Texas Gardening forum: spring blooms

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Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Apr 1, 2018 2:23 PM CST
Spring is truly here. The amount of green is astounding from last week to this week. After the rain, growth is just exploding.

Last year was my first attempt to seriously try some water plants. I bought two Nymphaeas from Lowe's. I couldn't even tell if one had any life in it and I bought the only one they had where I could actually see a couple of living roots. Unbelievably, the next day that one had two leaves on top of the water. I hadn't even planted them, just dropped them in a submerged pot sitting on a submerged stump. I have never, never, ever had anything respond from nothing to growth with that speed. I ended up planting them in my red clay which is very heavy using a couple meter covers which I'd been given. In a few weeks the surface of the galvanized stock trough was covered with water lily leaves and they bloomed regularly until it started freezing. I could see early on that they survived the cold weather in the trough, and now one has gone from one plant to four and the other has doubled. Here's the first bloom on Nymphaea alba . It's so white, it's hard to pick up the detail in a photo.
Thumb of 2018-04-01/needrain/73fe4d
The other Nymphaea is a smaller plant with maroon streaking on the leaves and a smaller bloom that is sort of a pinkish, apricot, orange color. Last year, a lot of the blooms would hide under the foliage. I hope this year they rest on top of those leaves more. I use the troughs to dunk hanging plants in, but the Nymphaeas prevent that use now. I didn't realize how much coverage I was going to get just from one plant. I left what I thought would be enough space, but they took that space over Big Grin . I can see why water lilies might become a nuisance in bodies of water. My neighbors have an earthen stock pond and it has been covered with them Those have put up huge yellow blooms held above the leaves. It's been spectacular to see and I was going to try and lift one and grow in one of the troughs but they poisoned the tank last year. So far there's no sign of any returning, so I missed getting one.

White seems to be the color of early spring. The Mexican plums, the thicket plums, Bradford pears, and last Monday I took photos of this bar ditch planting of old white iris marking where an old homestead used to be. I've been driving by these since I was a child in 1950 and the house was already gone then. They've been durable. I worried they were going to eliminated several years ago when the county did some extensive road work and dredged out the ditches, but in the end there were three colonies left and they've been gradually increasing. The first photo shows all three of the colonies. All that vine growing on the fence behind the first two clumps is trumpet vine, which is another plant that tends to stick around long after the people that planted it have disappeared. In the second photo, you can see the big post oak in the pasture beyond. Another hallmark of old house sites. You might, if you trespassed, find the remnants of an old foundation consisting of native stones and maybe a depression marking where there was a cellar. Nearly all the old home sites I've prowled in have those. Anyway, here's a couple of photos. One looking down the country road and the second of the furthest clump seen in the photo with the big oak tree in the pasture.
Thumb of 2018-04-01/needrain/7a3bab Thumb of 2018-04-01/needrain/c4e58c

Donald
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 1, 2018 3:19 PM CST
Sturdy irises! I think it is interesting to find old home sited and guess at what was where when.

The water lily is beautiful! How deep is the water in the trough where it is planted?
Porkpal
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Critters Allowed Region: Arizona Xeriscape Greenhouse Annuals
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plantmanager
Apr 1, 2018 3:30 PM CST
I used to love looking around old home sites. It was amazing how many of the old plantings were still hanging in there, growing and blooming with no care.
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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
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Bubbles
Apr 1, 2018 3:33 PM CST

Moderator

Beautiful lilies. They raccoons find them to be delicIous in my pond.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 1, 2018 6:07 PM CST
One of our pastures has a square of some sort of lilies outlining a long gone house. I am careful to mow around them and the cows and horses don't seem to eat them. I wish I could find out more about the history of the property.
Porkpal
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Apr 1, 2018 6:33 PM CST
porkpal said:
The water lily is beautiful! How deep is the water in the trough where it is planted?


They are about 23" deep. Some people call them 'knee troughs' because they are just above a grown cow's knee :). I try to keep it relatively full, so there's usually about 20.5" to 22" inches of water in it. I'm not sure what all is soaking up the water, but this one with the plants loses the level faster than my other troughs, so I'm assuming that's due to the plants taking it up. Two Nymphaeas down in the water, a juncas (rush) nearly submerged to the lip of a pot, a large container of pseudata iris sitting in a couple of inches and a smaller container of daylilies sitting in a couple of inches. That's all, but the level drops quickly.

I do keep an elephant ear submerged to within an inch or two of the top in another trough and just this week got my platform for another large container of pseudata iris and rigged some leftover pvc from the new septic system to hold a small container of corkscrew rush (another juncus) in another trough. I'm waiting to see if I've managed to get the pvc stable enough because I'd like to use it as a platform for a large container of cannas and devise a styrofoam ring to float the juncus. I have to leave dunkin' space. Have to have that or I'll be needing another trough. Two get filled by roof runoff and supplemented with metered water as needed. Two are also in full sun.
Donald
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Apr 1, 2018 6:43 PM CST
@Bubbles
I've worried about the raccoons. Getting in and just making a mess of things in general. They are good at that and there are certainly plenty around. Maybe the presence of the dog discourages them. The current little fellow wouldn't be a match for them, but hopefully they don't know that and hopefully he won't try to take them on. The two previous throw away dogs that ended up here and stayed about 12 years were large dogs and they definitely disliked raccoons. They've been gone several years now and I've been surprised that the masked bandits haven't gotten up to mischief in their absence. So far, though I haven't had a problem. The feeder goldfish tend to reach up to 6-8" before something happens and indigestion kills them or they decide to jump out of the trough. Sometimes one just goes missing and I don't know what happened.
Donald
Name: Catherine
SW Louisiana (Zone 9a)
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jerseyridgearts
Apr 1, 2018 6:48 PM CST
I remember reading somewhere about a group of Texas 'rose rustlers' that would rescue old homestead roses - seemed like such a wonderful thing to do. My northern gardens were full of pass a long plants - each with a good story.

I love your 'lily pond' Donald!
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
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Bubbles
Apr 1, 2018 7:48 PM CST

Moderator

@needrain I finally took out the pond out back because of the raccoons. They destroyed all the vegetation and ate the fish. They would take the pump apart, or tip over the fountain head and pump most of the water out of the pond before daylight. They ate all the water lilies I ordered. I just decided to give up. I still have a little pond in the courtyard. So far, the raccoons haven't bothered it...but the neighbor's cat has discovered it and kills the fish for sport and leaves them with just a chunk bitten out.
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Apr 1, 2018 9:28 PM CST
@Bubbles
How deep were/are your ponds? The stock troughs are sort of built to withstand being knocked around by large animals. A cat wouldn't be able to do any damage to mine. It's a little deep for that and I don't have islands or land at the water level.

I've noticed that some of my underwater contraptions to support containers have enough of a lip on them that some of the birds can perch there if it gets a little low, but they are small birds and only getting a drink. A raccoon is big enough and enough of a rascal they could cause a lot of havoc, but I think havoc and messed up plants would be the worst of it. I doubt they could actually catch the fish. My stands tend to give the fish a lot of cover and hiding places. I can't see a raccoon being patient enough to actually catch a fish.

The fish are only 28 cents each at Wal-Mart. They are just plain feeder goldfish, nothing fancy. They really do keep those ponds from being completely infested with mosquito larvae. It's the smaller containers that I use as water pans or to catch roof run off that I have to watch for that. Too small to keep fish. The 50 gal water barrels have screened lids. Even if the larvae hatched in there, they'd be trapped as adults. In a way, my ponds are really just stagnant pools of standing water. No pumps or anything to circulate water. They get water bugs and the cheap goldfish thrive. Sometimes I have to skim off pond scum, but I've been surprised at how clear they stay with the plants and fish. I see the fish nibbling on the algae. The troughs have all been in use in the pasture around the barn at one time or another. They could be fitted up with a pump easily enough and I actually located the one with the Nymphaea reasonably close to a power pole with an outdoor outlet in case I decided to step up the game later. The raccoons would surely turn up then Smiling .
Donald
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
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Bubbles
Apr 2, 2018 4:34 PM CST

Moderator

Had to wait to find photos until Mr. finished taxes! So here's the pond that used to be out back. It was about about 2 1/2 ft. Had a smaller pond at top that recirculated into larger one.

Thumb of 2018-04-02/Bubbles/f6eb19

Moved the fish to the little pond only to catch the neighbor's cat killing the fish.
Thumb of 2018-04-02/Bubbles/932f6e

When we started running out of places to relocate 'em, we decided to give up the pond.
Thumb of 2018-04-02/Bubbles/664377

Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Apr 2, 2018 10:33 PM CST
Those rascals! What a disappointment to have to give up such a nice spot. I'd be forever ticked off! Maybe the steep sides and no place to park has helped deter them from the trough. On the other hand, it may just be a matter of time.

My friends who live just north of Lake Austin Blvd have had horrible problems with them. The stinkers tore into the corner at the roof and got in the attic. They repaired the corner and they tore off the dormer windows. It's an old Sears home with double walls and the raccoons found a way to get in the walls. Talk about things going 'bump in the night' . It wasn't just them, it was the whole neighborhood having problems. Everyone got careful about leaving pet food out, but the trash in the alleys was still there. For years they just had plywood nailed over the dormer. After the raccoons had been gone a couple of years, they rebuilt it with all these little beveled glass panes. It wasn't there a month and the raccoons got up and knocked a section of the panes out and were back in the attic. It's been repaired again now for a while. I don't know what they did, but I suspect it's really a solid wall behind those panes. I don't ask. They don't like to even hear the word 'raccoon'. They seem to be worse in town than out here in the country, especially in the areas close to Town Lake in Austin. But they can be a problem. I keep my cow feed in the garage instead of my pickup.
Donald
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
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Bubbles
Apr 3, 2018 7:26 AM CST

Moderator

Our neighbor, a few houses down the hill, asked to borrow our trap to catch an armadillo that was ruining his backyard. He caught two huge ones. Then, over the weekend, he caught a black furry animal with a couple of white stripes down its back. 'Took him all day to figure out how he was going to get the trap opened without getting sprayed. (He let the skunk go).
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Apr 3, 2018 8:25 AM CST
Two huge raccoons, I'm guessing? Not two huge armadillos? One of the latter has been visiting me. They love anything mulched. I think worms and larva and other things like the damper, cooler territory under mulch so that is the attraction. But the dillos also like fireants and once they've found and disturbed a mound, that mound is history. No more ants. It's a numbers game the ants are winning.

Fireants are a whole garden topic all their own for me. They've love the big containers. I don't know how to keep them out, either. I thought they were coming in the bottom holes, but I'm not sure of that anymore. I found them this week in one of the cattle tubs I converted to a planter, but the small drainage holes aren't on the bottom. They were drilled a couple of inches up to make a built in reservoir in the bottom. Also I've tried elevating the containers, but they still move in. They just like them, but if I haven't determined they are there before I go to repot, I pay a price.
Donald
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
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Bubbles
Apr 3, 2018 9:32 AM CST

Moderator

Nope, he caught two armies. One each night. I told him to put two boards on either side of the hole in his fence ending at the trap. Since they don't see well, they follow the board into the waiting trap. He caught one each night. The third night, he caught the skunk!

Our next door neighbor has a fox family living under the pool deck.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 3, 2018 9:55 AM CST
My water troughs have goldfish and "river fish" in them for mosquito control. They also have a concrete block in the bottom so that the fish can hide in its holes from predators. Still some are taken by egrets. Our dogs keep most pests away from the house and barnyard.
Porkpal
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Apr 6, 2018 2:48 PM CST
Here's a photo of my lily pond Smiling . You can see why it wouldn't be cat friendly. They would have to jump in and swim to catch the goldfish because there isn't any place for them to sit by the water and scoop anything out that got too close. Raccoons are something else altogether. I have no illusions about them hopping into the trough and causing a lot of destruction. So far, they haven't bothered the troughs either here at the house or at the barn.
Thumb of 2018-04-06/needrain/445e4b

It's not beautiful like Sandi's. I could make it look better if I decided it's going to be a permanent fixture. Mostly the troughs have been used at the house when I don't need them for the cattle, so they are sort of a back and forth fixture. I have a LOT of hanging baskets and I tend to like submerging them rather than trying to to go around with a hose or watering can and attempt to get them watered. Some heavy baskets get treated that way, but most everything goes in the dunkin' trough. That came about because of the gesneriads that are grown in coir baskets. They need water regularly and that is the easiest and most efficient way to get those pots watered. The downside is growing mosquitoes, but since I live just above a river bottom, those are plentiful unless we are having drought conditions. Unfortunately, in my location that's true as often as not. The mosquitoes and swallows both appreciate my habits, I'm sure.

Edited to add the photo!
Donald
[Last edited by needrain - Apr 6, 2018 2:54 PM (+)]
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Name: Catherine
SW Louisiana (Zone 9a)
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jerseyridgearts
Apr 6, 2018 3:13 PM CST
ooooh - raccoons. we had them everywhere at the farm - killed a whole flock of chickens inside their coop that was inside the barn. hate them.

One late winter night I was up watching tv by myself in the living room. I jumped when I heard a clattering noise on the deck outside of the kitchen door. Went to investigate and found 3 juvenile raccoons. My husband had left the wheeled mop bucket on the deck and those fools were riding it down the stairs AND hauling it back up to go again Rolling on the floor laughing - a roller coaster!! I laughed so loud I woke the husband. He put the bucket in the garage the next morning.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Apr 10, 2018 10:45 PM CST
Catherine — I dunno. Are you telling us a tall tale?
Name: Betsy
Texas (Zone 9a)
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piksihk
May 21, 2018 9:18 AM CST
Some pretties

Thumb of 2018-05-21/piksihk/0c4d82

Thumb of 2018-05-21/piksihk/0284ce
While the earth remains, Seed time and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease. Gen. 8:22

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