Monday, June 23, 2008

Speaking of Rain ...

Although it's only a dim sweet memory 4 days later, rain did fall on my corner of Katy Thursday afternoon. It came down hard and fast, accompanied for a few minutes by pea-sized hail. 30 minutes later, it was gone, leaving the garden and the Head Gardener refreshed, renewed and reinvigorated. When another storm system came rumbling through the Houston area on Friday, I had high hopes as I followed its progress on the radar map. I can literally zoom in to my corner on the Weather.com radar map to see where the rain is falling. There's only one small problem: it was wrong. Although the radar showed light rain falling on my street, nary a drop was to be seen out the windows. So now I'm not only unable to trust the meteorologists, I'm unable to trust their computers? This is very unsettling.

Thankfully there are some things this gardener CAN trust when it comes to rain and one of them is the small bulb Zephyranthes grandiflora, known as the Rain Lily. Give them a good soaking and they'll reward you with beautiful blooms like these:

These are very hardy little plants in my garden, to wit: I inadvertently pulled up some bulbs a couple of weeks ago and left them sitting in an empty pot for a few days. After 2 or 3 soakings with the hose (while I was watering other plants), those little buggers bloomed! That's one of those unexpected garden delights that keep me heading out the door to putter even when it's way too hot to do so. And speaking of delights, Plant Delights Nursery carries a diverse selection of Zephyranthes. They say that the blooms are attractive to butterflies but I can't vouch for that, having never seen any butterflies on the plants in my garden. (I'm hoping the butterflies are visiting the blooms when I'm not watching.) (When you think about it, a lot of what goes on in the garden does so when we're not watching ... like those unpotted rain lilies blooming!)

Despite the Head Gardener's lack of fondness for summer weather, she can say one good thing about it: tropical plants like this Mickey Mouse Taro really come into their own at this time of year. The leaves on this Taro are so wonderfully weird and wacky, they make me smile every time I see them. It's hard to see the "mouse tail" in this shot; it's that slightly lighter green line at the top left, that looks like it could be part of the leaves below it. The plants are small right now but they shouldn't be for long. In my garden, the MMTs appreciate some shade in the afternoon and regular watering. I can't remember how long ago I bought the original plant but it's been at least 5 years; since then it's multiplied several times over. I've dug up and relocated some of the offspring, only to find that enough root was left behind for another plant to sprout! It's not as aggressive as Elephant Ears, however, and the roots stay a much more manageable size. (Ever tried to dig up one of those giant EE bulbs???!!!)

The camera battery ran out before I could take any more pictures, and it was just as well because it was early afternoon and way too hot to spend any more time out there! This won't be the last time you hear me whining about the heat, the humidity, the lack of rain, the weather folks, plants that go roots up, and who knows what else. Having other garden bloggers to rant with on
Plurk and Twitter does tend to reduce the amount of ranting on the blog itself. Of course, this can also lead to the need for more whining and ranting, such as when you learn that someone, let's say in Indianapolis, is enjoying temperatures in the low 70s and still visiting garden centers on the way home from work. That's OK, though: my turn will come in January!

10 comments:

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Cool plants we can't grow here in Oklahoma. I have some 'Black Magic' elephant ears, but they die every year if I don't dig them up.

Dancing for rain here.~~Dee

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I saw on the Weather Channel that most of Texas is in moderate drought. I feel for you. Hope you get some more rain soon.

Carol said...

Hey, I'm in Indianapolis, could you mean me? I love the rain lilies and have some growing in pots on my front porch. I overwinter them in the garage. No blooms yet here, but I am hopeful, once they get a little bigger. Heaven knows, we've had enough rain!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

cindee said...

Hi, We had a tad bit of rain at our house on Saturday. Just a sprinkle, where as it poured in town. How unfair is that? Now there are fires all around our town and its smokeyyyyyyy can't go outside because I can't breathe. Hows that for complaining??? LOL
I have a nasturtium that has a leave that is varigated and I love it!!!!

Cindy said...

Dee, every year I worry that the MM taro has met its maker and every year it comes back. I should make a note of that, shouldn't I?

MMD, it's pretty danged dry. My next water bill will probably give me palpitations!

Carol, you're in Indy???? Do tell!!! Hope your rain lilies will bloom for you. I think someone gave me some bulbs for a copper rain lily. If I kept records, I'd know where I planted it. I suspect it didn't make it, though, since I can't recall seeing any copper colored rain lily blooms.

Cindee, that kind of precipitational inequity is precisely what I'm talking about! Hope you and I both get more wet stuff soon!

Pam/Digging said...

Rain lilies ARE lovely and smell so good too---if you can just get low enough to smell them.

No rain here. My last recorded rainfall was May 15, three-quarters of an inch. I do hope it will rain again one day.

Cindy said...

Pam, I had no idea that the rain lilies were fragrant. I'll see if I can get down there to smell one. If y'all don't hear from me, I couldn't get back up again! I'm sending good rain vibes your way but hope they'll work either before or after the weekend when I'm at Inks Lake!

Gail said...

Rail lilies are on my list! Hoe and Gardens Blog had a nice post and now yours! I think I can grow them here in 6b but who knows!

Rain would be wonderful...3 weeks without now! So sorry you are dragging the hoses around, too! I know the water bill will be horrendous.

Rain dancing for all of us!

Meadowview Thymes said...

I love your blog! Wish we could get some of your rain!
You have been tagged! Please visit my blog. : )

Linda

Annie in Austin said...

Oops - missed this post, Cindy - my visits are hit and miss because of all the time spent hand-watering but we did get rain on Sunday night.

I can water for ages but my rainlilies know it's not rain. On the other hand, a passing drizzle can set them off. I've read that Zephyranthes respond to the pressure changes from unstable weather systems as much as to the actual amount of moisture that falls.

Now I have to hope they bloom so I can see if Labuffaroseas are fragrant!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose