Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Butterflies are Beautiful

Butterfly plants are both beautiful and useful in and around Kerrville, Texas. Butterflies need four elements for survival:

  • Shelter
  • Water
  • Food
  • Place to raise their young

A natural garden in your yard will encourage butterflies to congregate, making your natural area more beautiful with their graceful colors. Shelter and protection will be available here in the form of shrubs, trees, tall grasses, even a stack of logs or limestone.

There should be some area that is protected from winds by shrubs, trees or even a vine filled lattice wall. Trees and hollow logs provide protection and encourage butterflies to lay eggs. This is the perfect spot for a butterfly's metamorphosis from caterpillar to pupa to a "flying flower".

A small fountain, bath or bond is necessary for moisture. It does not have to be large or ornate, simply  provide enough water for emerging butterfly families. A few large, flat rocks allow places for sunning.

By depending on native plants, we encourage butterflies to our area by having their natural food available. Trumpet honeysuckle, cross vine, salvias, sages,  verbenas and zinnias are some nectar plants that are appealing to butterflies.

Use irrigation for any watering, rather than a sprinkler that will wash needed nectar from flowers. Do not use pesticides in or around any natural areas. Eliminate fire ants with boiling water as they will be predators on the butterfly larvae.

Now, sit back, enjoy, even grab a camera, as your natural butterfly garden comes to life this summer.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bring in the Bees

When we think of natural garden landscaping in Texas Hill Country, one of our important friends to remember is the bee. Pesticide spraying and lack of natural habitat is leading to a lack of bees to pollinate our crops. 

Bees are necessary not only for honey and beeswax, but for food production as well. We may not even realize how important they are to our survival. Our food crops such as apples, berries, chestnuts, almonds, beans, tomatoes, carrots, even cotton and soybean all depend on bee's pollination. Livestock is even dependent on bees pollinating their clover.

A win/win situation for all, planting flowers, fruits and vegetables will attract bees, serving several purposes:

  • Saving the bees
  • Saving ourselves
  • Eating healthier
  • Saving money

The more variety of flowers and plants, the more bee species will be attracted. Without bees, many plants fail to set seed and without flowering plants, there is no food for bees. No bees means no food or flowers.

Since bees need nesting sites that are undisturbed, sunny and have a variety of flowering plants, that corner of your yard that is allowed to be natural will go a long way toward protecting one of our necessary neighbors. 

If a garden is too much to handle, helpful hints such as cutting up leftover fruit and dropping into a recycled plastic jug to entice bees will help keep bees happy, and helping us at the same time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Brighten Up an Outdoor Living Room

Because we live in Texas Hill Country, in the essence of cost and maintenance, our yards and patios may not be blooming with brightly colored flowers everywhere.

Do Not Despair!! There are other ways to brighten up our outdoor living areas, enticing us out to enjoy summer. One of Burrough's Landscaping, Kerrville, TX specialties is Hardscaping.

A bright coat of paint on outdoor furniture immediately draws us outside.  Add some splashy outdoor cushions and you will not want to go back inside. 

Soothing, or bright panels of curtains on the corners of a deck can add finesse and serve as shade on a hot afternoon. Consider an outdoor rug. This raises the comfort level as well as giving a focal point to decorate around.

Pots, barrels, and baskets with flowers add personality to a patio or deck without the expense or maintenance of a whole flower garden. Use your imagination for containers, paint, stack, hang, the options are endless. 

Add a swing to your porch. Nothing is more relaxing with a cool drink and a favorite magazine. There is nothing like the gentle movement of a swing. It may be everyone’s favorite spot. Be prepared to add another one!

While we are careful to conserve water, a small tabletop fountain adds charm to our patios with soothing sounds and enjoyment without being overly wasteful.

Just a couple of these inexpensive pretties will make your very own private oasis without every having to leave home.