Year" dropdown menu in the "Recovery Information" section and hit the "Submit" button.

Thanks to all of you who have participated in the tagging program and to those who have contributed to the tag recovery fund ( These contributions are needed since we compensate the ejido members in Mexico who search for the tags among the dead butterflies beneath the colonies. Thanks also to the many people who helped acquire the tags in Mexico on our - and your - behalf.

"Chip in for Monarch Watch" Coming in August
Many of you have asked if we are going to continue our now annual "Chip in for Monarch Watch" fundraising campaign, in honor of our director Chip Taylor. We first launched this campaign in the Fall of 2009 and it has been a tremendous success on many levels - so YES we will definitely be running this campaign once again. We love to read all of the comments people leave for us and/or Chip and the funds raised help us keep the program growing.

The page for the 2012 campaign will be launched shortly, but in the meantime you can check out comments and photos submitted in previous campaigns at - some will make you laugh, others might make you cry. No matter how they move you, they are all well worth a look.

Thank you for your interest!

Flight of the Butterflies in 3D
At a recent monarch conference we were treated to a special viewing of the official "teaser" trailer for a monarch film that should be hitting IMAX theaters later this year. The photography looks amazing and seeing the monarchs in Mexico on the big, big screen should be quite a treat, especially in 3D!

From the film's site:
"Flight of the Butterflies in 3D" is a natural history epic. It's a detective story. It took Dr. Fred Urquhart almost 40 years to discover the butterflies' secret hideaway and a year for the award-winning production team to film the butterflies. The technology of IMAX immerses you in the astounding migration experience as the butterflies migrate north and then miraculously find their way back from Canada and Mexico.

For more information and to watch the official teaser trailer visit

Monarch Rearing Kits
As many of you know, sending out Monarch Rearing Kits is a big part of our program. The fall is our busiest season and we send out thousands of caterpillars each week to addresses all over the U.S. (east of the Rocky Mountains). We have lots of kits already on the shipping calendar, but there is still time to place an order. Available shipping weeks appear on the kit's product page and you make your selection when you place your order.

Our Monarch Rearing Kit contains fourteen to sixteen first to third instar monarch larvae (caterpillars) and rearing instructions. The larvae arrive in small cups and must be transferred to milkweed plants or leaves to feed. Please make sure you have a good supply of fresh milkweed available before your caterpillars arrive. Pupation will occur in about 10 days and adults will emerge 10-14 days after pupation.

Monarch Rearing Kits are available via the Monarch Watch Shop at

Recently Shared via Facebook
These two articles have been viewed/shared by more than 7,000 people via our Facebook page - check them out and you'll see why :-)

Founder of the Monarch Butterfly Roosting Sites in Mexico Lives a Quiet Life in Austin, Texas
Texas Butterfly Ranch Blog, July 10th:

Monarch butterfly caterpillar not a 'bad-guy bug,' Ortho is told
Los Angeles Times, July 10th:

If you use Facebook, be sure "like" our page:

Our Amazon Earnings
As you may already know, you can help support Monarch Watch with each purchase at and (Amazon's specialized Shoe and Handbag store). Monarch Watch earns a small referral fee equal to 4-15% of the item total when you use the links available on our site to visit these online stores.

In the second quarter of 2012 (April-June) 765 items were ordered in support of Monarch Watch, earning our program $1115.58!

A complete list of items will be available for those that are curious to see what folks are buying to support Monarch Watch. (Note: No personal information is tied to purchases; that is, we do not know who purchased the items, only that the items were purchased via the link(s) from our site and therefore in support of our program.)

Thank you to everyone who contributed to these numbers - remember to stop by our site first whenever you shop online!

Complete details are available at

Please help us by spreading the word to friends, family, coworkers, and any other or shoppers you can think of - thank you very much for your continued support!

About Monarch Watch

Monarch Watch ( is a nonprofit education, conservation, and research organization based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly, its habitat, and its spectacular migration.

If you have any questions about this email or any of our programs please feel free to contact us anytime.

Thank you for your continued interest and support!

Monarch Watch

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thoughts from the Garden

Looks like we are losing many of the rose bushes.  If you have suggestions on replacement bushes, something evergreen, blooms through the summer please let me know.  "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out".
~John Wooden

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Neighbor Program Sign Up Time Again

 You can really help the garden with no effort or cost to you.  Sign up for the two "Neighbor Programs" offered by Kroger and Randalls.  For Kroger, this has to be done again, one time each year at this time.  The funds we get from these programs provide new plants and materials to refresh the garden throughout the year.  To open a copy of what is below so you can print it out, just CLICK HERE  Or.. you can just ask the Kroger Clerk to enter our                Barcode Number  1 00000 82607   then scan your Kroger Card

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Workday on Friday June 8

Norchester Garden Club President has announced a workday at 8:30 AM.  Weeding and trimming is on the agenda and all are welcome to drop by and help out.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Feature Added

Now you can choose to be notified by email whenever this blog is updated.  Enter your email address in the window on the right side of this screen (scroll down just a bit if needed) submit, and follow the simple directions. You will get a message window from "Feedburner" which asks you to enter a word that is displayed.  This is just a one-time spam protection feature.   If you change your mind and would like your email removed from the list, just drop us a note to

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Another Garden Visitor

From: S.W. (name deleted)
To: <>;
Subject: Matzke garden
Sent: Mon, Jun 4, 2012 12:27:14 AM
I'm from Huntsville and a friend took me to Matzke Butterfly Garden today. I was impressed with all the lovely flowers and hard work. We noticed a shrub outside the fence near the water bowl that had green butterfly shaped seed pods. I believe they were seed pods. Can you tell me the name of the plant?
Thank you,
It is always nice to hear from visitors who drop a note to our email at
As some of you know.  S.W. was asking about the Butterfly Vine. The flowers are yellow and the seeds are in the shape of a butterfly. Easy to start from seed, full sun.

More information by clicking HERE

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Away from OUR garden but not ALL Gardens

This busy gardener spent the day at Monticello, Jefferson's home in Virginia.  What a treat to visit the 1000 feet of his "vegetable garden"; he tried some 30 kinds of peas alone!  Jefferson recorded the temperature every day from age 22 to 83 and his records include much of the plants, trees, vines, and his inventions (which are impressive).  The garden tour was lead by a very knowledgeable person, giving us Jefferson's planting background, leaves, fruit, roots.  Water did not come to Monticello until 1960.  Jefferson had constructed 4 cisterns holding 3600 gallons of water from roof run off.  Of course, he did not do most of the work but that is another story!  Anyway it is mind boggling the garden stuff Jefferson did attempt and was able to accomplish. I am now off to work my own!  Back to Matzke Park real soon.

Here are three of a number of pictures we took.

Temperatures in mid-Virginia have been in the high 80's during the day, but cooling off into the mid 60's in the evening, thankfully.

For the rest  of our pictures you can click on

Friday, May 18, 2012

Good Bug -- Bad Bug

Butterflies are basically bugs, so we know there are some good ones as far as we are concerned.  But what about some of those other nasty looking ones that crawl around on our plants?   Here is a link to an informative and useful site that pictures and describes "Insect Predators." Sounds bad, but many of these guys are very beneficial to our plants...  CLICK HERE   

Scroll down a bit and read about this one that is especially helpful to us..  The Milkweed Assassin Bug (Zelus longipes)

Lots of butterflies in the garden yesterday when the ladies held another of their programs for several groups of children from one of the church schools.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Weeds, Weeds, Weeds

Friday was a lovely morning to work in the garden!  Wow...  have the weeds grown. It seems like overnight.  Lots of lovely ladies to help out for this work session: Cathy C, Janet C, Loretta, Kathleen and her friend.  Of course Luv2Plant and Helper #1 were there as well.  Lots of weeding and removing of all the invasive vines that seem to win out each week!  I estimate we created about 8 to 10 bushels of weeds in two piles for the park staff to pick up.  Thanks to all who helped.

The Vitex is so vibrant this year.  We saw a few Monarch caterpillars and Gulf Fritillaries.  At our house we have the Black Swallowtails, Gulf Fritillaries, Monarchs, and for the first time Question Mark butterflies.  You can see one HERE.  Note what they look like underneath their wings.

Monarch Watch has published their 2012 Plant List.  You can download it by Clicking Here.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lots of Stuff Today

Three Things   worth covering in today's post, with current pictures as usual.

Here's #1... Hard to say       what is nicer looking in today's pictures in the garden:
 Our two remaining Knock Out Roses

                                     Our beautiful Cassia tree
Or the southern of our two nice
Vitex trees.

Here is Item #2.   Water, Water, Water... Issues with our Water

I believe the automatic irrigation/sprinkler system is back to normal.  The controller has been replaced, as has a bad valve that kept some spots constantly wet.  So most of the time, it keeps things reasonably moist even in the dry periods.  However,  it doesn't cover everything.  It is not the Park Staff;s responsibility to do anything except mow.  And so Luv2Plant and/or Helper #1 try to get to the garden every couple of days or so to water some of the things by hand.   This shows the main area that needs help from all of us.  The two Vitex trees and the small Kumquat bush that are planted by themselves do not get hit with the sprinkler system.  Nor does this area at the south end of the garden.  The Crape Myrtles and around the corner to the Canna Lily does not get watered and the area inside the fence within this corner needs help too. The Passion Vine and some Butterfly Weed are in this area.  So please help out with some hand watering as you can.

Here is Item #3...    It is just a bit harder to do that then it was before.  The hoses are in crummy shape (otherwise they walk off) but work ok if not kinked.  But the park guys have been having trouble with kids using the hoses to fill water balloons, make a general mess, etc...   So today I removed the handles from the faucets.   But I "hid" them in an easy place so you can still help out with hand watering.  This is the north end.  The hose is in use by the Park staff to water trees.  They usually hang it back up, but if not, just ask.  See the big rock by the post?  The handle for this end is under it.

And for the south end the handle is just under the front edge of the dog dish which is bolted to the post.