Yes, the weather is hot and it's very dry. Yes, we could be heading to the kind of historic drought that gripped Central Texas in the 1950's. At my house the container plants get water and so do the borders. I water the tomato patch and the young trees and non-established shrubs but not the lawn. The grass looks okay where it grows next to the borders, the lawn is hanging on unwatered in the shade, and it is dying in the parkway and in the sunny parts of the front yard.
But I don't want to talk about any of that! Today I want to be Scarlet O'Hara, ignoring reality to concentrate on what's still good as we mark a "late-1970's ranch-style home" anniversary...it was five years ago that Philo & I bought this house, got the keys and began the move here, bringing a pile of plants along.We'd spent the previous 5 years living in another part of Austin, in a tall house on a canyon with deer in the front yard, a view, and nearly 100 pots of plants hiding from the deer on the deck. Losing the view was not fun and it would be very different to live with a flat, fenced back yard. That almost-blank slate was pretty exciting, even though the backyard was smaller than the front yard and shaped like a trapezoid. In the photo above you see the original long view across the back of the oddly-shaped back yard. Two pecans grew at the far end and most of the yard was grass. The concrete patio was a rectangle large enough to hold the table & grill.
When you entered at the gate a few medium-sized pink crepe myrtles grew along the left fence and a metal shed held tools and the mower. Nothing terrible, just normal and kind of boring. But what we wanted was something interesting. We wanted to walk out the back door and feel as if we were going Somewhere.
Five years in are we closer to that goal? When we open the gate the white Acoma crepe myrtles have filled in along the fence and reached up to soften the magenta explosion from the next yard:
Look down the long axis today and it's obvious that the pecan trees have grown, that the grass has been turned into mixed borders and that the patio has expanded. Our original view from the breakfast room window was the inside of the old shed - now we look out to watch the fountain add sound and motion to the life-giving water flowing for birds & beasts.Whether you come in the gate or come out from inside the house there's always something to do, something to see, somewhere to go - perhaps to check out a magnolia with edges browning almost as soon as it unfurled, its decrepit beauty still appreciated by a bee.
Maybe I could take a photo of an open flower on the Bauhinia/Orchid tree from my friend Ellen so the image can be used to help identify the species.
I can take back my earlier complaints about partial shade delaying the formation of blue blooms on the Duranta and instead rejoice that the shade gives the plant some relief from the intense sun.
Taking out the trash can be an adventure since it brings me near enough to admire the yellow Plumeria/Frangipani against the blue sky, even while hoping for dark clouds!
I can bend down to pull a few weeds and see the Crocosmia flames and Yarrow sparks at the base of the white Acoma crepe myrtle
Against the back fence a few tomatoes haven't given up - not the sturdy grape tomato 'Juliet', which sets fruit in heat and not the old favorite 'Early Girl'. A couple of 'Carmello's have set and might grow to maturity while the single plant of 'Costoluto Genovese' produces one small fruit every day. That's not shade cloth from a garden store - it's an old cotton curtain bought for a slider door, then used on an interior doorway, now draped over the birdnetting, held up by Philo's homemade wooden tomato scaffold.
At the back of the small plot the volunteer Pattypan makes tiny perfect squashes.
And in the shade under the curtain the tomatoes do their best. As you saw in the last post, I bring them in the second they show any color and put them on the counter, ripening just fine because the kitchen is always at least 80°F. Developing inside is a good idea right now. I've finally caught up with the 2009 events at the Divas of the Dirt blog and am gradually reworking the archives from 2001 to 2008, using the text from the original website with added photos. A new song is in the works, too, but until then, here's the Pond Song I wrote last summer - the 18th and 19th of July are the dates for this year's Austin Pond Society Tour.
2016 – APRIL ANNIE’S GARDEN DAY
1 month ago