Above are some of my iris and larkspur plus red bluebonnets from my first garden. Below is the riot of flowers along my driveway...I love it but as you will see, with time it morphed into what I really wanted. Also the deer during our flash droughts will eat everything. I give nature a boost and plant deer "resistant" plants but nothing is safe. They will eat every bud off my Blackeyed Susan so I have reseeded them inside my yard fence so I can enjoy the blooms. When we have abundant rain we get abundant flowers but in the 24years I have been here the deer population has gotten totally out of control. Rabbits eat larkspur....darn their little cotten tails.

2015 Garden project below

I have always wanted a real Cottage Garden around my old home so in 2015 the transformation begins!

The deer do not reach inside the fence around my home so I can plant what I want. I am slowly enlarging my cottage garden and filling it with perennials and a splash of annuals. My goal is to eliminate grass on the north side of my home which is through the gate at the end of the brick path on the top left. The grass in the above area will remain as it is the West side of the house and the hottest aera but it is a narrow six foot strip. My goal is drought tolerance and minimal watering. The photo on the right shows the Northwest corner and the curve of the garden. This will be a pathway with little grass about the width of the gate when I am done. My house faces North and shades the yard too much for anything to thrive. My biggest problem is inconsistant rain, feast or famine. After a very rainey Spring and lush growth the rain stopped in July so I had to water...now I have damp off on the drought tolerant plants and dry wilt on those that need more water...uggh! I will find a balance.

My original plan was that when you enter the gate, you would be on a mulched path with no grass and very wide gardens. You can see the curve arount to the North yard. The garden is newly planted and will be fabulous when the iris and daylilies are in full bloom. I have had a few daylilies for years but added to them recently. The bad news is the introduction of daylily rust which I knew nothing about and can do nothing about it now as it is here but I do not want to give up the daylilies so must spray a funguside. If I find plants that are really suffering, I will just have to dig them out, some are resistant and some are not. We have had a very wet 2015 and the bugs and all sorts of fungus are very happy here....uggh. Well don't wish too hard for dry. By July the rain stopped and now we are back in drought which is the norm around the hill country. My raised bed soil will not hold enough water so this winter I will dig and replant some of the plants that are not doing well. In 2016 I planted zozia grass as it is cooler than mulch, however it is hard to keep out of the gardens.

My plan is to have something in bloon each month so will have annuals to help out the phlox and blackeyed Susan when they have done their all. The fountain garden is getting a redo as the vitex tree is now mature and gives shade. The above right photo was taken about 4pm on June 21st the longest day in the year but we will be loosing the hot sun as Fall approaches. It is only a "hot spot" at this time of the year. The corner, right of the fountain has iris and daylilies that love the sun.

Finally the old pump house is gone and I have a replica of an "Early Texas" home to replace it. The replica is so cute! I also replaced my "lawn" with pea gravel and will increase the size of the cottage garden. I now have a fountain and some additional "yard art" in the pea gravel but no grass to hog water.

Note the sheltie on the porch is one of the sandcast shelties so you get an idea of the size of the structure. It is about five feet at the roof peak, the faux chiminey is six feet tall..

Yes it snows in South Texas!

The 2016 Garden extension is complete, this is Spring in the Iris Garden. Iris are my favorite flower and I have managed to have some interspursed in various places in the garden but this is the big display.

They will be followed by Daylilies and Daisies Next time I thin the daylilies, will move them to a sunnier location.

In 2017: I completed the North and West garden extensions and enjoyed a beautiful year with good rain and lots of flowers. I decided to plant grass insted of mulch but have very little to water. The garden next to the pergola gets very little sun and has a large Vitex tree so I cannot dig a garden, solution, a pot garden of coleus and begonias ....On to 2018

2018: This year is going to be a maintenance year. The trees are shading so much that the sun hungry plants are suffering. I had put in a Fairy Garden at the base of my mulberry tree in the southeast yard but it was constantly being burried by tree debris and it just disappeared. On a walk with one of my friends, she mentioned that the front garden with the cement mushrooms would be a perfect place for a Fairy Garden! She was so right, I moved my fairies.


My pot garden by the urn fountain is now blessed with a Fariy Garden above. Notice the birdhouse in the far right photo. My wrens decided they preferred begonias and built their nest there instead....go figure. Watch out! Fairy Gardens are addictive and are pricy but so pleasing to the eye. Middle photo shows the fairy who fell for the handsome dragon...babies look like papa but sport momma's fairy wings..

The Garden is starting to take shape with the addition of new creatures. Note the turtle climbing out of the hole in the rock, he is the size of a quarter.

Above the Fairy Village is about done (they always change) with the addition of a new home. Then a stream complete with bridges winds through the middle. Need to find a miniture sheltie statue to add to the mix. The ones I have are too big, someday one will just appear, that is the fun part, finding just the right creature when you least expect it.

Below are some of my favorite iris. Left to right are: Mesmerizer, Pleasant Peasant (say that three times), Autumn Circus, Photogenic. and Blush Hour then in the next row, Power point, Mango Madness, Jurassic Park, June Krausse, and Dark Drama.


BelowThe Daylilies are just coming into bloom. The first two on the left were given to me by a friend so I do not have their names. The double orange was unmarked when I purchased it, such a surprise to find it is a double.


Below daylilies going strong are joined by the crinum lillies. The iris are just memories and pretty green foliage. The bubblegum petunias are now engulfed by blackeyed Susans that reseed freely and just take over for summer. Right is Alabama Jubilee daylily with a ray of sun splashing the firey orange flower. Note the flea beetle on the lower right petal....such a pest, chomp holes is everything. Oops it is a cucumber beetle, just as bad but I do not use poison. Have lots of lizzards and skinks.


The daylilies are joined by crimun lillies below. The bright yellow ruffle is Elegant Explosion and the pink is San Ignacio. It is May 29, 2018 and we will be close to 100 degrees but these daylilies will keep their heads up as will the daisies. The salvias will strart to protect themselves buy not blooming. but if we get rain again they will burst into bloom. The blumbago is budding out so at least some flowers will be open to enjoyed.


May 30, 2018: Summer is here early and the Lesser Goldfinches are enjoying a bath to rid themselves of pests and to cool down. The birdbath is very popular in the morning and late evening..

I thought I saw a turkey on the gate post waiting it's turn at the fountain, on closer inspection, it is a black vulture and he did come to the fountain for a drink....little too big for a proper bath. This vulture likes to roost on the peak of my roof, the shelties find it is manditory to bark until he moves.

Usually vultures hang out with their own kind but this guy is a loner. I see him quite often roosting on the telephone pole at my drive...my yard attracts all kinds of creatures.


Below is what happens to a beautiful Desert Willow when an Axis deer is in rut. I had planted a "Bubba" desert willow several years ago which is getting quite large and is protected by a fence. Then I added another and a couple of years ago I added one more. They are expensive so had to buy them small.

In the first photo (left to right) Axis and Whitetail deer that occupy my property. The tree to the right in that photo is about five years old and is severly damaged but will likely survive. The tree to the left of it is a goner (photo below).The photo shows the trunk is too far gone so will not survive. I had a ring of fence wire around them but the deer ripped it away. I will attempt to fence the tree that may survive into the protected area I built around the oldest tree. I do not think you can keep these deer away from a lone tree, they just beat them to a pulp. The magnificant rack on the Axis is very damaging to these Desert Willows


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