Wednesday, February 29, 2012


It is only the end of February and yet today the first poppy. I just happened to catch it before it burst forth.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


First there is me. Even with the 3" of rain we had a little over a week ago my garden is still dry, dry dry. So I am very happy with a couple of showers and a foggy morning.

Look who else likes this day. Yesterday they were just buds, today two iris blooms opened. The first one was a passalong from the garden of Lucinda Hutson. Thanks, Lucinda. We have really enjoyed your iris.

I hope the rain doesn't spoil the blooms, particularly on this one because it made its first bloom while we were away in January and was dead by the time we came home. This is the second year it has bloomed prematurely and I missed the bloom. It seems it is not a big bloomer and only produces a few blooms each year.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Our recent travels in New Zealand took us along the road from Queenstown to Glenorchy. The views of Lake Wakatipu are incredible. The road winds its way along the edge of the lake with thick vegetation on the inside and a back drop of hills. So it was more than amazing when suddenly my eye caught sight of roses, lilies and all manner of flowering plants half hidden by the trees. We slowed down and pulled off the road into a rough parking area.

A garden visit may not have been in our plans but was quickly added.

Before we even entered the garden I knew there was going to be plenty here to keep a seven year old entranced. Our son and grand daughter were caught in this huge spider's web constructed of string with tiny pieces of shingle glued to every strand.

Can you imagine how many hours that must have taken!

This was the most modestly priced of all the New Zealand attractions other than sheep watching and they were serving tea as well!

We passed underneath an arch with dangling mobiles made from drift wood, presumably collected along the lake shore.

Roses blooming everywhere. I learnt later that they have over 3,000, many grown by themselves from cuttings.

Have you ever been into a shop which is so crammed with merchandise that your eye can't possibly take it all in? This was going to be like that, but I wasn't going to complain.  My main concern was possibly missing something.
But first of all our hostess came out and offered us tea or coffee and cookies. She introduced herself as Christy and explained all the stone work had been done by her husband Thomas who hailed from Switzerland. She, herself was born in the Philippines.

The 45th parallel passes directly through the 5 acre property and Thomas has marked this with his unusual creative touch. The materials he has used are weathered driftwood and the schist plates that are abundant around the area.

I think it was the creative stone and driftwood work I loved the most. You may probably guess that from all the photos I took of it. They made me stop and enjoy every scene. This one by the pond makes reference to the dreaded sandflies. We had our share of their bite before we left New Zealand.

Glimpses through the trees of beautiful Lake Wakatipu.

Stone seats where you could sit and spend a few moments enjoying the beauty.

and admire the tresses on this statue.  Once again made from string and shale.

Always signs to help you navigate your way around the garden.

The natural swimming hole.

With directions on what not to wear!

Our grand daughter practicing reading the English sign under this bony archway.

A beehive on the hillside.

Another lady with stringy tresses.

More stunning scenery.

We all try out this love seat.

And see if we can read the time in the sundial pond.

Or the reflection in the lake.

Even the entrance way to the toilet was unique.

Swing the arm to open the door and the occupied sign shows.

and a clever wash basin into which water flows as you flush the toilet. No faucet needed.

And here is the man who did it all, returning from a fishing trip and carrying something he found down there and which he no doubt has plans for.

We really enjoyed your wonderful garden.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Yesterday the mercury on the thermometer registered 90°

Daffodils bloomed alongside gazanias.

 As the temperature climbed the first California poppy of the season unfurled its delicate petals.

By afternoon a clump were in bloom.

And more gazanias opened with their companion alyssum.

The Texas Mountain Laurel opened its blooms which immediately began to fade in the heat.

The dwarf iris, Iris reticulata, bloomed in the sunken garden.

The viburnum 'spring bouquet' flowers  changed from pink to white.

And tiny daffodils in the sunken garden bloomed amongst the columbine leaves.

Today is a different day. During the night a chilly wind blew in and this morning it is still there with the temperature hovering at 45° We are forecast a cold night tonight. I may have to return some of my plants to their winter quarters.
The little calamondin tree has blown over and oranges are scattered on the ground.

California poppies and gazanias are closed this morning. It is too unpleasant to work outside. It's just another day in the roller coaster ride of Texas weather.