From blush to pink to burgundy

Blush lilies

Blush lilies

We are still at Mercer Arboretum in Houston and every year I wonder who decides on the amazing color palettes. Despite the heavy flooding, (and having to replant) the main theme was magenta and yellow with lots of white.

Hot pink azalea

Hot pink azalea

As you can imagine, every type of family celebration is filmed here. The most recent one is very pregnant ladies proudly showing their bump. I bet they don’t bother for the second baby! When I got married, people like Princess Diana, still wore maternity outfits that universally looked awful. I quite like the trend of showing it off but feel sorry for the poor mothers who just look swollen and miserable with zits all over their face. Not everyone looks like Chrissie Teigen when in bloom…

The celebration I love most is the Quinceneara, which is a fiesta for a fifteen year old girl. They all wear fantastical Princess dresses in hues that only a 15 year old Latino girl could get away with. I can tell that some of the families are from central America and how proud they must be that they can send their relatives photographs from this wonderful new place. Chances are that they live in a run-down apartment but their children might be doctors or lawyers.

Burgundy Coleanthus

Burgundy Coleanthus

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Peep!

Can you see me?

Can you see me?

Heaven help anyone that is afraid of lizards in Houston this year. They are literally everywhere! This little fellow is a green Anole and if you catch his eye he will reveal his bright red fold (a dewlap) under his chin and puff it in and out. Kind of like a flasher… He also has pretty blue eyelids that you can just see in this photo. One of my kitty cats, Toffee, was literally addicted to lizards (they have a taste that cats love). If there was a competition, I would be the world’s best lizard catcher. Their tails will come off and regrow when they are predated. If you hold one of these little ones in your hand you can feel the tiny claws on their feet and their little hearts beating fast – am I a predator or a good Samaritan? One big black one bit me on my palm; ungrateful lizard!

This shot was taken at Mercer Arboretum, following on from my last post. I mentioned that the gardens had been damaged by flooding and this is a shot of the creek below.

Cypress Creek in abeyance

Cypress Creek in Abeyance

It is probably hard to imagine that this little creek not only broke it’s steep banks but 7ft of floodwater ravaged Mercer Arboretum. Here is a link to an article about the arboretum’s flood. The creek is always silty but it is still full of fish, especially big catfish, alligators and snakes. Given the devastation it is astonishing to see these new plantings below.

new beds of flowers

new beds of flowers

Lilac Crape Myrtle Blossom

Lilac Crape Myrtle Blossom

Crape Myrtle trees are the stalwart of the south – they can survive drought, flood and even frost. On our property we have three hot pink trees, one fuchsia and a miniature deep red. They brighten my life with their eagerness to live in harsh conditions. This is a Google link to various color varieties. One neighbor has a particularly pretty variety in palest pink but with mulberry leaves.

Spring in Houston

Miss Mercer

This wonderful lady, Thelma Mercer, and her husband gifted this 14 acre arboretum to the people of Houston. There is some staff but mostly volunteers who work in intolerable conditions to create an oasis in this helter-skelter city. Originally, the land would have been in the countryside and the main road, like many others around here, is called FM (Farm to Market) 1960. Since then, the international airport has been built just a few miles away and the miracle is that you are completely oblivious. The arboretum includes indigenous forest and a major waterway, Spring Creek, which eventually flows into Lake Houston.

conifers and tulips

Doesn’t the white of the tulips pop against the dark conifers? It would make a lovely wedding backdrop.

Every season they chose a different color palette throughout the garden which changes dramatically. This spring it was predominantly maroon and yellow – a feast for our senses. In the decade we have been visiting I have noticed changes in who walks through the park. There are always wedding, pregnancy, Quinceañera and other professional photography shoots. Then there are the poorer immigrant families from Central America, Africa and the Far East who can visit a beautiful location for free. Many of them may have been farmers and perhaps this brings back a feeling of home.

The smell of these magnolias permeated the whole garden.

The smell of these magnolias permeated the whole garden.

It just soothes my troubled soul to be among such natural beauty.

Austin

colorado river austin
This is the beautiful Colorado River that runs through Austin, the state capitol of Texas. This was the only day that the weather was good enough to take any photos in the city. We had two days of torrential rain, much needed, and flash floods that meant we could not travel far or go outside – not much of a vacation, eh? Austin is a beautiful city with a hip, liberal vibe that doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the state. Their slogan is ‘Keep Austin Weird’ and they have succeeded. On this visit we were in the north west of the city in the Arboretum district but most of this post is about Austin Zoo and some lovely little places on the route between Houston and Austin. Enjoy the journey as much as the destination! Click on the red link for a surprising postcard. POSTCARD FROM AUSTIN click here