The Post Oak Savannah ~ Decor in panton forum: Walking About The Post Oak Savannah

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Sep 27, 2010 6:19 PM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
Let me take you on a tour of a small and wonderful place in Texas, The Decor in Panton, which is Latin for Beauty in Everything...

The Post Oak Savannah and Blackland Prairie is a relatively small area found inTexas to the east. With gently rolling terrain, it's range is bewteen 300 and 800 feet above sea level.

This is one of the first pictures I took when we arrived here.
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There was so much work ahead of us... but the adventure and the pleasure of being in such a wonderful place, made the work seem more like an experience!
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Oct 1, 2010 6:53 AM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
After moving here in the summer of 2008, I did a bit of investigating to learn about this unique region of Texas. It was amazing to me how we were sitting in a little area that had its own micro-climate, with cooler temps than the surrounding towns and cities and, less humidity!!!

The Post Oak Savannah is associated with the Blackland Prairie Ecoregion. As the name implies, the original lanscape was primarily the post oaks.

It wasn't long before I spotted this Whitetail Deer
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Taking a walk into the deciduous forest, here's an opening from the otherwise thick trees and brush.
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The deer are abundant in this area and prefer their natural habitat, finding plenty to eat from the native plants nature provides.
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Oct 1, 2010 11:55 AM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
A bit of History

The Blacklands prairie and Post Oak Savannah landscapes were formed and maintained by two major forces ~ grazing bison and fires. the recurrent fires were ignited eihter by lightning or human-American Indians and were a major force that molded the prairie and savannah landscapes. The fires were typically very large in scale and would traverse the countryside until they reached landforms or conditions that would contain them, such as rivers, creeks, soil change, or topographical changes. Fire maintained the plant communities by suppressing invading woody species and stimulating growth of prairie grasses and forbs. Large herds of bison, sometimes as large as 1,000 animals, ranged the prairies and savannahs. There they would consume the grasses, trample organic matter, and then distribute seed into the disturbed soil. The large herds would then move on, allowing the range time to recover.

It must have been something to see all those bison roaming freely.... the only bison I've seen roaming freely were in Yellowstone National Park where they are protected.
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One of the earliest uses of the Blackland Prairies and Post Oak Savannah by early settlers was grazing livestock, primarily cattle and horses. Farming was also common by the settlers in the area but didn't become a major use until the 1870's. It was during this time that the prairies were plowed under and cotton replaced ranching as the principle land use. The rich soils of the Blackland Prairie were ideal for growing cotton. So, in a relatively short time, a majority of the desirable land was cultivated, leaving only small remnants of the original prairie intact. In the Post Oak Savannah, the land was cleared and tilled by farmers and ranchers, and the use of fire was all but eliminated. Today, the Post Oak Savannah and the Blacklands Prairie has been converted into vast acreages of improved pastures consisting of Bermuda grass and/or Bahaia grass.

The changes to the land that have occurred over the last 100 years or so, have dramatically altered the flora and fauna of these regions. The once diverse wildlife communities that occurred on the praries and savannahs have been reduced dramatically, and continue to decline.

Blue Heran in search of a meal.
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Info from the TPWD website:
Oct 1, 2010 1:48 PM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
This small piece of natural forest has been left untouched for at least the past 100 years, as far back as records go. It quite amazing to be surrounded by wildlife and landscapes, in its untouched and natural state. The diversity of flora and fauna flourishes here, along with the wildlife that dwells within the deciduous forest. As you take a walk in the meadows or the forest, you can see nature working in perfect harmony and see that nature does know best, as everything functions as a whole, every part is just as important as the next.

For us, it's a blessing to be allowed to live so close to nature and all the wonders within. There is no question that we will make our presence here as discrete as possible.

A walk through the meadows. I've witnessed a bobcat chasing his prey, a jackrabbit... but haven't had the camera to verify! LOL
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The redtail hawks are almost always nearby. As I'm sitting here writing, I cans see the hawk's shadow brushing across the landscape... it is awesome.

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Butterfly Pea, Clitoria ternatea The intricate detail of the flowers is truly amazing to me. It's easy to find beauty in this delicate flower.
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As I began to look around, I saw so many plants that I had no name for.... and so my search began! This is a Farkleberry, Huckleberry tree, I have disovered.
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I am still finding new plants when I take my walks, and I still must know the names of them!

Oct 4, 2010 10:34 AM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
These purple asters sure are pretty. Don't see too many of them and the plants are small. I've collected a couple of seed heads this year. They do not disperse easily.
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Oct 12, 2010 7:55 AM CST
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx Zone 8b
Texas Gardening Cubit
Enjoyed the history lesson. I can tell you'll be a good steward of the land.
Oct 12, 2010 10:55 AM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
Thanks Sandi. We will do our best.

We've cleared a small area around the house of brush and fallen limbs, just to keep the bugs & such away! LOL Nature can have it's place but the house is off limits!! haha

This image is close to the same area as the pic above... I'll have to get one showing the difference!
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This area was overgrown with pokeweed and other brush, as well as several dead trees, that have been felled and cut into firewood. Now it's a nice path around the pond.
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I would like to one day have the slope backdropped by some nice native plants and wildflowers.
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Since we're at the pond, there's a cute family of turtles living in it.. one came up to see what I was up to.
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Oct 12, 2010 11:18 AM CST
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx Zone 8b
Texas Gardening Cubit
If you never did another thing, it would still look like a piece of Heaven....just looks tranquil and peaceful. I would like everything but the bobcat....
Nov 11, 2010 6:40 PM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
Went for a walk today. The weather is warmer than usual for this time of year. The trees have much of their leaves still on but starting to change colors and fall.

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Some kind of mushrooms.
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A little lizard getting some sun.
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The Flowering Dogwood tree has some nice autumn colors and the bright red fruits might be attractive to the birds.
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Nov 11, 2010 7:18 PM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
Down the walking path (that is cleared only once per year, in the spring) I came upon this little blue flower; one I've not seen before. After investigation, I think it might be called Blue mistflower which is attractive to many butterflies. Hoping it comes back again next year.
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And another little plant on the same path, just the one, with yellow flowers. I'm not sure what it is.
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Nov 11, 2010 7:47 PM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
The pooches like the cooler weather.
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And so do the chickens! HA... they are so cute!
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Nov 11, 2010 8:55 PM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
here's some more fungus.. found this in the garden when I was pulling up some spent plants. Not sure but whatever it is, it's making seeds!!
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The Gulf fritillaries have been regular visitors this year.
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Not sure the name of this one, but I don't think it's called a 'grasshopper'
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Nov 15, 2010 7:23 PM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
This is a little crescent butterfly... I'll have to see if I can find out which one. I don't remember seeing one with a green tint before.
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And another unknown flower.
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The poison ivy is easy to spot this time of year with its bright red color.
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Dec 5, 2010 3:09 PM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
I was finally able to identify the aster, from above---it's this one
Single stem bog aster, Eurybia hemispherica

That took some time to find a name for this one! I'm thinking it's not all that common.
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This one should be easier. so wispy and soft a little bottle brush, it grows between 8" and 16" tall.
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Walking About The Post Oak Savannah

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