Typical of Texas beaches (with the exception of South Padre), the water is muddy and the sand is pretty brown. But for someone who can count on one hand how many times they've been to a warm-weather beach, it was a treat. Although the weather was not that cooperative, I was still able to observe a lot of great native Texas species of flora, and many are unique to coastal areas.Read More
Over the July 4th holiday, I visited Chicago and its Garfield Park Conservatory. The conservatory was established in the 1880s with the structure pictured below constructed in 1907, and designed by famous Chicago landscape architect Jens Jensen. The shape of the greenhouses was meant to emulate the haystacks of the Midwest. The interior specimens were planted in forms that relate to each other naturally and create "landscapes under glass", a style that was revolutionary at the time of construction. The conservatory is one of the largest in the US at 4.5 acres, 2 of which is under glass. It is known for its extensive collection of rare palms and its popular Desert House.Read More
Big Bend National Park is probably my favorite place to be outside. The contrasts of the Chihuahuan Desert is continually impressive to me. Luckily, my dear friends also share this love for the park and I was fortunate enough to design and construct the florals for their wedding. In October, we explored possible ceremony sites along easily-accessible trails so family and friends of all abilities could attend.
We decided on the open space below the pour-off of Burro Mesa. The walls rise from the desert wash some 60 plus feet into the air, creating a natural, 3-sided room. Even in late April, this area can get quite hot, but we lucked out with overcast skies and even intermittent sprinkles. Because of National Park Service regulations, you can not have organic plant material on the trail. This created a challenge in designing the body wear for the grooms and party. I instead made boutonnieres and bouquets out of paper and copper wire, playing off of the colors of the desert.Read More
In the far southwestern corner of Throckmorton County is the YL Ranch, encompassing 5,500 acres of responsibly-managed, grazing pasture among low, rolling hills. Two prominent waterways cross this property; Ranger Creek and Tecumseh Creek, both with exposed limestone bottoms. About 5 miles to the southeast is the famous Lambshead Ranch, established in 1880 after the area was purposely evacuated of the Tecumseh tribe of the Comanche Indians.
The area is dominated by Hackberry and Mesquite trees, along with plentiful grasses and short scrub. Abundant rainfall over the past 2 years has really benefited the perennials, and many early summer bloomers were showing their colors. It was the last day of spring and the temperature would reach the upper 90s. After taking a dip in one of the stock tanks, I set to document some of the more interesting species of the area.Read More
It was a very quick trip to Big Bend National Park, and my least active by far. I was in the park for a wedding and was fortunate enough to stay in the lodge where I had 4 walls, electricity, and hot water. I almost felt like I was cheating the system by not camping. I didn't make it down the usual trails so many of my observations were from the roadside.Read More
I was honored when my friends, Matt and Scott, asked me to create arrangements for their wedding day. This was the largest event I had done and the venue was expansive. West of Austin is Star Hill Ranch, a replica Old West town complete with a chapel, schoolhouse, barn, dance hall, saloon, and Sears, Roebuck & Co. homes.
I dragged my mother, a former florist and shop owner herself, along for the ride. I look to her for direction. We transported most of the florals and supplies from Dallas to Austin. Two hotels, a few flower runs, and many hours later, it all came together just in time. And not without the help of my good friend, photographer, and florist, Elizabeth Thacker, who came through in the clutch.Read More
In March, I was able to explore the backwoods of Ouachita National Forest in southeastern Oklahoma, among the Ouachita Mountains. This mountain range extends into western Arkansas and south of the Ozarks, the Arkansas River separating the two.Read More
One of Texas' most notable wildflowers, and the state flower, is Lupinus texensis, or Texas Bluebonnet, and there is a festival centered around this flower over one weekend in April each year in Ennis, Texas, a community about 30 miles south of Dallas.Read More
In Plano, a suburban city in the Dallas metropolitan area, the community has purchased 800 acres of farmland and utility right-of-ways to create a sprawling, multi-use park. The design of the park is great in its simplicity as it's mostly open with run and bike trails. The focus of the park is preserving the land and restoring the property to its pre-human existence. The park is also home to one of the few native prairie remnants still intact in Collin County.
Dormant foliage of summer's past can be interesting and beautiful during cold, winter months, but difficult to properly identify. This post will highlight the prairie plants of Oak Point with identifications when possible.Read More
On this trip, it was unseasonably wet, as it has been in much of Texas this fall. Foliage and flower colors are especially vibrant when damp, and the muted light of cloud-covered skies only added to the effect. Many plants are even blooming out of season or have abnormally fleshy growth due to the moisture. It is a special time in the Chihuahuan Desert.
This post will cover the more herbaceous plant materials found in Big Bend National Park during my visit in November 2015. (Disclaimer: I realize not all of the plants described here are particularly herbaceous, but they better fit this post than my earlier post about cacti.)
I was especially attracted to this grouping of endemic species. Leucophyllum, Dasylirion, and Ephedra create a contrasting palette of color and texture, and are surrounded by red bedrock. Few could create a similar effect manually.Read More