Mountain Country

Mountain Country
My own Art

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Funky Little Vines

Dutchman's pipe vine has unusual, exotic blooms.
Funky Little Vines

Most vines for low-desert landscapes need to be tough characters, full of pomp and swagger as they cover stucco walls and ramadas through the endless summer. And we want them to look good while they're at it, providing vivid color for us to enjoy with our morning coffee. Trumpet vine, bougainvillea, cat's claw -- these are the typical "go-to" choices for demanding situations.

However, there are some unusual, little-known native vines that are much less bold but still delightful. These shy creatures display delicate, even wispy, foliage that doesn't appreciate broiling on stucco walls. Their flowers are not so blatant and must be seen up close to be appreciated. I planted three such characters in a sheltered location between a compost bin and a bird bath. The bin shields them from direct sun, the soil is richer from years of compost overflow, and the vines enjoy a bit of extra moisture when I clean the bird bath. It's akin to a shady little woodland area complete with the delights of discovery such a place offers.

Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia spp.)
Last year I planted two Dutchman's pipe vines that I found at a botanical garden sale. Aristolochia plants are larval food sources for pipevine swallowtail butterflies. Pipevine plants contain toxins. Caterpillars that feed on them absorb the poison, and in turn, become lethal little morsels themselves, which is supposedly a deterrent to predators.

The plants' common name refers to their oddball S-curved flowers shaped like pipes (think Sherlock Holmes). Watson's Dutchman's Pipe (A. watsonii) has long, narrow, arrowhead-shaped foliage. Mine hasn't bloomed as yet, although references say it can flower anytime from spring to fall. Flowers and foliage are an inconspicuous greenish brown. In nature, this species scrambles along the ground, blending in with plant litter, so it's easy to miss. So far, it is the least vigorous of my three vines. I recently added a small trellis for it to climb out from under its unruly neighbors.

My other Dutchman's pipe wasn't labeled with the species, but its heart-shaped leaves and silver markings are far more distinctive than Watson's. It has just started to bloom, which was a real treat to spot since the flowers are hidden beneath the foliage. Deciduous, this vine disappeared completely late last summer and I was afraid I'd lost it due to erratic watering while I was out of town. But it popped through the soil this spring as temperatures warmed.

Snapdragon vine (Maurandya antirrhiniflora)
A friend spotted this plant at a local nursery and nabbed it for me since she was so delighted with one she had purchased earlier. It has been flowering for two months with tiny, violet snapdragon-shaped flowers. A perennial vine, its small, arrow-shaped leaves are bright green, about a half-inch long, and it has tendrils that twine and scramble up and over nearby plants, just as it would in nature. There are also varieties with reddish pink flowers.

Unusual Butterfly Geranium

his one sounds neat!
Unusual Butterfly Geranium

Geraniums (Pelargoniums) are classic summer annuals that grace window boxes, containers, and gardens across the country. While most gardeners are familiar with the Martha Washington and zonal geraniums, there are other types of Pelargoniums that are equally as desirable.

The South African butterfly geranium (Pelargonium violareum) is a highly floriferous, long-blooming geranium with unusual coloring that’s perfectly suited to containers. The five-petaled, tricolor blooms begin in late spring and continue until frost. The viola-like flowers have pure white upper petals and raspberry pink lower petals with a black center. The flowers are borne on thin stems that rise just above the foliage.

This species is mostly grown as an annual since it’s only hardy to 25 degrees F. However, as with other geraniums, it can be brought indoors for the winter in cold climates. It grows 24 inches tall and 16 inches wide and flowers best in full sun.

For more information on the butterfly geranium, go to: Wayside Gardens.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Some older days

Remember the roller skate key?

Ahhhh yes, the Movie Drive-In

Along the two way HWYs, they would have these signs to read. They would be spaced and you would wait to see what the next one would say:)

Ahhh the Brownie Box Camera!

Three guesses? I really was not a fan .... for the style. But the color is better then some I saw:)
Oh yes, make of car?  Studebakers

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


This is a flower from Thailand.  It is also a protected species.


It is not allowed to be exported.  


This will be the only way we will be able to view this flower. 






Monday, May 5, 2008

Dad and his adopted kid:)

Paternal dog Billy takes on an unusual kid A paternal dog has adopted an abandoned baby goat as his surrogate child.

Billy the boxer has become the constant companion of the 12-day old kid called Lilly. He sleeps with the goat, licks her clean, and protects her from any dangers at Pennywell Farm wildlife centre at Buckfastleigh, near Totnes, Devon.

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Billy and Lilly have formed a close bond

The kid was abandoned by her mother when she was only a few hours old and adopted by paternal Billy when his owner Elizabeth Tozer began hand rearing the goat.

The unusual bond has developed over the last month and the pair are now inseparable.

Elizabeth said: "Lilly follows Billy around which is really quite amusing to watch and Billy sleeps with the goat and cleans her mouth after she feeds."

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Billy the boxer protects his little kid

Lilly was the smallest of a litter of three kids and her mother abandoned her because she could only care for the two stronger ones. The pair have attracted quite a crowd at the animal centre and the staff are keen to see how their relationship will develop.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Dangerous tiny Brown Recluse Spider

One thing this doesn't mention is that Brown Recluse Spiders are tiny.

  If you don't look at but one picture, be sure you take a look at the last one so that you will know what the spider looks like!
It's springtime & cleanup is going on. Be careful where you put your hands. They like dark spaces & woodpiles.  

Also areas in the attic............................................
This guy was bitten by a Brown Recluse spider.

Day 3

The following illustrates the progression of a brown recluse spider bite.  The affected skin actually dies on his body!

Day 5

Some of the pictures towards the end are pretty nasty, but take a look at the last one - it is a picture of the spider itself.

Day 6

The Brown Recluse Spider is the most dangerous spider that we have in the

Day 9

A person can die from it's bite We all should know what the spider looks like  

Day 10

Send this around to people you love, because it is almost summertime.  

People will be digging around, doing yard work, spring cleaning, and sometimes in their attics.


The Dangerous Brown Recluse Spider

Please be careful. Spider bites are dangerous and can have permanent and highly negative consequences.  

They like the darkness and tend to live in storage sheds or attics or other areas that might not be frequented by people or light.

If you have a need to be in your attic, go up there and turn on a light and leave it on for about 30 minutes before you go in to do your work!