Wildscape WOW Factors!

by Carolyn Henderson

Abundant flowers attracting many pollinators leave one in awe at the El Camino Real Texas Master Naturalist Wildscape out at the Bird and Bee Farm. I read Catherine Johnson’s blog and noticed the severely overgrown Malabar Spinach awning that is being overtaken by Cypress Vines. I went out to try to tame it.

Before

It took electric pruners to get it under control. It draped over the entrances and spread out to the picket fence and flower bed behind it. And the Cypress vine had overgrown it and was attaching itself to cannas and other bushes nearby. I have made the awning walkthrough accessible. If you want to grow either of those at your place, it’s prime time to take cuttings or pick the berries. Or take some to eat – the Malabar. I don’t know that the Cypress vine is edible by humans, but hummingbirds were sure enjoying the nectar in the flowers. 

After

It was hard to stay focused on the vines while several species of butterflies and bees were all over the wildscape. Many Gulf Fritillaries, Common Buckeyes, Grey Hairstreaks and Pipevine Swallowtails were there. The Zinnias and Turk’s Caps were the favorite food of the butterflies. Carpenter bees and honeybees were also abundant. Cindy Rek said she has seen a few Monarchs and they laid eggs which have developed into caterpillars already. She has photos to prove it. 

If you are participating in the the iNaturalist Pollinators BioBlitz beginning Oct. 7, the wildscape has plenty to photograph. If you don’t do bioblitzes, you can just sit among the many blooming flowers and all the pollinators buzzing around them. Pull a weed or two while you’re there. 

It’s Pretty Over at the Wildscape

by Catherine Johnson

There are many plants in full bloom in the Milam Wildscape Project. 

One cool morning Kim Summers and I began preparing the Garden for Nature Days in November.   

Kim is invisible!

We saw many butterflies and the last of hummingbirds for the year. 

Enjoy the pictures or better yet take a ride over to Bird and Bee Farm, conveniently located between Rockdale and Milano, and take home a beautiful bouquet. 

Mark Your Calendar for Nature Days

by Catherine Johnson

We are gearing up for the second Nature Days event, which will be each weekend in November.  There will be lots of opportunities to get volunteer hours and interact with the public.

Treat yourself and visit the Wildscape now, as the fall flowers are almost ready to bloom.  Email me at cpc69earth AT gmail.com, and I will meet you there to show you some ways to get hours or to get seeds for yourself. 

Now is also a great time to take pictures.  The Monarch and Swallowtail butterfiles have arrived.

What’s Blooming at the Wildscape? Everything!

by Carolyn Henderson

The El Camino Real Chapter Wildscape at the Bird and Bee Farm is awash in blooming plants. I went to water early Saturday morning and was quite surprised by the incredible growth since the last time I was there to prep for the award Gene and Cindy Rek received from the Texas Environmental Quality Commission. 

Happy verbena

It looks like everything has recovered from the freezes this year and last. Come and see for yourself and water some plants or pull a weed while you’re there.