Saturday, October 15, 2011

October Update!

It's been so long since I blogged, mainly because I've gone back to teaching art...temporarily that is. Anyway, the summer nearly killed us all, the hottest one on record...since record taking began and between last winter and this summer I've had to say goodbye to a lot of plants that I thought were tougher and came to find out that "drought tolerant" is really an iffy idea. I have been looking at my fellow bloggers list of survivors and I feel like I have lost a lot but that my intuition early this spring to water deep and mulch 16 cubic yards did more than abundant watering could have. I watered minimally, only on my days, and kept hand watering to things in pots, transplants, roses and food only. So, the natives and supposed "drought tolerant" plants I lost have left me puzzled about this name. The other thing that seems to go against my nature is this idea that we should be planting now. Every time I think of digging up and turning the earth...this poor earth that has been baked hard and is so depleted of nutrients, microbes and structure, I feel uncomfortable...a little sick. I am very sad for the independent nurseries, but I have to be true to my intuition; stop and consider history.

My yard art homage to everything we've lost from the coldest winter in 50 years...last winter to the hottest summer on record. We love you lost souls of the soil!

Emily Wilson, my sweet friend and neighbor gave me a luffa she grew for Christmas last year, complete with seeds, so I planted three of them. I had blooms and vines galore, but for some reason only got one...but it was full of seeds!

I was surprised as all get up when I squatted down to catch a photo of a bloom and saw three eggplant, yahoooo!

This is one of our two 4 foot square gardening boxes we built after loosing last years winter greens crop. Greg and I have been working our way through Gaia's Garden and changing a lot of the way we used to do things. The photo shows what's left of the spring crop of Arugula, we're hoping it'll go to seed, and he just cut down the stalks of the okra and planted new greens in small holes he made with his finger, not turning or disturbing the soil.

Two of the 6 spots I have been working on spreading the Schoolhouse Lily survived. Both I'm sure were just fortunate to be near other things that got regular water...I had totally forgotten about them.

Autumn color among the onions!

Sweet Cecile Brunner! My favorite little tea rose smelling beauty!

Miniature Pomegranate flowers!

The Autumn and Texas Sage are blooming profusely with the little rain!

The bees are loving this!

Skullcap blooming under the American Elm.

Tropical Sage and Gregg's Mistflower are keeping the butterflies happy!

Gregg's Mistflower with several herbs coming up inside the patch.

One lonely Cross Vine flower lying on the ground.

Late bloomer, Mexican Honeysuckle.

Possumhaw Holly for the birds; I planted one in the front yard early this past spring.

The best, most healthy looking rose through the drought was no doubt Martha Gonzales.

Of the pink and purple varieties of Mexican Ruellia, the purple blooms last longer.

Pink Mexican Ruellia Island looking the healthiest she has in months! Thank you rain!!!

It was so shocking to see the Heartleaf Skullcap come up even before the rain, she's tough.

Another shot of the Shallots we forgot to dig up, coming in around the Autumn Mums.

Tick weed, so cheerful!

This is one of 3 Chili Pequin, and I always avoid white flowers...but noticed this morning that I have quite a few....

Pigeon Berry, going strong. This is a super easy plant to propagate...I just break a piece off, pinch off the blooms, scratch up the base and stick it where I want it. She faints for a few days then perks right up!

Philippine Violet, the only one that survived the freeze of last the drought!

Datura, Moon Flower, Jamestown Weed, Jimson weed....whatever you call her, I'll always keep at least one of these deadly dreamers in my fresh and lovely!

My neighbors have the traditional Red, orange, yellow Lantana blooming like crazy in their yard...but the white and purple are the ones thriving in mine. In fact, my New Gold didn't bloom once this summer. I think it's because it's on the hell zone, and this year they repaved my street and the hell zone plants that have always thrived pretty much pooped out...including Four Nerve Daisy, she's shriveled up with nary a bloom in sight.

I put my Almond Verbena in the wrong place and this year she took off...mostly because she's in the shade. Anyway, whenever I step next door to visit my neighbor I brush past her for a delightful scent!

We've got several vines that fight for the sun space in the back yard, but the
Autumn Bridal Veil Clematis made it to the top and is lighting up the corner.

She lives! The Sago Palm never fails to impress me, she's died back completely several times but she always prevails!

This little Crown of Thorns is blooming, but her leaves are so pale it's hard to see her brightness...I need to give her a jolt!

RIP...the hops never came up. We were at Austin HomeBrew Supply yesterday and I asked some of the folks in line if they'd ever had success growing them in Austin. One dude said he planted 6 this year and 4 were thriving, covered in flowers. Pisser. Then, it turns out...he ordered his online from an organic grower in Oregon, he said they were monster you sir!

Over half of the Iron Plant baked in the sun...

This is so sad to me, the Fall Aster is barely holding on when at this time, it should be a mound of purple blossoms. I'm going to hit it with some compost tea...hopefully that'll help.

Yuck...the grass has really suffered...even though we regularly watered this area since this little patch is the center of several drip zones for our backyard trees.

If I put the camera down and shoot the grass from this angle, you can't see the horrid brown spots!

We only got one wheel barrel of compost...which is pathetic. Also, due to the extreme heat and probably lack of food, for the first time ever, we found a rat in the pile! So shocking, it scared the crap out of me!
This is one of the most exciting summer gains...I bought this little plant a few years back at Peckerwood Gardens and have been watching it carefully for a few years now, and I finally broke them down and transplanted them and they are thriving!

Here are a few things that are blooming but not pictured here:
Coral Vine
Fern leaf Verbena
Mexican Oregano
Purple Cone Flower
Passionflower Vine
Chocolate Plant
Turks Cap
Blue Mealy Sage
Flame Acanthus
Mexican Sage
Russian Sage
Cherry Barbados
It's been a horrid summer here in Texas, but the cool weather is on it's it's only supposed to hit the mid 80's and the mornings are delightful. I hope to blog again...before Christmas, I hope. Oh, and a shout out to the Garden Bloggers on Bloom Day! Thank you Linda at May Dreams Gardens for puttin' this here blog roll together!

Happy Gardening!


scottweberpdx said...

Glad you made it through the summer! Love the blooms...especially the Mistflower...and LOVE the bottle fence!

Roberta said...

Your garden is beautiful despite the drought. And a rat in compost? YIKES! The most startling thing to take up residence in mine was a little snake. Sadly, the hens got to it lickety-split and destroyed it. I'd rather have saved it, I think it was just a harmless thing looking for a warm place.I do like your blog and the fact that your posts ARE CURRENT! Will subscribe!

Janey said...


I hope you're having an awesome week! I thought you might like this infographic I helped build about the health, mental, and financial benefits of gardening (

If you think your readers would like it too, please feel free to use it on the Conscious Gardening blog. There's code at the bottom of our post that makes it super easy to post on your blog. It's all free (of course). If you have any questions about posting it, let me know and I'll try to help.

I don't know where else to contact you so I just posted a comment here. :)


~ Janey

Dana Christine said...

As I was browsing through blogs I stumbled across yours and just had to follow you! What beautiful work you have done! I look forward to reading more from you!

Teddy Bear said...

WOW! From the pictures, you seem to have a large garden with full of lovely flowers. I also had have that brown spots on my grass and cant find a solution for it.

Jeffrey Tambor said...

Nice article, I am sure you take care of your garden 24/7 from the looks of your garden... I wish I could keep my garden this way but can not find time to do so. I am thinking of starting to rent some tools from construction equipment rental companies so that I can kick start my work.