Apparently Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year and the 2010 Winter Olympics weren't enough for one weekend so we're also observing Garden Bloggers Bloom Day with May Dreams Carol, Foliage Follow-up with Pam/Digging and the Great Backyard Bird Count with Cornell University's Ornithology Lab.
In the race for available time an extensive genealogy-photo project for Valentine's Day took Gold, watching Moguls and Pairs Skating got the Silver and the Great Backyard Bird Count won Bronze... with just a few photos of Spring trying to come to Austin, Texas for Pam & Carol.
Some of the usual suspects appeared during the times I kept watch for the Great Backyard Bird Count, but the Chickadees hid and it was surprising to see only one White-Winged Dove. If the Cedar Waxwings would come to the fountain we could see their faces better but these seasonal visitors swoop into the neighbors' yards for Waxleaf Ligustrum berries, then perch high overhead in the pecan trees making all my photos look like this
The numbers weren't very high for this count - lower than what I see on many a non-counting day - I think the strong winds encouraged the birds to hide in the large old evergreens all over my neighborhood for much of the weekend. I know they were just out of sight on the other side of the fence! Will our shrubs ever grow big enough to provide the thicket they crave in my garden?
Most of the flowers are reruns from last month - both white-flowering upright and blue-flowering trailing Rosemarys are blooming, the Carolina Jessamine opens flowers that sometimes freeze, but the hundreds of buds ensure they'll keep coming
The oldest Camellia japonica kept its buds, but 'Pius IX' is not supposed to be striped! That's freeze damage.
The early paperwhites froze at 13 in January, but the 'Grand Primo' narcissus aren't bothered by the lighter freezes
Out in the parking strip some daffodils blaze yellow
'Woodstock' Hyacinths planted in 2007 have returned - opened on their stalks near the brick wall of the Secret Garden
but just showing florets in the more exposed Pink Entrance Garden.
The Dianthus 'Telstar Hybrids' are opening flowers again - they'd be annuals if I had them in the ground, but in well-drained containers can go on for years.
This winter-planted Pansies is now blooming on a shepherd's hook near the big loquat. The loquat tree is fine, but most of the small fruits were frozen and the few still attached don't seem to be developing.
The Coral Honeysuckle did not get a swelled head over being the star of last month's music video, just buckled down to replace the frozen foliage and keeps pumping out flowers. Against the sky on the other side of the arch the Lady Banks Rose is also beginning to releaf.
LOOK ALL AROUND
The weather was beautiful at midday when we drove down to the rather new Sunday HOPE Farmers Market on Sunday - bumping into friends made it even better. Philo liked the Four Onion Soup from one vendor and I had terrific Ricotta-Spinach pie from Me Myself & Pie. After buying vegetables we decided a stroll at Zilker Botanical Gardens would be perfect for Valentine's Day.
For Foliage Follow-up come walk the Bamboo Path with us and listen to that rustling sound. Most of the bamboos looked okay, some palms were frozen, others fine, and there were very few flower buds developing on the Texas Mountain Laurels.
Many of the water features were drained for cleaning and sealing but turtles sunned and koi flashed in this pond while children ran and squealed on every path
Eventually we wandered over to the Hartman Prehistoric Garden and found drained ponds and work-in-progress there, too. That palm tree was hit hard by cold!
This year has not been kind to cycads either - wherever we go browned Sago Palms show how cold it's been - but I'd hoped that the more sheltered and protected location of Zilker Park would have made a difference. The bases of the plants above still hold some green - maybe they'll survive but how can they ever regain their perfect form and magnificence? This garden will never be the same.
Other cycads look dead and their bronze color has a weird beauty.
I keep the camera near the breakfast room window, hoping for new birds. The official bird count may be over but trying to catch images of the winged visitors is a game that never stops -And trying to keep the many wandering neighborhood cats from reducing those bird count numbers is another game with no end....hey, you lurking in the garden - go home!
Ed 5:19PM - forgot to include Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras and Lithuanian Independence Day in that list, along with Westminster Dog Show as Linda notes...now trying to think up a menu that combines Lithuanian & Louisiana cuisine! Also - thanks very much to Mikael Behrens' Birding on Broadmeade website for help with bird ID's
2014 December Holidiva Day
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