To me, roses are in a special class to themselves, and that is why they were not included in the list of preferred plants in last month’s article.  There are three old roses that are especially good for the home garden.  Once established, they grow with little care and repeat blooms from spring through fall.  They can be planted now and, like all roses, they need plenty of sun.  

As promised in the last newsletter edition, the following plants are suggested for those who do not have the time or inclination to spend much time outdoors.  The list includes adapted (not native) evergreens that will give a year-round permanent appearance to a garden, and perennials that add color a good part of the growing season.  All need little water once established.  Always consider the mature size of a plant to prevent overcrowding.

Now that school has started and summer is ending, we can get back to our daily routines.  Many of us have spent time traveling to visit family and friends, or just went to see what’s over the horizon.  Travel is a good thing.  In The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness...” I hope your summer was an enjoyable one. 

I have been scraping white fuzz found on some of the cactus along E. Guenther Street to collect female cochineal bugs used in dyeing wool. This dyed wool is then used at Mission Espada to demonstrate weaving. It has been a fun and informative experience to take a bug and convert it to a dye bath that results in beautiful pinks, reds, purples and lavenders.

We are lucky to have so much information about ancient processes readily available through our library and the Internet. The two principal resources that I have used are A Dyer’s Manual, by Jill Goodwin (Pelham Books, London, 1982) and Cochineal: A Bright Red Animal Dye, by LaVerne M. Dutton (1992 Master of Science Thesis, Environmental Archeology, Baylor University). If you have a cactus that is covered with white fuzz, let me know. I may want to collect some more bugs. I will be glad to share the detailed process how to collect and prepare the bugs for dyeing.

The Green Anole may seem to be “just another” lizard from the vast reptilian world, but if you ask me, these lizards are wizards!

They can change body color at will and do the classic disappearing act by blending into their surroundings as if like magic! If you are a nature enthusiast living on the San Antonio River Watershed, you would surely have noticed these eye-catching green lizards in sunny areas, amongst greenery and moisture. They are sometimes called “American Chameleons” because of their ability to change color from shades of brown to bright green depending on their mood, temperature, humidity and health.