The Daily Muse

A Garden Journal -- June 2004

Last Update: June 30

Daylilies and Agapanthus

June 13 - afternoon

I have just finished working in the garden - dead-heading perennials, weeding, and simply shaping things up. The heat is really kicking in, so I have retreated to the air-conditioned comfort of my home. The past week has brought extraordinary rains that have sustained this amazing season of growth. We recorded nearly nine inches (22.86 centimeters) of rain in a series of tropical downpours over the course of several days. (Some parts of the city received twice that amount!) The garden held up well, and now seems poised for still more growth. Our first tomatoes should ripen this week and I am looking forward to enjoying our first taste of summer.  I hope your crop survived the deluge.... more soon.


June 21 - evening

Today we celebrated the summer solstice with a fresh tomato and basil salad... what better way to mark the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer! Our crop of heirloom tomatoes is beginning to roll in by the basket-full and I am in tomato heaven as you can see from the picture below...

So many varieties so little time!

The heat over the course of the past ten days has been truly summer-like - the ground is beginning to crack open in some places and  we have only had the faintest hint of mist since the downpours two weeks ago. However, the forecast is calling for a strong chance of showers during the coming days and I am hoping that they will come to pass. The weather seems to be on my mind - last night I had several  very vivid dreams involving tornadoes  including one that featured the slow motion destruction of downtown Austin courtesy of a series of swirling-yet-stately black columns. That I can do without thank you very much, I prefer my tomatoes. Though, this is Texas - home of natural and political disasters.

Here are a few more pics... Happy Solstice to you!

Red Crinum Lily in bloom.

Moss verbena.

A shot of Rufous that Victor took (and I couldn't resist!)

June 29 - morning

Another heavy overcast morning - the rains are still with us, sweeping up from the Gulf of Mexico in a series of arm-like bands. When you watch the weather radar they often seem like waves playing out on the beach.

I can't believe how much growth we are still getting in the garden!  All of our young trees are in their third, fourth, maybe even fifth growth burst of the year.  Our Bald Cypress trees have grown nearly four feet, the same is true for our Lacey Oak, and even our little Possumhaw Hollies have grown at least three feet this year. And the good news is the forcast is calling for still more rain. The only disappointment has been the decline in our tomato crop- they  are not producing as much fruit as they would with sunnier weather. However, I'll trade a few tomatoes for the weeks I have left our sprinkler system off!

Here are a few more pics...

Our 'Incense' Passion Vine.


Water lilies.


A bee hard at work on our 'Constance Elliot' Passion Vine.

June 30 - morning

More rain is pouring down as I write this- flooding may occur if another series of showers follows this one. In fact, some area streams are probably already over their banks. The garden is holding up well though, no complaints here except that I can't make my usual morning rounds.

I have been reading an exceptional book this week, Reverence, by University of Texas Professor, Paul Woodruff. Rarely have I read something that  speaks so directly to me about the feelings that I have while I am in the garden. I often feel humbled by the power and mystery of creation, and sometimes overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude for its bounty. Woodruff's book resonated with me because it addresses these deep inner feelings. But, the book's real gift is that it focuses our attention on the individual and societal virtue of reverence, something that is essential to our survival but is little understood and rarely discussed. Professor Woodruff and Betty Sue Flowers, Executive Director of the LBJ Presidential Library, will be my guests this week on Austin Now for a discussion about patriotism in contemporary American life. I invite you to join us. More importantly, I recommend his book to you, its reverence will accompany you as you make your rounds.

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