I thought my garden was going to be shut out of the rain-game when we'd had none by Tuesday morning. The many posts by rejoicing Austin bloggers made me glad for them, but glum for our part of town. Then the Roulette Wheel of Rain spun around to NW Austin on Tuesday afternoon, and by Wednesday morning the gauge showed an inch-and-three quarters of precious moisture. Hallelujah!
Another half-inch fell Thursday evening - from feeling unlucky we went to feeling very lucky. This afternoon a bonus 3/4 inch came down a little too fast and too hard with more possible over the weekend.
A few weeks ago, worried as the drought continued, I turned on John Dromgoole's call-in radio show, and heard his voice remind us what kind of leafy green vegetables we should plan to plant in late summer and assure us that when the August rains came our gardens would perk up.
Yes, he said when - not if. Maybe John was whistling in the dark, but he made me feel better, and he was right. During the last few dry months I've hand-watered the borders, shrubs and trees and each day I filled the four birdbaths. Enough moisture traveled through the ground to keep the strips of lawn adjacent to those watered areas alive. In the shady parts of the yard the grass isn't lush but it's alive. In sunny places any grass more than 2-feet from an irrigated section is brown. St. Augustine doesn't go dormant - it dies - so there are completely dead patches and the parkway's in sad shape.
Now is the time to watch, wait, think, and take photos so I can analyze what worked and what didn't and what should be changed. Did you notice that there are photos today? The last camera didn't work out, so Philo and I bought a different point-and-shoot camera and are experimenting with it. It's fairly simple but with more settings than my old EasyShare.
Unless noted, these photos were uploaded without enhancements - no contrast, no color balancing or sharpening - they're just cut and reduced to 130KB or less - my usual blog photo size - so I can test how they look on the page.
There's enough detail to see that while the blossom of the Blue Butterfly Flower/Clerodendrum ugandense has gone to seed since GBBD, new buds are forming and the blue bloom will go on. I can show you the way rained-on Silver gray Lambs Ears/Stachys byzantina look with orange Crocosmia.
The camera can get in close enough to catch the way neither heat, drought nor storms could destroy the Balloon Flowers/Platycodon 'Fuji White'.
I can get your ideas on why one Persian Shield/Strobilanthes dyerianus plant responded to the rain with entire branches wilting and looking awful...while the second Persian Shield 4 feet away looks refreshed and revived. One was in shade and the other in sun when I took the photos, but in the course of a day they get the same mixture of filtered light.
I can share my excitement at taking a picture of this bee on the Salvia coccinea. It wouldn't be a big deal to most of you but it's my best Bee Photo to date - the EasyShare couldn't do this much.
Today there are no Passionvine flowers, but there's a Gulf Fritillary caterpillar - the first I've seen this year.
Today you don't just hear the news that the seedling Blue Butterfly Pea/Clitorea ternatea vines have reached for the top of the obelisk and are in bloom - I can show it to you
I can also show you a crummy photo of the Cypress Vine/Ipomoea quamoclit which gets daily visits from hummingbirds. Here's an even worse look at one of the hummingbirds - even after I used Photoshop Elements on the picture. My hummers don't hover at feeders but zip quickly around an entire garden planted to entice them. There's nowhere I can hide to sneak a snap so I took it with auto settings from about 15-20 feet away. Even a bad photo of a hummingbird is a triumph when it's the only hummingbird photo in 4 years of trying! I think of this little blur more as evidence than art - Mary's photos of the birds at her feeders can be art. Buying a better camera can't turn me into a bird blogger or a bug blogger or a macro-flower blogger - but I hope that this one will let me illustrate or document the things I want to talk about.
For two years I've tried to take a photo of this native rainlily for the blog. It's called Copper Lily or Habranthus tubispathus . I couldn't make either my EasyShare or the returned camera capture it, but today you can see right down to the pollen why I was so happy that these bright little lilies popped up in my yard.
2016 – APRIL ANNIE’S GARDEN DAY
1 month ago