Newborns and other wildlife in the garden


While I was turning off a hose Monday, water dribbled into a thick stand of inland sea oats, and something moved among the grasses. I saw a small head and thought, cat. Having endured a year of a neighbor’s cat using my gravel path as a toilet, I’m not kindly disposed to cats in my garden, so I squirted it again, trying to shoo it out.

A fawn, surely no more than a day old, emerged on wobbly legs, its spotted coat dripping. Dismay washed over me, and I froze and anxiously watched to see what it would do. It walked a few steps across a path and wedged itself between the lattice fence and a bamboo muhly grass, lying on a bed of live oak leaves that camouflaged it well.


I backed away quietly and left the area to give it time to settle down again. A little while later I walked cautiously back around to see if it was still there. It was doing what fawns do: lying completely still in the hope that I couldn’t see it.


I shot a few pics with my telephoto lens, giving him plenty of space. What a sweet face. He stayed put, waiting for mama to return, until late that afternoon.


Other newborns are making their presence known too. Wren chicks are peeping for regular meals in this birdhouse that hangs outside my office window.


Over the past week, Mama and Papa Wren have been darting in with a steady supply of insects and larvae for their hungry chicks.


Yummy!


Who’s first?


Time for another grocery run.


Finally, I got a kick out of this sight a few days ago: a dragonfly resting on my metal dragonfly.


Life imitating art! (Except a dragonfly doesn’t actually have long antennae like a butterfly.)

Are you watching any wildlife activity in your garden this spring?

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

The Austin Daylily Society will host a free garden tour on Sunday, May 28, from 10 am to 2 pm. Four private gardens featuring lots of daylilies will be open to the public, including Tom Ellison’s lovely Tarrytown garden.

Get on the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks. Inspired by the idea of house concerts — performances in private homes, which support musicians and give a small audience an up-close and personal musical experience — I’m hosting a series of garden talks by design speakers out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

All material © 2006-2017 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Out and about in Austin nurseries and parks


Lately I’m taking as many garden photos with my phone as with my “real” camera, and these often get posted to my Instagram. But not all of them, and sometimes I like to share them on my blog too. So here’s some cool stuff I spotted last week at my favorite local nurseries, Lady Bird Lake, and — why not? — even a medical center’s parking lot.

Pictured above, from said medical center’s parking lot, is one of my favorite scenes from the week: a silver-green agave with striking banding and leaf imprints, rising star-shaped from a mat of silver ponyfoot. Simple and beautiful.


At the same center (this is somewhere off Hwy. 620), island beds of Knock Out roses and Mexican feathergrass are anchored by pruned-up, spiky-headed Yucca rostrata.


Now let’s visit some of Austin’s best nurseries, starting with Barton Springs Nursery. Every year I love to catch their enormous American beautyberry in full berry, with cobalt-blue pots adding a harmonizing hue.


This plant is probably 10 feet across. Here’s a look at the other side. If you’re not growing American beautyberry, why not?


Inside BSN’s gift shop, I spotted these fun saguaro vases and ring holders. I resisted the camp on my first visit, but I came back a couple days later, with my daughter in tow, and when she went gaga for them too I snagged the powder-blue saguaro on the left.


A herd of dinosaurs — colorfully painted plastic toys with cut-out holes planted with succulents — roved near the registers. My sister-in-law got me a dino planter for Christmas last year — the blue brachiosaurus — and it brightens my home-office windowsill.


Maybe I need a set.


Up in Cedar Park, I stopped in at Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery for a few things and paused to admire this new water feature with tough-as-nails blackfoot daisy and some type of succulent (a cold-tender euphorbia, maybe?) planted alongside it.


Back down to South Austin for a morning visit to The Natural Gardener, where I spotted this furled flower almost ready to open.


And in the gift shop, my books — one of each — were on the bookshelf. I know it’s not easy for nurseries to stock books in this era of Amazon and in conditions where books might get soiled (i.e., unsellable), so I really appreciate those like The Natural Gardener that make the effort. After all, not every local gardener knows the best books for Texas gardening, and nurseries can help by showcasing regionally appropriate titles, or even by keeping a suggested reading list on their website. A website reading list need not be purely regional, of course; it can be staff favorites for all kinds of popular gardening topics! By the way, here’s my own suggested reading list.


Over to Lady Bird Lake’s hike-and-bike trail, where I admired a copper-colored dragonfly hanging out near the water.


I looked at him, and he looked at me with those big bug eyes.


I also saw lots of bald cypress and native palmettos along the lakeshore.


Swans, ducks, and turtles too. They all thought I might have some food and swam right over. Sorry, guys!


And off they went into the setting sun.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Austinites and native-plant shoppers, I’ll be at the member’s day Fall Plant Sale at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on October 14, and I hope to see you there! I’ll be signing books between 1 and 3 pm in the Wild Ideas gift shop. If you’re not a member, of course you can still come on out and see the gardens and stop in at Wild Ideas. Hope to see you there!

South Texans, come see me at the 2nd annual Planta Nativa festival in McAllen, Texas, on Saturday, October 22. I’ll be delivering the keynote talk, “Local Heroes: Designing with Native Plants for Water-Saving Gardens,” that evening. Tickets are on sale at Quinta Mazatlan. I hope to see you there!

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling


Our Minneapolis Fling banquet dinner — an opportunity to dine with blogging friends, win amazing giveaway prizes from sponsors, and listen to entertaining anecdotes and announcements from organizers — was held at the end of the second day, at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Time was short before the dinner, so I darted into the garden with a few friends to see as much as I could in 45 minutes.


The north-country beauty of gardens on sunlight and rainwater steroids was showcased at the entrance, with lush perennial beds accented with flowering shrubs and small trees.


Daylilies and Oriental lilies were blooming alongside hydrangeas and black-eyed Susans.


Really, what wasn’t in bloom?


Ka-pow! Lily power!


Purple coneflowers were looking good too.


Summery containers…


…and color-block plantings of annuals jazzed up the intimate entry plaza.


Exiting the main building onto a shady rear patio, I saw this unusual sculpture of three women dancing atop a fourth woman, curled on her side in a fetal position. What in the world?! Ah, an engraved title explains: they represent the seasons, with Spring, Summer, and Fall frolicking atop poor, hibernating Winter.


This small formal garden awash in pink flowering shrubs and perennials was overlooked by a…a…a giant spider! The spider and many other super-sized bug sculptures are part of Big Bugs, a traveling exhibit that I’ve seen at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and San Antonio Botanical Garden.


Maybe it’s a daddy longlegs, not a true spider, now that I think about it. At any rate, I’m glad not to be bug-sized myself.


More pinks


Rhode Island blogger Layanee, whose own garden I’d had the pleasure of visiting just a week earlier, cools her heels as a Big Bugs damselfly rests nearby.


I was pointing my lens left and right, trying to take it all in, like this freckled lily with crimson bee balm behind it.


The blond-flag seedheads of grama grass, with feathery, yellow-green amsonia foliage


Flowering blackberry lilies


Their maroon-red freckles are echoed by crimson bee balm.


A closer look


This lovely pool and fountain caught my eye as well.


Flowering plants in purple, silver, and yellow give it a Mediterranean look.


Echinops — so cute and spiny!


Cypress vine rambling along a low lattice fence adds cottage charm.


An arching tunnel of foliage offers a shady place to sit.


Lurking near a stand of blackberry lilies, a giant wooden wheel bug stands ready to take out garden pests.


In a shady spot, a spider in a Shelob-sized web hangs between two trees. Although Big Bugs may seem a little scary, especially if you’re already a bit shy of bugs and spiders, they represent beneficial insects that help us control plant-eating pests in our gardens.


Moving on, we headed into a restful, green Japanese garden.


The branch-constructed gate was open: come on in.


A dramatic waterfall spills into a koi pool in the heart of the garden.


Sculptural pines, boulder islands, and a stone lantern complete the scene.


But now it was time to head back to the main building for dinner with friends old and new.


I leave you with a final image from the beautiful gardens at the MN Landscape Arboretum.

Up next: Dynasty Drive flowery goodness plus a bonus garden not on the official itinerary. For a look back at the daylily-breeding farm of Springwood Gardens, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Follow