Welcome to My Red Cape. Long ago in another time my husband Jack and I lived in a little old red house. It was the stuff of dreams to us for the few years that we were there. I live there still a number of hours every day in imagination, with old dolls and paintings and fabrics and feather trees. I draw inspiration and happiness from the memories of that space in time and share some of it here with friends who remember how to step with Alice through the looking glass and take delight in whimsies and antiquities. ~Edyth O’Neill

Friday, March 14, 2014

Digging up the whole thing!

Last spring I redesigned my tiny front yard. Today I talked with two men who are going to do a lot of work for the rest.  A retaining wall is needed to hold a sloping back end of the lot and then we will gravel that area. There will be a walk way and a patio paved and all grass removed from the whole lot.  My Daughter Cheryl grieves at this as she loves grass.   Some areas will be paved, some mulched for planting and some graveled with a few bushes in the gravel.  The sunniest part will be left open for planting tomatoes and squash and so forth.  Do you grow lemon mint for iced tea? I do, you can't buy things like that in the market.  The back end of the lot is where my bird feeders are and I will plant some yaupons there for berries and some redbud trees for perching. My glassed in porch looks at that area.  Because of the feeders and the bird bath it is already a bird filled area. 

 I will need a lot of plants.  Today I bought a Tulip Magnolia or Solangiana. I have loved them for years and years but not tried to keep one here in Fredericksburg. They do not like this soil, however I will pamper it with acid fertilizer.   This baby is about 2 feet tall and has some buds. I soaked it well in its black plastic pot tonight.  I believe in talking to plants and welcomed it with encouraging words.   To bring in a baby magnolia is a commitment. In the heat of summer many buckets of bath water will likely have to be carried to supplement our once a week watering.   The only other high water needs plant I have is the miniature magnolia "Little Gem". Like the Solangiana it is more a bush than a tree in this climate.
Replacing the lawn with paving and gravel and mulch and using drought resistant  plants is the objective here.  My heart turns to camellias and azaleas and gardenias and magnolia grandiflora. I remember a gentler south from my Dallas childhood.   
This has been a full day, with much coming and going, with people here plus several trips out. Tomorrow looks to be another one. I will go early  to a store having a sale on the pavestones I need for my yard, (250 of them to start with) which a neighbor man will haul for me in his trailer, and then to Mr Gatti’s for Great grandson Jackson’s 5th birthday celebration. Out of town relatives will be here for that as well as local little schoolmates.   He is a darling little boy, so good to his very difficult little sister. Macy is a force of nature! They are lots of fun to watch.   After the party at noon I will be back out shopping for plants.  I hope it is warming up for all my friends north of me!  Best, Edyth

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Trees are budding, this winter is almost over.

This is that time of the year when I want to plant the entire seed catalog! My whole winter salad garden perished in the last deep cold.  It had hug on for over 2 months of colder than usual temps for this part of central Texas, where we usually get very little winter.  The weather forecast for the coming two weeks would encourage me to wait a bit yet before planting again and declaring Spring. 
But someone among the wee folk is not waiting!  The urgency of a little Bewick wren gathering bits of mulch from my garden this morning stirred me to hunt my redware bird bottles. These are the familiar ones from Williamsburg.  Daughter Beth's husband Gary came to mount the bottles high up under the eaves of the house.  Under the eaves the sun cannot overheat the clay bottles and stifle the nestlings. 
There are some spots along the back yard fence that I would enjoy seeing the nests more, but those fence tops are highways for a surprising amount of wildlife. Through out the day the squirrels run back and forth and at dusk and after, the highway along the fence top is used by possums and raccoons.  I see tracks and small excavations in my garden from these nocturnal visitors. Who know how many cats might also climb there.  
Gary placed slender dowels in the prepared groves for perches and the small houses are empty and I hope inviting.  One of the bottles was a gift from a friend and the other a tag sale find. If the little male wren chooses to move into one I will post that here.  e

Blog Archive