A little travelogue from the Loire Valley, Franc


  Check-out this site: or, even better, head to France, to the Loire Valley and visit the wonderful palaces and gardens there. With, you can find a lot better deals than advertised at this site, but well then, some of you may actually want to stay in a real chateaux. I have just toured the Loire Valley and seen the International Garden Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire where garden-artists exhibit their flowery creations. It is a real art exhibit where plants provide the medium for creating art. Some art works are on the bizarre side – such as a plot with planted brooms (supposedly later in the year something will grow on them) – and some are charming (my favorite is a French bed with linens and all in the middle of a rose bed), but no matter what the theme is, all the plots are original and delightful, and all of them are full of plants. A French chateaux in the background is not bad either. However, for those of us who think that these buildings are may be just a bit too big and old-fashioned to be energy efficient (perhaps also too large to fit our budget), we still may be able to incorporate some features of the garden exhibits in our own little garden art-plots by our own houses that we may still call a castle no matter how big or small that greater Dallas home may be. I hope you enjoy these picture I took during my trip to France. On Facebook I have some pictures from Austria and Slovakia too.                                                                                                               Györgyi Szebenyi



The following information is compiled from our April 2012 lecture on butterflies and butterfly gardening.


A little butterfly trivia:

Butterflies are in the order Lepidoptera. This is the second largest group of insects.

Lepidoptera contains about 165,000 different species of which 20,000 are butterflies and the remaining 145,000 are moths.

The word Lepidoptera comes from the Greek meaning scale-winged. Butterflies and moths have thousands of tiny, brilliantly-colored scales covering their wings.

The greatest diversity of Lepidopterans is found in the tropics.

Butterflies got there name from European farmers who called them butter colored flies.

As we know they come in all sizes and colors other than yellow. The tiny Pigmy Blue of North America is hardly more than .5 inches across while the Papua New Guinea’s Queen Alexandra Birdwing measures 11 inches wingtip to wingtip.

More than 200 species of butterflies migrate.

Lepidoptera fossils date back as far as 30 million years.



Wonderful Weeding Weather

     I spent the last two days pulling weeds from my back yard. This may sound like torture but when pulling from loamy leaf strewn soil, it's bliss.

     The grasses let go easily & the prickly leafed plants leave little cone shaped openings as I pull them out. Well placed dandelions stay right where they are as I love the little puffs that come once the yellow blooms are done. Plus the bees seem to enjoy them.  weed

     My favorite is finding baby feather grass, salvia greggii & new shoots from the maximillan sunflower, black & blue salvia, datura & mealy blue sage. Little do they know that we are going to get cold weather soon but they are hardy & can handle it. Until then, they enjoy the sunshine just like I do. I found a number of wiggly wormsworms

The birds quickly caught on to this & I sort of feel bad for the worms but I'm sure there are plenty to go around


     My new neighbor came out to play in the yard. She's 4 & also enjoyed the dandelions. After getting over how filthy my hands were, she collected the flowers in her yard & brought them to me. What a sweet girl!  This morning, I pondered my newly cleaned out corner to her yard. What to do?? I threw out lots of poppy seeds & a butterfly mix. I'm looking forward to spring in the yard with her.

     "Winter" in Big D is always great. February will get us sooner or later with a big freeze & snow but I sure do enjoy these sunny days. Being outside with all the plants & possibilities just fuel my soul to the point that weeding is truly bliss & puts a smile on my face.

Submitted by: Chrissy Cortez-Mathis