Sunday, April 16, 2017

Dallas Urban Wildlife - Spring 2017

This is my first garden post since I've moved back to Dallas.  We left suburbia and I'm now in the middle of an urban environment with only a patio from which to garden.    I miss our large vegetable garden but I don't miss all the yard work associated with maintaining our large yard.  We're taking a break for a while.  Behind our townhome is a small creek which has as its water source, a small spring, in addition to runoff from rain events.  Wildlife flock to this area and I hear a lot more and different kinds of bird songs (many I don't recognize) than I did at my previous home.  Below are some of the animals visiting my new home.

I recently saw two buckeye butterflies mating in my patio area.  I suspect that the small creek behind my home contains some of these food plants for their caterpillars.

  My neighbor had a raccoon causing havoc in their attic and they didn't realize when they captured and released her to another area that she had a litter of raccoon cubs.  They fell down in the wall space behind the bathtub on the first floor.  They had to remove the bathtub to get to them but they were rescued and a urban wildlife rehabilitation center called.  

There was one male and three females.

Our patio area has a lot of very large Burford and Yaupon hollies and we have a Bluejay family nesting in the Yaupon this spring.  Here is one of the parents sitting on the nest.  We can see the nest clearly out of our second story bedroom window.

They have two chicks.

I have embraced houseplants and and am fully pot gardening now.   I always buy orchids from the sale rack (after they bloom).  I never know the colors I get.  These two orchids are blooming now - a lovely color surprise.

St. Francis of Assissi is present on our patio - he is the patron Saint of Ecology.

I love succulents so I chose several that like semi-shade.  I also purchased coleus because it likes the shade as well.

I love terrariums and have several I've made in the past couple of years.  I watch for sales on glass containers and then always buy several. 

My patio only gets full sun for 2-3 hours per day.

Salvia greggii is one of my favorites and it can live in semi-shade to full sun.  I decided to try it here because hummingbirds love it.  I've also purchased several baskets of new guinea impatiens because they do require shady conditions.

I've also planted several varieties of mint, basil and parsley in my small space - all these can tolerate semi-shade areas.  So far they are growing and doing well.   Begonias also like shady areas.

Caladiums, impatiens, petunias, and hostas all appear to be doing well in our semi-shady environment.   I also planted thyme in the foreground.  So far so good.

We have a squirrel who has been enjoying the birdseed lately. 

I decided to get a corn cob merry-go round - we'll see how the squirrels like that.  I'll report back -hah!

Here's a picture of our visiting opossum on my patio.

To bring my first gardening post of 2017 to an end, I'll share a picture of Festus and Merlin who are getting a birds eye view of all the wildlife on our new patio.