Thursday, August 23, 2012

Horse Apples

Horse apples are hanging from the trees like giant grapefruit this time of year. 
These deciduous shade trees have a wonderful collection of regional names: osage-orange, hedge apple, bodark, yellow wood, naranjo chino, bow wood, and bois d'arc. 
A Texas native, Maclura pomafera is a member of the Mulberry family. 
The wood is exceptionally strong in spite of its weak root system.
Native American hunters used it to make bows, and European settlers used it for fencing, but home owners today generally remove the female trees because they are so messy.

The branches have serious thorns, but the bark is beautiful with interlacing ridges.

We don't have any of these trees on our lot, but there are a number of them on surrounding properties.  Apparently squirrels love these big yellow "apples", so (as a fan of squirrels), I hope we don't loose them all.

New to our piece of ground is some partial grading. 
The strange hillocks that dotted the yard have disappeared with the septic system installation and the finish work on the retaining walls for the pool.

We are beginning to see the garden design possibilities!

The pool decking has been finished with the rock salt treatment we used on the porches.
The salt is spread by hand onto fresh concrete where it creates small irregular holes and markings that have a nice rustic look.

The lip of the decking has a bull nose style edge.  The next step here will be to stucco the retaining wall so that it matches the garden house.

Eventually, with a level of imagination we seem to have no difficulty conjuring up, we will descend these steps to a lovely green lawn and a game of bocce!

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