Monday, December 17, 2012

Lost & Found

Since we have had a couple hard freezes recently, there is not a whole lot of color to be found in my garden this month.  So I thought I'd share some pictures from our recent trip to Lost Maples State Natural Area in the Texas hill country.

 Lost Maples State Natural Area is located in Vanderpool, Texas, and contains the state's largest stand of Bigtooth Maples east of the Guadalupe Mountains.

We found the maples.
We found fall color.

Bigtooth Maples (Acer grandidentatum)

I think we missed peak color by about a week, but it was still very pretty.  Now granted, those of you in the northern US are probably scoffing at what we call fall color, but in Texas we take what we can get.

The beautiful blue skies just made the fall colors all the more spectacular.

Sycamores are sometimes mistaken for maples.   Their leaf is a similar shape but much larger than the Bigtooth Maples in the area.

The hiking was not for sissies!  Some of the rocky grades were very steep.   
Did I mention we were in the HILL country?

When we stopped from time to time to catch our lost breath, we found these cute little lizards scurrying around.

The view we found when we reached the top at 2200 feet made it all worthwhile. Some of the views had me wondering if we had gotten lost and wandered out of Texas.

We found creeks and ferns ...
... and ponds

And, of course, my favorite ... rocks.

On one diversion off the main hiking trail we found ...
... The Monkey Rock!

Look familiar?

We found some of the tree limbs were covered with ball moss
(Tillandsia recurvata)

Ball moss is a small epiphyte that clings to the limbs of live oaks and other trees in southwest Texas.  It is a member of the bromeliad family and a relative of Spanish moss.  Since ball moss does not take nutrients and water from the trees, it is not a parasite.

Speaking of balls, here is my husband's idea of fall color in the hill country.
Greens and white.
 He has been known to lose a few of these little white balls in the sea of green from time to time.

Back home I found a little bit of maple color, as well, but with our very dry and very warm autumn, the maples lost their colorful display all too quickly.

Like I say, in Texas we take what we can get.  

Wherever you live, I hope you find some time this holiday season to get lost in nature's beauty.

Toni :-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Another date must be recognized
It's not something we can shelve
Month, day, and year the same once more
For today is Twelve-Twelve-Twelve

Last year had Eleven-Eleven-Eleven
and before that Ten-Ten-Ten
Repeats of other special dates
Centuries of years back when  

Since we don't have a 13th month
Next year this phenomenon is done
That is until 89 years from now
On January 1, 2101

To celebrate, we could plant dozens of bulbs
or maybe pull dozens of weeds
Or look through dozens of catalogs
and order up dozens of seeds

Or maybe it's time for a little N-P-K
time to spread some 12-12-12
But whatever we do to commemorate this day
In the dirt of our gardens let's delve

Happy Gardening this 12th day of December 2012  

Toni :-)