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!