Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Believe I'll Have A Fling ...

One that the Executive Producer heartily endorses ... in just 4 hours, I'll be Seattle-bound to spend 6-1/2 sure-to-be glorious days with a varied and eclectic and always entertaining group of my fellow garden bloggers.  Many of them I've had the pleasure of meeting before, and some have become cherished friends ... but I'll also meet quite a few of them for the first time and I look forward to their becoming friends and compatriots.  As Frances of Faire Garden said,  it's a wonderful experience "meeting up with your own kind".  In a happily serendipitous coincidence, Frances and her daughter Semi are on my flight from Houston to Seattle!  Even now they're winging their way towards hot and humid Houston ... and in a few hours, all three of us will be on our way to the cooler clime of the Pacific Northwest!  I'm taking my laptop and hope to post at least one picture daily that will take your breath away and encourage you to join us next year.  The picture above is from a 1999 trip to Seattle, Vancouver & Victoria, B.C., taken at Van Dusen Botanical Gardens.  I feel cooler already!

Happy Trails!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blooming Where They're Planted: GBBD July 2011

Or sweltering where they're situated ... given the ongoing heat and drought, it's surprising how many plants continue to bloom.  Rain did make an appearance on my corner of Katy, not once but twice this week: on both Monday and Wednesday afternoons, it rained for about 20 minutes.   20 minutes can't make a dent in the 20 inch rainfall deficit but at least it cools things off a bit and refreshes the foliage.  The Head Gardener and I are grateful for any rain that falls, no matter how few the drops.

But enough of my whinging about the weather ... let's take a virtual stroll around the gardens and I'll show you what's blooming here at Wit's End.  

This is the view from the garden gate: It's not surprising that Echinaceas, Pavonias, Gauras, Blackfoot Daisies and Verbenas are tolerating the extreme conditions.  What IS surprising is how well Pigeonberry (Rivinia humilis) is doing.  

Zinnias with Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthemum), Gauras, and Salvia  'Otahal'
Although hot colors are supposedly banned from the back gardens, my failure to deadhead consistently sometimes creates felicitous combinations that cause me to wonder if I should rethink that ban.  The HG gets surly when I suggest it, though.
I let the Gauras reseed freely in the back and yank them out if they violate my amenities.  That's hot pink Verbena underneath.  

These screaming pink/red zinnias are out in the rose bed ... mercy, they're bright!  The camera doesn't do them justice (or the photographer doesn't).
Out front, there's a Dwarf Pomegranate in flower. 
I should plant more Texas Betony (Stachys coccinea).  I like how it works with Abelmoschus.  Wonder how they'd look under that pomegranate?
This one's for Gail at Clay and Limestone because she loves the pollinators so!  This bee was very happy to find the Calylophus.
This native Ruellia has reseeded itself prolifically in one area of the garden.  See picture below for just how prolifically.
Yep, all those plants amongst the rocks ... Ruellia!
Another native plant, Peruvian Pavonia (Pavonia peruviensis), is one of the most stalwart summer bloomers you can plant.  It also reseeds readily but the seedlings are easily identified and pulled when young to keep it in check.  It keeps chugging along no matter what the conditions: if it gets too rangy, I just whack it back with no worries.

I'll leave you with this zoom shot of the crape myrtle at the end of my cul-de-sac.  The Crapes have been outstanding bloomers this year.  The HG and I think the cold weather really invigorated them.

Thanks as always to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for instigating and hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  I'm looking forward to seeing her and many other garden bloggers at the Seattle Fling next week!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The View from the Chair

I've gotten into the habit of taking my first cup of coffee outside with me in the early morning before the sun is over the trees.  I sit and listen to the birds calling and watch the bees as they go about their chores.  It's a very peaceful time of day and surveying the garden from my chair, I'm often overwhelmed by the beauty I see.  It's a good time to reflect on the many joys gardening brings me ... once the sun is high in the sky, I'm not in much of a reflective mood.  Since I do whine a lot on this blog about the heat and the drought, I've decided to share more of my happier moments with y'all.  Beauty and joy are all around me, on my corner of Katy and in my garden of friends.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Drop, Meet Bucket ...

It would seem that my muse reached her breaking point just after June's bloom day post ... I'm not sure if she deserted me for cooler climes or if she absconded to Pat O'Brien's while the Executive Producer and I were in the Big Easy for a weekend.   

I resisted increasingly pointed and acerbic suggestions by the Head Gardener that she take over posting in my muse's absence, feeling certain that said muse would eventually return with a scathingly brilliant idea and inspire me to new heights of prose.   Lloyd knows my heat and drought addled brain isn't up to the task without her ... oh, I've had numerous ideas but I just can't seem to find the energy to execute them.  

It's also hard to type when your hand is fused to the end of a garden hose.  While my corner of Katy did get almost 5 hours of steady rain on June 22nd, and the 2 inches of rain did benefit both gardeners and gardens, like most of the state of Texas, the greater Houston area remains in a state of exceptional drought (the highest level).  Until that rainfall, the city of Houston had recorded a record-setting 148 days without at least a half-inch of rain falling on a single day. 

To add insult to injury, we've experienced record-breaking heat as well and last month was the warmest June in Houston's history since 1906.  Even some of our most heat-hardy and drought-tolerant plants are showing signs of stress, so it's no wonder that the Head Gardener and I are feeling more than a little stressed ourselves.  Once we come inside for the day, cool down and clean up, we do not venture forth to the garden again until late evening, if then.  

So if I continue to be remiss in posting or if my posts are limited to a few brief words and a picture or two, bear with me.  Right now all that's keeping me going is the knowledge that in 16 days, I'll be winging my way towards Seattle and the 2011 Garden Bloggers' Fling.