The Daily Muse

A Garden Journal -- April 2005

Last Update: April 30

One of several symbols that adorn the wall surrounding the Sanctuary Garden at The Crossings.

April 5 - morning

This past weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity of leading a "Soul of the Garden" retreat at The Crossings, Austin's beautiful retreat and conference center located near Lake Travis. As always, just being at The Crossings made the weekend a very special time - it is such a lovingly created place. However, my little class really completed the picture, I enjoyed getting to know them very much.  Thank you for the gift of your attention and time! Here are a few mementos from our weekend...


My class visiting my garden.


Our retreat was held on what may prove to be the most beautiful weekend of this Spring - the bluebonnets and wildflowers were at their peak.


Another shot from the wall surrounding the Sanctuary at The Crossings.


An Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly visiting some verbena.


Phlox and bluebonnets.

More bluebonnets


A Tiger Swallowtail enjoying the verbena.


A "council circle" at The Crossings. That is Lake Travis in the distance.


The formal side of the Sanctuary garden.


And a bouquet of daisies on the informal side of the garden.



Water spilling from the wall of the Sanctuary garden.


A fossil in the Sanctuary garden.


For my class...


The view of Lake Travis from the dining hall.


The view of Lake Travis from my room.

April 16 - morning

This week, I was fortunate that my  job took me out to Hamilton Pool, the place where I fell in love with Austin nearly thirty years ago. Here are a few images that I collected, there are more to come...

Bald cypress reflections along the stream in the canyon.


Ferns in the grotto.


The waterfall from behind.


The waterfall from inside the grotto.


Bald cypress roots.

Water dripping  into the grotto.


March 16 - afternoon

Here are a couple of other new Hamilton Pool pics...

Boulders laced with ferns.


A cathedral-like grove of bald cypress trees.

April 25 - morning

It is early on a Monday morning and a very light rain is falling as I write this. During the night, several showers passed giving us our first measurable rainfall in a while and relieving me of a minor case of drought-dread, a particulary Texan gardening dysfunction. Better still, it is unseasonably cool. By late April we have usually sunk into pre-summer sullenness, but it still feels spring-like and for that I am very thankful.

This past weekend was a very intense one in the garden-  we repotted many of our large agaves, always a tricky job; mowed and fertilized the lawn for the first time of the season; and planted many  things including a collection of sunflowers that we had grown from seed in trays. The garden is entering into its season of fullness - our Louisiana iris are in full bloom, the bluebonnets are hanging on, our sweet peas are glorious, the echinaceas and coreopsis are beginning to flower, nearly all of the hesperaloes are blooming, the yucca pallidas are sending up their first bloom spikes, the 'Santa Rita' prickly pears are flowering, and nearly all of the trees and shrubs are growing measurably by the day.

I will update the site with new garden images as soon as the sun reappears... until then, peace...

April 26 - morning

As promised, here are a few pictures from the garden...

A wide shot of our veggie patch with sweetpeas, chard, and bolting cilantro.


Sweetpeas and prayer flags.


Close-up of the sweetpea blossoms.


One of our Louisiana iris.


The conversation room with a 'Pat Austin' English rose in full bloom.

April 30 - morning

A passing cold front is dragging some showers and thunder storms in its wake and this morning I awoke to lightning and the plunking of rain drops on our metal roof... always a welcome sound. I will be teaching in the garden later today, so I hope the showers move along quickly.

I feel compelled to write a few words to celebrate the big birding news of the day (or of the century!) The rediscovery of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker deep in the bayous and sloughs of Eastern Arkansas has provided me with a few very happy moments over the course of the past few days. I had just been reading about this long-presumed-to-be-extinct species earlier this week and had daydreamed about seeing one. To hear that they have somehow survived and eluded detection for over sixty years is near miraculous. Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website for all of the details including a video press release.

Yesterday, at work, I received a press release from a right-wing organization citing the rediscovery as proof that the Endangered Species Act is no longer needed. Those guys don't waste any time! The rediscovery of the Ivory-Billed is a tiny beacon of hope amid a lot of very depressing environmental news (Bush's energy plan for example). Let's celebrate, but keep up the fight!

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