Monday, September 24, 2012


The soft leaf yucca, Yucca recurvifolia blooms for the second time and lights up the fall garden.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I'm not the only one who thinks this little flower deserves special merit. In my Wildflowers of Texas handbook, in which the flowers are arranged by color, this flower has a two page spread at the start of the Red-Pink flower section.

Hooker's Palafoxia, Palafoxia hookeriana, first appeared in my garden last year. I saved some of the seeds to make sure it would be there again this year. It is growing underneath the small Anacacho orchid tree and has mirrored the height of the 4' tree by growing up through the branches.  It was named in honor of the first director of the royal Botanic gardens at Kew, Sir William Jackson Hooker.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


 After spending the whole morning pulling out overgrown, dead plants and weeds I thought I would treat myself to a longer than normal afternoon tea break in the front garden. So I took out the tray along with my book. The little book I am reading, Some Country Houses and their Owners, by James Lees-Milne, has me back in England during WWII, traveling around those stately English homes which will soon come under the care of the National Trust. Homes and gardens that I have had the good fortune to visit this summer. It is a delightful beautifully written diary of his war-time travels.

It isn't long before I am distracted by the goings on. I hear the high beating of a hummingbirds wings. Two wrens fly into the Lady Banks' rose. The tiniest lizard I have ever seen rushes across the gravel. Surely he must just have hatched and is too small to tackle that black beetle close by. Butterflies flit by but never seem to stop. Then I spot a flash of red underneath the rose. It is tangled among lantana that has seeded beneath. The Oxblood lilies are in bloom.

My attention is drawn to the potted gave, Agave augustifolia. I am relieved to see that it is making a comeback after the recent rains.

The gravel is a meadow of blackfoot daisies and their sweet fragrance fills the air. I start to feel that dreamy mood coming on. I really must do this more often.

Monday, September 17, 2012


July 8th 2012
We spend the last few days of our trip to England in the town in which we grew up. It has not been a good summer for the west coast of England but still look how beautiful the flowers are in our friend's garden.

One of the gardens that is within a short driving distance of our home town is Greagarth Hall, the home of Arabella Lennox-Boyd. It is open infrequently but it happened to be open on Sunday July 8th.We hoped that the weather would be favorable for our visit.

Gresgarth hall is the country home of Sir Mark and Lady Arabella Lennox-Boyd. Arabella is a well know and much acclaimed landscape architect who has exhibited and won at Chelsea. Our first visit to this garden was in July of 2009. You can enjoy some different photos of this visit here.
If you are like me an arched doorway like this just beckons.

Someone rushed over to say it was the private area of the garden. I managed to snap a photo of this stone.

Looking back at the house from across the lake.

Imagine my excitement when I saw the owners of the house and garden coming towards me. I just had to introduce myself. They were kind enough to let me take their photograph. You will notice the mark of a true gardener. Arabella has some weeds in her hand.

One of the garden rooms at Gresgarth has some incredible pebble mosaic paving.

Herbaceous borders.

The vegetable garden is vast with every kind of fruit and vegetable.

Willow fencing around the asparagus bed.

Neatness and order everywhere.

A garden shed in lakeland stone with the necessary rambling rose and a bee house on the wall.

Gathering peas must be quite easy when there are pathways in between all the rows.

This bench must surely have come from Italy, the owners country of birth.

Those rows of rhubarb forcers which I always lust after. Even if rhubarb can only be grown as an annual in Texas a few of these pots would add a wonderful decorative feature to the garden.

The inviting front entranceway of the hall.

We sit for a while on one of the benches in the gazebo overlooking Artle Beck.

The bridge over Artle Beck.

We cross to the other side to look back at the gardens. One last view before we head off towards Manchester airport for the night and our flight back home. It has been another wonderful visit to the land of our birth.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


It's a soggy bloom day in Central Texas and we are happy. Finally after all these months with no rain we had about 3" Keep on coming.

Do you see the pollen laden bee on the Texas sunflower? I wonder if he became too heavy to fly with all the moisture in the air. I hope he is just sleeping for now. I know I said no Texas sunflowers in that bed this year but once again they tricked me. Now they know it is too difficult for me to pull them out when bees and goldfinches just adore them.

Spider lily, Lycoris radiata.

Fall obedient plant.

Blackfoot daisy with decollate snail.

Crab spider on Felicia rose

The wonderful gomphrena, fireworks with pink crystals grass (above) and the regular button gomphrena.

Not the most spectacular bloom day but then the garden is so happy for the rain. Happy Bloom day to our hostess Carol at Maydreams and to gardeners everywhere.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Thursday July 5th 2012
One of the bonuses of staying at B&Bs are their gardens. Crooklands had just the kind of garden I love not just for the stunning views in every direction but for the patio paving with plants growing in nooks and crannies. The limestone landscape provides beautiful rustic stones to compliment the style of this very old farmhouse.

The owners delightful little Jack Russell terrier keeps watch over the garden.

Little pebbles are used to break up the stonework and add further interest.

The garden is broken up by several levels and the native fieldstone has been used one again to form steps and walls.

Even a place to perch on dry days.

Mosses and small plants find a niche among the rocks. I wish it were so easy in Texas to grow plants int he walls. As yet I have had no success, even with succulents.

Here is a deeply sunken patio which would be a perfect sun trap on a sunny day.

On one wall a mossy covered, Roman bust, water feature from which trickles the overflow from the natural spring which serves the water supply to the house.

We were taking a day off from gardens to do a little hiking in the area. As you can see we started off in the rain. We never travel anywhere without our waterproofs.

 Under cloudy skies we headed off up the trail to Malham Cove and the limestone pavements.

Along the somewhat slippery and treacherous trail up the the cove we encountered several logs and branches in which people had placed coins. Reminiscent of the wishing well and dating back to the 1700s, trees were thought to have special powers of healing. These trees became know as wishing trees and hammering a coin into the bark was supposed to take illness away. There are some incredible examples of coin studded trees in this part of the world.

At the scar water flows from under the cliff face having reached the river by a by vast underground cave  formations.
Climbing the over 400 rough stone steps up to the top we find ourselves on the limestone pavement created during the melting of the last great ice age.

The sun is out and I have stripped off two layers. Always a good thing in England to wear layers!

Hart's Tongue fern finds a home in one of the deep grykes.

There was a time when areas of limestone like this were removed for landscaping purposes. Today these areas are protected by law and a reminder on the top never ever to buy worn limestone boulders for the garden.

How lucky we are to have our own limestone to use in the garden. The view of the surroundings fields shows a patchwork quilt of fields with drystone walls. Before the Enclosure Act this would just have been open common land.

We learn it is not easy to get stubborn cows off the road.

My jacket is back on again by the time we reach Malham Tarn.

Yorkshire view from the roadside

It's time to head back to our B&B for dinner.

And one last night before we head to our home town for a couple of nights with friends.