October 29th, 2007
Week 43: 10/22 – 10/28

2007-10-24. Lost Maples. No fall color yet in the trees here or at home. However, the colors of the grasses and sky epitomize the Central Texas autumn palette. It’s not all cactus in Texas.

Dateline: 2010

The weather remains unseasonably hot, high 80s and into the 90s. Normal for this time of year is high 70s. It remains very dry. Anywhere I water, seeds sprout. Only the false dayflowers and the baby blue eyes put in much of an appearance. On the one hand this is good because I can get ahead of the self sown seeds and sow my saved seeds instead.

The white boneset is in full bloom and the flowers attract bees and small butterflies so that the bush looks animated. The rose ‘Red Cascade’ finally put a cane over the fence (it prefers to creep on the ground) and is blooming just as I pictured it years ago.

I’ve mowed back the ruellia and horseherb. I beginning to see the bones of the garden again and this makes me all excited about building new beds and planting.

Dateline: 2007

I haven’t updated my Week by Week in the Garden for almost six weeks primarily because nothing much has happened lately. The weather dried out by the second week of September and Austin has been left hot and dry. The blue skies have been great but the temperatures were above normal and the garden soon got a dusty, withered look; my allergies are acting up. The cedar elms have not yet turned color and dropped their leaves. The self-sown overwintering annuals haven’t sprouted. (This time last year I was digging up scores of bluebonnet seedlings to share with my neighborhood elementary school.) Finally Monday (10/22) a cold front came through, a blessed rain fell, and autumn arrived in Central Texas. The high temperatures dropped from the mid-90s of the previous week to the mid-70s. I could barely refrain from dancing a little jig and must confess that once or twice I burst into song.

This has been the perfect week to be working hard in the garden. Morning temperatures make me want to snuggle under a blanket but as soon as I’m out digging in the garden I feel great. Everything perked up with the rain and it is so much easier to prepare the beds for fall and turn the compost piles. AJM’s mother is visiting from England and almost every day we’ve visited some nursery where she always insists on buying me something. She’s bought me strawberry plants at Gardens, a pomegranate at The Great Outdoors, maiden grass at Barton Springs Nursery, and pinks and wintergreen at The Natural Gardener.

AJM took off work on our anniversary and the three of us drove to Lost Maples. Unfortunately, none of the trees had changed color but we were all excited to see some longhorn steer and a herd of bison on the drive out.

Dateline: 2006

Antigonon leptopus
2006-10-26. Fall colors are a bit different in the south…Antigonon leptopus (coral vine) and glossy abelia twine together in a natural bouquet.

The week began quite chilly with lows in the 40s, but sunny, making Sunday (10/22) perfect weather for Austin’s first ever Rolling Stones concert. AJM baked a pot roast in our new oven and I built a fire.

As I write this (10/25) a luxurious, drizzly rain has been falling all afternoon. This is the kind of rain Austin needs–a rain that will soak into our hard-as-rock clay and recharge the aquifer instead of running off the surface and causing massive flooding. The high today was 70F. Tomorrow it will be 87F and then another cold front should sweep in after heavy thunderstorms dropping temperatures back to 70F.

More of the cosmos I planted in September have started flowering. The plants are only about 20 inches tall. The St. Augustine grass is starting to fill in but the lawn (if I can be so arrogant as to call it that) still has plenty of bare patches. The basil looks like its on steroids and the rosemary is flowering! It flowers only in the winter for me probably because it gets more sun this time of year.

Overall the garden looks green right now with few flowers. The four o’clocks, the oleander, the coral vine (Antigonon leptopus) and the hyacinth bean vine are also flowering, but nothing showy. I still haven’t done anything in the garden this month; however, tomorrow I’ll try to dig up some bluebonnet seedlings that I’m donating to Becker Elementary School.

First flower: Aster ericoides (10/23).

Dateline: 2002
October 27, 2002
This is the first day in ten that it isn’t raining. We’ve had more than 5 inches.

Dateline: 1999
October 30, 1999
It rains! Our first really good rain since July 20? It is a slow steady rain for several hours, from the time we leave for CM at 9AM to after lunch. We got over an inch of rain.

Dateline: 1997
October 27, 1997
The first real cold front. Yesterday the low was 69F and today the high was supposed to be 65F.

Dateline: 1996
October 26, 1996
The weather has been warm and heavy. Thunderstorms threaten. It drizzles on and off, but it never rains enough to do any good.

Dateline: 1995
Monday October 23, 1995
When I went to bed last night with the windows open, I could feel the change in the weather blown in by a moist southeasterly wind. I can’t remember the last time I smelled moisture in the air. This morning wet, black clouds rolled low over the city. Very nice. In some places it drizzled. At lunch the wind change and cold weather blew in from the north.

October 28, 1995
It’s been twenty days since we’ve mowed. The weather has been so dry that the grass is dormant–half brown and half hay green.

by M Sinclair Stevens

13 Responses to post “Week 43: 10/22 – 10/28”

  1. From Kathy (New York):

    At least you get rosemary to bloom. I’m lucky if I can get it to winter over in a pot in the house. And while your lows have been in the 40s, that’s where our highs have been. It’s a whole ‘nother world down there.

  2. From Annie in Austin:

    You were listening to the Rolling Stones from your own garden? Yet another advantage of living in central Austin, although your milder winters are even better. We get winter every year, but this is the only time Mick has come to Austin. We’ve seen the Stones on the IMax Screen in Chicago, but never in person.

    In my neighborhood we’ve had an inch and 3/4 of that ‘luxurious, drizzly rain’ as of ten AM Thursday morning. My coral vine hasn’t done a darn thing but stay alive so far, and most of the color is coming from herb-things like salvias and Mexican mint marigold. The duranta is once again all budded, so that should look very cool soon. What’s happening with yours.


  3. From ShellyB:

    I think this is one of the lovelier pictures you have taken. Maybe it takes an Austinite to appreciate the juxtaposition, but it is perfect for this time of year.

    And thanks for the vent hood advice – we will check them out. Looks like your project is going well!

  4. From r sorrell (Austin):

    The weather we’ve had lately has done wonders for all of our plants, even though I haven’t done much yard work. The oxblood lilies seem happy- I’ve spotted them around the garden in groups of three.

    My husband and I went to the Stones show. I was impressed.

  5. From Pam/Digging (Austin):

    Well, at least you can say you’ve heard the Stones live.

  6. From Steve Mudge (Fort Worth):

    We tried to go to North Padre Island last week but the high winds from the front had driven the ocean over the beach road so we, almost, went to Lost Maples, but decided instead on Pedernales Falls–wow what a beautiful time to be there! We’ve got pictures just like yours of the Hill Country. Couldn’t believe how high the flood waters had gotten there last spring–the Bald Cypress had flood debris 30 feet up in their branches(I’m guessing from the same storm that hit Marble Falls?). Finally got to see Austin too–nice place you got there!

    Next time you plan to be in Austin let us know. I still have some oxblood lilies on hold for you. They’re in full leaf now so I’m not going to try to send them until next summer when they go dormant. — mss

  7. From M2:

    As always, I love your pictures. This time, especially, though, I loved the time parallels with previous years. Just goes to show not to expect ANYTHING because of what time of year it is!

    BTW, if you ever get the chance, please tell Annie I have no luck commenting on her blog, but that I read and enjoy it. 🙁

    At least not in Austin. Every year is different. I’m trying to develop a new strategy for garden planning. — mss

  8. From Annie in Austin:

    Hello MSS – it sounds as if you’re having a great time, getting out to Lost Maples and your favorite nurseries – and you’ve joined the pomegranate club! [Pam, RSorrell and I also have them.] We’re also enjoying the cooler air, but our rainfall was just a fraction of what you had.

    M2 – Thank you – I read and enjoy your blog but don’t comment much either! So many people were having trouble with the capchas that I went to comment moderation with no letter recognition.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    I wish that the label had provided more information about the pomegranate. I’m worried that it might be ornamental and not provide good edible fruit someday. — mss

  9. From Yolanda Elizabet:

    It’s amusing isn’t it, how our outlook is so different as far as weather is concerned. Here we long for warm sunny days and you are yearning for cooler ones and, if at all possible, some rain too. We, on the other hand, are happy with every day it doesn’t rain.

    Strawberries are always good to have and I envy you your new pomegranate, it would never grow here unfortunately.

    That’s what I love about garden blogging; gardeners have certain rituals and give certain advice that seems universal, but is really very specific to place. Today I enjoyed your “not cleaning up for fall” post at Bliss. Here at Zanthan Gardens, I’m cleaning up, but not putting the garden to bed for winter. Just the opposite. I’m cleaning up so I can busily plant, plant, plant. Fall is our season for it and this is the one time of year that it is truly pleasant to be outside working hard. — mss PS. Don’t be too envious of the pomegranate–you’ve got grapes and berries!

  10. From Pam/Digging:

    Regarding YE’s comment above, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to find that the warm temps she longs for and the cool temps we Austinites long for are one and the same. Just a different perspective on what warm and cool mean.

    Your Lost Maples photo, even without bright maple leaves, is very pretty.

    I think you’re right. My favorite weather is a sunny day following a late night thunderstorm when the mid-afternoon temperatures reach 76F/24C degrees. That’s a hot summer day in England. — mss

  11. From Angelina:

    I also envy you the pomegranate. I can grow them here but the fruit won’t ripen. But I’ll take the cooler climates of my region over the poms.

    I’m glad you’re out there gardening-when not doing all that nursery hopping. That is one of my favorite activities-visiting nurseries with other gardeners.

  12. From Steve Mudge(Fort Worth):

    Thank-you MSS! I’ll let you know.

  13. From Diana Kirby:

    I wish I had your motivation! I’m wiped out these days and just can’t get into the mood. Maybe next week! I loved your grasses picture — I wanted one with my post last week about grasses, but couldn’t get one on the busy road where I was enjoying them blowing in the breeze. Sounds like you have a big project planned — keep us posted!

    Well, having Margaret here was very motivating. Now that she’s gone I’ve hit a bit of a slump. I have so much to do, though, so much that has been neglected that I have to keep at it while we have the nice weather. I’m assuming that November weather will eventually kick in; low gray clouds and temps in the 40s. — mss