June 14th, 2006
Week 24: 6/11-6/17

photo: Texas bluebonnet
2006-06-11. The last bluebonnet of the year.

Dateline: 2006
Austin’s heat wave continues, but it could be worse. It has been worse. In 1998, we hit a record high of 108 degrees on June 14. Today it was a mere 95–a breath of fresh air after yesterday’s 101.

We typically get an average of 4 inches of rain in June, making it one of our rainiest months. So if we Austin gardeners are grumbling and shaking our fists at the sky, we feel completely justified. Looking back over the last eleven years I see I note every shower and thunderstorm, wondering if it will be the last before the heat of real summer sets in. Not to worry. This year misery has already arrived. You northern gardeners can imagine it as the equivalent of an early frost which cuts down your plants in their glory and then is followed by a balmy Indian summer.

When June is a wet and mild month, I find it easy to succumb to the tempations of the nursery and plan and plant. Over the years, I’ve become suspicious of June’s charms and learned to put off any planting until fall. As heat wave 2006 continues, I am only in the garden between 7 and 9 in the morning. Almost all my time is spent watering with little time left for cleaning up seedy plants and dead-heading.

Dateline: 2003
I was surprised to come back from San Francisco to a yard brimming with flowers and a green lawn badly in need of cutting. It must have rained and rained the week we were gone.

photo: June 18, 2003
2003-06-18. Austin, TX.

A lot of spring flowers that I thought were finished, have put out a few more blossoms: larkspur, viola, alyssum, and even a bluebonnet. All the summer flowering shrubs have started: the crape myrtle, the desert willow, the yellow bells, and the Rose of Sharon.

And the roses have put out another spurt of growth. “Caldwell Pink” and ‘Blush Noisette‘ are flowering well. ‘Penelope’, ‘New Dawn’, ‘Souviner de St. Anne’, ‘Heritage’ and ‘Madame Joseph Schwartz’ all have a flower or two. And ‘Ducher’, ‘Prosperity’, ‘Souviner de la Malmaison‘, ‘Peace’, ‘Madame Alfred Carriere‘, and ‘French Lace’ are all in bud.

I’ve spent the week madly mulching to try to conserve some of this precious moisture.

Dateline: 2002
This week has been absolutely gorgeous because we got 1 1/2 inches of rain on Father’s Day (June 16th). The lawn immediately perked up and looked more like a lawn than it has in a long time. The luffa vines put on a couple of feet of growth. The Rose of Sharon, plumbago, and crape myrtles all produced an abundance of flowers. On Wednesday (June 19th), the rainlilies bloomed on schedule (four days after a rain).

Several of the roses are blooming right now. ‘Madame Joseph Schwartz” is having her first full flowering since I planted her last fall. The floribunda ‘French Lace’ is also blooming its heart out. It’s been extremely dependable for me, and although it is but lightly scented, the shape of the flower gorgeous in all stages, from bud to fully open. My ‘Peace’ rose, which is my only hybrid tea, continues to be finicky. Now that it is no longer surrounded by larkspur and bluebonnets it has rewarded me with three pretty flowers.

Dateline: 2000
Tuesday June 13, 2000
How nice to report a week of rain. We had a heavy rain on Sunday June 4, where the high temperature was at noon and the low was at 3PM after the front blew in. We were coming back from the library when we saw the dark clouds rolling in from the west and hurried to empty the truck of the mulch. We spent the rest of the afternoon working on the garden room. It was cooler and overcast all last week. Then some rain on Friday, rain all day on Saturday, and scattered showers yesterday.

I sat in under the oak tree in the meadow and drank my morning coffee. The meadow is covered with pink rain lilies. The self-seeded cleome is in full bloom and there is a scattering of black-eyed Susans and larkspur.

Dateline: 1999
Sunday June 13, 1999
Spend time under the house and in the attic with AJM installing the ADSL lines.

Continue mulching the south border then move to the meadow. Mulch the cosmos and the cleome.

I start to paint the garden room, but then it gets very dark as thunderstorms move in. We get a most delicious rain about 4PM. Of course, the truck is still half-filled with Revitalizer. The temperature drops and by night it is much cooler outside than inside and we open up the windows.

Eggplants: Roast one Neon and 3 Ichiban. The Neon is unparalled for light and delicious taste.

Tuesday June 15, 1999
Cloudy all day and then just as I was getting home at 6PM it begins to pour. Took some video of this with the Elura because the rain was even heavier than on Sunday and it showed the breakwater effect of the Rock Garden Walk very well.

The back lawn is thick and green and mostly grass. In the front where there is lawn, it also looks good, but there are still large sections where the lawn died off last year.

Dateline: 1998
Sunday June 14, 1998
Horribly hot; records broken all through Central Texas. Shortly after 5PM the record of 108 was set , a new record for the date and for the month. Watered everything thoroughly at dawn, but by dusk many of the bluebonnet seedlings have shriveled and all the large-leaved plants are wilted. The latter recover as soon as they are in the shade.

Dateline: 1997
Friday June 13, 1997
This year is very wet.

Sunday June 15, 1997
It rained again last night. We are 9.5 inches over the normal, 15 inches or so this month, about 24 inches this year so far.

Dateline: 1996
Wednesday June 12, 1996
Transplanted the 3 caladiums “White Wing” that sprouted before I left.
Over 50 cosmos have sprouted as a result of last week’s rainfall. I watered them and mulched them with pine bark mulch.

Dateline: 1995
Sunday June 11, 1995
In bed, I tossed and turned. Toward midnight it began lightning. At a quarter ’til one it began raining lightly. I sat in the doorway and watched it awhile. By 1AM it was pouring, and did so for at least fifteen minutes. With the unbearable heat broken, I fell asleep.

When I awoke, it was clear and cool. Everything was drenched and it was much too wet to work in the yard. I’m glad I got some manure on the back lawn before it rained.

Monday June 12, 1995
Mow the front lawn at 4.0. I’m amazed that I haven’t had to water the lawns yet this year.

I’ve noticed that the sunlight is dappled in the woods. The woods are quite light most of the day. In contrast, in the area west of the meadow, the shade is very dark. Trying to figure out what will grow in two hours of intense sunlight and eight hours of dark shade is challenging.

I put more mulch on the caladiums which seem to be growing very well.

by M Sinclair Stevens

3 Responses to post “Week 24: 6/11-6/17”

  1. From Simone Hart:

    I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this website. The information and photos (charming) were very helpful.

    I have lived in Austin for 20 years and last year purchased an older home. Both the front and back gardens were in very bad shape – but that was it’s charm. I am still in the process of trying to landscape, which is going to take quite some time. I saw several plants that I intend to use in the future.

    This year was my first venture into roses at this house – 15 of them. They will need to go into raised beds, as the tree roots leave very little soil in the spot they are in. I recently had spine surgery so this project will have to wait until my father visits from France in the Fall. I have Don Juan, Sombreil, Rouge Royale and Souvenier de mal Maison.

    Thank you again for the site.


    Simone Har.

  2. From Annie in Austin:

    M., when I see your meticulous notes I vow to do better with record keeping, but haven’t reformed yet. In the meantime, I checked my sent email, since my sisters and friends get notes that either brag or whine about the weather. They are getting all whines right now, but I noted 5 inches of rain in the days preceding June 11, 2004.

    If you and Simone keep using those lovely French rose names, I will just have to get one, rain or no rain!!

    Ah, Annie. This is just the tip of iceberg as far as my notes go. I was once considered a “documentation professional”. One problem is that I have too many different methods of tracking information. When I start a new system (like this blog), then I have to reorganize all the old systems. Good notes are a must. History provides context, reminds of our early hopes, our trials, and our errors. I’m surprised both by my successes and the number times I go down the same wrong path and hit the same dead end. When I track patterns through the years, my curiousity is piqued. “What will happen next?” — mss

  3. From M2 (Austin):

    We have found someone who looks like he may do the maintainance and installation we were hoping for. Mulching! Weeding!

    When we told our neighbors with the pretty yard that ours might be getting better soon, the wife said in all innocence, “Have you thought about a non-living yard?” We said we’d been steadily approaching that goal for years. She said, “No, no! I mean like rocks! And you know they make some real nice bark that doesn’t float away.”

    And her husband, who knows when she’s being funny even when she doesn’t, laughed and said in his marvelous Texas drawl, “And let’s talk see-ment!”

    Everytime I lay down more mulch, I wonder if you guys got around to mulching that area I we talked about. As I’m watering the established plants, I think, “This is why you don’t plant new plants in the spring.” As I tend to the varying needs of my garden, I’m evaluating each, “Is this a good plant for non-gardeners? Can it look good on its own without too much fussing over.” Your garden is in my thoughts. Conclusion. Too bad Texas mountain laurel doesn’t have a ground cover cousin. — mss