Tour Stop: Native Bees

Tour Stop: Native Bees

Most people come to this garden to see butterflies, but there are plenty of other insects here.   One of the most important groups is the bees.  Most of us think “honey bee” when we hear the word “bee,” but did you know that honey bees are not native to the United States?  They were brought here in 1622 by early colonists who recognized their importance to agriculture.

Tour Stop: Green Ash Trees

Tour Stop: Green Ash Trees

This is a Green Ash tree. This species is found all over North America from Canada to southeastern Texas, especially the swampy bayou region around Houston.  Here in Texas, this fast-growing tree can grow up to 120 feet tall with bright green leaves that turn purple or yellow in the fall.  Because of its strength, hardness, and high shock resistance qualities, ash is used to make flooring, boxes, crates, and turned objects such as tool handles.  It is also sometimes used to make baseball bats, although they are more typically made out of the closely related White Ash.

Tour Stop: Ephemeral Pond

Tour Stop: Ephemeral Pond

Some oak trees, even large, old ones, can have very shallow root structures. Look at the roots on this massive oak tree that was uprooted during Hurricane Ike.  See how shallow they were?  High winds, such as in a hurricane, strain these shallow roots.  If their strength is exceeded, then the tree falls.

But the life does not stop.  There is now a small pond where the tree's root ball was. This is called an ephemeral pond— when it rains, the pond will collect and hold water, but it will eventually dry up if we have a long, hot, dry spell, especially during the summer.