Out Two-Steppin’

Remember these?


These are the stepping stones my kind neighbors gave to me so they could replace them with a flagstone pathway.

I like these stepping stones. However, they’re quite heavy and were all originally placed in my front yard when I decided the majority of them needed to go in the back.

So….I made a simple plan to move two at a time to the backyard, and to install at least four per day.–By “install” I mean digging out the soil to level them and making sure they were set an equal distance apart heading in the right direction.


The photo above is at the start of the path.  If you look at the ground to the left, you can see the little red wagon used to transport two stepping stones at a time.  The plants in the foreground are Turk’s Cap, Malvaviscus arboreus, which have small red flowers that are loved by the hummingbirds, Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, is climbing the tree, and there’s a cast iron plant, Aspidistra elatior, to the right of the arbor.


Above:  Here’s the new path from the arbor down to the new planting area.  (Yes, the photo shows I need to mow and I did, after taking this photo.)  Anyway, I’m certain I’ll need to re-level or move a few of the stones at some point, but in general, I’m pleased with how they look.  I used 18 stones altogether.


Above: The view looking back toward the house.  The ultimate plan is to plant bulbs and wildflowers  to either side of the stepping stones.–The Tyler, Texas fall bulb sale sponsored by the Smith County Master Gardeners may be just the ticket for purchasing bulbs. I’d also like to put some large river rocks between the stepping stones, but that may not happen any time soon especially since I can’t seem to find any locally.


The path’s destination is this bench.   Looks a bit lonely doesn’t it?  Hmmm…Maybe it needs a large pot to either side or maybe that’s too much or maybe the tray above the bench is too tiny?…I’ll figure it out.

Life doesn’t just revolve around MY garden.  What kinds of paths do you have in YOUR garden?  What garden projects are you working on?


















Water and Gardening go Hand in Hand

I woke up Wednesday morning to a slow and gentle rain; the kind that makes gardeners smile.IMG_1609

Water from Wednesday’s rain collected in my stock tank.

When it comes to July & August, Texas is a cooker.  I feel fortunate I live in east Texas versus central Texas where I lived previously.  On the whole, Central Texas has always been hotter and drier than east Texas. This year was no exception.

This summer, Central Texas experienced several over 100-degrees F (38 degrees Celsius) days, some of which were record breakers.  In contrast, my little town has yet to break 100 F/38 C.  We’ve also seen far more rain than Central Texas.

For most of July, I watered the in-ground plants every 4 days, and the potted plants get a daily drink.  Watering everything can take a couple of hours, so I work to get it done in the early morning when it’s cool, and of course, any drops of rain are deeply appreciated at this time of year.

I water by hand using a garden hose.  I’d love to know how you water.  Is your water costly? Does your area suffer from droughts and if it does, do you do anything special at those times?

Water can be expensive in Texas depending upon where you live.  There have been private corporations that purchased the water sources for small towns and subsequently increased the prices to outrageous levels.

That’s not happened here, thank goodness.

Apparently, our town wants to conduct a rate study for water and would like to install new water meters. Does this mean our water bills will rise?  Maybe.

Related to the water meters, I came across this fake news article that made me chuckle. I thought you might find it funny too.


Newly planted (June) Globe Thistle, Echinops Ritro, in mulch.

Most of my in-ground plants are mulched with wood chips.  Some may not need as much mulch once established.

From time to time, I read plant articles from other areas of the U.S. with a negative bent given to mulch. Yes, mulch can be ugly, but I believe it is almost essential for healthy plants in Texas.  I’m guessing other areas of the U.S. get more water than Texas, and their hot temperatures aren’t as extreme and don’t last as long.

All of this post is to say, I think as gardeners it’s important to look at how much water we use and to find clever ways to reduce our water consumption or waste when possible.   I do believe in climate change, and I think water will only become more valuable as time goes by.

Finally, unrelated to water, my Kolstad Inn neighbors gifted me all of their concrete stepping stones, which they plan to replace with flagstone.  I was very happy to get them, and I believe I can use them all.


Above: Stepping stones from my neighbors at the Kolstad Inn.


Above: A few stepping stones put into place.

I’d love to add black Mexican beach pebbles around the stepping stones, but they don’t sell them here or in Tyler, TX, our closest big city.  In fact, when I called a Tyler, TX gravel yard to inquire about them, the guy said, “No, we don’t have them.  They cost too much.”  Bummer!

Happy Blogging!