Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gulf Fritillary

While doing some of the last pumpkin and jalapeño harvesting for the season, I happened upon this little caterpillar on some of our passion vine. It's a Gulf Fritillary!

Gulf Fritillary larvae feed exclusively on passionflower species.

(Click photos to enlarge)
Agraulis vanillae

The next two photos were taken by our friend Trey who has some pretty awesome gardens of his own. He has been able to photograph the Gulf Fritillary at some later stages in its life cycle.

Gulf Fritillary chrysalis -

Gulf Fritillary butterfly -

The Gulf Fritillary is one of the few butterflies I actually know how to identify. It gets its name from its migration route over the Gulf of Mexico.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jalapeño Harvest

On Saturday we went out and cut 29 jalapeños from our tiny little jalapeño plant.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Butterfly Garden

Blooming right now in the butterfly garden -
Hummingbird Mint


Friday, December 3, 2010

Pumpkin Pride

We have harvested six little pumpkins and are still waiting on a few more to mature.
So proud.
We were supposed to bring some with us to Thanksgiving but we forgot!
Let us know if you want one!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Downtown Beauty

This is a beautiful garden in downtown Nacogdoches - I think just outside of the office of a landscaping firm. It's mostly a bunch of different Coleus.

I've decided that I want to plant some Coleus. I just don't know where I would put it.

Maybe right next to the house; bricks and colorful leaves seem to go well together.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pocket Gopher

A few weeks ago Halifax (the Demon Kitty of Burk Street) brought to our attention the fact that not only do we have moles in the yard, we've also got pocket gophers. Here's a little gift the cat left for us next to the patio-

Thanks, Halifax
...I think...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


We planted watermelon when we first built our vegetable garden. Our vines had been doing great the whole while, but they never produced! I thought about turning under the vines or composting them and planting something more productive but that seemed like such a waste! We know these vines can last a while, so we thought we might just keep them around and see what happens. I started taking a Q-tip to the flowers when we started Q-tipping our pumpkin flowers.
Q-tipping the flowers totally worked! Here are two itty bitty watermelons.
(Dimly circled, click to enlarge)
And here's a bigger one-
And here's a whopper!
Guess it pays off to add just a little bit of help. We don't see too many bees in the yard, so that may be why we're having to pollinate these plants ourselves. Weird, because there's a ton of lantana growing right next to our garden and our jalapeno has been doing great without our help. Picky pollinators, I guess. Keep checking back for updates as these little guys grow! We've noticed three little guys so far but there are over 20 flowers on the plant so we expect to see many more!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baby Pumpkins!

Heck. Yeah.
We are SO doing this again next year!
John thinks we *just* might have a full-grown Mini Jack in time for Halloween.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Baby Jalapeno Boom

About two weeks ago our friend Travis stopped by to see all of our landscaping and gardening work. When we took him to see our vegetable garden and showed him the jalapeno plant and he said, "Jalapeno? At this time of year?" Psssht. He didn't know what he was talking about. (Personally, I think that's the case a lot of the time...)

Anyway, since he said that, we've been watching FIVE jalapenos get bigger and bigger on our plant!

This makes the jalapeno one of our more productive plants, right alongside the cucumbers. The difference is that our jalapeno plant is still here and doing great while our cucumber vines have all died off. I expect that our jalapeno plant will end up being one of our more worthwhile purchases, at a whopping $1.50 this past spring.
Let us know if you want one. A few are just about ready to harvest!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Making the Butterfly Garden

John had been wanting to build a butterfly garden in the back yard for some time but a lot of other things (thesis writing, for instance) were also on his mind.

I had a small butterfly garden started in the front yard but we've had to rip everything up to re-landscape while putting in the new walkway. I'm glad I started one because we had a lot of healthy and/or robust plants ready to transplant.

When the SFA fall plant sale came up we decided it was finally time to get this project underway.

The house sits on a hill so we have a sloping yard. The first thing we had to do to our garden area was change that. Here's a before pic -
Those are gardenia bushes that were planted before we moved in. They were in such bad shape that we couldn't even tell they were gardenias until a single flower bloomed on one of them a few months ago. We dug those up, composted the dead ones, and planted the only one that still had a fighting chance in a trash can. (We'll deal with it later...)

We brought in some railroad ties that we dug up from the front yard to hold the dirt in our flower bed. We replanted a bunch of grass in other areas of the yard that needed it and dug up LOTS of the dirt that was right next to the patio. Hopefully this will keep some of the dirt off of the patio. (It gets sooo dirty!)

Next we flattened out the area, watered it for a few days, and then planted!

Here's a key.
(Click the photo to enlarge.)

1. Spider lilies that we dug up from elsewhere in the yard
2. Hummingbird Mint, one Texas Giant and one Tutti Frutti (fall plant sale)
3. Texas Fire Bush, from the front yard (Spring plant sale)
4. Columbine, two different varieties (fall plant sale)
5. Milkweed (fall plant sale)
6. Blue and Black Salvia (fall plant sale)
7. Hollyhock, from the front yard (grown from seed)
8. Blue Salvia, from the front yard (Lowe's)
9. Another type of Salvia, from the front yard (Lowe's)
10. Banana shrub, going to the front yard (Mercer plant sale)
11. Gardenia, planted in a trash can...ultimate location TBD
12. Japanese maple, going to the front yard (Mercer plant sale)
* Where we hope to one day see some blue bonnets, planted from seed (free from Mercer)

And here's a future addition to the garden, as soon as I figure out where to put it. It's a Cardinal flower I purchased at last year's fall sale. I need to move it because it's in a place where Bowser really likes to wreak havoc.
My favorite plant in the garden is the Black and Blue Salvia. Soooo pretty -

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mini Jack Pumpkin Flowers

The pumpkin plants have come a long way since our last pumpkin post! We've been getting one giant yellow flower on two or three plants every morning.

We've lucked out with the rain here recently and haven't had to water as much.

Not enough flowers have been blooming for me to feel good about picking any for meals, but there are plenty of buds on all of the plants - perhaps one day we'll have several flowers and I'll take a few into the kitchen to try a new recipe.

The flowers are only open for a few hours in the morning. (They wither by lunch time!) To ensure pollination, we've been taking a Q-tip to the open flowers in the mornings.

John soothes the flowers during the process by chanting "I'm a little buzzy bee."

Chances are we won't have little pumpkins in time for Halloween but that's okay...maybe Thanksgiving!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mini Jack Pumpkin Sprouts

I ordered some Renee's Garden Mini Jack pumpkin seeds online via Amazon. We planted them during the last week of August (which is really late for planting these). Our first sprout appeared on September 5th and about six more showed up on September 7th, the day these photos were taken. Here is the first sprout, noticeably more mature than the others -
The next two photos give you an idea of how the rest of them look just coming out of the ground. According to the seed packet, these take 80-85 days to mature before harvest, so we might not have baby pumpkins in time for Halloween. But that's alright - we're still going to have lots of fun watching them grow!
We're not completely sure what we are going to do with the mature squash yet, so any recipe suggestions are welcome! I would like to try cooking some of the flowers. I had some awesome pumpkin flower dishes in Oaxaca and I'm anxious to try making a few on my own. The squash should also make some awesome decorations - we're already making a list of who we'd like to gift some to if we end up with a good harvest.

Mini Jack Pumpkins
Cucurbita pep0
Pumpkin in Spanish = la Calabaza

Fun Fact:
According to a diccionario of mine, la calabaza is also defined as "una persona ignorante" - someone who is ignorant. Interesting, especially since "pumpkin" in our language is often used as a term of endearment. :-)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

SFA Mast Arboretum and Children's Garden

Photo Post!

On Labor Day weekend John and I took my mother and my sister to see plants at SFA. Here's my mom resting on a large tree trunk -
Some plants that remind me of Jurassic Park -
Some Agapanthus orientalis, "Gold Strike" African Lily. I want some.
Mom and sis sitting on a swing bench, checking out some photos they took on their cool superior phones -

Tips on creating a butterfly garden. (Click photo to enlarge)
Butterfly on Lantana
Does anyone know which butterfly species this is?

John and sis checking out a water feature that John actually helped build -

Said water feature -Have a nice day!

Indian Mustard Sprouts!

On Sunday, we replanted our herb garden. Today (Tuesday!) we already had a bunch of mustard sprouts!! What you see here are sprouts of Brassica juncea, which is not the same mustard that comes in bright yellow plastic bottles. (However, it is sometimes used to make brown mustard.)
We're growing this particular mustard for things like salads, soups, and a few Indian dishes.
Of course, as these little guys grow, we'll have to spread them out a bit. we've started them in the herb garden where there's room, but many will move to the vegetable garden.

According to the seed packet, these fellas are supposed to take 10 days to germinate. Ha!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Last night, while working on the garden we happened upon this sexy little jalapeno!

I'm so excited!

John and I used this little guy for dinner. We chopped it up and sauteed it with some onions & bell pepper as one of our toppings for baked potatoes! yum!

Monday, August 16, 2010


On Sunday, John and I headed out to the Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens with John's mother, Karen. John's parents volunteer at Mercer and have talked about it a number of times, so I was interested in seeing the place. It did not disappoint. :-)

John and me in front of the new tea house -
Welcome to the jungle -
Photo by Karen

This little area was one of my favorites.

Really cool fountain -
Photo by Karen
The Chapman brick -

Water Wall -
Photo by Karen
Here I am photographizing a snake. Nice action shot. I love that I had one foot in the air. Totally don't remember that!
Said snake - some species of Nerodia
Karen photographizing some Japanese yew
Said yew -
Japanese maple -
Some bamboo -
More bamboo -
Photo by Karen
Crinum lily -
Pink Banana -
Brown Anole -
We were sweating BUCKETS while walking around but I think a good time was had by all. I think it would be really fun to volunteer or work at a place like this...just so that I won't be tempted to turn my back yard into one giant botanical garden!