Immigrants in the Wildscape

by Carolyn Henderson

Immigrants have come to the El Camino Real Wildscape, and no one knows how they arrived. A few bright red Common Poppies and what appears to be some type of Larkspur have produced vivid early
blooms in one bed of the wildscape.

Manager Catherine Johnson assures me that no one planted either of those to her knowledge. Seeds of them could have been in the dirt of other plants bought and planted, or perhaps a bird carried a seed and dropped it off on its way through the area.

The Larkspur is a little puzzling because no one is sure what it really is – not even iNaturalist. When I tried to identify there, it said it was pretty sure it’s a Larkspur, but wasn’t sure which one. It looks most like a Forked Larkspur which is spottily found across the United States, but that one is mostly found in Western Europe. If you know the identification, let me know.

The rooster in the picture showed up because he took his job too seriously at his prior home. I’m told he will be travelling on down the road soon. He is pretty, though.

It was too cold for most bees and butterflies, but a few did crawl around. One red wasp was making a nest on a gardening tool in the decorative mailbox storage. The awning is repaired, and the Malabar Spinach is beginning to grow again.

A few Master Naturalists or those soon to be certified showed up to work on the place. Some pulled up weeds, while another dug up overgrown sages, and planted something else. The sages went home with members to be planted in their gardens. What is in overgrown abundance is Sunflowers. If you want some, they are all over the wildscape.

A week of warm weather should have many things blooming soon.

Here and There

by Catherine Johnson

The last few months have been busy with ice storms, native plant nursery tours and work at our chapter’s Milam  Wildscape.

The tour guides Mandy and Brandon taught us about wholesale plant operations and we were able to view many beautiful Texas native plants.  The interest in using natives in landscaping is increasing and both businesses are expanding. 

Volunteers at our Wildscape have been working to prepare for upcoming educational programs and tours.  Hope to see you there.

Thank you to Gary Johnson for driving us to Native Texas Nursery and to Patricia Coombs for taking pictures at Joss Nursery.

Wildscape Cleanup Day

by Carolyn Henderson

The El Camino Real Texas Master Naturalist Wildscape at the Bird and Bee Farm was a beehive of activity Saturday afternoon. Quite a few members from the still-in-training to the very experienced showed up to prepare the place for the coming spring bloom and take stock of the damage from the ice storm.

Pruning in progress

Damage was minimal – just the archway – but the plants were in need of haircuts and pruning. Plenty were on hand to get it done. But some has been left for those who couldn’t be there Saturday. The next workday is planned for March. 

One Last Wildscape Trip for 2022

by Catherine Johnson

We made one last trip to the Milam Wildscape after the freeze.

Evergreens Wax Myrtle, Gardenia, Sumac, and Iceplant looked pretty with the Fall colors.  We accidentally trapped a cow in a fenced area but were able to free it without letting the sheep or Scruffy the donkey out! 

Kim planted blue Salvia and Rock Rose, and Rosie started a Bluebonnet patch. Mexican Plum and Arroya Sweetwood are the next additions. 

The Boy Scouts have installed bee houses and plan to construct a grape arbor. 

Come visit in the Spring when baby plants and Mason bees emerge and Nature’s cycle starts all over again.

That’s a Wrap for Nature Days!

by Catherine Johnson

Over the course of four Saturdays this November, 88 people attended Nature Days.  Thank you, Bird and Bee Farm, for the space to reach out to support those interested in benefiting natural resources and areas. 

Donna, Kim, Janice, Alan, Debra, Dorothy, Gene, Cindy, Don, Cindy, Patricia, and Rosie were volunteers for the final Saturday. Enjoy these photos of some of our visitors and Chapter members on this beautiful day.