Finally, finally, freakin’ FINALLY, our horrible summer of record-breaking drought, heat, and fire seems to be over. I can leave my house without wanting to die! What novelty! I was outside as it got dark, planting some ‘Confetti’ lantana from Robin over at Getting Grounded, and in my short sleeves, I was actually COLD. I had to run in to get a sweatshirt. I was using my gardening gloves not only to keep my fingers clean, but to keep them warm. It was FREAKING FANTASTIC, HOLY SHIT!
(My happiness and relief cannot possibly be overstated.)
So anyway, earlier today a bunch of the Austin garden bloggers got together at Philip and Leah’s East Side Patch for a shindig, wandering around the Patch snacking, catching up, and drinking, in my case, some truly excellent pumpkin beer.
After introducing myself to three people in a row with, “I write Gardener Of Good And Evil, which hasn’t been updated in…a while,” I have resolved to update, so hi! Now that the heat’s over, I’m alive again! Just in time for allergy season!
So anyway, despite my resolution to not buy any new plants that weren’t cactus, I read about the endangered Monarchs migrating through Texas, where pretty much all of their food sources are gone, and went out and bought a bunch of butterfly plants. Thanks to months of heat and drought, I had plenty of places to put them. Here are some pictures I intended to post last week. There’s about five times as much pink and yellow lantana now:
The view from the path to the front door. I thought for sure this Agave Weberi was a goner. Over the course of the summer, it had turned a sickly yellow hue and basically tipped over. It was still firmly attached at the base, so I didn’t think it was the Dreaded Weevil. Then cool weather came, we got a little rain, and it stood back up. Quite dramatic, and also just asking for use in a anvil-to-the-head metaphor of obviousness where it represents the gardener herself:
Aside from the agave weberi, this bed contains gophrena, Silver King artemesia, catmint, a struggling Blush Noisette rose, and bamboo muhly in the stock tank behind it.
I cut back the native Texas sunflowers so I could walk through my yard again. For the first time I can remember, the birds had picked the seedheads completely clean.
The datura is taking over this bed, which is fine with me.
Cactus with more Silver King artemesia and Agave Stricta. The grassy plant in the background is actually a tree-like succulent known as Mexican Grass Plant. The corner where I put it is so dry that everything else I’ve tried there besides artemesia has given up the will to live immediately, and I have lost the will to put anything there that isn’t some form of non-spiny cactus-y thing.
Lo and behold, a huge improvement to the front of the flower moat in the form of 3 Silverstar Yucca. I’m gradually converting this bed to extremely low-water plantings, but when I drastically cut back these Rainbow Knockouts, they responded by filling in and blooming like crazy, looking the best they’ve ever looked. Go figure.
My car. Heh. No, really, my front garden is my hands-down favorite right now, but trying to get pictures without vehicles is extremely difficult. But anyway, I’m in a quandry– I already got a Wheeler’s Sotol to replace the Lindheimer muhly that’s to the right in this picture. I needs a bit of extra water in that spot, but when it’s in bloom like this and the sun backlights it, which happens twice a day…it’s magical. I don’t have another place to put it that would highlight its inflorescence so perfectly. What to do?
Now here’s a wider shot of the front bed from the strip of dead lawn that runs along the street. HUGE problem area at the front of the bed, and I’m not sure what to do about it. All of the plants that trailed over and hid the ugly cheap landscaping bricks have fried or frozen. What to plant there instead, something evergreen and incredibly drought tolerant that won’t shade out the yucca rostrata? I’m thinking that I might have to give ice plant another try there, but I keep hoping I’ll think of a more cold-hardy alternative. Any suggestions?
Clerodendron in front of my front porch. I’ve coveted this plant from afar, so when given the chance, I spirited three large pots away from the Master Gardener greenhouse before the official plant sale (MG perks, yo!), babied these suckers all summer, and now that it’s cooled off, all three plants are blooming, proving that all that annoying hand-watering was totally worth it. I LOVE these blues!
And this concludes my almost-up-to-date photo dump and blog update! And I see that I seem to be cursed with weird formatting issues when I blog. Guess it’s time to download the WordPress app for the iPhone and see if that’ll help somehow.