Friday, July 24, 2009

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

I've been meaning for weeks now to post some pictures of heat and drought stricken plants, lawns, etc. so y'all could see that I'm not just whining for no reason. Yesterday's rain put a small glitch in my plans, though! It's amazing (and uplifting) how one good rain shower can bring plants back to life.

That's all right, I'm not complaining about now having fewer photo ops to share with you. Hear me and hear me well: I vowed after the droughty summer of 2006 that I would never again complain about rain. I hereby renew that vow in the presence of you, my trustworthy and stalwart witnesses (well, some of you ...). Hand on heart, I do solemnly swear that I will never complain about rain and that the words 'too much rain' will not pass my lips. So help me Mother Nature. OK, that done, I shall return anon. I'm headed out to take pictures.


And I'm back! These are a few examples of what I'm seeing around the neighborhood.

Fried ferns on a north-facing fence

These might have been azaleas.

One of the reasons Crape Myrtles are planted so much in our area
is that they're such tough plants. It's all been too much for this one, though.
It's possible this is a reaction to some kind of chemical application, since
several others in this stretch look healthy.


Boxwoods


This is a utility easement between two alleys. Think nothing
can bother Coastal Bermuda Grass? Exhibit A says otherwise!


This planting of Ligustrums (Privets) and Asian/Asiatic Jasmine on a nearby corner really illustrates how dry it's been. Compare the healthy dark green foliage at the bottom of the Ligustrums with the badly stressed top growth. It takes a lot to stress both Ligustrums and Asian Jasmine. We've had a lot. Also note the sorry state of the St. Augustine Grass in front of the bed.


As for my corner of Katy, it's not as bad as what's shown above. We do have a sprinkler system in the front and side yards; I usually switch the system on in June and then shut it off around November. When we installed this system about 10 years ago, there was a lot more lawn and way fewer plants. Every year it seems I need to call on my handy-dandy irrigation guy, Ricky, to tweak one sprinkler head or another to allow for plant growth or changes in bed layouts. As helpful as it's been in keeping the front gardens watered, our main reason for installing it was to help keep the foundation of the house stable. Our clay soil can cause some real problems with foundations settling and adequate moisture does make a difference.

Since I can't stand to leave you with such ugly pictures in your heads, what say I provide a few parting shots of some hotties from my corner of Katy?

Lantana camara 'I forgetitia'

Fruity Pebbles Lantana (named for its fragrance,
and yeah, it does smell a bit like Fruity Pebbles cereal)

A rescued Bougainvillea (I just learned this year that they bloom
on new wood, which explains why letting them get leggy does no good)


Latah, dahlinks!


17 comments:

Carol said...

I appreciate the pretty flower pictures at the end, to cleanse my mind. Otherwise, I might have had nightmares about plants dying in a drought. My nightmares equal your reality. I really hope you get some rain soon.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

cityslipper (food dryer home) said...

Such contrasts this year with Texans suffering under dry heat while the northeast has never really emerged from a cool, damp spring. It is painful to see plants dying slowly of thirst. I hope you get some rain soon.

Kathy said...

Ha! The first lantana looks like Fruity Pebbles, even if it's the second that smells like it.

Annie in Austin said...

You know it's bad when Asiatic jasmine looks stressed!

Wonder what happened to that crepe myrtle...they've been amazing in my neighborhood. Think I need to add one to the front yard next fall/winter.

Oh, Cindy - hope we both make it through this summer with our favorites intact.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Gail said...

Cindy, It's bad! Now to your promise to never complain about rain...You can complain when the tropical storms drops over 6 inches of rain in record time! gail

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

What a tale of woe you've spun. Those photos are just pathetic. After the drought year 1988 I swore I'd never again complain about too much rain, so I know how that feels.
I really like the 'Fruity Pebbles' Lantana, even if it does have a silly name.

beckie said...

Cindy, at least the lantana is hanging tough. I can't imagine that much heat and no rain. The weather channel has been showing the drought situation in Texas and it is so sad. I wish rain of the soft gentle kind for a week for you. And cooler temps. My gosh, how do you stand it??

Leslie said...

I knew you wouldn't complain for no good reason but the visual is so sad. I'm glad you ended with some winners!

Jean said...

Thanks for leaving us with some pretty pics. Now if I were living in the Houston area, I'm not sure I could swear to not complain about the rain! LOL

Pam/Digging said...

The thing about that Bermuda grass is, though, that it will come back as good as new when it rains again. If that ever happens.

I have to admit that the drought is putting a damper on my gardening enthusiasm, and even for blogging about it. Sigh.

rambleonrose said...

Geez, that was a little depressing! The fried ferns were particularly sad! Thank you for ending on a positive note--those lantanas are adorable!

Meadowview Thymes said...

Cindy, I couldn't believe some of your pictures! I see why you are vowing not to ever complain about rain. I think this summer has had an affect on so many of us...it certainly takes joy and excitement out of gardening. I am hopeful this El Nino I hear of will bring you good fall rains.

Rose said...

This is so sad, Cindy! I vowed, too, after a rainless stretch of days not to complain about too much rain, but that was after only 10 days, nothing like what you have gone through. I'm glad you have an irrigation system in place--the lantana and bougainvillea look great! I just love all the multi-colored lantana available these days.

Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...

Carol, I've had those nightmares lately. Seriously.

Cityslipper, a friend in Vermont has been lamenting her excess of rain. I do wish we could remedy the inequities!

Kathy, you're right, it does!

Annie, most of the Crepe Myrtles look pretty good. I really think this one got hit with something chemical, maybe a systemic herbicide. If the gardens and the gardeners make it through this summer OK, it will be cause for major celebration!

Gail, it's either drought or flood around here. Extremes R Us!

MMD, there are lots of other pitiable plants. Cast Iron Plants are anything but this year!

Beckie, the only way I can stand it is to crank the a/c down and count the days till October 1st. 63!

Leslie, there are a lot more winners than losers, thank goodness. It's hard to see some of my favorites suffering, though.

Jean, if we get that El Nino winter as promised, my vow of non-complainance may not hold up!

Pam, you are so right about the Bermuda coming back: there was a noticeable difference after just one 30 minute shower! It's hard to be enthusiastic about gardening when it's so miserable out, and if we can't garden, we can't blog about it!

RORose, I'm trying to divide my sorrows by sharing them!

Linda, yep, this summer has sapped a lot of my usual garden euphoria. 63 days ... 63 days ... 63 days ...

Rose, thank goodness for stalwarts like Lantana. When I'm tempted to dismiss them as dead common (as the Brits say), I need to remind myself that they came through for me this summer.

Frances said...

Hi Cindy, I am witness to your pledge and agree to complain about neither rain nor drought from now on either, but simply adjust to whatever is happening. Glad to hear you got some of that precious wet stuff from the sky. It does seem in your neck of the woods that one must be prepared for feast or famine in the water of precipitation. Love Fruity Pebbles and that explains the lack of blooms on the boug when we live in The Woodlands.
Frances

Layanee said...

There is nothing like rain after dry weather to perk up the spirits and the olfactory senses. Sorry for your dryness. We have the other issue here with record rainfall for July. A gardening season is rarely perfect.

Linda/Central Texas Gardener said...

Cindy, I love your vow! Recently I told Greg that if I hear one yap from anyone if we get 3 days of rain, I'll whack 'em with a hose!

I've got some fried guys, like you, too. Heart-breaking. But the lively and pretty ones are working their little roots off to keep up our spirits so we'll get them some new friends.

I understand about the clay soil on house. We have a drip hose around the entire perimeter so that the house doesn't shift any more than it has. Still, there are some huge holes near the front porch. Gasp.

Glad you got a bit of rain. In Austin, it missed my neighborhood as usual.