Friday, November 27, 2009

Unseasonably warm Fall in Central Texas

I've been absent for much too long. Our backyard got its makeover (see posts below) almost exactly a year ago. Last year, a few years before Christmas, we put the landscape fabric all over the yard and added rocks and mulch. The yard has come a long way. I have not downsized the pics yet, so hopefully it's not too difficult to see. Here are some of the additions.

Fernleaf Lavender

Salvia Greggii

A small sunflower that went to seed, and with this warm weather, started growing again. It now has 5 flowers on it!

Monday, May 4, 2009

I'd love to get a Bottle Brush Tree

I'd love to get a Bottle Brush Tree. Does anyone know of a place that sells them? They are so cool if you see it in person.

Much needed update in backyard makeover..

Much needed update in backyard makeover and I wished I had the time to shrink these pics but I do not, bear with the upload.

A heapin' of crushed granite

the winding path (of crushed granite)

working on the side entrance path

leveling in front of back porch

cedar logs multi-use, this time, for leveling and making a strip veggie garden, it's a try-out

leveled, phew.

back porch from different angle. Path not tamped down yet.

side entry, building a spot for the recycle and garbage bins

note the side entry can be seen and things on the side are leveled off as well.

More garden pics later of the thing as a whole. Have to space out my planting this week. It's a loong process, especially when you do everything yourself

cross-posted at Western Oaks Gardening

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Finally, Changing towards natives and water wise landscaping

sure it looks nice, but do you want to pay $300 a month for watering and mowing it in 90F plus degrees??

Finally, slowly but surely, our big backyard is taking shape. Literally. After killing off the highly useless St. Augustine grass (in Central Texas, we're in a constant state of varying degrees of 'drought'), we ended up with caleechy exposed soil and a LOT of weeds. Finally, we made some progress.

half-way done..

We got rocks from a local cemetary where they literally have a pile on a side lane free for the taking, and we also found roughly chopped cedar mulch (which ended up having quite a lot of palm by the looks of it) from the Lake Travis Brush Recycling$3 a yard which, with the tax and delivery included, ended up costing us only $205.68 to be exact! (we got 25yards).

For Mother's day I had gotten several native, drought resistant trees; one Texas persimmon, one desert willow (they are happy trees here, bloom beautifully), one Mexican plum and two Possum Haw hollies. They all happen to have white flowers but are all still fairly short, about 3 to 4 feet. Digging the holes for them was not possible to do manually but that saga happened too long ago. Just trust me when I say; here in Central Texas, you build upon, you don't dig. Not if you ever can help it 'cause it'll mean having to hire machinery.

Anyway, without further ado..the before ...and the after.

LANDSCAPE FABRIC?? I know I know..some of you will have a cow but trust me..there's no saving this soil (caleechy works it's way up) and it's too expensive with a yard this size to keep putting top soil on it. If you go native, you do not need to worry about the soil. The fabric is to minimize the weeds as we are facing a greenbelt. When it's planting time, you just push the mulch aside, cut a whole, do a little diggin' well, scraping in our case, and voila..done!

A path running through it..

Taking shape...I have two vegetable beds that actually had to be covered from a freeze..

The truck with the 25 yards of mulch..

THAT'S what 25 yards of mulch looks like..whoa nelly!

Shaping continued..for now we have a few mulch 'humps' but I'll post some more updates, finished outlined path pictures later this week..


8 plus hours later, 3 wheelbarrels assembly line style, several helpful neighbour kids for a few hours here and there and the day before was finally done!

Like I said, we still have more pictures to show... It feels good though. It's a great start..perhaps I can even figure out a little video so I can give the panoramic scanning view of the ...we'll see how that goes.

cross-posted at Blogger Roundtable

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

City of Austin promotes sustainability

Sustainaballe, sustainable shoppers ball in Austin Texas.

This is a great city to live in if you're green. The city is very responsible and supportive of sustainability in all areas; from building and construction (see the Austin Green Energy Building )to indoor quality and supporting local businesses. Check out the title link.

Green living in your home is time consuming in that you need to learn quite a bit before you can convince yourself that it's worth the money. That is the sad side effect of living green; it will cost you more green to do so. Still, every little step towards it will give you a better feeling.. check out this site, 'greening your home', and learn a little.. Or best yet, check out the magazine, Green Living. I'll be the first to admit it ain't easy being green, but it takes just one little step at a time.

What do you do in terms of sustainability in your daily life? Are you full force, all in? Or are you a 'twelve stepper', one thing at a time?

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Global Warming, a Cosmic Cause

I heard about this a little while ago and wanted to give it space to be read and thought about. Ok, not that the masses are hanging on my every written word, but.. It is still important to incorporate this very important research as the finger pointing and consequent problem solving has to shift in a bit of different direction. Not only that, people with opposing viewpoints have been so polarized, that this bit of news can upset plenty of people on either side of the coin and either have them negate any sustainable practices (what's the use?) or react with equal force to save it even more. Who knows.. Anyhow.. here goes, excerpt time:

Man-made climate change may be happening at a far slower rate than has been claimed, according to controversial new research.

Scientists say that cosmic rays from outer space play a far greater role in changing the Earth's climate than global warming experts previously thought.

In a book, to be published this week, they claim that fluctuations in the number of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere directly alter the amount of cloud covering the planet.

High levels of cloud cover blankets the Earth and reflects radiated heat from the Sun back out into space, causing the planet to cool.
Henrik Svensmark, Danish National Space Centre

Henrik Svensmark, a weather scientist at the Danish National Space Centre who led the team behind the research, believes that the planet is experiencing a natural period of low cloud cover due to fewer cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.

This, he says, is responsible for much of the global warming we are experiencing.

He claims carbon dioxide emissions due to human activity are having a smaller impact on climate change than scientists think. If he is correct, it could mean that mankind has more time to reduce our effect on the climate.

The controversial theory comes one week after 2,500 scientists who make up the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change published their fourth report stating that human carbon dioxide emissions would cause temperature rises of up to 4.5 C by the end of the century.

More on the cosmic rays and climate change from the Danish National Space Centre

So now what?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Finally pics

In this little plot, I have several squashes that ended up much bigger than expected. I say expected, since in the few years before, I was never lucky enough to even get that far as the bugs ate the young squash plants. Below you can see two tomato plants. On the left, I forgot the type but it's definitely a 'big' one. The one on the right is a cherry tomato one. It's got oodles of green little tomatoes which no doubt will all ripen at the same time! I tried to practice companion planting so I have 3 parsleys. Two italian and one curly one to the left. I also planted onions in between, horehound which supposedly makes the tomato plant 'healty'. That and pennyroyal which is a very invasive mint plant that is not for consumption and definitely needs to be kept in check.

Speaking of cherry tomatoes.. you can see the big squash leaves and the spear mint to the left. Tansy in the background.

Can anyone tell me what kind of squash this is? The plant itself grew huge and to think I planted it from seed! Someone gave me the seed and I forgot what kind of squash it is. It would help to know so I'd know how to prepare it. Of course it would also help if I called the 'donor' and asked her what it was again! lol

Look at that big zuchini! I found out that next to it, I had also planted a yellow squash (they so look alike when they're little, I lost track). I planted beans to go with the eggplant but it's gettin' kinda crowded ya know? Next to this squash plant, I have one cucumber. Surrounded by radishes as cucumbers apparently do not like herbs etc. I planted nasturtiums in between the squashes. The beans are supposed to support the eggplant. Did I mention I also have creeping thyme (in between the tomatoes) and basil??