Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summertime Nursery Crawl #7

Randy and I were in the 2007 Travis County Master Gardener class and have been palling around ever since. He lives about ten minutes from me and we're both on the MG Garden Tour this coming October...hence the constant nursery crawl...we agreed to blog about it, though he apparently enjoys the planing and doing more than the writing. This trip was his idea and built around two places that he really wanted to visit in the historical town of Gonzales "Birthplace of Texas Freedom", Discovery Antiques and their Warehouse. We were looking for potential garden art, doors for Randy's new shed, plants and anything funkadellic to help set our gardens apart.

Jatropha, outside the jailhouse in Gonzales.

Watch it! Randy insisted that I be the "chubby" one.

This is my favorite shot from the entire trip. It's the gallows from inside the County Jail. The building wasn't marked and I stepped inside because there was a gift shop and Chamber of Commerce sign. If you go to Gonzales, you have to see this place. It's 4 stories of cells wrapped around the hangman's rope, meaning that all the inmates faced the doomed man. It was spooky and not that the town needed any help. Apparently, Sam Houston had the town burned down to stop supplies from falling into enemy hands, the town nearly burned in another major fire and suffered through several was the middle of the day and I felt like we were surrounded by ghosts!

The red chair has the same effect as a red flower or red paint, your eye cannot look away from the garishness. It was shockingly appropriate juxaposed the faded turquois and gray old space. We were marveling at the graffiti which went to the ceiling and how blasted hot and stinky it must have been in the day.

This is the building that houses the gallows and the room on the bottom left had a sign on the door that read "Women and Lunatic Cell" with an apology to women beneath, which seemed strangly humorous.

Stunning Empire Style Gonzales County Courthouse built 1894-96, designed by Architect J. Reily Gordon. The city is the only one of its size in Texas to retain it's original Spanish name.

Had to get a picture of the stylish Movie house which has found itself in many a publication, most recently in a photographers collection of abandoned Texas Movie Houses...great theme.

Randy's new toy made for a fun drive as the cloud coverage and drizzle kept us cool.

One of the many hand painted advertisements in downtown Gonzales.

Lots and lots of pricey pretties inside...

The store boasts the largest collection of hardware and doors around...there were 6,000 doors the last time someone counted...not including the larger (?) lot at the Warehouse.

Everything was way overpriced and figured we'd have better luck at the Warehouse, so away we went.

This place was spookier than than the Jailhouse. At some point, after getting lost meandering in and out of rooms where we were overwhelmed with thousands of windows, shutters, bathtubs, antique raw lumber...the list goes on, we both started to feel sick. When we found someone to talk with we asked where all this stuff came from and why the exorbitant prices and were met with the answer that they came from demolition. We're talking grand scale. It all started looking like a graveyard of memories, real peoples hard work and lives being torn apart and sold at an exorbitant profit. Then the sickness turned to anger and I had to leave. I don't have a problem with anyone making a living, but this stuff was made by artisans who will never see a penny and is being hoarded for the bourgois-nouveau-riche, there wasn't anything in there that we could afford.

The Shutter room.

Time to change directions. We got some bad advice from the fellow at Discovery to eat at "Rodeo" which he claimed was the best place in town.

Thumbs down for me, and as usual...up for Randy who would eat a turd if covered in hot-sauce. I can say that because he never bothers reading my blog! Take that you crazy lush! Seriously, he ate the whole thing, save the beans which he tried to pawn off on me. I went back to eating pesca-vegetarian over a year ago and am finding it impossible to eat healthy fare outside the city. I'm doomed to cheese enchiladas, which I ordered but asked if they could put some shrimp in it? It arrived cold from the frozen packaging. I ate the rice and soupy beans but opted for a coconut Popsicle for dessert, the place doesn't even have a liquor licence! High prices, bad advice...raspberries to you! For shame...

This old residence was across the street from the Dairy Queen and took up an entire city block with a stately fence covered in ivy and a big "Private Property" sign which was just enough to entice Randy...he was born to stick it in and stir it pun intended, my friend.
Man was it grand! There was a condemned sign on the door and most of the windows were boarded up. I'd spent the previous week watching the entire first season of "True Blood" and got completely goose-pimply! I'd love to know the storey of this old mansion with the "M" over the door, it has to be over a hundred years old...this is as close as I got because the place was covered in poison ivy and I was itching just watching Randy poke around. I spent quite a bit of time looking for information about the house online but it didn't lead to much more than realizing there are some 80 historic homes in the little town of 18,000 and more yet to be restored. Gonzales boasts a Driving Tour of Historic Homes, which we were constantly crossing.

There were two nurseries on our list and we couldn't find either one according to the directions we'd written down...and wouldn't have found this one save for a fellow at a convenient store clearing up the issue of the broken roads, the signage leaves a lot to be's like they want you to get lost and not know about anything. No one seemed to be able to answer questions about the mysterious "M" mansion either.

Green Acres nursery is NOT worth the trip. It's incredibly small, in spite of the "acres" in it's're looking at most of it, with a small collection of trees behind. It has been in business for some time and the folks were very friendly but there just isn't much more to say.

Both plants and products seemed overpriced and under-pretty.


We left Gonzales, belly aching, spooked and dry. Both of us had heard about Tocquigny's (sounds like zucchini) Green Gate in the past week from separate sources, so we decided to hit Seguin to see if we'd have better luck there. Again, Booyah!

All kinds of kitschy, artsy and muy-fine garden garb.

We spent the most time in the first greenhouse which was all indoor and exotics.

Beautiful cacti of all size and very, very low prices!

I don't remember what this flower was looks like a Pom-Pom to me!

Over half the greenhouses looked like this...lush and gorgeous!

There are over 50 greenhouses and Randy's punishment for trying to drag me through each and everyone was a sunburn on his bald head!

I quit following him at the Orchid house...becuase, there isn't a thing on this earth more beautiful to me than a perfect Orchid...

and there were plenty. Visit Green Gate, it's well worth the trip. The staff is knowledgable, the prices more than fair and it was a delightful spite of the air going out in the convertable...which cooked us well-done by the time we reached home. Thanks for coming along with us on the crawl and Thank-you to the folks who are sending destination-suggestions!

Happy Gardening

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Stroll Through Zilker's Green Garden on the Summer Solstice

In spite of the heat, I don't think the garden could be more lovely and I have to share the blossoms with you. This isn't a story, it's my job, one of them...and sometimes, it's the best place to be. This morning you could hear the Northern Cricket Frogs singing in the pond and, one visitor told me that there were more butterflies in my little meadow than in the Butterfly Garden. When you work alone for hours on end, words like these are pure sweetness.

Wooly Butterfly Bush

Purple Cone Flower, like a dream.

Lions Tail, that I planted in November...just five of them in 4" pots!

Buddleia or Butterfly Bush

A symphony in lavender... Society Garlic, Majestic Sage and Mexican Oregano.

This is one of 3 rock mounds in the "Little Meadow," (I call it that because I designed it to be viewed by a child) when you kneel down all the flowers are eye-high and it's quite dreamy, especially when all the butterflies and dragonflies are dancing in the morning sun.
I transplanted some Polygunom from the ground in the Master Gardener greenhouse and it's taking over nicely. The little ones always get a kick out of the glass rings.



I just love these flowers, as do the butterflies. If you love butterflies, please join me tomorrow night, June 22nd at Zilker Botanical Gardens for the Butterfly Forum at 7pm; the speaker will be teaching us how to identify our beautiful garden guests.
Thanks for taking a stroll with me, if you haven't been out to the gardens in awhile, may I suggest you go later than 8am, and bring water!
Happy Gardening

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Not Much Bloomin' Here...except the Heat!

It's supposed to get up to 99 today. I was up at 5 so I could ride my bike to the track to meet my workout partner, walk/jog do yoga and ride home. It was miserably muggy and has been since that measly rain last Friday. Can I bitch? Living in Texas is really heavenly for about 9 months out of the year...but honestly June, July and August feel like someone hit you upside the head with a board. Unless I'm out, and stay out from before dawn I feel a prisoner in my own home staring outside at the dying greenery...I swear I can hear everything live saying " just set me on fire now and get it over with." It's especially hard when trying to be conscious of water usage...which I try to do, though sometimes I admit getting carried away with my hand watering...can't help it, seriously how can I expect these guys to thrive with burning feet?
I'm not going to include my entire list of die-hard Natives that are still blooming away because well...if you live here you know them. Lantana, Yucca, Hymenoxis, Crape Myrtle, Purslane, Turks Cap, Shrimp Plant and the like...I salute you, you're Texas true-blue...clearly deep down, I'm a Yankee, somebody get me a cocktail, I'm fading.
Here's what's up in my yard right now...death and dying...but some life, so I'll share with you the pretties I was able to capture yesterday morning before the heat sent me rushing inside. For those of you tuning in for the first time, it's Bloom Day...our gracious host Carol at May Dreams Gardens organized, created and maintains this wonderful concept where folks all over the world Blog-in on the 15th of each month to share what's bloomin' in their yards. As always, Thank you Carol for your inspiration!
The beautiful Phalaenopsis and I would rather be inside looking out at the heat than participating in the scorch fest. Mist me.
Esperanza (Hope Autumn comes soon) doesn't seem to be bothered a bit.

Lions Tail, Leo of course is the July/August sign...he's standing tall in the sun, myself, a Leo...not so sun worthy, sporting a rather farmerish tan prefers tubing.

This little tattered Phlox came from my neighbor Beverly's yard.

Lindheimer's Senna, transplanted from Zilker finally boomed!

There is something just magical and silly about Purple Cone Flower, I love it's floppy, fuzziness, it reminds me of something a kindergardener would draw.

Mexican Oregano going to town in the heat.

Had to show you this side of my drive with Crape Myrtle and Texas Sage, both were in bloom just before the rain last week but even without blooms I love the shiny green next to the soft gray.

Plumbago and Artichoke

This is Agastache-Apricot Sunrise. Tom over at Barton Springs Nursery talked me into giving it a try...he's just a delightful gentleman and gives top notch advice!

Yellow Yarrow with gray foliage

White Yarrow with green foliage

My crazy Desert Rose blooming on the deck. Well, that's about it for this month. Thank you for checking in on Bloom Day. Stay hydrated and take it easy!
Happy Gardening