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Monday, October 30, 2017

October Brought Gifts!


Greetings, dear readers, on this eve of Halloween!  I hope you all are doing well, and enjoying some of the fall weather that is sneaking in behind the summer heat.  I wanted to drop by and share some of the beauties that were gifted to us in this glorious month of October!


* My neighbor's Ornamental Pear Tree left a colorful calling card this weekend!
~photo by Suzanne

***


* Don't ask, lol!  I don't know where this guy came from, but, isn't he a beaut!!!  He even has the American Flag behind him!  Loved getting this shot!
~photo by Suzanne

***


* Wild daisies down at the creek.  These sweet blooms were a pleasant surprise!
~photo by Suzanne

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* A squirrel cooling himself on a park bench in Cleburne, Texas!
~photo by Suzanne



* Sunday gathering at the creek!  It was an interesting meeting, I'm sure!
~photo by Suzanne

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* Mums' the word! * Guys just want to have fun!
~photo by Suzanne

***



* Dorothy and friends at Meadow Lakes Senior Living *
North Richland Hills, Texas
~photo by Suzanne

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* On the eve of his "NINTH" Birthday * Little Scootie
~ photo by his Dad

* Well, I guess I'd better call it a day, and see what else I can get into!   I'm so glad you all came by today, and, I hope you have time to say hello.  All comments are so appreciated!

We are having some of the best weather of the year right now in the Fort Worth/Dallas Texas Metroplex!  However, on a not so glad note, there is about an 80% chance of rain tomorrow night for Halloween.  This could put a damper on the fun activities for our kids!  We plan to take Scootie to a  "Tailgate Trick or Treat" festival at a local church, so, we're hoping the rain will let up for that event.

Please have a safe, but enjoyable Halloween Night!  Flashlights are a good idea for the kids, or those light up necklaces (I don't know what they're called)!



 "Cat on a fence post
Witch in the moon;
Ghosts hover softly,
Halloween soon!"
~rusty fischer  

*  Happy Halloween from My Texas Gardens!🎃

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

While We're Talkin' About Berries!

"We're the pick of the crop!"

Hello everyone, and top of the month to you!  Aren't you glad to see October come rolling in?  It kind of crept in slowly, as though we wouldn't notice the continuing sultry, and hot temperatures, haha! 

Last month, when I stopped by, we talked a little bit about berries.  Well, then, I started thinking about some of the other berries we see throughout the year!  Most of the berries I see are not even edible-imagine that!

Take the China Berry for instance!


~ 2 photos by Suzanne


 

Although this tree is beautiful in the Spring and Summer of the year, it is considered a pest in the Fall.  The beautiful leaves turn yellow quickly and fall, leaving the berries to fend for themselves against the elements of  Winter's cold winds and rain
.



~photo by Suzanne
China Berry foliage

This China Berry tree next to my house, was previously a 6 inch weed that I kept cut down before the next door neighbor moved in during the late 1990's.  The tree is actually on the neighbor's property, and, towers above the two homes.  I have had to hire help to cut it away from my roof.  I wanted you to get an idea of how the foliage looks, as it is turning yellow now.

These trees, when planted by seed or by rooting, will come up in threes.  That is to say that three little trees will come up together.  You would then need to consider how you want them to grow by either taking two of them out, or leaving them to grow together.  I imagine that is how this tree has so many twisted  and curvy branches.

And, one more thing in regard to the berries!  NO ONE likes the berries...they are toxic to humans if eaten in quantity, and, if the  birds should partake of the juicy pulp, they tend to exhibit "drunken" behavior.  I keep my dog and grandson away from the berries that have fallen to the ground.


"I wasn't THAT drunk, lol!"

***

Now, let's take a little journey about 52 miles Northwest of Fort Worth, to a little town called Bridgeport.  



~ photo by Suzanne * Bridgeport, Texas

This giant fir tree is the Ashe Juniper, aka Blueberry Juniper.  I spotted this mammoth while visiting an old cemetery outside of Bridgeport, Texas, where some of my late husband's family members are buried.  You can't see the berries in the photo above, but I detected a blue tint about the Christmas-like tree and ventured across the property to get a closer look.


~ photo by Suzanne

The Blueberry Juniper, is native to Central Texas, reaching in heights up to 49 feet.   I'm guessing it is named  for its bright blue berries!  Aren't they pretty?   Well...don't eat them!  The berries are bitter, and the cattle won't even eat them.  However, the birds seem to do well at ingesting the berries, and spreading the seed throughout the countryside.   Aside from serving as great shade for cattle and other livestock, this plant is considered a pest by landowners and farmers.  The pollen from these trees can cause an allergic reaction in people, known as "cedar fever", which can ultimately develop into pneumonia!   .
The Juniper Ashe is drought tolerant, and has been used for telegraph poles and fence posts.

 * any photos NOT signed off by myself are courtesy of Yahoo images.

Thank you:
Yahoo
Blogger
Google
Wikipedia
gardeningknowhow.com
The city of Bridgeport, Texas

***  And, the biggest Thank You to my dear readers for coming by to check on MyTexasGardens!  I do have more berries up my sleeves, and, will stop by with their stories at a later date.  Please stop in if you have time, and say hello.  I am always pleased and happy to see you!

***

I wanted to take a minute to send:
Special prayers and condolences out to the victims and their families of that horrifying and senseless tragedy in Las Vegas.


*** Currently the temperature in Fort Worth is a mild and lovely 70 degrees!
(but it won't last long, dearies!)





* You all are most welcome to join me for some of my SPECIAL berries!

See you next time!  Be safe! 💖


Saturday, September 16, 2017

We're Getting Close to Fall...aren't we?


~ Snailseed Vine * Fort Worth, Texas * photo by Suzanne

Well, howdy there, gardening podnahs!  We are now into the middle of September, and banking on an early fall.  Come next week, Autumn is supposed to become official!  Is it just a rumor?
 Also, I have not been very present on MyTexasGardens this summer, and, I apologize for that.  The weather has been pretty hot and muggy, and I just wasn't up for fighting off mosquitoes and pesky wasps!  Let's hope I become a bit more motivated as the weather cools down! 

The photo above is of a vine on my fence that faces south, and, this plant is a regular every Spring, and, into the Fall before Winter freezes it out.  They call it the Snailseed Vine, or, Moonseed Vine.  When I first saw this climbing the fence years ago, I would try to cut it off to get rid of it.  But, then I noticed the pretty little shiny berries, and have come to welcome the vine with an approving smile.  I don't cut it back anymore either, lol!

* Yahoo images

Snailseed vine grows easily throughout Texas, usually popping up in early Spring.   It is also capable of spreading itself around,  growing on shrubs, and hanging from trees.  The plant does not have thorns, as does the Greenbriar...ugh, I have some of that too!  And, yes...the berries can be toxic to humans, but, the birds love them!  I wonder why this Texas vine is called the Carolina Snailseed vine!  Could it be because it attracts the Carolina Chickadee?  Chickadees prefer nuts and sunflower seeds, but will eat berries in the winter.

~ Carolina Chickadee * photo by Suzanne

*** I had to work to get this photo...Chickadees move fast!  I got lucky on this one!

***

~ Here is another view of the Snailseed on my neighbor's side of the fence. 
 My white Oleander is in the background of the photo ~  
* taken by Suzanne 9-16-17 *

Even though I did not plant this vine, I did find that you can purchase the seeds for planting, or harvest your own seeds.  You simply peal the fruit off of a ripe berry and the seed is actually shaped like a snail!  EW!  The berries are pretty small, and I did not want to dive into that one, so I sleuthed (is that a word?) the internet, and found a picture of the seed.  They can be planted in late Fall or early Spring, shallowly, in part shade to full sun, near a fence or trellis.  This plant is not capable of attaching to another wooded plant, so it will travel to find something suitable for climbing.  

Snailseed seeds *  Yahoo images

If the roots don't freeze out in the winter, you can count on this one returning in the Spring.  The berries will stay in order for the birds to enjoy them as the Winter progresses.  Then the leaves will die back, giving the appearance of a dead plant.  But, mine always returns!

***

So, there we have it my dear friends!  With a bit of summer left, going into fall, the grounds are changing, and the trees are taking on new meaning,  My Pecan trees are loaded, and the squirrels are busy trying to get some of the nuts buried!

I believe we're well on our way to a productive Autumn season, don't you agree?

* Pecan tree * photo by Suzanne July 29,2017 * Fort Worth, Texas

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Thank you so much for coming by today. It has been a stressful time for many folks who have suffered through recent Hurricanes and devastating flooding.  There have also been some tragic wildfires, destroying wooded areas and homes.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you all!

***

The elementary school that my grandson attends, pulled together and reached out to all parents and staff for donations of supplies to aid the victims of  Hurricane Harvey in Texas.  These supplies will be distributed to various churches and shelters this coming week to help displaced families.
Below is a photo of  the supplies donated by my Grandson's third grade class.

Thank you third graders for your kindness!  

~ photo by Suzanne * 3rd Grade pod * September 15, 2017

*Please stop in and say hello if you have time.  I welcome all visitors, of all ages!  And, I appreciate all comments, even if it's just a hello!   
Be safe, and have a great week ahead!
See you next time💝

*Hi Mom!

Thank you:
West Birdville Elementary School
Wikipedia
Google
Blogger
davesgarden.com 
wildflower.org
npsot.org (Native Plant Society of Texas)

***


"Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible!"
~Mother Teresa






Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Fine-Feathered Visit!

~ Yellow-crowned Night Heron * photo by Suzanne * June 5, 2017

Just when you're grumbling, and whining about cleaning up the kitchen from dinner, your mind turns to gaze through the window...and, WHAT in the world is that?  There were two odd looking birds,  standing in my back yard, seemingly watching me through the window!  Slowly, I dried my hands and whispered as I headed for my camera, "Oh my gosh, what are they?  Can I sneak out the back door to get some shots?"  Of course, one of them got spooked and flew up into a tree, while the other one decided to have a little fun with me, and stopped to observe from the soccer goal.  I got out there okay, and continued to ease up closer with each picture I took.

Later, after downloading my catch, I checked the internet to search for what I thought could be some kind of Heron, and, my suspicions were correct!  A Yellow-crowned Night Heron in MY yard?  He, or she is a long-legged, stocky bird, kind of elegant in appearance.  I mean, it has a large black head, crowned in yellow with what looks like a couple of long, white feathers draped down the back giving the appearance of an Indian headdress!  And, look at that beak!

* Here's looking at you, kid!

* photo by Suzanne

I don't know why they chose my property, but, I'm glad they did!  These Herons hang around wetlands, and feed on crustaceans and crayfish.  Well, I don't think there are any shrimp or crabs in our "Little Fossil Creek" down the street, but, I'll bet they can find some crawdads there!  They will also eat snails and earthworms...they came to the right place!  Their usual breeding habitat is along rivers and creeks, swamps and even drainage ditches in urban wooded areas!  And, I found out that both male and female are very similar in appearance, which leaves no clue as to their gender.  I'll have to assume that since there were two of them, I had one of each!  The long legs are to be a coral, pink or red color when they are courting, but the legs on this one looks a grayish color...hmmm!  It is noted that the Yellow-crowned Heron can weigh one and a half to just under two pounds, and grow to about 2'4" in height.



Both male and female work together to build their nest. They gather and carry dead tree limbs and small branches, sometimes constructing a nest that is four foot across on the ground, or in a tree.  Their nest is usually completed in about 10 days, and lined with leaves and Spanish moss, where available.


* photo by Suzanne

After gracing me with a theatrical profile, the bird stretched upward and flew off!   I hope the pair found their way back to the creek, and, perhaps one day I will venture down to the banks and search for a nest.  We're having spurts of rain off and on in Fort Worth, and, sometimes the creek is running just a bit too fast for comfort.
***
Here is a short video I captured of our "Little Fossil Creek" running fast after a recent rain.
~ June 24, 2017

* I hope this video plays...I had a heck of a time getting it loaded on this post!  Please accept apologies if you cannot open it.  (I will continue to work on it)
***

* And, just a friendly reminder to proceed with caution any time you come upon a roaring creek after a heavy rain.  This is a small creek, but you can easily be swept away by the force of the water.

I want to thank the various sites I consulted to acquire information regarding the "Yellow-crowned Night Heron."  At this time I will not list the links on my post, due to some recent problems I have had  with security.  
Thank you Wikipedia, Houston Audubon, All About Birds, and WhatBird of North America.

***
Thank you dear readers and bird lovers for coming by today.  I do hope you are all doing well and are enjoying your summer!  If you get the chance, please say hello!
I'm always glad to see you!  All are welcome, any time!

       *  Happy 91st Birthday to my mom!        

* photo by Suzanne

"With brave wings she flies."  ~unknown

♥ See you next time!♥






Friday, March 24, 2017

As Spring Wanders Through!

Wild Onions * photo by Suzanne * March 15, 2017

Hello, dear readers, fellow blogmates, and, all newcomers!  I will just bet you all are excited that Spring has finally arrived!  I know...some of you are still experiencing the wrath of winter and out of the way rainstorms!  I hope those annoying spurts of  mother nature do settle down for you soon.

In the meantime, I'm taking stock of all that is growing and sprouting here at MyTexasGardens!   We get a little bit of everything as Spring makes its entrance.   As you can see in the photo above, I am the proud recipient of what is known as "Wild Onions"!  It's the strongest smelling perennial weed I have!  "Wild Onions" are a common grass-like weed, and happen to be cousins of the garden variety kind!  These onions can grow in cooler weather, (faster than grass), as well as in the sun.  The interesting thing about these onions, though, is that the bulbs go dormant as the weather warms up.  AHA!!!  That is why I don't see them in the heat of the summer season!  Sources inform us that "Wild Onions" are edible, however, we are advised against eating ANYTHING that grows on our lawns!  Don't worry...I'm not interested in digging them up for my relish plate, haha!

That brings us to the weed known as "false garlic".  Another source tells us that, "if it smells like an onion, it is safe to eat, but, if it smells like grass, it is toxic 'Crow's Poison', aka 'false Garlic' !   Crow's Poison looks like a wild onion, but does not SMELL like one! 


~Crow's Onion in bloom * yahoo images

I don't think I've ever seen "Crow's Onion"...the blooms are very pretty, aren't they!  In the future, I will beware of onions bearing beautiful flowers, with no aroma!  And, I guess, Rusty will continue to mow over the "Wildly" fragrant, hard to dig up, annoying onions we all know and love!

***
Well, here they are now!  My garden associates!  
Rusty and Scootie have planted a few herbs, peppers, and, green onions from seed in a small garden out in the back '40 of our property.  Some of the plants are sprouting up now, and there is quite a lot of excitement about it.


~photo by Suzanne * March 14, 2017


~photo taken March 15, 2017


By the way, I collected my "Wild Onion" information from:
lawn-care-academy.com
foragingtexas.com

***
And, now for a sneak preview of what's happening at MyTexasGardens!


~photo March 23, 2017
~These are Zinnias, sent to me from a classmate in Kansas.  He had an abundance of seeds after harvesting them in the fall.  This is my first planting...I will need to thin them out some as they grow.  No worries...I have plenty more seeds to plant!
Thank you so much, Mike!

***


~Hosta growing in broken clay pot, watching over a red Canna plant,
and cushioned by dead leaves from winter's frosty temps.
March 22, 2017

***


~Dianthus and Dusty Miller
I planted them in the fall, and they made it through our Texas winter!
March 22, 2017

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~Mums from last Halloween 2016 coming back for a Spring show!
March 24, 2017

***

~ An all time favorite!  Bearded Iris budding out!
March 22, 2017



~First Iris bloom of the 2017 season * Blue Iris
photo 3-23-17

Well, my gracious readers, that is it for now.   Time sure does fly when you're having fun, doesn't it!  I hope you have enjoyed my post today.  I'm sure you may want to run outside and look for "Wild Onions", and "Crow's Poison"!   

While I'm here, I wish to express my sorrow to the families in London for the tragedy that occurred earlier this week.  We can't always find the answers to why these terrible acts occur...we can only pray for more peace in the future, worldwide.

Thank you so much for coming by!  I know there are a few of you out there who are pretty shy about stopping in to say hello! 
  I am here to encourage all shy folks to take deep breaths, stand up, and say hello!

Be safe!  Love and laugh!  Until next time!

Thank you Blogger  

Hi Mom! ♥


"It's Spring Fever!  That's what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want-oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so."
~ my old friend, Mark Twain

Look what just blew in!

~Early March 2012 * 3 years old * photo by Suzanne

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Calling for Spring!

* Gala  apple tree * photo by Suzanne *  Late February 2013

Hello dear readers!  Here we are dancing into early March with Spring around the corner!  I'm here to tell you, it's time to get busy with garden Spring clean up, and, pruning projects.  I don't know about you, but just thinking about all that needs to be done, makes my head spin!  UGH!!!


*** Well, anyway ***

Why are we here today?  We're going to prune my Gala apple tree that my husband Karo planted a few years ago.  If you saw my previous post, "A Sweet Gala Tribute", from October 3, 2016,  you know that now is the time to prune!  According to my research, you should prune these trees in late winter, or very early spring.  Well, folks-we've got a little of both going on right now!

note: The featured post on my sidebar is "A Sweet Gala Tribute" if you would like to read it.

*** I'll run through a little history first to bring us up to speed! ***

The first photo above is the little tree in late February of 2013.  I believe it was sometime in 2011 or 2012, as Karo was eating a Gala apple, he discovered a tiny root on one of the seeds in the core.  He planted the seed in a coffee can at first, then, later we potted it to see if it would continue to grow.   Below is this tree in the same pot, just a little over a year later.  See how it has grown!
* Gala apple tree * photo by Suzanne * April 24, 2014

Finally, I am able to convince Karo that it should be planted in the ground!
* photo by Suzanne * April 24, 2014


Karo staked it to an old broomstick handle, or a rake!



***  Now, look at the tree!  ***  This is late September 2016

I didn't know if the tree should be pruned or not, so I looked up the care of Gala apple trees, and did come across some suggested pruning tips.

***
a.  Suckers
b.  Stubs or broken branches
c.  downward growing branches
d.  rubbing or criss-crossing branches
e.  upward or interior branches
f.  competing leaders
g.  narrow crotches
h.  whorls



The above diagram was very helpful to me, I HOPE!!!
  Here is my tree after winter's winds and cooler temperatures "ravaged" its appearance!  The leaves turn an ugly dried brown, but not all of them will fall off the tree.
  It has quite a dead appearance, doesn't it?


* photo by Suzanne * February 28, 2017


* photo February 28, 2017

Here is the Gala after my "butcher", I mean, pruning job!  And, you can see the debris on the ground that I took from the tree.  Gosh, I hope I didn't mess it up!  Well, time will tell.

I noticed some nubs on the branches, and my heart was sinking as I pruned, AAGH!  This tree has never blossomed in the Spring, and I have hopes that it will this year.  Some of the other trees in the area are already blooming, however, these nubs could be leaf buds.  And, it might be a good idea to find some fruit tree nutrition to help boost it along.

The photo is out of focus, but, maybe you can see the nubs I'm speaking of.
I circled one of them.

* photo by Suzanne * February 28, 2017

Have any of you ever pruned an apple tree?  We had several established apple trees on a lot of our property in Kansas as I was growing up, but, my parents didn't prune them.   They were already producing apples and blossoms when we moved to that residence.  I guess I am a bit skeptical, but my fingers are crossed that this pruning will yield more growth, green leaves (again), and possibly some blossoms, followed by apples...one day!



I hope you enjoyed today's juicy program, and if any of you has an apple tree small enough to prune, maybe the tips I mentioned will help you out some.  If my tree blossoms or starts exhibiting some leaf growth, I will send a photo and keep you all updated.

In the meantime I will thank:
Blogger
Google
Yahoo Images
weekendgardener.net (for the diagram and pruning tips)
For the cute animations, I am grateful to fg-a.com

All photos of the apple tree were taken by me (property of Suzanne Prickett)


*** Thank you so much for coming by today.  Please stop in if you have time, and say hello.  I would love to hear from you anytime! ***



"Cling, Swing, Spring, sing,
Swing up into the apple tree."
~T S Eliot

Sending blessings to you all * Be safe * Love and Laugh a lot!
  Hi Mom!