Thursday, July 24, 2008


Finally, this afternoon, rain!  It really started pouring at 4:30, and didn't stop raining for at least an hour.  

I'm especially thrilled because this means that I don't have to get up early to water for at least a week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July Bloom Day

Thanks to last week's rain and giving my roses a few deep waterings, my garden has perked up quite a bit and I actually have flowers to show this month.

First off is the pioneer rose Thomas Affleck. I have two of them, and they've both been growing and flowering like crazy for the last few months, and I haven't seen even the faintest hint of blackspot on either of them. And the eye-peeling intense pink goes well with my pink Knockouts. The one drawback is the lack of fragrance, but hey, no thorns!

The one wide shot of the garden worth showing. It's hard to see in the picture, but I like how the burgundy-purple of the new growth on the Double Knockout and Duchesse de Brabant contrasts with the other foliage.

The first flower of the second flush of Duchesse de Brabant. I smelled it before I noticed it, from a good three feet away! Last summer this rose bloomed nonstop, and I was a little mystified as to why I'd only gotten one lousy, halfhearted flush this spring, but chalked it up to the weird dieback issues Duchesse had earlier in the year. It turned out that my soaker hose had sprung a leak and half of the bed was getting no water at all, including the Duchesse. Now that I've fixed the irrigation issue, every rose in that section is putting out lots of new growth. Here's to hoping there'll be more roses to show next Bloom Day!

I cut back the Double Knockout, like, last week, I swear! I cannot believe how much and how fast this rose is growing, even in the filtered shade of the mesquite.

Heya, salvia guaranitica, I didn't see you down there! If I hadn't been carefully picking my way around the roses with my camera, I never would have seen this. But it also serves as a good note to self: When planting something in an already-established bed, spend the extra money and buy a bigger pot of the new plant! I'm hoping this one will be able to catch up with everything else next year.

Showing off for Bloom Day, the most photogenic rose in the garden, Souvenir de la Malmaison:

...and yet again...

The lantana has finally-- finally!-- opened. They seemed to get started later than usual this year.

Mutabilis sports a tiny, lovely bloom. This rose is taking a while to get established for me, and I've only noticed a handful of blooms since I put it in the ground. Isn't it a lovely color, though?

Ruella. I love the intense watercolor hue of these violet blooms:

In my quest to find something that smelled fabulous for the new front yard bed, I settled on a bush of Sweet Almond Verbena. It looked incredibly unhappy for a few months, since I pretty much mangled the rootball in the process of getting it out of the pot it had been living in on the back deck, but thanks to some extra attention and SuperThrive, it's finally perked up. It started blooming a few days ago.

The scent of the Sweet Almond Verbena is drowned out every evening by the wonderful citrusy scent of the datura. There are six datura plants in the front yard, and right now three are putting on a spectacular show. You can smell them from the front porch and from the street.

A tiny little bloom on Ducher. I love the warm yellow hue at the center of the flowers.

And I leave you with other supermodel in my garden, Gruss An Aachen. Sometimes I feel like I take a picture of her every day, but how could I not? She's too photogenic not to share!

Also blooming:
Pink Knockout
Marie Pavie (1 bloom)
Maggie (1 bloom)
Russian sage
wild sunflowers
white guara "The Bride"
blackeye daisies
moss verbena
mexican oregano
sedum "Autumn Joy'
rose "Martha Gonzales" (one flower)
orange abutilon
blue mistflower (just starting)
various trailing verbenas
rose "Republic of Texas' (one bloom)
Rainbow Knockout (still blooming like its life depended on it)
desert willow "Son of Bubba"
Natchez crape myrtles
Himalayan indigo

Friday, July 11, 2008

Eumorpha Fasciata: International Moth of Mystery!

So, I saw this unusual-looking moth hanging out on my back porch last Thursday, and finally, I think I've ID'd it: Lesser Vine Sphinx Moth, Eumorpha fasciata.

While I've managed to match a name to my picture, I still haven't been able to find out what they eat or anything else about it, other than that they live in the southern U.S.

This exciting lepidoptera sighting was followed by an enthusiastic debate over whether this moth was designed by Lothlorien elves or the U.S. Air Force.  We're both hip and sophisticated, over here at my house.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

after the rain

So, we've finally gotten some measurable rain down here in south Austin - two days of afternoon showers, in fact.  Sweet!  The lawn is looking much happier and the plants all seem to be breathing cool green sighs of relief.  I celebrated the rain and cooler temperatures by taking some pictures.


Gruss an Aachen, yet again. This is one of the few roses that has bloomed nearly nonstop for me this summer.  Its only two drawbacks in my experience are lack of fragrance and tendency to blackspot, though it quickly drops its yellow leaves and keeps on blooming:

Happy coneflowers:

A color combo I'm experimenting with as I wait for the perennials to fill in: potato vine, "margaritaville" yucca, and purple fountaingrass.

Moss verbena. A few days ago these bright violet blooms matched the blooms on the silverado sage.

And surprising me, Souvenir de la Malmaison, blooming in the rain. I hadn't even noticed a bud!