Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #759 – Pretty, but mostly not wanted.

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On our new grounds we have a die hard and forever hardy Mimosa tree. It has many scars inflicted on it from previous owner’s attempts to take it out. I guess being pretty is not synonymous with being wanted.

The web is very much full of hate mail touting methods for it’s eradication. This one from Southern Living was one of my favorites:

Mimosa — The Wonderful, Awful Weed

June 29, 2009 | By 

When anyone asks me what’s the best time to prune a mimosa, my instinctive response is, “Any time you can find a chainsaw.”

That’s very judgmental of me, I know, but heck, that’s pretty much my job. And mimosa is one of those plants you either love or you hate. I hate it now. But I used to love it.

Why, when I was a kid, at the nadir of sensibility and good taste, I thought mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) was the prettiest tree in the world. Its leaves were like ferns. Its flowers were pink puffballs. And it bloomed in summer, when few other trees did.

A Miracle — My Wife Agrees!

Judy, who notices very few plants,  has fond childhood memories of mimosa too. She remembers climbing up in her neighbors trees to smell the flowers. I think they smell faintly of gardenias — not like my son’s socks, which would actually cause you to faint.

How It all Began

Native to the Middle East and Asia, mimosa was brought to this country in 1785 by the famous French botanist Andre Michaux, who planted it in his botanic garden in Charleston, South Carolina. It grew quickly into a vase-shaped, flat-topped tree, 30 to 40 feet tall, and it loved the Southern climate. The flowers, attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds, and colonial gardeners, ranged in color from nearly red to deep pink to flesh-pink to white. On one road-side near my home, there is a row of them, each a different color. Here’s the usual pink.

And here’s a white one. I really like the white, but I’ve never seen it for sale. The various colors are due to genetic variation, with pink being dominant. Where I live in Alabama, the trees usually start blooming in June and continue for several weeks into July.

So Why Do I Hate Mimosa Now?

Two reasons, First, like most all fast-growing trees, mimosa is notoriously short-lived, subject to many pests, and will die on you in a heartbeat. When people ask me the best way to get rid of a mimosa, I tell them to make it the focal point of their landscape and it will be gone momentarily.

Second, after the flowers fade, the tree grows hundreds of 6-inch long, bean-like, brown seedpods which hang from every branch. The seedpods persist all winter, even after the tree has dropped its leaves. Few trees look as ugly or more forlorn.

But wait! It gets worse! Each of those pods is filled with seeds and each and every one of them germinates somewhere, even in cracks in the pavement. Plant one mimosa in the yard and soon every house in the neighborhood has two or three mimosas. coming up in the fence, the middle of a bush, or by the silver propane tank.

Mimosa adapts to almost any well-drained soil, laughs at heat and drought, and does not mind if you spray-paint the trunk white, hang tires from the branches, or park your pickup on top of its roots. In hort class, we called it a “pioneer species,” because if you disturb the land, remove native vegetation, and open the tree canopy to light, it’s one of the first trees to appear. That’s why you see it growing along just about every highway and country road in the South. Northerners be glad it doesn’t like your cold winters, but with global warming, who knows how much longer you’ll be free?

Not Fooling Me

Recently, a new kind of mimosa was introduced to the gardening world, a purplish-bronze leaf selection called Summer Chocolate. The hype over its undeniably pretty foliage and pink flowers was overwhelming. Probably many of you bought one and are enjoying it right now. But not me.

See, any mimosa that flowers is going to produce seeds and lots of them. And if a thousand seedlings come up in my yard, I don’t care if they have green leaves or purple leaves. They need to be eliminated with extreme prejudice.

So my advice about when to prune a mimosa remains the same — whenever you can find a chainsaw.”

So much beauty, memories and distaste all from a plant that only does what it was designed to do. Power to the Mimosa!   monos en theos † jim

IMAGES OF SMALL – THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #656 – Cholla at dusk with moon on the rise

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Cholla are native to northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States.

Cholla are known for their barbed spines that tenaciously attach to skin, fur, and clothing.

Stands of cholla are called ‘chollas gardens’ or ‘cholla forests’. Individuals within these colonies often exhibit the same DNA as they were formerly tubercles of an original plant.

Don’t confuse Cholla with Chola….but either one will stick ya! ††† en theos ††† jim

IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #595 – My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius

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This creature caught my attention when he flew by me on my morning walk. It was just hard to miss a leaf hopper that had bright pink wings. After chasing him down his Gladiator look far out weighed his wear it pink look.

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

Be bold, look like a gladiator while doning the wear it pink! ††† en theos ††† jimwork

IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #580- Why can’t I have such good feng shui when I use an offbeat palette?

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I am pleasantly blown away by how the colors are blended in New Mexico. If I tried this at home, I know beforehand it it would not please anyone. Then again this image was made in T or C NM at a place named the “Pelican” apartments. I could also never bring myself to name a place in the middle of the desert with the name of a sea bird. Some folks just have a nack, the rest of us just get to enjoy and wonder how and why.

“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? no. Just as one can never learn how to paint.”
Pablo Picasso

Paint outside the lines with a color out of the box! ††† en theos ††† jimwork

IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #577- a morning mixed with dew and early sun

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I tried to just sit on the porch and do my morning readings and meditation.  But the sun was out for the first morning in a while and our field was reflecting that calling light off the morning dew. I just had to go and wander through it.

“The person who doesn’t scatter the morning dew will not comb gray hairs.
Hunter S. Thompson

Get you feet wet with dew when ever you get the chance. ††† en theos ††† jimwork

IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #556 – White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moths

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There was a bevy of moths and butterflies around the yard yesterday. We had three of these hummingbird moths show up to feed on our lantana. They are a real challenge to photograph, as they are fast and they never hover in one place for too long.

I spent a peaceful two -three hours (how long is that in sphinx moth years?) capturing and watching them dart in fluid motion that certainly rivals the movement of hummingbirds. Hummingbirds at least perch for a breather every now and then. These guys appear to be in perpetual motion and you gotta love the pink and brown coloring –  two of my wife Susan’s favorite color combos.

“Sphinx Moth larvae change underground into adult moths, who then dig their way to the surface. Mating occurs shortly thereafter, with females laying as many as 1,000 eggs on the underside of food plants. Eggs hatch within a few days. In the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, there may be 2 broods, one in the Spring and another in the Summer. In the colder Great Basin Desert, only one brood is produced. Males and females die after they have completed their roles in the reproductive process.

Sphinx Moths emerge at dusk from their hiding places and begin feeding on the nectar of flowers. Their size, combined with their rapid wing beats, allows them to hover and feed in the manner of hummingbirds, for which they are sometimes mistaken.

This manner of flight requires a great deal of energy and creates a good deal of heat in the moth’s body. For these reasons, moths feed exclusively on nectar and seek flowers which produce large amounts of this water source which also contain high amounts of sugar. Such is the case with the Evening Primrose (Onagraceae) Family, and particularly the Dune Evening Primrose, which the White-lined Sphinx Moth is responsible for pollinating.”— A.R. Royo

Lay down your labors for the the day, “for my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Matt 11:30 ††† en theos †††jimwork

Images of small things from the biggest county in Texas- #514 – Pink bloom of the purple wandering jew plant.

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I was fortunate to get to spend time with my “in-laws” Buddy & Melva this past weekend in the Dallas area. Although in reality I have promoted them to the position of my parents, as I feel that kind of love for and from them. No mother in law jokes accepted, thank you very much. I prowled around their yard and had the most fun getting to reap the beauty of all of Buddy’s work. Amongst the heat and humidity, stuff grows that would never flourish in the desert of the southwest. I look forward to our next visit.

“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
– Anais Nin.

It is time to bloom, it is feeling very tight in the bud!  ††† en theos ††† jim work