Texas landscape

What a beautiful day in south Texas!  It’s January almost February and it was 76 degrees.  I really love the outdoors!  And I like to spend time in the “garden”.  For suburbia that means working in the yard.  Lots of people hire people to do the yard work.  We do not, only because I enjoy it.  Besides we have what I consider a postage stamp size yard and it takes about 45 minutes total to mow, edge, blow and sweep.

We do get a nice break between October and March.  There is very little mowing going on at this time.  In fact, maybe once a month your yard might need a little edging.  This is the time of year that some people trim the crepe myrtles.  The crepe myrtle is my favorite ornamental tree.   It has beautiful flowers in the summer time and they can be pink, red, white or purple.  They say this tree grows in the south, however, being from the south and not Texas, I don’t remember seeing them anywhere until I got to Texas.  Then I was like wow!  That is a pretty tree.  As I mentioned they can be an ornamental tree if you trim them.  Some people call this the practice of crepe murder.  I can understand that is a little disturbing to lovers of this tree.  The thing is, the crepe myrtle can grow to be quite large.  If you trim them, they stay ornamental.  During the winter they lose their leaves and in the spring they grow their leaves back and do not actually flower until summer.

I love keeping an eye on the budding, leaf sprout and finally the flower. I have no idea why I get so excited to see the first flower. I have three crepe myrtles with a very dark pink flower.  Two of them must be a different variety because I have trimmed them all the same and two are much smaller than the one.  Or maybe it’s the sun exposure…I doubt it though.  I use a lopper to trim them.  This year on the big one I used a 9 foot electric pole saw and that just made my life a whole lot easier.  I would spend hours on a ladder with a lopper on this one tree.  But not this year.  I got that puppy trimmed in no time.  Ready for spring now!

trimmed myrtle

Before:

untrimmed myrtle

Our yard has transformed over the years.  I spent a lot of time on the back yard planting palm trees and all of the other plants in the landscaping.   Another one of my favorite ornamental plants is oleander.  This one also flowers white and pink, but it doesn’t lose its leaves in the winter.  This past fall I took out the three oleanders I had growing like trees.  They become massive and it’s really hard to manicure them.  After about 10 years and some years of drought parts of the plant die so it doesn’t look quite as healthy or uniform.   I love this plant not only for its beauty but for its hardiness.  I don’t water them, so they take the Texas heat.  They don’t drop their leaves in the winter and most of the year they have their beautiful flowers (especially, spring, summer and fall).  If you ever want to take one of these out.  Be prepared for battle.  I think I spent 2 hours per oleander cutting and shoveling it out of the ground.  It is one strong plant.   I planted oleander again.  I just can’t get enough of their beautiful flowers and ease of care.

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Texas landscape

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