Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Calm Before The Storm

It's been a quiet day here on my corner of Katy, all of which will change tomorrow when my daughter's best friend and her 2 year old descend upon us for 10 days. I suspect by the time they leave, I'll feel like I've been through a hurricane! So this morning I took advantage of the peace and quiet, as well as the much longed for cooler temperatures and rainy weather, to sit in solitary splendor on my kitchen patio, sipping my coffee and gazing at the garden. A lone hummingbird nectared at the Montrose Purple Vitex ... I first spotted him a couple of days ago and it seems that he's going to linger. I imagine he doesn't want to travel any farther south until the weather improves a bit. A neon red dragonfly hovered over the pond and then darted off, perhaps to shelter from the light drizzle. I caught a glimpse of something hot pink over at the pond and went to investigate further. My water lily had opened its first bloom, which was an occasion worthy of a picture. I'm fairly certain this is Perry's Red but (as usual) don't make me swear to that! I love the raindrops on the petals.

The pond is scheduled to undergo a major renovation the first week of August and I'm looking forward to seeing what my pond guy and I are able to achieve together. The current pond is a 90 gallon preformed/rigid model and no matter how I arrange the moss rocks around the edges, I haven't been able to disguise the edge of the liner. Thanks to our clay soil, that liner has heaved over the years and is anything but level. Those things, along with the increasing size of the trees on the south side of the pond, have made me less and less satisfied with the way it looks. With my pond guy and his crew doing the heavy work, we plan to enlarge the pond and install a flexible liner. A small waterfall and bog filter are planned as well. I'll do my best to document the process.

The Polynesian Delight daylily had two blooms open today. Look at the difference in color between today's picture and the one I posted a few days ago. This is one of the reasons I love gardening: the only thing that's constant is change!

Last week I found black swallowtail butterfly caterpillars on a rapidly declining parsley plant in the courtyard. How it survived this long, when it's a cool season plant for us, I have no clue. Isn't it great that it did, though? Here's one of the three larvae on the poor pitiful parsley (Pearlsley for those who remember that doll).
While one is still MIA, I found the third caterpillar hanging from a crocosmia scape. In the course of an hour, he went from caterpillar to chrysalis:When I checked earlier this evening, I found that the chrysalis is changing color, so the butterfly's wings are starting to show through.The picture below is of the first blooms ever on my Crinum rattrayi, a plant given to me by my late friend Amy. I took this picture when the blooms opened yesterday and I so wish I could call Amy to share the news and to celebrate the rainy day.

18 comments:

Robin Wedewer said...

A two-year-old can be great fun--as long as the house is kid-proofed and you can just give in to the experience. I suppose we won't be hearing from you much on Plurk though...

Robin
Gardening Examiner

Carol said...

Your garden today seems like the place to be. Peaceful, relaxing, some new blooms. I love the water lily and your Crinim is surely one of your prized flowers now.

We look forward to reports of the storm, both that of a two year old at My Corner of Katy and the pond makever.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

herself said...

I'm impressed, my parsley vanished months ago. Yet I have some cyclamen that is still trudging along.

Go figure.

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Oh, that crinum is stunning.

I'll be looking forward to hearing about your pond makeover. I'm still have trouble designing mine right the first time. I discovered during last weekend's pond tour that I need more plants and possibly a waterfall or something to cascade water. (Mine is currently a rather formal reflecting pool type pond.)

Gail said...

Cindy,

I wish you could call your friend, from all you have said, she would have loved to celebrate the rain and the lovely bloom. Not a day goes by that I don't think of picking up the phone to call my mom!

It sounds quite peaceful there in the garden with your coffee before the hurricane arrives! Have a fun visit, don't be a super hostess and take care of yourself, two year olds are.. well, they're two year olds!!

Gail

Leslie said...

I'm looking forward to the pond posts...I'll live vicariously since I have no room for a pond. And I love that daylily!

Colleen said...

Your garden sounds like heaven right now! I love that daylily--it's going on the list.

I'm looking forward to your pond posts, too. I'd love to put one in eventually.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Hi Cindy Dear, you'll have a blast with the two year old, and remember they take naps (well most of them do.) Loved the photos of the difference in the daylilies. Being mostly water, they responded to the rain.

I want rain now. Please send the next tropical storm our way.~~Dee

Katie said...

I can't wait to see the pond "after" - isn't it funny that even though everyone else thinks something is perfect, you can still see the flaws! Good luck with your pond project.

And you're so lucky to have chrysali (chrysalises?) hanging about. I can't wait until I get my butterfly garden going.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Your pond planning sounds exciting. The flexible liners look so much better than the rigid ones. Your waterlily is such a great shade of pink - I bet you can see it from across the garden.

Cindy, MCOK said...

Robin, I plan on making Mom and Auntie do most of the child wrangling duties. We'll see how well that plan works out! I don't know how kid-proof this house is, but I guess we'll find out!

Carol, the garden was a lovely place to be yesterday. Today it still looks great (even better thanks to the rain) but the temperature's not as conducive to sitting and relaxing.

Herself, I'm leaving what remains of the parsley just to see how long it can last! My last cyclamen went roots up a few weeks ago. I'm with you, go figure!

MSS, I understand now why Amy loved this crinum so. I'm looking forward to seeing what my pond becomes. I wish I'd been able to make it to Austin for the tour because I know it would have given me some great ideas! EM would probably say I don't need any more ideas ... he's not real sure about this pond expansion.

Gail, I knew you'd understand that urge to pick up the phone. Amy & I were weather buddies ... if the phone rang early on a summer morning, I knew it was her calling to commiserate!

Leslie, you could try a container water garden. Check out http://www.nelsonwatergardens.com/. This is the nursery near me ... maybe it can give you some ideas!

Colleen, isn't that daylily something? I can feel my daylily obsession starting anew every time it blooms!

Dee, I didn't realize the rain could affect the color, too. I know that the colors deepen when they get more shade. I'll do my best to send rain your way so you can enjoy its effects on your daylilies!

Katie, I may have spoken too soon about the chrysalis. I looked at it this morning and in the light of day, I'm not so sure that the brown color is due to wings showing through. I very much fear that the nascent butterfly has died. Ah, well, that's nature.

MMD, isn't that water lily color luscious? It's going to look even better in the new pond!

Thanks, y'all for stopping by! I'm off to pick up the visitors.

Anna said...

I'm more worried about your plants than the 2 yr old. I hope you still have blooms when it's all said and done. Oh and tags on plants. Having said that, I can't wait for grand kids.

Annie in Austin said...

I guess you know how to grab the good moments in your Texas garden, Cindy - any morning with hummingbirds is a good one!

I've got a small reblooming daylily that looks nothing like last year's photos - actually, the flowers seem to change color, size and substance depending on not just rain but temperature.

I hope you had some good rain but no damage. And that you could call your friend with a weather report.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Gail said...

Cindy,
Wondering how you are doing with the small tropical storm visiting your house (toddler)!

Gail

Anna said...

Yea, I'm wondering too--so you still sane?

Barbee' said...

Thank you for posting the photos of the butterfly series.

Your Crinum is lovely. I remember Henry Mitchell writing about them and I didn't know what they were, so I Googled it. They don't grow here, but my Lycoris is in full bloom right now.

Cindy, MCOK said...

Barbee, thanks for stopping by. I'm surprised Crinums won't grow for you, I'd expect them to do well there. Lycoris is one that won't bloom for me. I've had them in the same place for a couple of years, at least, and never have seen any blooms.

Leah/ Texas/ United States said...

what a GORGEOUS water lily - such bright color. and the caterpiller is really cool. i hope you photo the emerging butterfly, I'll check back in a few days (I really have no idea how long it takes for the butterfly to bust out of the chrysalis, I remember we had some back in elementary school and it seemed like weeks). Thanks for your photos!