Monday, December 18, 2017

Vervain, lightning and a living rock.

Texas vervain

Verbena halei  (Texas vervain) - This Texas native loves the cactus bed environment.

Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus - An incredibly slow growing native cactus that lives in far South and far West Texas.  This small cactus could easily be 25 years old.  I have had it for 4 years and have not seen any appreciable increase in size.

Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus fissuratus

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Fireplace / Cactus garden

  1. Liatris mucronata
    Texas Blazing Star (Liatris mucronata) foreground, Snow on the mountain (Euphorbia marginata) background.

Monday, November 20, 2017


Portulaca oleracea

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea), taking over the garden. Tried eating as much as I could and remove the rest.  Some years we hardly have any and other years conditions are in its favor and it takes over.

Opuntia Microdasys Rufida,
Cinnamon Bunny Ears, Opuntia Microdasys Rufida, although this plant looks lovely from a distance in reality its a nightmare in the garden, the irritating cinnamon glochids readily detach in a cloud of "dust" ruining any glove or piece of clothing that comes in contact with it.

Escobaria hesteri
Escobaria hesteri   

Astrophytum capricorne
Astrophytum capricorne

Astrophytum capricorne
Astrophytum capricorne

Friday, November 10, 2017

Red-Tailed Hawk

I think this is a Red-Tailed Hawk but the bird was much bigger than hawks I typically see around our neighborhood.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

Butterflies in Backlight

 A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), stops to fuel up on, arguably its most preferred nectar source, Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum).

Conoclinium coelestinum

Gulf fritillary
Gulf fritillary, (Agraulis vanillae) - In the Fall, heading to the Rio Grande Valley for the winter.

Agraulis vanilla

Danaus plexippus

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Desert Blues

 There is a certain shade of turquoise that seems to be a favorite for desert plants.  I am guessing the blue color keeps the plants from getting too much sun, I wonder if clothes made of this color would be cooler or if cars and houses painted this color would have less heat gain from the sun.
Agave neomexicana
Agave neomexicana

Foreground - Liatris mucronata (Texas Blazing Star),
Background - Nolina matapensis (Sonoran Nolina)

Euphorbia rigida (Gopher plant)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Texas vs Succulents

Texas (Central Texas at least) is not so nurturing of all succulents.  Here is an example of three species that can only survive in Texas given a protected environment in the shade.   Echeveria runyonii - top, Sempervivum ‘Emerald Empress’ - right, Bitter Root Lewisia rediviva- bottom.  While they may thrive in the winter time here, they die in the summer if not hidden away from the sun and watered consistently.  I would guess its not the intensity of the sun that kills them but rather the length of the exposure and consistency of the heat.

Fire Barrel Cactus

Ferocactus gracilis - Fire Barrel Cactus - Unfortunately Texas is also tough on the Fire Barrel, the winter cold (less than 20 degrees) will mark the ridges as frost will turn the ridges brown and the red of the spines fades rapidly perhaps because of alternating heat, cold and humidity.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cousins visit the cactus garden

Cinnamon Bunny Ears
Cinnamon Bunny Ears (Opuntia microdasys subsp. Rufida), this cactus is charming from a distance but working in close proximity to it you inevitably bump into the "cinnamon" which will then haunt you like fine fiber glass and is easily transferred from gloves or shirt sleeve weeks later to continue to irritate.

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Polanisia dodecandra
Cleome aka Polanisia dodecandra grows well in the cactus garden (here looking like a small tree with white flowers).  This Texas native has interesting flowers that seem to be enjoyed by butterflies and hummingbirds.  It typically grows along sandy creeks in Llano County where I collect sand.
Flowering Senna
Flowering Senna, Cassia corymbosa
Echeveria runyonii

Thelocactus bicolor
Thelocactus bicolor

Astrophytum asterias
Astrophytum asterias

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Treasures from SouthTexas

Astrophytum ornatum var. virens
Astrophytum ornatum var. virens - Maybe the most reliable and prolific bloomer in my cactus garden.  I would say somewhere between 15 to 20 blooms a year.

Astrophytum ornatum var. virens
Astrophytum ornatum var. virens

Lower Rio Grande Valley Barrel Cactus
Lower Rio Grande Valley Barrel Cactus, Ferocactus hamatacanthus var. sinuatus, It shrinks a bit in winter time and changes color from a blue green to rusty red.

Ferocactus hamatacanthus var. sinuatus
Lower Rio Grande Valley Barrel Cactus, Ferocactus hamatacanthus var. sinuatus,

Fitch’s Hedgehog Cactus
Fitch’s Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus fitchii).  On a trip to McAllen, Texas I befriended an interesting lady named Juanita who worked as a grounds keeper.  We talked about the local cactus and the art work she made by mounting them and growing them on driftwood or in some cases cedar stumps.  She gave me this plant from her ranch out of a paint bucket in the back of her pickup truck.