Five years ago, Sara and I visited the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve for the first time. It is only seven miles away from our house. But I had no idea it existed, until I looked at a park map on Google one morning. Katelynn was in school. And Sara was bored, because she had no one to play in the house. So I decided, I take her for a hike to the park. The weather was nice and not too warm. It was perfect to see what the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve has to offer. On the way I said to Sara: “Maybe we see some wildlife in the park.”
When we arrived at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, we saw a lot of hikers, sprinters and runners. I told Sara to stay with me on the right side of the trail, for people who work out can pass us on the left. She did very well. We walked into the forested area. And Sara noticed a couple of squirrels chasing each other. One had a couple of pecans in its mouth. And the other squirrel wanted the first one to share at least one of the pecans. Sara and I made it all the way to the Observation Tower, where we had a nice view over a big portion of the park. After a little rest, we hiked back to the parking lot. Sara was counting the bridges, we crossed along the way. She said: “There were three bridges in total. And the squirrels were funny.” I’m glad, she got entertained on this little trip to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. 😉
Sara at the entrance of the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
Silverleaf Nightshade Blossom
First signs of Autumn
Male Northern Cardinal
The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Observation Tower I
The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Observation Tower II
Sara at the Observation Tower
Sara takes a rest from the hike.
“Hey, share some of these pecans!!!” (not the sharpest photo, but still cute)
Texas Fox Squirrel munching away
More signs of Autumn
In August, the Prairie seems dry and burned from the hot Summer sun. But looking closer, we still can still see the beauty within it. Drought resistant plants like this weather. And the butterflies and other insects like the flowers provided for them this time of the year.
The observation tower at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano, Texas
Texas Prairie Grasses (2015)
Stick-Leaf (Mentzelia oligosperma) (August 2015)
Bee on Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa) (2015)
When I tried to capture this aster, a Gulf Fritillary landed right on it. I had to be fast, before it flew away. Unfortunately I cut off a little bit of its antenna.
Crystal clear water at the creek (2015)
Common Sunflower at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano, Texas (August 2015)
Yesterday evening, I worked on Part II of the Hummingbird/Butterfly Garden in the frontyard. But first I went to the nursery and got some Salvia “Hot Lips”, Agastache “Tutti Frutti”, Bee Balm “Peter’s Purple, “Dallas” Lantana, and a “Black Knight” Butterfly Bush. Since the Butterfly bush can get up to 10 feet tall, it will go on one corner of the house. I haven’t decided yet, if I plant it on the southeast or the southwest corner.
I had to hurry up to get the next part done, because it supposed to rain with some thunderstorms coming in our direction today. Kevin got a different mulch this time. And first I wasn’t so happy about it. But now, I kinda like it. When it is settled, I can put some more on top of the other mulch to make it look even. I’m not too concerned. Once the plants are grown, nobody will notice the difference anyway.
Part II of the first Phase is done.
Some blooms, I planted last year: Coreopsis “Ruby Frost”/Tickseed
Salvia “Hot Lips”
The “Black Knight” Butterfly Bush can get up to 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide.
I love the smell of the Agastache “Tutti Frutti” plant.
Due to the rains in February and the warmer temperatures in March, our lawn looks like a meadow. We have henbit, chickweed, dandelion, blue field madder, baby blue eyes, wood sorrel/oxalis, and many other little blooms flourish in the yard. Of course there are blooms, what some gardeners consider as weeds. Because they are very invasive and hard to get rid off in a “perfect” yard/garden. What a lot of people don’t know is that some of these plants are edible. Here are some examples of the plants from our yard.
- Henbit can be eaten fresh or cooked, and be used in teas. It is very nutritious, high in iron, vitamins and fiber. Henbit can be added to salads, wraps, and soups. But it shouldn’t be consumed in high amounts, because it is a laxative.
- Common Chickweed leaves can be added to sandwiches and salads. They are also good for soups and stews.
- Wood Sorrel/Oxalis can be used to spice up salads. It should not be eaten in extensive amounts, since it can cause kidney stones in some people.
- Dandelion can be used in salads, tea, and as coffee. While it taste like coffee it doesn’t contain any caffeine.