The Daily Muse

A Garden Journal -- August 2004

Last Update:  August 24

Like clockwork... Pink and Red Oxblood Lilies appeared after the rains.

August 11 - morning

It is a strange August morning here in Austin. Strange because it is almost cool! We have had some of our famous "dog days" since I last reported in, but overall this continues to be one of the mildest years in memory. We could use a good rain, but who am I to complain when the overnight lows dip into the 60's at this time of year?

The garden is looking good, a bit bedraggled, but much better than in Augusts past. In a few weeks we are going to do a major replanting of our perennial beds - dividing our Lousiana Irises, removing some species that are getting shaded out, and planting new shade tolerant plants. Our Bald Cypresses and Big Tooth Maples have grown so quickly that we are going to have to adjust to shade years ahead of when I thought it would be necessary. (Some of our Cypresses are now over twenty feet tall.) It is fun thinking about the cool new plants that we can bring in and I am looking forward to the change.

In the meantime keep your fingers crossed for rain.

Hamelia, or 'Firebush', a Hummingbird favorite.

August 24 - morning

We have just come through another wet period with a series of storms bringing us about three inches of rain.  I have been very busy transitioning parts of the garden from flower beds that had been in the full sun to shady swaths of ferns and Sabal minor palms. I can't believe how quickly this transformation has needed to take place. The growth on our trees has been absolutely amazing and it is continuing with the rains and relatively mild weather. Some of our Bald Cypress trees have grown over five feet (1.52 meters) this year! I always like changing things in the garden and I am looking forward to seeing my fernery take off. I am using Ladder Brake (Pteris vittata) a fern that I found at Yucca-do Nursery. It is supposed to be able to take somewhat drier conditions than most ferns and has a nice fine texture.

The next few days are supposed to return us to our normal summer conditions, albeit a bit more muggy than usual. However, I feel that I can't complain - so far this has been the gentlest year I have ever experienced as a Texas gardener.

August 24 - evening

Here are a few pictures from this evening's tour of the garden:

Pink Oxblood Lilies.

 

A Rain Lily.

 

Another view.

The following pictures were taken by my sister after a storm passed  over her garden in Bismarck, North Dakota:

Now, that's a thunderhead!

Rare "mammatus" clouds.

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