Friday, February 27, 2009

National Invasive Species Information Center

Spotted Knapweed

For those who, like me in the past, think, psah, what does it matter if I bring some seeds from another country? Well, invasive species, aliens to our ecology, come in and not only take over, but destroy an ecosystem that is so linked to other ecosystems.


Like the berried Nandina that people have in their yards here in Western Oaks, if it doesn't spread by wind or rhizomes, the birds will eat the seeds and plop them where ever the soil will takes and voila, the spreading has continued. Learning about invasives and why they should be plain forbidden is a long study on its own. For now, perhaps whilst browsing or looking through your 'Grow Green Guide' from Austin, read up some more at the gov site of "National Invasive Species Information Center".

Try to go native at all times for your own specific area. There are a lot of South African plants that seem to do well here in Central Texas, just make sure that, where ever the plant is from, it is not invasive. You'll do your part in protecting our ecosystem with beneficial insects, protect from soil erosion and poisoning other plants. That one would be courtesy of the Knapweed plant. A European native that somehow made its way here probably through the trade of some other food item. Check out the link for some of our area's problem plants and make sure you do not have any.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Backyard makeover in progress

Three days before Christmas '08

I have my own gardening blog where I posted pictures of our big, backyard makeover. We did the unmentionable of putting down landscape fabric, covering it with loads of mulch and outlining a path with rocks gotten at one of the local cemetaries. This afternoon, James (husband) went out and got more rocks but bigger ones for the side entry. The idea is to level it with filler sand. I'll try to take pictures of it as we go along.

A path runneth through it!

This past week, inspite of having two kids home with the flu, I managed to go outside at the end of the week, hauling off the younger one who was waay too active (but still not sure about her 'flu-status') so she helped me with digging (more like scraping) into our caleechy soil and added and mixed in some compost for some of the plants we planted; oxalysis, times 5, a bush white honeysuckle and two silver gray sennas. They're all pretty small at this point but hopefully this summer I can start showing some growing progress.

although they're small, I planted two flowering sennas

Tomorrow I'll get some worms to add in those areas where I planted in order to add with the soil and the plants' establishment; aerating the soil and fertilizing it in the process! Thank you Craigslist! James put in an add this morning asking for worms and this guy off of North Lamar responded, he apparently has a whole vermiculture set up and set-ups for sale as well. That's the next thing. For now, we're still doing our own makeover and like so many things; we're in it for the long haul!

So last year's Mother's day I got; two possum haw hollies; one mexican plum; one desert willow and one Texas persimmon. Now this year the shrubs and hopefully some more groundcover. After all, it's hard to stop with 'just these'. Pictures to be followed.

Purple leaf oxalis. Good for the shady area in your garden.