Saturday, May 8, 2010

I Love This Place

The reason I bought this strip of hard-used land was that it has a wide range of soils, so I could grow a wide range of plants. Since there is only one of me to do all the gardening, I did not want to till up lots of soil. I've left the land to its own devices, except for the parts I'm actually using.

I've been amazed and delighted by the wide range of  wildflowers and the critters that use them for food.

This is Monarda punctata, colloquially known as spotted horsemint or spotted beebalm. The little horse shaped flowers, which are located between the pinkish-tinted bracts, are yellow with maroon dots. Very pretty little things.  The leaves of this plant produce an antispectic substance called Thymol. One use of it is to control mold in beehives, which may account for one of its names. They are such pretty things I hate to pull them up, but I have had to clear some of them from the garden, as they were crowding the tomato and bean plants

Another pink flower I like  is Proboscidea louisianica, known as devil's claw or unicorn plant. The young seedpods can be pickled and eaten, and are rather like pickled okra. The ripe seed pod is a vicious thing with curved spikes, but I find the fowers and leaves very pretty.  I was happy when this plant came up just outside my veggie garden.

There have been ripe dewberries for a couple of weeks now. The ripe berries are very dark purple -- delicious to eat but not very pretty to look at. Here's a photo of a berry a few days before it was ripe, when it was a beautiful liquid-red.

And for the last photo of the day, a lovely treat. I got this recipe from The Accidental Huswife's blog:

Eggs Poached in Chili With Greens. I'd been wishing for a good recipe for eggs, and a good recipe for greens. You can imagine my joy at finding one that combined both. It was very easy to make -- took only a few minutes. And it was very fine eating. I suspect I used more tomato in the sauce than the Huswife had in mind. I served it with avocado and tomato slices. 


  1. HI there! I just love your blog! I love Texas plant lore and you write so beautifully about it. I had no idea that devil's claw was edible. I have it everywhere and the dried pods always give me the shivers. They get hooked in my dog's skin, they float up in the lake while I'm swimming, I reach down to weed and there's this animal-like thing lurking in the grass. Now perhaps I should eat them, and turn the tables -- make them wary of me. :)

  2. Hi there,
    Thought I posted this yesterday, but maybe you're moderating and not checking too often. Anyway, I absolutely LOVE your blog! We make natural soaps featuring native TX plants ( see ) and they're sold at Whole Foods, Central Mkt, HEB, etc. We're designing new labels and I'm wondering if you would be so kind as to let us use your goegeous monarda punctata close-up. It's awesome and just what we're looking for. We'd be happy to send some free soap your way in exchange. Hope to hear from you soon.

    1. Hello soap bartender, I'm so sorry! I didn't see your comment for more than 2 years. You probably don't need the photo still, but I shall try to contact you all the same. I love herbal soaps and have bought yours from Central Market. I especially like your Bluebonnet Soap.