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.

Spring in Rose’s Garden

by Catherine Johnson

The Milam Wildscape Project is within the 100-acre prairie Bird and Bee Farm. Mr. Rek’s parents originally owned the land, and the garden is named after his Mom, Rose. 

Herbs and native plants

The garden is bursting with wildflowers, natives, bushes, trees, and vines. Milkweed will be planted soon. Many creatures call the garden home. 

Camouflaged garden kitty
Helping out with bug control

Two new additions are a large metal sculpture for photo ops and LED lighting that covers the entire Wildscape! 

Charming photo background for visitors
New lighting

A new garden room is under construction with donated tin from Donna Lewis.

Charming new gazebo from donated material

Before the shutdown, the Rek’s sold over 1,000 chickens in 21 days. Everyone wants to go back to nature😊.  

Easter eggs of many colors

They will reopen the end of May and are also incubating Rio Grande turkeys now. Available later this year will be custom chicken houses.

These utility poles that are being used for erosion control have also been donated.

Aside from future nature programs, we plan to have a Master Naturalist table on some weekends.  If any chapter members would like to earn Volunteer Hours for working in the Wildscape, email me. You will able to work ALONE.  

Cindy Rek found these huge buddleia plants for only three dollars!
Weeping lantana

Wildscape in Winter

I had a need to buy chickens last weekend, so I took the female members of my family over to Bird and Bee Farm to get them. The chickens I got were great, and you can read about them here. But my real point was to share how much has been going on at the Wildscape project over there. Much of the work is led by our own Catherine Johnson.

The entrance shows all their certifications. The chicken house is in the rear.

I was impressed that there was so much in bloom in the middle of January, and equally impressed by how charming the design of the project is. There are so many sweet surprises lurking among the recycled material being used to create planters, edging and decorations.

Many of our members are strong believers of practicing what they preach and recycling or re-using materials as much as possible, and a tour of the wildscape provides a lot of good ideas. All sorts of kitchen and farming implements have found their way into the beds.

Of course, there were kitties to provide natural pest control. Rodents love bird food, and kitties love rodents!

Lots of flowers!

I also enjoyed watching the natural insect pest control in action as the guinea fowl and Rio Grande turkeys roamed the area.

Rio Grande turkey wants in the wildscape. Nope, it’s not for you.

It made me happy that Cindy Rek, one of the owners of the farm, used my guinea fowl photo to sell some of the guinea flock online! It’s great to be able to give back to folks who give so much to the community, our plants, and our animal friends.

Guineas and turkeys

Girl Scout Event at Wildscape

We haven’t heard much from the Wildscape project at Bird and Bee Farm, but we got a report and some photos from Catherine Johnson this week. Let’s see what’s going on!

The Texas Master Naturalist, El Camino Chapter recently hosted a successful Milam County Girl Scout program.

A total of 97 people attended, including 52 Scouts.  USDA Conservationists Ben McNally and Tyler Lawson presented a program on soil and shared a walk-through tunnel. 

The soil tunnel

The Scouts enjoyed dinner, gifts, and tours of the Wildscape and the Bird and Bee Farn chickens.

Here’s a collection of photos from the event:

Wildscape Progress for August

 by Catherine Johnson

The Wildscape project at Bird and Bee Farm between Rockdale and Milano has survived the worst part of the summer and the plants are starting to have their fall flush. 

These plants are reblooming!

Eight small trees have been planted, with more to arrive. Donna Lewis donated Senna trees and we have four New Mexico Privet and Vitex as well. 

Continue reading “Wildscape Progress for August”