In Summary: August 23rd-29th, 2010

Thanks to the cooler, drier air that graced my corner of Katy for several blessed days, you will not hear me complaining about the temperatures this week.  Next week promises to be a different story, as the humidity is forecast to return with a vengeance.  I knew intellectually that the delightful weather was too good to last but just as I do every year, I let myself believe that this was more than just a hint of what fall had in store for us.  The disappointment when the humidity returns will doubtless be as crushing as it is every year, but like Gloria Gaynor, I will survive.  

As for rain, that has been very much a non-event on my corner of Katy, especially compared to southwest Houston.  To say that the HG and I are disappointed is an understatement. Disgruntled, definitely ... it's been a long time since we've been gruntled when it comes to rain.  Two or three times this week, storms swept through southwest Houston: we could see the stormy skies, watch the lightning, hear the thunder ... but if we got more than 15 minutes worth of real rain all told, I'd be surprised.  

I got a little carried away with myself this week and did some things I may come to regret.  In addition to yanking up and returning 5 out of 7 Sky Pencil Hollies, I dug up the Clematis armandii I bought in April at Barton Springs Nursery in Austin.  It was languishing in a spot that turned out to be far too dry and sunny for it.  I'd planned to wait until October to move it but with August on track to be the hottest in Houston history, I just couldn't wait and subject it to the harsh conditions in that spot any longer.  Armand did not take it well.  He was replanted in a spot that I hope will be more to his liking, IF he survives.  I cut him back severely and I'm watering him regularly.  The Head Gardener is even more unhappy with me than Armand about it.
My Rangoon Creeper in better days (May 2009)
She's slightly less miffed about my insistence on removing the Rangoon Creeper (Quisqualis indica) from the half-barrel in which it has grown for 4 years or more.  Once we'd wrestled the Rangoon Creeper from the container, it was easy to see why we'd had so much difficulty keeping it hydrated.  The soil was extremely loose and sandy; the barrel bottom had rotted and pulled away from the rest of the barrel.  After dividing the RC into several separate plants, we repotted most of them and placed one on a section of the south fence.  Because Rangoon Creeper is such a heat-loving tropical, we believe it will rebound from the surgery.

The Eranthemum that Amy gave me several years ago, which I've moved 2 or 3 times, was also having a difficult time staying hydrated, even though it was planted in shade and received regular watering.  I pulled it up to find dead woody sections of trunk/roots that were infested by ants.  That plant too has been divided and potted up.  I'm hoping it will forgive me the insult.

I stopped at Wal-Mart on a search for something, I forget what, last week and exited via their garden center.  Which means I did not leave empty-handed.  One Texas Sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri), one Confederate Rose Agave (A. parassana), one Thread Agave (A. filifera) and an Echeveria 'Black Prince' came home with me.  They're currently gracing 'Table with Legs' in the courtyard (but still in their nursery pots while I decide on appropriate containers).
Hummingbirds are frequent visitors to the gardens and turf wars are seen on a daily basis.  The butterflies coexist much more peacefully: I've seen swallowtails, fritillaries, monarchs, sulphurs and  skippers flitting about the garden from zinnia to zinnia.  Each day I found another milkweed/butterfly weed (Asclepias curavassica) stripped of leaves.  

August is the month in which it's hardest for me to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  I think that will come next week, when I am thankful that August is over and done with for another year!