Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Hottest Bloom Day Yet: June 2011

While blooms may be plentiful on my corner of Katy, the temperature soared to 105 degrees again today.   (The maximum temperature for June is usually in the low 90s.)  Both the plants and my enthusiasm are flagging, so photographic evidence of blooms is limited.

The Hymenocallis began opening this week.  Otahal claims he gave me these plants.  Since I can't remember, I guess I have to take his word for it. I should ask him if he gave me two different species, though ... look at the variation in the blooms.

Burpee's 2011 selections include a Zinnia they call Queen Red Lime.  I wonder how much time, effort and money goes into the process of making it available?  Here on my corner of Katy, the pollinators did an excellent job of creating a similar hybrid.  The blooms below are all from one plant.

That's all this month, y'all.  Visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see what's blooming in other bloggers' gardens!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

At the End of The Day ...

The temperature may soar to hellatious levels during the day, but the evenings are another matter ... and I couldn't be more thankful.

I've gotten in the habit of wandering outside around 8 pm as dusk creeps over my corner of Katy.   I sink into one of my nomadic but comfortable green Adirondack chairs, a glass of wine at hand, and I watch the day draw to a close. 

A few bees are usually lingering over one flower and another (happy hour for them too) and I whisper a prayer or three of gratitude for this respite from the rigors of the heat.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Time to Say Goodbye ...

How any of the cool season plants are managing to hang on, let alone thrive, in the unseasonably early summer heat, I do not know.  But halfway through June, these two Swiss Chard plants have continued to brighten my corner of Katy.   I've been trying to remember the provenance of these plants ... are they from a package of seed that mixed the prosaic green variety and the much more colorful 'Magenta'?  Did I sow them in pots and then move them here, or did I seed them directly?  Was the green one a division from a pot I bought on clearance at Lowe's? ??????????  Loath though I am to admit it, the Head Gardener is correct in stating that I need to keep better records of such things.  I could argue that she needs to remind me to do so but I'm not in the mood for a standoff ...

I suppose it doesn't really matter now since as of this morning the plants were yanked, chopped up and left to decompose in the rose bed where they were planted.  The Head Gardener says it would be more accurate to say that they have been left to cook ... the temperature rose to 104 today on my corner of Katy.  What's really sad is that I have already reached a point of grim resignation regarding the excess of heat and the lack of rain.  Or to put a positive spin on it, like the Swiss Chard, I have exceeded expectations and accepted the weather for what it is.  That's today, mind you ... tomorrow you may hear me ranting and raving again!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Red Letter Day on My Corner of Katy

Some of y'all may think you have the absolute best sister in the whole wide world but I really do.  I'll put the good Dr. Laura up against other sisters any day, any time.  Not only is she a tremendous source of support and reassurance, she notices the little things I like and files them away in her head for future reference.  An inveterate eBay shopper, when she comes across something too cool for school, she recognizes immediately when it's a perfect fit for my funky and eclectic collection of yard art.  So when a package arrived with my name on it today, I knew from whence it came and ripped it open toute suite to see what she'd found this time ..."C" picture below!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Post in Which the Official Countdown Begins

Unhappy Cat's Whiskers, Orthosiphon aristatus

Catch up, cats and kittens ... 
Don't get left behind ...   
Paul McCartney,  RAM*

The Head Gardener and I would have gladly chugged a few gallons of Monkberry Moon Delight had they been available yesterday as we labored in the  insane heat that is afflicting my corner of Katy. The temperatures have soared over 100 degrees each of the last four days: on June 1st, Houston's official temperature was 102 degrees, the earliest date in 109 years for Houston to reach triple digits.  At 4:45 pm this sunny Saturday afternoon, the Weather Underground personal weather station located in my subdivision recorded a temperature of 103.1.  The Head Gardener and I are doing our best to keep newly installed plants hydrated but we can only do so much.   We might as well lay our pajamas to Billy Budapest and bow three times for all the good it's done in the case of some upright white Pentas.  Even drought tolerant Pink Skullcap and the Serenity mix Verbenas have taken exception to the weather.  At least the Autumn Ferns we scored on clearance at Lowe's seem to be settling in nicely ... amazing what some shade can do.  

In previous years, we at least had the consolation of knowing that our neighbors' pool was available for use as needed.  But, alas, the old neighbors have retired to the country to raise chickens, cows and llamas and while the new owners expressed their willingness for us to use the pool, an unforeseen mishap has rendered the pool out of commission.  "So I stood with a knot in my stomach and I gazed at the terrible sight": If you live in an area with shifting soils, do NOT under any circumstances drain your pool just before a torrential rain, unless you WANT your pool to float.  My neighbors plan to have it removed and create the backyard of their dreams.  Sigh.   The HG and I are doing our best to keep a stiff upper lip but this weather makes it extremely difficult.

So without further ado, it gives me no pleasure whatsoever to declare that the official countdown for 2011 has begun.  As of today, we have 150 days of awful to endure before November 1st, when the Head Gardener and I can breathe a sigh of relief at the knowledge that the mercury will not rise above 90 for a good six months.  Readers who followed the countdown last year will note that I have changed the date from October 1st to November 1st, due to the number of hot and humid days in October of 2010.  The Head Gardener and I might as well prepare ourselves for it ahead of time!

*Yesterday's choice of music to garden by