Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Since last week

It was Tuesday a week ago that a tally was last taken. Since then, there's been a large flock of cedar waxwings seen and warblers heard although not seen. There's still one fresh Erlicheer, and anemones continue to appear. Pollinated oak flowers are still dropping; tassels of pecan flowers are fresh on the tree. We see at least one anole every day. The beautiful St. Joseph's lilies are very showy across the street; we haven't seen any in our own pleasure grounds. Anoles, not tree lizards, are prevalent so far this year. A coreopsis is covered in buds and blooms, and only three flowers have been taken by passers-by so far. There are still quite a few clematis flowers. Yellow summer squashes are growing larger every day. There are at least eight different varieties of sweet peas in bloom now. Amaryllises that have bloomed in pots indoors over the years have done well outdoors despite the frequent below-freezing temperatures this winter; several have bud stalks. Red ones will be the first to open. There have been a few true poppies in bloom, and yesterday brought the first Shirley poppy, a giant; there are giant buds on other plants. We continue to enjoy more pink evening primroses than we've seen in years. There are three rootstock roses running wild with beautifully scented flowers, and the bi-colored mystery experimental rose out front has produced one showy flower. The first bachelor buttons of the season were open this morning, blue ones. There continue to be blue pipevine swallowtail butterflies and numerous gulf fritillaries every day. Only the pecans are still leafing out. The views of downtown will soon vanish.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The day before yesterday and about a year ago

This is Tuesday; Sunday brought us our first bearded iris (see a heritage iris from a year ago). It has stood up very well against the extremely high winds and rain. On Sunday before the winds and rain of Monday we also saw an anole and a pipevine swallowtail butterfly, along with some gulf fritillaries. We know that there are larvae of giant swallowtail butterflies here, because they're consuming the leaves of the fennel, which is one of the few types of vegetation that over-wintered well this year. The yard is scented with sweet peas, fennel, and hundreds of flowers from the roses gone wild. The biggest difference between last year and this year is that lantana was touched by the cold severely enough that it has yet to put forth new leaves, except a few from the roots, and there will be no blooms for quite a while; the same is true of Turk's cap.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring in progress

The pollinated flowers are falling from the live oak tree in the front yard. Sweet peas are in bloom in two places, in pots and behind the house. There is one true poppy flower open. The roses that reverted to the root stock variety are covered with flowers. The pansies and violas in pots are getting leggy but continue to do quite well, thanks to faithful deadheading; They are a great attraction to the honeybees. We're seeing almost as many mourning doves as whitewings. The hailstorm seems to have accounted for the loquat fruits that had survived through the last killing frost. It was surprising to see that the show went on for Circo Hermanos Vazquez, according to a Circo Hermanos Vazquez: clown blog kept by one of the star clowns. Lantana is starting all over again from the roots and not releafing on last year's branches. There are no signs yet of revival of Pride of Barbados or of plumbago.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Stormy weather

Monday evening unexpectedly brought hailstones the size of peas, and lots of them. The ground was left white and, in shady spots, the slushy residue did not melt until mid-afternoon yesterday. (Speaking of peas, the pods of Wando were battered and almost shaved.) The accompanying exceptionally high winds brought down trees in some places. Here, the pollen and many new leaves from the live oak trees came violently to the ground. There may be few acorns for the squirrels this fall. Many plants of all types on the ground were left in shreds. The newly blooming pink evening primroses were entirely unaffected; so were the clematis flowers.

Friday, April 04, 2014

The progress of spring

We;re guessing that it's the large number of below-freezing days that brought such an outstanding display of old-fashioned narcissus and of Erlicheer. There were even more species tulips than usual, with Tubergen's Gem in two types, bright and more pastel, contributing to the amazing number of Lilac Wonder flowers. One Texas double daffodil appeared. One of the spectacular displays now is rank on rank of Dutch Iris: purple, blue, crimson, Japanese-style blue with bright golden eyes, white, bright yellow, yellow-and-white, and an astonishing blue-white tinged with lilac. We'd have had more of these if the last killing frost hadn't occurred right when the plants had many buds showing color; these never opened. White and also pink wood hyacinths appeared. Ranunculus flower continue to open; they're not as large as they are some years. There's been one handsome picotee flower, and the rest are mostly of the Sunset variety. Spiderwort plants have very large flowers this year. The roses that have reverted to the root stock are covered with buds, but no flowers have opened yet. Fig leaves were appearing before the last killing frost, but they fell off; now the fig is producing a new set of leaves. One live oak is sporting flowers; the other has yet to drop all of its leaves. There are no flowers yet on the pecan. Ornamental allium has produced a beautiful backdrop for all of the other flowers. It's past peak display, but now the small, second variety of allium is covered with buds. Another casualty of the cold weather was the planting of Wando peas; some survived and are now producing a few pods. We've eaten the peas raw from the first couple of pods--an indescribable treat! The one-dollar clematis plans from the supermarket are producing more flowers than ever before, and they're the size of saucers. A never-before-seen winged creature has been frequenting the premises: It's not very large and has a wooly black body, and black wings that with "polka dots" that appear to be white but, upon closer inspection, have the appearance of mother-of-pearl and perhaps are translucent. We think that we've heard toads calling.