Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Cautionary Tale

"If you can't serve as a good example, perhaps you can serve as a horrible warning."

It was a morning much like any other on my corner of Katy ... which is to say hot and humid, with nothing but the promise of more heat and humidity to come.  With no afternoon rain storm forecast to break summer's sultry spell on the garden, I  sallied forth early to lay waste to the weeds attempting to overtake the corner bed.  

The weeding led, as it inevitably does, to some editing of the bed.  Manky Rudbeckias were yanked; the Tina Turner Bauhinia's unruly mane was tamed by some judicious pruning; and several Agave and Yucca pups were carefully separated from their mothers to be given homes of their own.    

I finally deemed my labors in that area completed, packed up, and headed to the garage, my thoughts focused on a cold bottle of a water and a cool shower.  Taking off my sturdy but lightweight hiking shoes, I padded into the house.  As I glanced out the patio door, I realized I had forgotten to water the containers grouped on that patio.  A few recent purchases, all planted in peat-based potting mix, were in dire need of H2O if they were going to live.  

My duty was clear so I slipped on a pair of gardening clogs and grabbed the hose.  Making my way around the patio and into the garden, I noticed that the pond was low on water and remembered that I hadn't fed the fish in a couple of days.  Laying down my hose, I traipsed to the garden shed, grabbed the pond conditioner and the fish food, and returned to the pond.  I dosed the pond and then placed the hose in its depths to begin the filling process, which would take several minutes.  

Not wanting to waste that time, I returned to the patio to grab a pair of clippers from my tool tote and began cutting back the water purslane. Planted in the gravel bog, the purslane was now trailing out of the bog, into the pond and even snaking its way over to the adjacent beds. One might think from the picture below that I was overenthusiastic in my pruning, but no.Water purslane is a resilient little bugger and I feel quite certain it will need cutting back yet again in a matter of weeks.

Since the pond had not yet filled, I decided to continue the pruning and move on to the purslane planted on the opposite side of the bog.  My morning in the garden would have ended very differently had I chosen to take the overgrown path to my right.  But I chose to round the pond from my left ... and a fateful choice it was.

In the picture above, you can see the water purslane trailing into the pond from the bog.  Just above the purslane, you can see a handsome green and black Colocasia leaf.  And above that, you can just make out something rusty.  No, not that large rusty egret looming over the bog ... the smaller, rounded shape to its left is what you want to focus upon.  

That, my friends, is a metal sculpture purchased on a trip to Colorado in 2008.  I found this feisty fish outside a tiny shop in Glen Haven and thought it would make a charming addition to the pond area here at Wit's End. And so it has.  It lost that charm abruptly on Thursday morning, however.

To return to my story ... I meandered around behind the pond, stepping carefully so as not to lose my footing. But a small stumble as I began to step over the fish was followed immediately by a flash of pain in my lower left leg.  I'm still not certain exactly what happened but as best I can tell, the fish's curved tail hooked my leg and tore downwards as I moved. What I saw when I looked down was both gory and gruesome.(Skip the next part if you're squeamish although I won't be too detailed.)

I will not tell you that I kept calm and carried on.  I started screaming at the top of my lungs for my daughter Hayley and began to hobble to the house, which is difficult to do when you're attempting to keep the edges of a huge gash in your leg together and hoping you won't bleed to death.  A few minutes later, we were on our way to a nearby ER, my leg on the dashboard with a towel wrapped around it and both hands still occupied applying pressure.  Once there, I collapsed into a wheelchair, stuck my leg in the air to reduce the bleeding and stayed like that until they checked me in and got me to a room.  

It was reassuring to see that the ER staff remained calm despite the ghastly appearance of my injury.  The nurse-practitioner who treated me measured the wound and pronounced it 9 cm (about 3-1/2 inches) long.  Further examination revealed that the cut had not reached the bone, just the muscle.  X-rays were taken to locate any metal flakes or bits and lidocaine injections were given to numb the area. May I just say how thankful I am for modern medicine? 

Once the wound was thoroughly cleaned out and another x-ray showed no metal bits left, NP Chris got down to the necessary repairs.  2 stitches in the muscle, 10 internal sutures and 11 staples later, I walked out of the ER, albeit a bit stiffly.  Since then, I've spent a lot of time on sofas and chairs with my leg propped up.  I've been fortunate to have very little pain and am optimistic that the scars will fade in time.  So much for a career as a leg model, though.

As for the offending fish, he's acquired a new name; prompted by one friend's comment that we could blame this on Mercury being in retrograde, I'm calling him Freddie.  He is soon to acquire a new location, still near the pond but definitely somewhere he is unable to reach out and hook me in future.  Earlier in this saga, I called him feisty but I fear four summers in Texas have turned him evil.  Clearly he misses Colorado and seized this opportunity to take revenge upon me for the move.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Garden Is In The Pink!

And why shouldn't it be?  An abundance of rain has brought new blooms to the gardens here on my corner of Katy.  

This is a rain lily ... but is it Zephyranthes grandiflora, Z. labuffarosea or a Habranthus?  

The crinum given to me by Amy lo these many years ago and identified by her as Crinum rattrayi (C. jagus var. rattrayi) is blooming. 

Stars and Stripes Crinum
'Caldwell Pink' rose

'Senorita Blanca' Cleome blushes prettily amidst verbenas and pavonias.


Rose 'Mrs. Dudley Cross'

Soapwort/Bouncing Bet (Saponaria officinalis, I think)
Pink Surprise Bush (Orthosiphon labiatus) with Pigeonberry (Rivinia humilis)

One of many beautiful coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)

Coral vine (Antigonon leptopus)

This sweet little Winecup (Callirhoe involucrata) refuses to acknowledge that it is an early spring bloomer.

One of the many Serenity Mix verbenas, or maybe Plantation Rose?

And the butterflies' favorite: Zinnias!
Thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens, the originator of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  If you haven't read her posts on her visit to the gardens of Elizabeth Lawrence, who was the inspiration for GBBD, you must do so!  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Three for Thursday: Rain, Glorious Rain!

The Desert Willow and Duranta 'Sweet Memories" take a bow!
I think it was in 2006 that I first swore an oath never ever EVER to complain about rain again, in the seemingly unlikely event that it would ever EVER fall on my corner of Katy again. That was my first experience with drought as a gardener and while I knew it wasn't likely to be my last, I thought I understood just how bad things could get. Then came the summer of 2011, when temperatures soared into the 100s and no rain fell to break the heat and refresh not just my corner of Katy but the entire state of Texas. With added fervor, I renewed my vow of non-complainance.
The Hymenocallis have responded to the abundant moisture by blooming like never before.
The ground is soggy, the mosquito population is exploding and my sleep is regularly interrupted by anxious Annie's reaction to every clap of thunder.  It matters not ... rain is indeed a glorious thing!
The gardens and the gardener are blissfully happy! (Except for that splash of  canna red in the background!)