Donna’s Garden in December

by Donna Lewis

Hi everyone, this is the last photo essay of the year for my pollinator garden here in Milam County.

As you may know, we have had one overnight freeze to date. That’s pretty unusual, but we all know there is no normal for the climate lately. We just go with what happens today.  Always a surprise.

As you can see, the blanket of leaves is starting to cover my friend over. The winter blanket that Mother Earth provides her plant and animal creatures. Last year it looked sparser than it does this year. It was about 58 degrees today when I took these photos. That’s crispy for me.

I do not do cold well.

My garden is a living friend of mine.  She looks different every year, an amazing feat by any standard.  I have planted almost all native plants here in the 14 years or so before she was born. I am always anxious to see what she will look like in the next year.

Sometimes she has more yellow and orange highlights, or some years there is more purple and red. It depends on her mood.

The colors call to the butterflies and birds that come to it for everything they want: water, shelter, food, and nectar depending on their individual needs.

I do my best to learn as much as I can so I can provide what they come for. They also provide me with what I need.  Peace and beauty.

By the way, “Sly,” one of my neighbors’ horses, is always waiting near the corner of the garden on his side for his daily apple or carrots. He likes peace also.

Keep Those Leaves!

by Donna Lewis

Fall is slowly arriving, and the leaves are starting to fall into our gardens.

Some of you are thinking, “How messy! I’ll need to rake or mow them up.”

I used to think like that, too, especially when I lived in the city. Now that I live in the country, I have learned better. My bad back has also learned to take it easier.

Mother Nature also has made those leaves fall for a purpose, to protect the new plants that will emerge in the spring and to protect little critters that live and sleep away the winter among the fallen leaves. Those are two good reasons to just let them lie.

Today (October 24, 2021), I walked through my garden to catch one of the last monarchs heading south, lovely and gentle as she had a little sip from a milkweed in my garden.

After I left the garden, I went over to the Celeste fig tree that has frozen back every winter, and has just put out the first edible figs ever!  I was so happy.  A little snack for me.

Remember, leaves are the baby blankets for next year’s new plants. So leave them….

Donna’s Garden in August

by Donna Lewis

Here is what my garden looks like here in the hot month of August. Many wonderful things wait until it’s really hot to come out and look pretty.

Star jasmine vine

This year the weather has been a little crazy.  Something I think will be the norm going forward. We just need to be flexible in our expectations and go with the flow… and share our experiences.

Click on any of the photos to see an expanded view.

More Flowers from Donna

by Donna Lewis

Here is the next set of wildflowers and other things I saw on July 28, 2021. I will break the blog posts up to include a few each time. Look for more tomorrow!

There are so many amazing plants outside right now.

1. Cowpen Daisy.  This bad boy gets going and likes to spread everywhere. It does not need rain nor help in any way.
2. Coral Honeysuckle. This is the hummers’ favorite plant at our place. So easy to grow, and I have lots of babies to share.
 3. Zinnia. An old-time favorite that every species of butterfly likes, really worth having in your garden.
4. Fire Wheel, native plant that grows in the pastures.
5. Xemia. Sweet little yellow flower, looks great in the garden.
6. Sedum. The flowers attract lots of butterflies.

I bet all of you have these flowers either in the pasture or in your garden. If not, then plant some for the pollinators, and you will enjoy the beauty of butterflies, hummers, and many more beautiful little creatures. 

The Fennel Forest

by Donna Lewis

I know you all were wondering earlier this year what I was going to do to this small garden in my front pasture area.  The freeze took every single plant to the ground. Laid  to waste.   

I was not able to weed it, or really do any work in it like I always have for many years. Injuries, a few too many years…it all adds up. I have been 29 several times I think.

So, let’s talk about what the garden is right now.  It looks messy to us humans. But,  I didn’t plant it for us.  I planted it for the wildlife. This garden had lots of native plants in it and a perch I made for birds to rest on.

I planted zinnias, fennel, yarrow, sunflowers, sage, coneflowers, salvia, cowpen daisies, and a host of native things that just blew in. Freebies! And very important, I made a perch for the birds to sit on.

Many gardeners forget to put something for the birds to perch on and get off the ground where they feel safe. I cut a cattle panel in two, then took some hognose clips and made it to where it would open up.  The birds love it.

All those “native plants” I had put in for years came back after the horrible weather. Even the heat and too much water has not deterred them. But all the mess has lots of bugs in it.  Food for hungry birds. So, I may have just given you a reason to get out of all that work, trimming, weeding and other back breaking work.

Remember who we are gardening for…

Donna, the happy bird girl