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  #1  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 3:01 AM
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The product of April showers.

I love Spring. Everything's in bloom, green and smelling good.

Our Memosas are blooming. These trees grow to 35 feet tall depending on the climate and location. The flowers have a sweet smell, almost like honey-suckle. At night the leaves fold in and close. I love these because our neighborhood was once full of them and I have fond memories of going for walks as a child with my family and the neighborhood and the air being filled with their smell.




Two years ago I planted an Oleander in the yard and it's doing well quadrupling in size. They're bushy and can grow to 10 feet tall and be up to 20 feet wide depending on the climate. These are tropical of course. They have a lot of these down along the coast growing wild along the highway. Down there they're big enough that you could hide a car inside them. This one probably won't get to be much more than 8 feet tall or so, and maybe that wide at best. The flowers don't really have a smell, but they're beautiful, though. The ends of the stalks will be covered with flowers for 2 months or so with sporadic blooms afterward. Oleanders come in several different colors including white and lavender.










One of our Rose of Sharons. These are actually a species of hybiscus. These trees grow to about 8 to 10 feet tall. The flowers don't really have any smell, but they put on these huge flowers, 3 to 5 inches across and bloom for 3 months during the Spring and summer. We have several of these growing in the yard. My grandmother and grandfather both planted some 40 years ago and these are the decendants of those. These also come in lavender which we have some of.




Zoomed in.



Thanks for looking.
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  #2  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 12:01 PM
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Man I wish I lived further south than Minnesota. I could have all of those plants, they would just be annuals and would die in Late September from frost! Great shots!
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  #3  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 4:29 PM
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You better stick with the dark red oleanders in Texas. They are the most cold-tolerant. I have pink ones next to my house in Tucson and even there they were devestated last winter (it got down to 20 degrees one night) whereas the red ones did fine.

By the way, you mentioned they grow by the roads in south Texas and get big enough to hide a car. In parts of California, CalTrans (the state Dept. of Transportation) plants them in the medians of freeways because they will easily stop a car from crossing into the oncoming lanes. And when I lived in Florida (Winter Park near Orlando), I planted some that got at least 15 feet tall--but they often got big ugly caterpillars that looked like they came from outer space (all green and orange).

I was also surprised by the white flower until you said it was a Rose of Sharron, not a true hibiscus, because the hardiest hibiscus is also the "single red" (not fancy colors like white) and the one I have got killed to the ground.
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Old Posted May 21, 2007, 4:44 PM
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Nice pictures. I agree with you fully about spring and the fragrances and colours of spring. They are so enjoyable.
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  #5  
Old Posted May 22, 2007, 1:22 AM
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Yeah, I liked the dark Oleanders more. I've seen the lighter pink ones and white ones at the coast, and at Home Depot, but I like the dark pink/red color since it's more vibrant.

Most of these do die with the frost, except for the Rose of Sharons and Memosaes which just drop their leaves like most trees during the winter do. The others still come back every year, though.

Some more from last season.

One of our lavender Rose of Sharons. We actually have 7 of these in the front and backyard.


You can't go wrong with sun flowers. Tall, green, leafy plants. 3 to 5 inch yellow flowers that can be seen from far away and best of all, they're just about free. This one is with a batch of sun flowers at the end of the driveway by the curb. I didn't plant these. Our neighbor across the street volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center so she brings home all kinds of neat plants and flowers. Anyway, we have a 25 foot Mexican fan palm standing over that flower bed, and the birds have their own special way of planting the seeds.


One of our Boganvias. These are bushy tropical plants. Our's grow to about 6 feet wide and up to 7 or 8 feet feet tall. During the spring and summer months it'll be covered in blooms from top to bottom. They come in a few colors, like this and a deeper almost purple color. These freeze back every winter, but always come back. They have inch long thorns on them, though, so it's best to not plant them near walkways and when trimming them you've got to make sure to not leave any branches laying around in the street or driveway.


And this is quite possibly my favorite in the yard. Our amaryllis. These are tropical of course. I believe they're part of the lilly family of plants. When these bloom they have such a good smell, a rich sweet smell. They flowers come in a few colors, white and lavender. Our's are all white. The flowers are bell shaped. They put on a stalk that blooms for a few weeks off and on the flowers die back, then put on more through Spring to the early summer months. Even when they aren't blooming they're nice since they have these long green leaves. They're nice in the ground, and they actually do ok in the winter time. Even with temperatures here hitting 20F sometimes in the winter they go dormant, but don't die. They're good in the ground, but also make good potted plants since they hang out over the pot and drape down.






Our palm tree. This tree is actually about 45 years old. All the houses in this neighborhood had atleast one palm planted in the frontyard. Our neighbor nextdoor has two just like this.


Our small one. My mom bought this one for my dad for Father's Day about 15 years ago. It'll eventually get as big as the other one.


Thanks for looking.
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  #6  
Old Posted May 24, 2007, 1:38 PM
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Nice photography (and gardening) Kevin. You really captured the colors well.
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  #7  
Old Posted May 24, 2007, 2:18 PM
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Mmmm....flowers. Coming from a climate where almost nothing survives the winter I love the diversity of plantlife in the Southern states. A real joy all times of the year.

You don't happen to have an evening shot with the leaves closed Kevin?
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  #8  
Old Posted May 25, 2007, 11:40 AM
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Thanks guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeInMyShoes View Post
You don't happen to have an evening shot with the leaves closed Kevin?
I'll have to go out later tonight and take a few. I was going to do it lastnight but it was raining pretty good. It may rain tonight too, but I'll try and get a few. That's why everything has been in full bloom and so green this spring. So far for the year Austin has a 17 inch surplus for the year and the lakes are nearly full and are actually at the highest levels in 2 years. Lake Travis in West Austin has gone up almost 30 feet over the past month. I just heard on the weather that statewide Texas is officially out of our drought, which is great news because come summer wildfires are a problem. But probably not this summer. One town west of Austin has gotten 8 inches of rain this week with about another 6 to 8 more expected by Monday.

Until I get the pics of the Mimosa leaves folded up at night, check out Wikipedia. They have a page on the tree. I'll get a better picture than their's and post it also tomorrow night.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albizia...ation_and_uses

Tuesday I went down to a small vacant lot near the end of our street. With all the rain we've had the wildflowers are really blooming. I can't remember the last time there's been flowers there like this. I've seen patches of bluebonnets there before, but this year is nuts with a variety of flowers growing.

Indian Blankets. These are the state flower of Oklahoma...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_blanket




I'm actually not sure what kind these are. They're different, though.




They come in atleast two different colors and some seem to fade out from red to yellow.




More Indian Blankets.


The seed pod after the pedals have fallen off.










Seed pod again.


Zoomed out. Pretty much the entire lot from one side to the other is covered.


















And I don't know what this was. The flower was beautiful but the plant didn't look friendly since it has small spikes all over the leaves and stems.


Someone's home.




Thanks for looking.
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  #9  
Old Posted May 31, 2007, 10:22 PM
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I bought a potted oleander a couple years ago up here in Mpls...It was trained into a tree, and about 5 feet tall. I wintered it over in the basement one year, but I let it go last year...It actually lasted for several frosts until it finally got down to 20 or so in November. I like trying tropicals up here...I have a couple banana trees I have wintered ove inside for a couple years.
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Old Posted Jun 2, 2007, 7:54 AM
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These are really awesome photos, Kevin. I've been thinking of doing a bit of gardening -- or at least growing one plant myself this summer. Who knows.
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Old Posted Jun 15, 2007, 5:25 PM
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Great pictures and a wonderful thread!
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  #12  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2007, 11:46 PM
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Beautiful photos!

There was an ancient, gnarled Rose of Sharon in front of my house when I moved here; it had rich lavender blooms in abundance, but it didn't survive the winter of '78. I still think about planting another one.

I envy your warm climate and long growing season.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2007, 12:55 AM
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Kevin, I am glad that you're still using the Panasonic FZ5, the one that I highly recommend! Way to to go! But why were they all taken in 2005?
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  #14  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2007, 3:45 AM
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Taken in 2005? Nope, a few were taken during the late Spring early summer of last year, and the rest were from this spring. Where did you see 2005?

By the way, yes, I love the camera. Having a blast with it.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2007, 5:03 AM
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Hmm.... I don't know, but you should probably take a look at this:
Click to enlarge



Did you set the date and time in your FZ5?
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2007, 8:24 AM
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Hmm, I guess I need to take a look at it. My sister had set the date and said it was ok, but I guess maybe it reset or something.
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Old Posted Jun 16, 2007, 2:27 PM
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Ah... Now that explains. Well no one usually takes pictures at 6:35am in the morning too I guess..
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2007, 11:23 AM
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^ You'd be surprised.
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2007, 10:38 PM
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I really like the exotic looking tropicals.

We can actually have hibiscus here, or at least I think these are hibiscus. They are perennials that grow on bushes up to 5-6 feet high:



Rhododendrons are also an "exotic" plant that will grow in harsher climates. They are green year-round and can grow up to 15-20 feet tall here.

Are there things you can't grow in Texas because it gets too hot?

What happens if you bring a deciduous tree like a maple down near the equator, or at least to a place like Florida? Will they just die?
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2007, 7:10 AM
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Well, Texas is a good ways from the equator. It doesn't get nearly as hot on a regular basis as say places in Africa would. Actually there's a lot of gardeners that plant plants from Africa. Even though it doesn't get as hot here as in places in Africa or other areas near the equator, we can grow things from those regions. It's funny, though, because we also have stuff in the yard that grows in much cooler climates. Irises for an example, our yard is full of them and they're lush and green and thriving. Infact, I need to thin them out in one flowerbed because they've done so well there. I had planted just a few 3 years ago and now they're just about filling in the flowerbed completely. I took them from another "flowerbed" just a stretch of them alongside the house in the front. I moved them from there since I rarely got to enjoy them because of where they were, kind of hidden from sight.

The Iris.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_%28plant%29

Irises actually originated in the mountains in China as many popular cut flowers did. They can grow just about anywhere, from cool and cold to downright hot. They're really amazing since they don't freeze in the winter, and thrive and I mean really thrive in sun to partial sun. I've found that they can tolerate temps down to 20F atleast, and temps as high as 105F+. The heat never seems to bother them, I swear they're indestructable. They're a bulb rooted plant. Long light green leaves, sort of like grass. They bloom during the early spring. We have white ones, but they come in several diffferent colors, blue, purple, yellow and a mix color of yellow and purple. I think there's also an orange color.

As for other cooler climate plants, sure we have them. Maples don't really grow like crazy around Austin. But up around Dallas they do have a lot of Maples. We have more Pecans, Elms and many varieties of Oaks. We have sycamores, cypress, pine, cedar, juniper, even palm trees do ok here. It's pretty rare to have anything here that actually dies from the heat, even stuff that grows farther north. If you water a plant enough it'll be ok. Put it in the shade of course. Water is good. Unless of course it's some kind of plant that can't handle a lot of water, then that might be a problem.

Austin sits in the middle of two different climates and topographies. The west side of Austin is very hilly, with some gentle hills throughout the city. Most of the bigger hills are to the west, though. West of Austin out in the hill country the elevation increases by 1,000+ feet. Areas of the western hill country actually hit 3,000+ feet above sea level, compared to Austin and Travis County which ranges from 350 to 1,400 feet. East of Austin the elevation decreases of course as you get closer to the coast. The terrain becomes flat with some rolling hills between Austin and Houston. But once you're near Houston it's quite flat. Anything down along the coast from Mexico to Louisiana is also very flat. Austin sits just east of the Edwards Plateau and Balcones Escarpment. This is actually an ancient fault line. Infact there's even some extinct volcanoes in the area, atleast two of them within the city limits of Austin.

Climate-wise west of Austin you have a dryer climate. 10 minutes west of the city you can find huge patches of prickly pear cactus growing wild along the highway. There's Yucca cactus. The terrain is of course hilly and rocky with grasses and small bushy type trees. Mesquite trees grow wild there as do cedar, juniper and oak trees. There's other kinds also, but those are the major ones. During the summer months this is the hottest area of Central Texas with 100+ temps regularly. East of Austin the climate is more humid. It rains more often and is more flat coastal plain, with fields of green grass. Some of the areas between Austin and Houston are beautiful with pine forests. Temperatures there can still get hot, but not nearly as hot as to the west. The thing is the humidity is much worse being closer to the coast.

To the north of Austin it's actually very flat with only small bushy trees. A lot of farmland actually. It's strange, once you get north of the city into the suburbs of Round Rock and Georgetown, up in Williamson and Bell Counties, it's quite flat. South of Austin is different, it's beautiful with rolling hills and thick lush small trees, mostly cedar and oaks. Hays County is really one of the most beautiful areas of Central Texas, especially on its western edge. Farther south in Comal County is also hilly, and then Guadalupe, and then Bexar County, which is where San Antonio is. All of those areas are hilly, especially from the central area of those counties to their western borders.


Hays County - There's a nice picture of Hays County here.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hays_County
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Last edited by KevinFromTexas; Jun 18, 2007 at 7:21 AM.
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