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Garden journal entry


silver dollar blown askew
September 27, 2019. Yeah, it's been a while. Gardening has been slowish the past few months, with much the same progression of development and flowering as previous years in this garden. Pleasant enough, but doesn't much inspire the urge to run out and grab a camera to capture an exciting new find. That's true even though I finally purchased a new DSLR to replace my old Olympus which had started to display some digital tics. Earlier in summer, I did spend a week digging a new border along the north foundation of the house, which means there's only a small strip where lawn meets foundation left, along the south side. But that's also where we're trying to teach our new muttpuppy, Hippie (our dear Maddy passed away last winter), to use the bathroom, so it may forever remain unimproved. Meanwhile, the new border will be a good place to grow plants that appreciate more shade and consistent moisture; thus far, I've planted mostly an assortment of gingers (selections from a big-box store as well as mail order), but there's room for plenty more.
Predictably, the weather turned hot and dry in July and August, with very little rain for more than a month. Unlike the last couple of years, I decided to adopt a strategy of letting my plants fend for themselves, with whatever water the lawn sprinkler system would deliver to their feet but little or no supplemental watering. Ideally, I'd have a landscape that can survive the weather that Houston is inevitably going to deliver in summer, but perhaps my tough love all at once was a little ill-advised, because now I find myself looking at a backyard with big holes where there were lush plantings just a few months ago. The biggest empty spot is where the Salvia involucrata lived. I loved that plant, but it was always the thirstiest customer around, wilting long before any others did, so I think it's for the better that its space will be filled with a more well-adapted alternative (to be determined). Other losses include lamb's ear (also more or less expected), and more surprisingly, two of my four species of cuphea: my batface and Vermillionaire varieties bit the dust, even as Mexican heather and blue waxweed continued to thrive. In any case, I'm sure those holes will be filled in due time. I foresee some nursery trips in the near future to facilitate that!
By now, though, the dry spell is only a memory – we had a tropical storm blow through a week ago and dump a boatload of water, with several more heavy rainshowers since then, so the garden is once again fully hydrated and ready to go. That storm did bring high winds as well, which affected some of the lankier denizens of the garden: the towering okra plants in the vegetable plot are all askew (which is OK), but one of the silver dollar trees, which had shot up remarkably fast this year, was likewise blown halfway over. Its sister stayed upright, so I lopped off the diagonal one after taking the picture here; Amy has grand designs on a wonderful silver-dollar wreath made from its spoils.
It's still hot, but friendlier weather is on its way. I think I'll be posting a bit more frequently...

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Last modified: September 09, 2009
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