Kim Gets Dirty at the Wildscape

by Catherine Johnson

I went to the Wildscape to care for an ill and loyal garden cat.

Kitty not feeling well

Master Naturalist Kim went too. After caring for the cat, I found Kim at the frog pond which was very dirty and dry and snakey.

Fixing up the frog pond

She got it back in shape.

Kitty inspects Kim’s work!

A lot of plants are blooming.

Email me for hours, plants, or go visit Friday or Saturday morning!

Why I Love the Wildscape (Plus Acorns)

by Carolyn Henderson

If you like to work amid a plethora of flowering native plants while guineas, turkeys, chickens, and kitties hang out with you, the Bird and Bee Farm Milam Wildscape is the place to get some volunteer hours for Texas Master Naturalists. Several members of El Camino Real Master Naturalist started the place, with the help of the property owners. They have planted mostly Texas native flowering plants, and with the help of donations from the birds, it has bloomed galore in the one and half years it’s been going. It has grown so fast (bird poop is effective) that it requires tending and controlling. 

At the invitation of Donna Lewis, I went out a few weeks ago to be introduced to it with a few other chapter members. It was an amazing thing to see. Cathy Johnson is the primary contact person, and she and other chapter members have held some teaching events for kids over the last year. They also staff it some Saturday mornings for anyone from the public who’d like to stroll through it. 

Malabar spinach before

It does need care. I took on an attempted control of a Malabar Spinach vine that is taking over a metal archway. The arch is meant to be walked through, so some pruning is called for regularly. It’s a beautiful plant with dark green leaves and pink flowers. It’s also edible. I haven’t tried it yet. I’ve included some before and after pictures. Other jobs include turning on the sprinklers and turning them off while you get some pictures, or dead heading plants among other jobs.

That plant is way more in control now.

It also is an excellent place to repurpose things. For example, many of the borders around the different beds are old rain gutters. I used an old wicker basket for decorative purposes on the pruning of the spinach vine. The bottom of it was rotted and no longer usable for its original purpose. It’s also a great place to get photos of butterflies and bees.

Doesn’t the basket look nice?

Contact Cathy or Donna if you’re interested in lending a hand and earning volunteer hours. It is located on CR 334, Rockdale, 76567. 

As for Acorns

Holey acorns

On an unrelated topic, I have attached a picture of some acorns with holes. The students and members who attended our last class Thursday, October 1 may appreciate the find after hearing the video by Dr. Doug Tallamy and his love of caterpillars and moths.

I found them in my flower bed. They have been there a year. Every single one had the holes in them that indicate nesting, as Dr. Tallamy explained.

Cool Weather Workers

by Catherine Johnson

Last Saturday, Master Naturalists Donna, Sandra, Carolyn and Scott weeded and cleaned at the Milam Wildscape Project.  Linda Jo did more BioBlitzing.

Email me if you need some hours or come visit to get free plants. Enjoy the photos!

Scott and Rio Grande turkeys.
Donna weeds a path.
Carolyn attacks the overgrowth.
Sandra, Donna, and Scott take a rest with Dixie the collie.

Summer Madness

by Catherine Johnson

It’s been one and a half years since the Milam Wildscspe  began. My, how it’s grown!

Last year at this time, the Wildscspe was beautiful and neat, and this year it is a beautiful jungle.  Three natives have made it so: Coreopsis, red salvia, and purslane.

Master Naturalists and their families/friends have been pulling these over-enthusiastic residents out. 

Richard Johnson is one of my favorite helpers.

Many creatures thrive in the garden, and there are many free plants still available. 

Customers at Bird and Bee Farm continue to take home brochures, including the recent Predators and Prey of Milam County brochure. 

We are propagating native plants right now, and we’re excited that a huge water fountain and coal car has been donated. 

Thanks go to our volunteers: Donna Lewis, Janice and Richard Johnson, Pamela Neeley, Liz Lewis, Linda Jo Conn, Kim Summers, Gene and Cindy Rek, Rosie, Gary, and Mitch.  

We love our chapter members!

Email me if you would like to volunteer for hours.

Milam Wildscape Project May Update

by Catherine Johnson

Bird and Bee Farm is open by appointment only, and the new bathroom nearly complete. We also have a new certification sign to go with all the other signs on the project.

It is already too hot to work anytime but early or late in the day.  The creatures and plants are thriving, though. 

Coreopsis, purple bee balm, and yarrow

The gold coreopsis in the photo above must go, because it is smothering other plants. Email me if you want some!

The garden is a beautiful Wild mess. 

This new arch is ready for vines.

We are glad for all our volunteers and donors. All materials for the structures below were donated.

Master Naturalist Kim Summers taking a break under the new shelter. The arch is shown at right.