Garden Treasures ~ Our Backyard ~ Houston Pictures
Each and every day as we gaze outside at our garden we are filled with wonderment and awe at the beauty of nature. Some of these garden treasures and sightings are often viewed on a daily basis. At other times depending upon the season or happenstance, photos can capture an occasion or life-cycle and freeze it in a digital format to be enjoyed for time immemorial.
Come along with me and see what recently caught my eye in our backyard.
Always at the ready is my digital Panasonic camera. Seldom do I fool with the settings and ordinarily leave it on the "intelligent" setting. Generally that works out well for people like me who have no particular expertise in photography except for lots of practice.
I do enjoy taking photos, as many of you probably already know who regularly follow my hubs.
Our birdhouse with shadow
Our active birdhouse
The lady who owned this house ahead of us left behind several birdhouses when she moved to the Texas Hill Country.
Obviously she knew that they were frequented often and perhaps she did not wish to uproot these bird families that had come to call these birdhouse lodgings their own "home sweet home."
It gives us great pleasure to watch the activity that ensues each and every day as family after family of birds bear their young and start over again raising the next brood.
As this particular birdhouse is hung under the eaves of our roof and within easy viewing of our kitchen and everyday dining area, with our birdbath a little further out in our small backyard, our attention is often fastened upon the backyard to see the comings and goings of our feathered friends.
Sweet Basil going to seed.
Fresh Basil Pesto
Each year we replant our sweet basil plants. It is an herb that we often utilize in cooking or fresh in salads. It is an annual plant and re-seeds itself easily if the ground is left undisturbed.
We purchase a few basil plants each Spring just to get a head start on being able to harvest the fragrant and delicious sweet basil leaves for culinary purposes. Others come up from the seeds that have fallen to the ground and which have found correct growing conditions to generate a new crop.
This year instead of leaving it to chance, I think that I will harvest some of the seeds and keep them in an envelope in a dry and dark spot and actually scratch these tiny germs of life into the ground next Spring in areas that I wish for more basil to grow.
There are many types of basil plants, even ornamental ones...but the sweet basil is my husband's and my favorite.
Mediterranean house gechos
Mediterranean House Gecko
Mediterranean house gecko
In the South there are all kinds of little critters that frequent the yards and gardens. Where I grew up in Wisconsin, I never remember seeing little lizards like these Mediterranean house geckos scurrying after insects.
They are nocturnal and every evening they can be seen handily clinging to the brick exterior of our home near some spotlights which come on in the evening and overnight.
Often they are congregated together and obviously with the light attracting moths and other flying insects, they get their daily nutrients in easy fashion.
Occasionally when one gets into the house, I try to throw a dish towel over them and return them to the outside prior to one of our cats finding them and playing with them as a toy until their demise.
This photo was taken in the evening with the light illuminating the brick and their small bodies.
These encore azaleas brighten our yard several times throughout the growing season and we can count on them for a heavy blooming period each Spring and again in Fall with some sporadic blooms at other times of the year.
If at any time some of our other azalea bushes decide to "bite the dust" and quit performing, I plan to replace them with encore azaleas like the ones in our backyard.
There are numerous hooks under the eaves of our house in the backyard where the former owner had her many birdhouses as well as hanging baskets of plants.
We have utilized these hooks at various times for different purposes, but one of my favorite spots to have a hanging basket is on a stub of a branch on our red-bud tree in our backyard. It can be easily viewed from our house and brightens the spot with greenery or color depending upon which type of plant is used.
The last number of years I have preferred a hanging basket of Boston ferns which can be seen in the photo below. I also have some growing in the ground under the ginger plants and banana trees.
Caring for Boston Ferns
Wasp nestClick thumbnail to view full-size
Red wasp nest (close up footage)
Wasp Nest Museum - Amazing collection from all around the world!
One of my interesting discoveries one day was a large wasp nest discovered on the ground still attached to a small oak tree branch with some leaves.
There were no young inside of the papery nest nor adult wasps lingering nearby, so I picked it up and took some photos which can be seen here.
It is not unusual to find red wasps and mud dabber wasps hanging around this area and we try and keep any nest building activities to a minimum to avoid being stung...although I must admit that it has never yet happened, I am glad to say.
Years ago while up on a ladder painting the outside of our Wisconsin Rapids home, I will never forget being stung over and over again by some type of wasp that had gotten inside of my shirt.
Screeching with pain and quickly climbing down the ladder, I probably was quite a sight as I tried to tear off my shirt so that the wasp could escape and leave me alone to tend my wounds!
Wasp nests are truly one of nature's works of art. If you wish to see nests of every type, size and coloration be sure and watch the YouTube video to the right.
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Even though our backyard is relatively small, there are many garden treasures to be observed if a person just takes the time to notice.
This by no means is the sum and total of what our backyard has to offer, but hopefully you have enjoyed this glimpse into some of our daily pleasures with these photos and you will start taking notice of your own surroundings which can gladden your heart and soul.
© 2011 Peggy Woods