Rhodophiala bifida oxblood lily
Gratuitous photo of oxblood lilies because it’s that time of year.

September 30th, 2008
Garden Clogs

The one time my mother was able to visit me here at Zanthan Gardens, she wanted to buy me a present for the garden. Together we picked out some garden clogs from the Muck Boot Co. I liked them very much and wore them for six years until they cracked. When I went to buy some more, I couldn’t find them in Austin. I would have tried to buy them online but I couldn’t remember the size and I seemed to remember that it was larger than my street shoe size. I looked in the shoes, but if the size had been printed there it was worn. So, I gave up my quest for new garden clogs

AJM kept nagging me (in the friendliest, most loving and concerned way, of course) to get some new shoes. One day we saw some Crocs on sale at the Whole Earth Provision Co. They fit and were only $9.99 so I bought them. Problem solved.

Crocs are not garden clogs

Not. The Crocs are completely unsuitable for gardening. I’m not sure how that nail missed going through my heel; I’m just thankful it did. It went through the side of the shoe. And when Vertie and I went to get recycled glass mulch, I knew I’d made a mistake wearing them.

AJM continued to gently remind me that I needed to buy some new and appropriate garden shoes.

So when Kathy @ Cold Climate Gardening tweeted that Lee Valley was having a “no shipping charge” sale for four short days, I decided to see if they had any garden clogs. I had consulted with Carol @ May Dreams Gardens. She has Muck Boots, too. In the end, I just bought a pair that looked most like the ones I had.

Crocs are not garden clogs

These new Bogs are certainly sturdy shoes with a wonderful gripping sole. The label promises that they are “warm, comfortable, and waterproof”. I tried them on and they do feel warm and comfortable. I’m not sure that when it’s still in the 90s that warm is a good thing. However, they are also embedded with the “Aegis Microbe Shield™” to protect against “odor, staining, and deterioration”. Maybe that will guard against my sweaty feet.

oxblood lilies

September 10th, 2008
Fall Reds: Oxblood Lilies

“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower. — Albert Camus” I saw this quote the other day on Brocante Home Chronicles and thought…not in Austin. Central Texas isn’t blessed with the brilliant fall foliage of the American northeast or Japan. It is, in fact, our flowers that suddenly burst into bloom, released from the oppressive heat and searing sun of summer.

At Zanthan Gardens it is oxblood lilies that reign supreme announcing fall is here. They begin to nose up in late August, regardless of the amount of rain or the temperatures. They require only water to bring them into bloom. Three jumped the gun and bloomed while I was in the UK as the result of the rain Austin got in mid-August (when I was gone). I decided to force other groups into bloom one at a time by watering them by hand.

oxblood lilies

Oxblood lilies are at their most impressive when hurricane rains bring the whole lot into bloom at once. (Another of their common names is hurricane lily.) Hurricane Ike is headed our way and should arrive this weekend. I always feel guilty wishing on a hurricane that is bringing death and misery to so many. Maybe in all that destruction a drop of beauty is bitter compensation. But I can’t help but hope for rain.

oxblood lilies

I often tempted into the mistake of taking too many close-ups of oxblood lilies. Their real impact is in how they provide a mass of color. For central Texans, they are like northerner’s daffodils of spring. I find it fascinating how they tend to point in the same direction like little soldiers in red coats standing at attention.