Monday, January 31, 2011

Brrrrr--That's All Folks!

After my post on how January was a mild month wintry-weather-wise, the local weatherman warned us to get ready.  Apparently a cold front of blizzard proportions is headed our way.  We're not expected to get any snow, but we are expected to have frigid temperatures over the next couple of days.

Protecting the plants for the next couple of days
Tomorrow, Tuesday, the temperature is to start dropping around midnight.  It will continue to fall to a lovely 15° overnight.  Wednesday, it warms to a frigid 28° and drops to 12°.  Thursday we can expect a balmy freezing temperature dropping to only 23°.  Keep in mind this is today's forecast.  It all could change by 6 a.m.  So what was that February 2011 prediction?

"Be mild and rain just enough to keep the grass and plants happy!!"

Perhaps I need to amend that to:  "Be kind and don't kill off all the plants with the frigid temperatures!"  Actually, the 2nd day of January was "normal" so I did not see this one coming!!  Stay tuned.....

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 2011 Forecast Prediction--Follow up

A picture of a frosty morning would be very appropriate for an actual update for January 2011, but the truth is our winter has been pretty mild so far.  Yes, I've had to scrape the windshield a couple of days; however, I have not worn my red wool coat at all this season. 

My Prediction:

I predict January 2011 will be cooler than normal for most of the month, although tomorrow and the rest of the week is expected to bring temps around 60°.  We'll catch some north winds, but nothing too strong.  And, we can hope for a little rain, although today's sky did not hold much of a chance at all for the month.  Stay tuned to see if the prediction comes true.  I'll update at the end of this month!!

Actual Stats--Averages for the Month:

High:  59° to 76°
Low:  20° to 38°
Rainfall:  3.70"  yippee!!
Wind:  7 mph to 32 mph


My prediction was a little off I suppose as the average high and low temperatures were 56°/33° respectively.  These temps fall within the "normal" range for January as I recall; however, I have not found a site yet that states this information.  The prediction about the winds came true since our maximum speed was 32 mph.  This occurred when the cold fronts were approaching.  Other than that, the winds were relatively calm throughout the month.  Finally, I do not care if I was off with the rain prediction!!  I'll take nearly 4" of rain any day!  We actually have today and Monday left in the month, and we do have a chance for more rain.  That will be a welcomed sight as our clay soil on top of limestone tends to dry out quickly, even after torrential downpours! 

Hypothesis Proved/Disproved:

For January I'd have to say my Grandpa's hypothesis is disproved, since the temperature was normal and the rains came anyway.  Everyone say awww!  Of course, it could have been the predictor's fault!  One never knows!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cures for Black Spot--Follow-up

Before Picture
I apologize for not knowing exactly what variety of rose this bush is, but Pat thinks it's an Antique White.  Nevertheless, as you can see in the "after" picture, it has succumbed to Black Spot.  This rose bush was doing fine until we finally got a little rain back in December.  One day the bush was loaded with spent blooms and green leaves, and the next day all the leaves had fallen off the bush--even the thorns had dropped off!!

After Black Spot

Even though the after picture is not very clear, it is easy to see that there are few leaves on the bush!  Yes, it is wintertime, but the few remaining leaves show that Black Spot was here.  After a little research in my earlier post, I decided to take a few simple action steps.  One of the action steps is to simple inspect the rose bushes once per week.  My next step was to purchase something that works.  Being influenced to be as green of a gardner as possible, I decided to take Grow Green's advice and start with a fungicide that will have very little impact on the environment.  Home Depot did not have the fungicide they recommended, but there was one label that caught my eye.

EcoSmart Organic
Garden Fungicide

Green Remedy

EcoSmart Organic Garden Fungicide is a disease control for roses, flowers and shrubs.  It states it controls Black Spot, Rust, Powdery Mildew, Petal Blight, and other common plant diseases.  It even claims you can "spray and harvest" on the same day.  I do believe that because the ingredients are all natural:  Rosemary Oil (gives a nice-pleasing aroma), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and 99% other ingredients!!  This product sells for about $6.00.

I doused the infected rose bush since there are signs of life.  The plant is beginning to leaf out very nicely, and I'm certain the thorns will return as well!  This product is very easy to use.  They suggest spraying the plant every 7 to 10 days or after a rain.  Very easy to remember for me, that's for sure.  This will be a great time to test this product since I am certain we'll be seeing some rain of the next couple of months (at least I hope we will). 

Home Remedy

Here is another very low-cost, home remedy I found today on  The first recommendation is to plant your tomato bushes next to rose bushes as the tomato bushes help reduce Black Spot.  However, if you do not want lovely tomatoes next to your lovely roses, they recommend crushing some tomato leaves and mixing that with water and cornstarch.  They seem to think it's the cornstarch that does the trick.  My only problem is I do not have any tomatoes growing right now, so I'll stick with the EcoSmart for a couple of rounds to see if it will do the trick. 

Please leave a comment if you have any "green" tips for controlling Black Spot.  I am hoping that with regular care, my "after" picture will become my "before" picture once again!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Container Gardening

Photo by Michelle Gervais
Containers by Deanne Fortnam

Oh how I wish I could take credit for the lovely container on the right.  This is my dream.  To plant a container like this one and actually have all the plants growing and blooming at the same time.  Every spring I am inspired and every summer I am discouraged!  Click on the link below the picture for a listing of all, I mean all the plants in this container.  Can you imagine the different kinds of plants growing in this container?  Those are cannas in the back for goodness sakes!

I cannot say that Pat and I are not successful with container gardening.  For several years in a row, my mother-in-law purchased Dragon Wing Begonias for us.  In her garden she would plant 3 or so in a large container and water the fire out of it.  They make a lovely container plant.  However, I am in love with what Ms. Fortnam has created!  I suppose success is largely due to  selecting the right types of plants.  Unfortunately, her link does not offer any tips, so I will have to do some research and update this post later.

Containers at Fort Worth Botanic

The picture, right, is another example of strategically combining plants in a large container with gorgeous results.  After going to the Botanic Gardens in Fort Worth, Texas, a couple years ago, I was inspired to try again.  I had dismal results.  I suppose the thing my mother-in-law figured out a long time ago is if you don't water regularly, there is no point in spending the money.  Pat lectures me about this constantly.  He tries to help me out, but by the time he's given up on me the plants are not able to be revived.  So it's back to the drawing board for the 2011 season.  I think Ms. Fortnam's design is too advanced for me.  I do like the Fort Worth container a little better.  I am thinking that if I read the labels carefully and either go all sunny plants or all shady plants, I should be a little more successful! 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Time to Plan

I was talking to Pat last night about how my ideas for a blog post have seemed to dry up all of a sudden.  His reply was, "It's winter."  Exactly my point.  This is the time to take action!!  I was just reading a couple of favorite blogs in Google Reader and this one caught my eye!  On, they had a link to a Kitchen Garden Planner.  This planner allows you to set your garden size.  You select what you want to plant, and it automatically tells you how many plants you can grow in the selected area and gives you planting instructions.  You can then save your garden for future reference.  However, I couldn't find some of the typical garden plants such as beets, carrots, and squash.  So I searched further.

The planner at Better Homes and Gardens allows you to actually landscape just about anything in your yard, including pathways, garden furniture, planters, etc.  But once again, there is a limit to the plants you can click on to design your garden, and there is no support for a vegetable garden that I could find.  I suppose this really doesn't matter if just playing around with "the look" is the important thing.

Then I got a little smarter and googled "vegetable garden planner."  I stumbled upon a website called Vegetable Garden Planner.  This website is more my style.  It has an online "journal" which you can sign up for free.  Then all throughout the website are tons of articles to get you started.  Some features of this planner is you can upload photos, keep a journal of your garden and observations, maintain a garden "to-do" list, record when you plant and harvest crops.  Having something like this will be helpful over the years to help keep track of what does well during which season.

Honestly, I think drawing this stuff out online is kind of a waste of time.  My mother always got a legal pad, drew a rectangle, drew columns, and labeled what she would plant where.  Pat just goes out to the garden and starts digging.  I think I would use the Vegetable Garden Planner, but I also think I'd quit using it after a while.  Maybe all I need is one of those fancy journals at Barnes and Noble...hmmmm....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

For the Birds

Cardinal eating sunflower seeds.  Taken July 2006.
I apologize in advance for the picture quality.  I took this with my Canon Elph, and it only has a 3x zoom.  Regardless, the Cardinal is the point of this post, not the photograph.  Pat and I enjoy sitting outside watching the birds eat from our feeders, if the squirrels have left any food.  On this particular day, Pat had just filled our largest bird feeder when this Cardinal dropped by to eat the seeds which fell onto the table.

Birdfeeders and sunflower seeds are not the only things that attract Cardinals and other birds to feed in our yard.  We have grape vines and fig trees that help when the fruit ripens.  And we have other plants that attract them; such as:  Asters, Purple Coneflowers, and Goldenrod.  The other day I was reading a post on's blog about plants that attract birds.  The three plants I mentioned are in their post, but there are others. 

"Plants for Feeding Birds" has a short list of plants which grow well in Texas. Another website Birds n Garden is actually a store in Austin, Texas.  This site not only lists plants, but also states the type of bird or butterfly the plant attracts.  If your property is prone to deer nibbles, they even tell you which plants are deer resistant along with drought tolerant, etc.  Finally, "Plants to Attract Birds" lists several plants that are good food for birds and note those that are native to Texas.

What plants do you have that grow well in your yard and notice birds feeding at?  I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and include your state or country! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Beauty

Pansy--January 2011

One could argue that an annual is not Grow Green friendly.  But how can you resist a beautiful Pansy?  Pansies are annuals and will not be here once the really hot summer begins, which is usually by the end of May.  However, Pansies were one of my Grandma's favorite flowers and it's hard to not to plant a few of them in the winter.  Plus, they're so beautiful! 

Mine were planted just a little too late to be prolific, but as you can see at least one plant is doing well.  With the saturating rains we've had so far, I anticipate them to pop out and grow like crazy in the next couple of weeks.

Since I'm updating the Pansies, I thought I'd let you know that despite puppy digging and clawing the very day I planted beets, carrots, fennel and wildflowers, I am seeing a few seedlings.  The picture below is a snapshot of the wildflowers I planted about 2 weeks ago.  I think it's way too early for them to be sprouting, but Pat says they're just like weeds.  In fact, I could very well have a pleasant crop of weeds

 and not know it!!  However, looking closely at the sprouts, I'd say I'll have a nice crop of wildflowers soon.  Hope we don't get a hard freeze.  As for the carrots--no sign yet.  But I did see a few beets.  And yes, a puppy did come and dig profusely through my garden about 2 hours after I'd planted.  I was not a happy camper.  I expect to replant this weekend or the following week to be certain of getting a few vegetables!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Grow Green--Landscaping with Native Plants

Mountain Laurel--January 2011

I am so excited about this post.  One of the things Pat and I look for when we go shopping for plants are plants that can take a ton of rain one month and still look pretty after 3 months of no rain.  That is a challenge, but not if you Grow Green.  The term Pat and I have used for years is Xeriscaping or Xerogardening.  Grow Green, Xeriscaping or Xerogardening refer to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation.  It also means reducing the impact on the environment by reducing the need for fertilizer and pesticides.  When this gardening technique is used, plants are so easy to care for.  Usually clearing of dead material or pruning once per year is all that is needed to keep the landscape looking marvelous.

Yesterday, Pat and I traveled to Austin, Travis County, to listen to the county horticulturist talk about making gardening practical for this area.  One thing she kept stressing is plant purchase.  Plants touted by gardeners on cable television may or may not grow well here without a lot of extra work and intervention in the way of fertilizer, soil amendment and water to keep the plant healthy and looking great.  While we were there, we picked up the best resource ever to help us continue on our quest for Growing Green.  Native and Adapted Landscape Plants:  an earthwise guide for Central Texas is a complete resource for the types of trees, shrubs and plants to buy and plant in order to keep the garden an enjoyable place to be.  Click on the title to browse the various plants that work for Central Texas.

As I thumbed through the booklet last night, I was so excited and encouraged by the number of plants we have already in our garden.  Here is our list so far.  As we add more, I'll update this post.

Grow Green Plants in our Garden as of January 2011
  • Cedar Elm
  • Texas Red Oak
  • Possumhaw Holly
  • Desert Willow
  • Yaupon Holly
  • Mountain Laurel--so much prettier than a Wisteria and it's evergreen!!  [Note:  there are Texas varieties of Wisteria that are pretty and hearty, too!]
  • Burford Holly
  • Knockout Roses
  • Rosemary
  • Texas Sage
  • Bulbine--actually we've had these...but our bunnies like to eat them.  But I'm determined to try again.
  • Turks Cap
  • Chile Pequin
  • Blackfood pretty and delicate--but hearty!
  • Fall Aster
  • Gaura
  • Lamb's Ear
  • Indigo Spires' Salvia
  • Texas Lantana
  • Bicolor Iris (in a container)
  • Mexican Marigold Mint
  • Rock Rose
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Cedar Sage
  • Pink Skullcap
  • Society Garlic
  • Russian Sage---needs to be replaced, though---sometimes it's necessary!
  • Red Yucca
  • Prickly Pear---but we have the spineless variety and it works very well here.
  • Softleaf Yucca---we had these, but lost them to a freeze---will replace.
  • Paleleaf Yucca
  • Aztec Grass
  • Monkey Grass
  • Asian Jasmine
  • Purple Heart
  • Oregano
  • Santolina
  • Sedum
  • Burmuda grass
Check out the Native and Adapted Landscape Plant resource and let me know which plants you have that work well for you!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Black Spot--The Plague of Roses

Rose Bud--2009--Cindy Boney
Beautiful green, healthy leaves are what any gardner would love to have on rose bushes.  Unfortunately, Pat and I are struggling with one particular disease:  Fungal Leaf Spot or black spot. Black spot thrives in humid areas.  Although this blog is a Southwest Gardner's Journal, Pat and I do live in an area that can experience high humidity for a good portion of the year.  Not realizing that humidity is the main factor in feeding this fungus has kept us in the dark as to what to do to help keep our rose bushes healthy.

Black Spot on Leaves--Google Image
Black spot can spread quickly.  As the spots appear, the fungus begins to attack the leaves turning them yellow and then brown.  Leaves eventually fall off and if left unchecked, the entire plant can begin losing leaves at a rapid pace.  Proactive inspection of rose bushes is the best cure.  In researching this problem, I have come up with some action steps I plan to use to help Pat keep this nasty fungus away from our roses this year.
  1. Apparently, it is necessary to "look closely" at your rose bushes on a regular basis.  So, I shall inspect rose bushes weekly for the nasty spots.
  2. Avoid watering rose bushes from the top.  If watering from the top is unavoidable, water in the morning.  One of our problems is Pat usually waters the lawn and flower beds at 5 in the evening in the summer.  When it's hot, one would think the leaves would have time to dry, but perhaps not.  It may be that I will have to water the yard and beds in the mornings in the summertime to help prevent black spot. 
  3. When spots first appear, apply a sulfur fungicide immediately.  Pat and I attended a gardening seminar in Austin, Texas, today, and the handout recommended a sulfur fungicide because it is the least toxic for the environment.  Other articles I have consulted suggest using the same thing. (Fertilome Broad Spectrum Liquid Fungicide appears to be the most toxic according to Grow Green.) 
  4. Prune rose bushes when they are dry.  If the purpose of pruning is to help remove the fungus, remove plant material from the area immediately and disenfect shears with 10% bleach solution.  Don't forget to oil shears when finished to prevent rust.
  5. Prune rose bushes so that air is able to circulate around the bushes freely to help keep them dry.
Pat and I have lost one Antique Rose bush to this nasty disease, and although our Knockout Roses are disease resistant, I am fearful that they still may get the nasty plague. Keeping my fingers crossed for 2011!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

December 2011 Forecast--Prediction!!

January 12, 2011--December 2011 Prediction!

Actual Weather

Sunrise--Jan. 12, 2011
High:  35°
Low:  21°
Wind:  7 mph
Humidity:  59%
Precipitation:  none
Sky:  pretty blue skies


Today was a nice day for being cold.  I had a good amout of ice on the windows that needed scraping and defrosting.  Heated seats and a full heater blowing were also in order.  As the day went on, the sun helped to keep everything feeling warmer than it probably was. 

Prediction for December 2011

Today's temperatures were well below normal for January, so my December 2011 prediction is a cold wintery Holiday season.  We'll probably see more ice on our windshields than we did in fall 2010.  As far as rainfall is concerned, I am thinking below normal, although we will probably hit our dew point marks since we had ice on the windshield today.  That will help some. 

This post wraps up the prediction phase of the experiment.  Around the 27th of each month I will compare the prediction to the actual.  I will most likely rely on historical data, but will do my best to take weekend snapshots of the week's weather to add to the data. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

November 2011 Forecast--Prediction!!

January 11, 2011--November 2011 Prediction!

This bush was a "freebie" from Bonnies Greenhouse
It started as a twig...glad Pat planted it where
it had room to "grow"!!
 My grandpa said that if you watch the weather the first 12 days of the new year, you will know what the weather will be like for the year. Here is my "official" experiment!

I took the day off in honor of my own birthday yesterday!!  And with this post....there is only one more day to record and then the experiment begins!  I plan to twist the truth to make my grandpa out to be a genius!! Okay, I already get the feeling that this is probably some sort of wives tale, but one never knows....on to November's prediction!

Actual Weather

High:  34°
Low:  24°
Wind:  10 mph
Humidity:  70%
Precipitation:  none
Sky:  Beautiful blue again with some cloudiness


Today was just plain cold.  The air felt icy, but the sun was shining and we had another lovely sunrise this morning.  The sky did not seem to hold much of a promise for rain today, but the humidity was high.

Prediction for November 2011

I predict November 2011 will be colder than normal.  Today's low was 13° colder and the high was 21° colder than normal.  Well, that was easy! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

October 2011 Forecast--Prediction!!

January 10th, 2011--October 2011 Prediction!

My grandpa said that if you watch the weather the first 12 days of the new year, you will know what the weather will be like for the year. Here is my "official" experiment!

Actual Weather
Bee feeding on Asters--2009

High:  37°
Low:  33°
Wind:  5 mph
Humidity:  84%
Precipitation:  none
Sky:  Dark and Cloudy


It was c-c-c-cold today.  The low was nearly freezing and it only warmed about 4° today.  Even though the high was close to 40° there was nothing pleasant about the day.  The skies were dreary--a complete opposite from this time last week.  The sun was too scared to even peek through the clouds, and a lot of us educators didn't wear warm enough clothing. 

Prediction for October 2011

This one's easy.  October will be colder than normal.  With the high almost 20° below normal, the overcast skies, and the icy windchill, I predict we will have a fall.  Get ready for football with heavy blankets, etc., etc.  Now watch us have the hottest late summer on record!  Wish I could slice it both ways, but I'll be true---chilly it is for October with normal rainfall.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

September 2011 Forecast--Prediction!!

January 9, 2011--September 2011 Prediction!

My grandpa said that if you watch the weather the first 12 days of the new year, you will know what the weather will be like for the year. Here is my "official" experiment!

Actual Weather

Watering can and Begonias--2009
High:  48°
Low:  37°
Wind:  9 mph up to 32 mph
Humidity:  93%
Precipitation:  wet stuff--rain! Officially 2.11"
Sky: Cloudy and Overcast!


Today was fantastic day to stay indoors, under a blanket, reading a book, or any other favorite rainy-day activities. It's been so long since we've had a long soaking rain. So to recap--it was very unlike the photo I chose to represent September! 

Prediction for September 2011

I predict September 2011 will be a little abnormal temperature-wise and maybe normal rain-wise.  We actually got a lot more rain at the house...almost 3.50".  Also, the temperatures surprise me somewhat because it certainly felt colder when I would open the door to peek outside.  So perhaps the month of September will have nice temperatures but will still feel more like football weather!  It will be interesting to see.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

August 2011 Forecast--Prediction!!

January 8, 2011--August 2011 Prediction!!

My grandpa said that if you watch the weather the first 12 days of the new year, you will know what the weather will be like for the year. Here is my "official" experiment!

Actual Weather

Jan. 8th, 2011--Beautiful Sky!
High: 57°
Low: 33°
Wind: 6 mph to 14 mph
Humidity: 28% to 75%
Precipitation: none
Sky: blue with increasing cloudiness holding moisture


I was thinking today was just about as warm as the other days, but actually---it was cooler!!  I got out to shop a while and grab some groceries.  I was able to take my jacket off during most of the day, so I thought it was just as warm as the previous day this month, but not so according to the temps.  I even got out with my camera to snap a few pictures, but I did put my jacket on for a little warmth.  The picture I snapped today is a lovely representation of how the skies have been the entire month of January.  The skies were bright, blue and lovely.  At first, I thought the task of recording what each day would bring would be daunting--but I am now appreciating the fact that I am having to focus and observe each and every day.  Truly, I am loving this!!!

Prediction for August 2011

 Technically, hurricane season begins sometime late May to June...but in Texas, hurricane season begins in August.  I noticed the clouds building from the south in the late afternoon, which makes me think that we will have a normal hurricane season.  In 2010, we were supposed to have the worst hurricane season on record, but it did not happen. For 2011, I predict we will have hurricanes. I'd love to think they'll bring us rain, but due to our 8th day of no precipitation, I am not going out on a limb now!!  I'll call for normal August temps, perhaps a little cooler than normal.  I'll also call for a lot of southern moisture, but not an abundance.  However, as I am editing this is finally--finally raining!!!!

Update--January 9, 2011It rained all night long!!  What a blessing.  At 8:10 a.m. there is a chance of snow today with 90% chance of precipitation.  KWTX is calling for rain/snow mix--but that is for September 2011, not August 2011!  The rainfall so far is between 2 and 3 inches unofficially, as none of my sites are updated.  Their rain guages must be broken!!  Now I will bravely add rain to the August prediction!

July 2011 Forecast--Prediction!!

January 7th, 2011--July 2011 Prediction!!

My grandpa said that if you watch the weather the first 12 days of the new year, you will know what the weather will be like for the year. Here is my "official" experiment!

Actual Weather

Potted plants enjoy shade--July 2006
High:  71°
Low:  33°
Wind:  5 mph to 9 mph
Humidity:  19% to 70%
Precipitation:  none
Sky:  blue with whisps of clouds


So far, January has been a beautiful month with perfect blue skies and lovely clouds rolling in.  There have only been a couple of days when it looked as though it could rain, but didn't.  This makes me a little nervous for the precipitation aspect of the year.  The morning was cool, almost icy and it stayed rather cool until late afternoon.  Pat and I actually got out in the evening to go to dinner and a movie, and it was pleasant.  But I still had a light jacket--because it's January, right?

Prediction for July 2011

I predict July 2011 will have mostly pleasant mornings (slightly below normal temperatures) and warm to above-normal highs in the afternoon.  The chance of rain will be slim to none, however, it may be muggy at times due to the 70% humidity we had during part of our day on January 7th.  It's looking like a normal July for 2011 to me!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

June 2011 Forecast--Prediction!!

January 6th, 2011--June 2011 Prediction!!

My grandpa said that if you watch the weather the first 12 days of the new year, you will know what the weather will be like for the year. Here is my "official" experiment!

More Sunflowers--they just love June!
Actual Weather

High:  64°
Low:  30°
Wind:  5--10 mph
Humidity:  26% to 70%
Precipitation:  none
Sky:  Beautiful and blue.  Gorgeous sunrise:  turquoise sky with electric orange clouds/hue. 


The morning was a little cooler than the previous mornings and stayed chilly until around noon.  I had to turn on the heater and heated seats to be royally comfortable for the drive in this morning.  The eastern sky kept my attention even though I was travelling around 74 mph down the highway!  I was wishing again that I had my camera.  In discussing the sunrise with a friend of mine, I quickly realized how many days of the school year is dark and how many days the sun has already risen.  This realization makes me glad I am focusing in on the most important things in life right now--those things which are most treasured are usually free!

Prediction for June 2011

It seems we will have a cool June.  The high was only 8° above normal, but the low was 7° below normal.  The sky did not hold much promise for rain today, so we will need to get our rain in the springtime as we usually do.  The next few day's posts should be interesting as a cold front is moving in.  We're expecting frigid temps and highs well below normal.  Maybe we'll save on the electricity bill this summer!!  Stay tuned!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Point of View--A Unique Look

Pictures of birdbath through Crepe Myrtles--January 2011

I do not know if I have said this recently, but I am loving my new camera!  Above you see 3 shots of our birdbath with different points of view.  If there is one thing I am quickly discovering about taking pictures of the same spaces in our yard is that if you move just so, or scoot to the right, or step in ever so closer, you gain a different point of view.  Some views are obscure, such as looking at our birdbath through our Crepe Myrtles.  Yet, if I do say so myself, the beauty of the Crepe Myrtles is appreciated more when used as a frame for our beloved birdbath. 

The birdbath in the picture is almost 30 years old.  It has been stained with pesticide and fertilizer.  Its base has cracked due to hard freezes and the rebar that holds it steady is exposed.  Yet it remains as one of our most beloved focal points of the garden.  It is loved and appreciated by the birds every so often, but is loved by the dogs in the heat of summer for a cool sip of water even more.  It adorns the beautiful blooms of our prized Irises when they are in bloom, and becomes the centerpiece when they recede.  

Once again, I will urge you to step out into your garden, even now, and look for those wonderful points of view that are your favorites and snap a picture.  Post a comment on this post with a link so others can enjoy the beauty of your landscape, too!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

May 2011 Forecast--Prediction!!

January 5th, 2011---May 2011 Prediction

My grandpa said that if you watch the weather the first 12 days of the new year, you will know what the weather will be like for the year. Here is my "official" experiment!

Pot of Impatients, some sort of white flower, and a Geranium
hiding under a fern leaf--taken May 2007
Actual Weather

High:  66°
Low:  42°
Wind:  5 mph
Humidity:  22% to 92%
Precipitation:  none
Sky:  Overcast in the morning while starting to clear off in late afternoon.  Beautiful sunrise this morning, but I was at school--no camera--boo!


The day began with a beautiful sunrise.  Unfortunately, I was at school without my camera, so I was not able to get a shot of it.  The day started out bright and sunny, but the overcast clouds brought periods of dreariness with periods of bright, pretty sunshine.  By the afternoon, most of the clouds had rolled away and the sun was shining fully again.  There was a lot of humidity, but it must have been during early morning, as the air did not feel heavy to me.  The temperature was mild enough, that although I put a jacket on, I really didn't need it.

Prediction for May 2011

This is tricky.  The clouds early in the morning looked like they were holding rain for a while.  Then the clouds got a little heavier during the day, only to lighten up again.  So, I'll say we  will have some showers in May, but probably only normal precipitation for the month.  We'll also have gorgeous springtime days with warm temperatures.  Our high today was about 10° higher than normal.  The wind will be mostly calm as wind gusts were up to 20 mph, but during the day, it wasn't windy at all.  So folks, I think we're in for a pretty normal May 2011!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

April 2011 Forecast--Prediction!!

January 4, 2011---April 2011 Prediction!
Bearded Iris from Iris Bed--April 2007--Elph
My grandpa said that if you watch the weather the first 12 days of the new year, you will know what the weather will be like for the year. Here is my "official" experiment!

Actual Weather

High:  64°
Low:  50°
Wind:  6--9 mph
Humidity:  65% to 82%
Precipitation:  none
Sky:  overcast with gray clouds


It was a very mild day.  I did not need a jacket at all.  As the day progressed, more and more clouds and moisture rolled in, giving me great hope for at least normal rainfall for April with normal temperatures. 

Prediction for April 2011

Be looking forward to some May flowers in 2011 is my official prediciton because I am expecting our annual April showers! I posted a picture of one of my prized Irises because they usually sneak up on me and bloom in April. Sometimes I wonder if I am not stretching it a bit...but if you looked at the sky today, it should have rained buckets.  Optimism prevails again in this prediciton!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

March 2011 Forecast--Prediction!!

Nice, thick clouds at sunset-Jan. 3rd, 2011
March 2011 Prediction!

My grandpa said that if you watch the weather the first 12 days of the new year, you will know what the weather will be like for the year. Here is my "official" experiment!
Actual Weather

High:  60°
Low:  37°
Wind:   4 mph
Humidity:  35% to 60%
Precipitation:  none
Sky:  Cloudy!  Almost all day long--and not white wispy clouds, clouds holding moisture!!


Today was tolerable in every way.  The morning was cold, but I was able to go in and out of the house at 6:30 a.m. without a jacket.  My windshields were clear--no frost whatsoever.  Driving into work the sun came up and it was a lovely sunrise.  There were a few clouds in the morning, but more clouds in the afternoon around 4:00 to 5:00.  When I got home I snapped a few pictures of the clouds.  Now, if they held a little more moisture, I do believe it would rain.  So, for March I am predicting rain for sure. 
Prediction for March2011

Given the cloud cover and mild temperatures, I predict March will usher in Spring for Central Texas.  We will have mild temperatures in the day and cool nights.  There will at the very least, be normal rainfall regardless of the fact that there was no rain on today's date.  March is known as the windy month, but winds were calm today.  So, we will come in like the lamb and go out like the lion for March 2011.  It might be that April will be our windy month. 

As the Irish Blessing goes--may March hold these blessings for us all:
May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

February 2011 Forecast--Prediction!!

Variegated Lantana
January 2nd--February 2011 Prediction!

My grandpa said that if you watch the weather the first 12 days of the new year, you will know what the weather will be like for the year. Here is my "official" experiment!
Actual Weather

High:  51°
Low:  22°
Wind: mild--5 mph up to 12 mph
Humidity: 31% up to 67%
Precipitation:  none
Sky: Beautiful blue with perfect white clouds


Although I did not get out much today, I did stroll around the yard a couple of times today.  The sun was bright for another gorgeous day.  The air was not quite as icy as it was yesterday, and I was comfortable outside with jeans and a sweatshirt.  Early this morning, we did have a hard freeze with frost on the windshield. 

Prediction for February 2011

It is my prayer and hope that if we do not get much rain in January, that we have a good chance of rain in February since the humidity was higher today, and there were some clouds--although white and fluffy.  Well, it looks like prayer and hope will be needed since there was absolutely no rain in the month of February 2010!  Yikes.  The average high was 57° and the average low was 37°.  Yes, I keep all this data stored in my head.  Okay, no I don't!  I am getting help from a website called Weather Underground. So, I do need to let you know this is their data and not official stats from NOAA. Nevertheless, it serves it's purpose for this experiment.

February, oh February, month of love--be kind to us.  Be mild and rain just enough to keep the grass and plants happy!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January 2011 Weather Forecast--Prediction!!

A beautiful New Year's Day morning
January 1, 2011
January 1, 2011=January 2011 Prediction!

My grandpa said that if you watch the weather the first 12 days of the new year, you will know what the weather will be like for the year.  Here is my "official" experiment!
Actual Weather:

High: 49°
Low: 26°
Wind: 10 mph
Humidity: 36%
Precipitation: none
Sky: Clear blue sky with wisps of clouds


It was truly a gorgeous day today.  The air felt icy on my cheek and I did need a light jacket.  The normal temperature for January is 57°, so today's temperature was a little cooler than that.  Last year January almost had 6" of rain which was about 4" more than usual.  But if today is any indication of rain chances, then I'd have to predict that our January 2011 will be either normal or below normal in rainfall.  I'm holding out that the humidity will bring a promise of rain this month.

Prediction for January 2011:

I predict January 2011 will be cooler than normal for most of the month, although tomorrow and the rest of the week is expected to bring temps around 60°.  We'll catch some north winds, but nothing too strong.  And, we can hope for a little rain, although today's sky did not hold much of a chance at all for the month.  Stay tuned to see if the prediciton comes true.  I'll update at the end of this month!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year Everyone
Welcome 2011!!!

Geraniums--picture taken in 2006 with the Elph
A happy New Year! Grant that I

May bring no tear to any eye

When this New Year in time shall end

Let it be said I've played the friend,

Have lived and loved and labored here,

And made of it a happy year.

~Edgar Guest


I hope everyone's New Year will be the best ever!  For the next 12 posts I am going to experiment with something my Grandpa Lester used to always say (if I remember this correctly).  He said that for the first 12 days of January you can predict the weather for the rest of the year.  It works like this--whatever the weather is like on January 1, that is what the weather will be like for the month of January.  January 2nd will predict February, and so on.  So, I'm off to get this all set up so it will go smoothly.  At the end of each month, I will compare my prediction to the reality.  This is something I have always wanted to test since I was a child.  But life happened and I never really had a system of remembering what the first 12 days were like.  I hope to be successful with my trial this year!  I am dying to find out once and for all if this really works :-).