& Betsy Blais
This section shows the yard & plants of 2009. The notable changes were the addition of their sun shade or "sail" over the deck and Betsy's Monarch Butterfly habitat.
The big outdoor event for 2010 was the double snowfall of February and March. This followed snow the previous December in 2009.
The yard & plants of 2011
The yard & plants of 2012
There was a lot going on with the yard & plants in 2013. Due to the continuing drought, Stage 3 water restrictions were put in place, limiting lawn sprinkling to one time per week. Since Betsy has the yard looking like a botanical garden, Bruce put in a drip irrigation system to keep all her plants wet and healthy. The details of the drip system can be found in Bruce's Projects section.
The yard & plants of 2013 got off to a good start due to the cool damp spring. It is also the year we added in-ground soaker hoses to the flower beds.
The notable changes in 2009 were the addition of their sun shade or "sail" over the deck and Betsy's Monarch Butterfly habitat. Dallas is on the migration route to Mexico for the Monarch butterfly, so she decided she would create a "Monarch Habitat".
In April, they bought a sun shade and installed it over the deck for a little relief during the summer afternoons. The shade is 18' (6m) square and is attached using stainless steel marine hardware designed for off-shore sail boats. To date, it has survived straight-line winds of 70 mph (112 k/h).
That same spring, they picked up a couple of acrylic butterflies at the Bluebonnet Festival in Ennis, Texas. Initially they started out near the arch.
Eventually, the butterfly on the arch got moved to an artificial stone in the east side of the backyard.
During the summer, Betsy got interested in indoor Faire Gardens. Below is a photo of the first one she did. It is also the year she started growing Plumeria. One is white with a yellow center, and the other is hot pink. The two starter stalks can be seen in the background.
This was also the year Betsy planted Mexican Milkweed to create a habitat for Monarch Butterflies. The Milkweed is the tall flower on the left.
She was successful in having Monarchs lay eggs. Before long, the larva had hatched and were dining on Milkweed.
Once they devour the plant, they go into cocoons. Unfortunately, wasps like the larva and laid their eggs in them, ending their lives.
The season came to a close with snow on December 2nd.
Dallas gets snow every couple of winters, and 2010 was special. We got snow in December, 2009, on February 11, 2010, and again on March 21st!
Below is the front of the house the morning of February 11th.
A look down the street towards the west.
The neighbor's house across the street.
Below is how the backyard looked on February 11th.
That was not the end of it! On March 21st, they had another snow day!
Below is a shot of the front of the house on March 21st. This was a blowing snow. Notice how the west side of the trees are "plastered" with snow.
Below is what the backyard looked like on March 21st.
With the snow event behind them, it was time to get the flowers started. Below are some snapdragons and pansies on May 8th.
Some more flowers along the east fence in the backyard.
Below is a shot of the white Peonies (Paeonia) Betsy grew that year.
This was also the year they replaced the grill. The new one serves triple duty: as a gas grill, a charcoal grill or as a smoker.
Bruce didn't do too much photography around the yard in 2011 because he was on a project in Nevada.
Below is a shot of a family of Mallard ducks that hung around the house that spring.
Here is how the backyard looked from the Garden Room on June 9th.
Below are the snapdragons along the east fence.
The jasmine on the arch was a little slow starting this year due to the snow.
A close-up of the pot under the arch.
Yellow columbine to the right of the arch.
Below is the Clematis in the southwest corner of the back yard.
The Miranda (left) and Flaming Betsy (right) roses.
Below is a close-up of the Flaming Betsy roses on the dining room table.
A pot of pansies on the deck.
Amaryllis blooming by the doors to the deck.
Coleus, pansies and Gerber daisies in the alcove on the front of the house.
Version 0.1, June 23, 2013