Texas Chain Saw Massacre

In preparation for selling our house , I am trying to tidy up some things.  It cost ways too much money to have landscapers do things.  There are some things I need them for that I can’t get too, like trimming the palms, they are just too tall.  I never thought I postage stamp size yard would require so much landscaping.   My husband says we live on 1/6 of an acre.  Anyway, the one day freeze reeked havoc on our plants.  I had to take out the 1 year old dwarf oleanders and trim back the bottle brush that were completely brown and were not coming back (this is where I used the chain saw).


I asked the neighbor if he would move his gazebo which currently houses farm rabbits. (I am pretty certain this is not allowed in our neighborhood…they smell like bat poop).  Anyway, he just said go for it.  I didn’t damage his gazebo and I tried really hard not too.  I have bottle brush tree dead limbs in my garage, behind the waterfall and behind the garage.  It’s going to take a lot of work to get it to the street for garbage pick up.  Ugh!

Next up was replacing the Italian cypress trees in planter boxes.  I fit these babies in a camaro!  whoo hoo!

italian cypress

Lastly for the backyard is the replacement of the oleanders.  I love the hot pink ones, but couldn’t get them in dwarf size.  So peach it is.  I waited at least a month for the local nursery to replenish supply.  They didn’t.  Oh well, this is for the new owners.


I think our backyard is nice.  My daughter and I enjoyed the hot tub last night.  So I am the pool man too and have had a hard time keeping the pool clean and algae free.  In our new place we will not have a pool.  I never thought I’d be ok without being around water. I am ok with it for now.  Our new place will have such a better layout and a large covered patio.

I will miss some things but not others.   I won’t miss the neighbor across the street with their cars.  I will miss my tennis club and friends, how convenient it is to get to the store. I’ll miss my one neighbor for sure.  Who would have thought after so long being here, she would be the one that I have the closest bond with?  Our lives have changed so much. I think it’s time for a change.  And I’m excited for our new adventure!



Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Spring has sprung

It’s hard to ignore the fact that it is and will be raining all day.  It seems unfair to someone who lives for being outside.  Last week, determined to get my 20 miles in on the bike, I completed my goal in the rain and suffered a flat that had to be fixed away from home. That was the first time using CO2 cartridges.   Not chancing that again today, I am determined to do a little rain gardening.  The weeds have been really bad and the one cold snap that wiped everything out has created a ridiculous amount of trimming.  Over the last month and 1/2 I have been chipping away at a mountain of a project.  There is definitely an improvement and it may not be perfect.  It will look better with mulch.

Below the foxtail fern was cut back all of the way and is starting to come back.

The bougainvilla along the fence below looks like deer antlers,  They had to be cut all of the way to the ground. From the picture it doesn’t look like there is much work.  However, it took multiple trash cans full of branches and I’m still not done!  They are piled behind the garage.  The firecracker bush pictured below left is completely brown.  It was cut all of the way down and it is growing back pictured right (looks like a weed, but it’s not!)

This is the first year I’ve had to cut the Oleander back to the ground as well as the Esperanza.  By spring we usually have some flowers, it’s going to be a while.  The bottle brush normally are in full bloom, but the freeze this year really harmed the plant.  I’m not really sure if it will once again be healthy looking.  Sometimes hardy plants, like the oleander suffer from the severe heat and then a freeze and never return back to full health. They look half dead half healthy, not pretty!  I spent hours one year pulling them out and then replanting new ones.  The flowers are so pretty.

So what is blooming?  I planted some begonias (pictured below with a snail friend)  They do well in the spring and early summer then look like asparagus in late summer with the Texas heat!  The trees that lost their leaves are leafing out.  And we are in the middle of the annual pine pollen dumping.


Bluebonnets the Texas wildflower are in bloom as well.  They are so pretty on the side of the highways in between cities.  I am looking forward to the shades of brown turning into green with splashes of color.  And for the rain to take a break!


Spring has sprung

Azalea Trail

Every year for about a week period in Houston the River Oaks Garden club sponsors the Azalea Trail.  It’s a series of 7 sites, mainly houses and a church, with very well manicured grounds that hold the most amazing display of azaleas.  I went with a good friend who really appreciates the wonder of the garden and these spectacular beauties!   We chose to go to Bayou Bend which is the home of the late Ima Hogg, a Philanthropist (died at 93 in 1975).  She was the daughter of the first native born Texas Governor (1890).  The family’s wealth was the result of the oil industry.  She deeded her home, Bayou Bend estate, to the Museum of Fine Arts in 1957.


What a spectacular entrance to the property… a swinging bridge over Buffalo Bayou!


As you walk through the property you are mesmerized by the vibrant color on display.  We were able to pass through the bottom floor of the house and viewed two parlors and the dining room.  The history of American furniture in the house is fascinating.  Ima took great interest in pieces with history and roots native to the area.  I’ll bet if you look on the bottom of the plates there are no made in China labels here!  The craftsmanship is quite exquisite. You can’t help but appreciate that!


There are volunteers through the property that will give you information and answer questions that you have.  The volunteers were mainly very nice looking older ladies dressed in pretty spring dresses.  We did ask how many gardeners are staffed at Bayou Bend.  The answer we received was 5, which I find incredible.  Because there are fourteen acres of land here to maintain.  The River Oaks garden club volunteer weeding on Monday’s (there are about 25 of them in this particular volunteer stage of the club).  This one volunteer was so cute, she asked if we were offended by some of the weeds that were still showing in the landscaping around the water fountain?  I found this particularly amusing.  I guess it’s worth while to say the people in River Oaks are pretty well to do.  The lady that was telling me this was wearing Prada sun glasses….offended? NO!  I’m amazed by how they can possibly keep this many weeds out!   There is full appreciation here!  The weeding never stops at my house!  EVER!


This is Diana Garden which is in direct display from the back of the house where we met the Prada sun glass volunteer lady.  We also asked how much they charge to rent the space for an event on the lawn right in front of this fountain.  And she said in excess of $50,000…cha ching! Guess we won’t be having any family gatherings here…nope!

Here are a couple of other points of interest…


This is Carla Garden (did I mention there are 9 gardens on the grounds?).  Ima wanted to add something whimsical to this garden so she used a carousel piece!  It’s only brought out and displayed for the Azalea Trail and it has recently been restored!

As you continue to walk down the path you can’t help but notice the humongous tree!  I was told it is a Sycamore tree.  The oldest one in Harris county!  They even have a rod all of the way to the top and bolted into the ground to protect the tree from lighting!


So there you have it!  Bayou Bend during the azalea trail!  I’m so thankful my good friend went with me and suggested this site!  I learned so much from her and it is fascinating! There are other flowering species here too.. Camellias!  We took turns taking a pic in them!  Only regret… that we didn’t get a pic together!  Thank you Paula for a very enjoyable adventure!  You are such a great friend!


Azalea Trail