July 22nd, 2007
Week 29: 7/16 – 7/22

Zanthan Gardens July 22, 2007
2007-07-22. There’s some yucca under all that monster vine, Pandorea ricasoliana. I haven’t started to weeding the meadow and I wonder if any of the buffalo grass has survived. The monkey grass is back and blooming.

Dateline: 2007
I planned to take a photo of my fingernails (long, clean, and even) before I got back to sticking my hands in the dirt but…

The garden remains strangely green for July in Austin. A lot of the green is weeds which I’m trying to deal with in an orderly fashion by focusing on one bed a day rather than running around in a panic.

Crape myrtle and some roses continue to bloom. There’s a lot of rot and mold in the garden, too. Rather than fresh and green everything smells sodden and musty. My salvia (indigo spires) up and died after 12 years of spreading itself around the stump garden. It had always been such a trouble-free plant, sprawling and layering itself to make baby plants. Many irises are rotting away.

I’ve mowed the lawn three times since I returned from England a week ago. After my three week absence the grass was over a foot tall and I worried about it going into shock even though I set the mower at the highest setting. However, I have a reel push mower and it’s very difficult to cut St. Augustine grass with it as the blades of grass grow in all angles rather than straight up. So I made one pass which left a lot of tall grass standing, then another a couple of days later, and my final pass today. I think I can report that it’s back to normal now.

(Aside: AJM reported that the grass was “about 4 inches” tall. He’s the only man I know who would estimate a 12 inches as four. Most men get it mixed up the other way around.)

The freakish rain continued this week. In addition to almost daily showers it rained hard on Wednesday and hard and long on Friday and then hard again early Saturday morning.

Rainfall totals graphic exaggerates
Although we’ve gotten almost double our normal rainfall this year, we haven’t gotten quite as much as Austin newspaper’s graphic would lead you to believe. Those are the normal and 2007 year-to-date totals in inches, NOT the total rainfall received in July 2007.

First flower: cypress vine (7/22). The rose ‘French Lace’ is blooming for the first time in two years. I’m not sure of the date because it had flowers when I returned.

Dateline: 2006
This time of year the garden has descended into torpor. There is only one topic of garden talk in Austin…weather. How hot is it and will it rain?

Sunday (7/16) 101. Monday (7/17) 103. Tuesday (7/18) 100. Wednesday we wake up to an unusual sight, dark clouds on the eastern horizon. They bring no rain but they do keep the sun off us most of the morning which is pleasant. Thursday and Friday tall cumulus clouds demonstrate that the high pressure system making us miserable at the beginning of the week has moved off.

Saturday afternoon, as we are coming home from Central Market the thermostat on the car reads 109. However at one intersection the bank clock says it’s only 105 and across the street the pharmacy reads an optimistic 101. The we see rain clouds to the northwest. Rain is pouring down on some lucky folks. The clouds skirt the downtown Austin heat sink and Zanthan Gardens remains bone dry.

by M Sinclair Stevens

2 Responses to post “Week 29: 7/16 – 7/22”

  1. From Carol (Indiana):

    “What a difference a year makes”. I can just imagine your garden, the way you’ve described it. That’s too bad that some plants have “drowned”, after years of being there.

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  2. From Annie in Austin:

    Wow – Indigo Spires is one of the plants we can count on… I’ve lost a few plants, too, but the Salvia guaranitica looks okay so far.

    Last weekend our radio garden gurus were advising people to get some foliar feed on the plants if they could, saying even grass is turning yellow from lack of nitrogen. I followed the advice, and hope that it could be taken up by the plants in 12 hours – that’s how long a dry spell we had before the rain poured down.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose