Monday, September 2, 2013


7,000 miles and 7 weeks away. What goes on in the garden?

You can bet that there will be some good things and some bad things waiting for me after being gone for so long. For the last 8 hours of our summer trip I begin to get that nervous feeling in my stomach. It happens every year and somehow I soon get over the first shock of seeing a Texas garden left to the elements for nearly two months.

My first glance is at the side entrance. The potted plants which normally live in the back garden were moved into this more shady location for their summer vacation. I was hoping they would receive  the gift of a summer shower and they did. It was the only rain the garden was to receive during our absence; .3" perfect for cactus and succulents.

My indoor plants benefitted from a summer vacation too, but they were on a drip system.
That same rainfall prompted a couple of cactus to bloom. How can you not smile when you see the sunny yellow blooms.

Texas fish hook cactus

Balloon cactus 
But there were a few bad things. The first made itself evident to me when I walked outside the next morning. He was right there on the pathway not 4' in front of me. I see he has his eye on me and that rattle is at the ready.

I rushed into the house to get my camera and he obliged by remaining there. I got in touch with my neighbor and my gardening friends and I quickly got the message that we needed to deal with this. It was going to be very dangerous to try to garden if he was still around. Unable to raise anyone over the weekend David decided to go though the garden and check any place he might hide. That included under our decksteps. No sign of him. Maybe he just comes in at night. I would say he feasted on all our lizards as I haven't seen one since our return and they are normally running around all over the place. Let's hope he took care of any cotton rats and mice.
Snakes are out there I know. I have seen garters, smooth greens, rat snakes, hog-nosed snakes and the colorful coral snake. Never a rattle snake before although I recalled afterwards that earlier in the year  found a shed snakeskin. He's probably been around for a while. I shall be more careful in future.

Maybe the next happening was for the best in the long run. I had left one of our umbrellas up in the English garden. The wind must have picked it up and brought the table crashing down with it. This is what is known as experience....... When you make the same mistake twice! The same thing happened about 4 years ago when we had to replace the table. This time we decided it was time to replace the whole set. It had been an inexpensive set and the chairs were very rusted. I knew it was going to take me ages to find a replacement that I liked but as luck would have it a trip to the grocery store made the whole process easy. Four chairs and a table and on sale too.

David refurbished the umbrella, which I had bought for $2 at a garage sale, to complete the set.

Now begins the task of weeding, hacking back and removal. I made a start in the corner where the water garden is situated. The level was down 1' despite my having fed a drip line from the 110 gal. water tanks. They were empty. The vegetable garden is a priority as the fall planting season will soon be upon us.


  1. Welcome back, oh that rattlesnake is not a nice welcome home. Perhaps he got the message to move on.

    I like your new table grouping, it's a nice update. It's still hot here so take it easy bringing the garden back.

  2. Your garden looks amazing. The rains must have been timed just right. I bet you missed the place a lot though. It's so pretty.
    The snake, well--blech!
    I hope you find him before he finds you.
    Love the cheery yellow flowers. And sorry about the table. What a mess.

  3. Seven weeks without a garden to care for or worry about -- nice break! Keep us posted about the rattler, as that would make me nervous indeed!

  4. I would say that I'm surprised by your visitor, but I'm really not...I am surprised, however, that I haven't had any snakes in my yard (or rather, I guess I have - I just haven't been the one to see them).

  5. I hope the snake goes back to wherever he came from now that you're home. Is there a rattlesnake wrangler in the neighborhood? Maybe you need a visit from a mongoose or an eagle.

  6. Seven weeks away and your garden looks amazing! What a test of the garden (mine wouldn't look so good). I grew up with rattlesnakes and never could walk through tall grass without a bit of terror. I can't imagine gardening with them near by, good luck!

  7. I have adopted my friend Esther's technique for dealing with rattlers. She has shovels dispersed around her property and when she sees a rattler, she has a handy weapon. It has worked for me. She also said she has tried wasp spray (a lot) on a snake that was hanging from the rafters of an old shed. Ugh.

    Having been bitten by a rattler once(luckily no ill effects) I am very wary.

  8. Well my garden envy continues. 7 weeks away and I swear with the exception of the broken glass, your spaces look in better shape than the ones I've been wrestling with all summer long!

    I haven't seen a rattler around our property (yet) but earlier this summer a very long coral snake was spotted moving under a very leafy-mulched area on one side of our house. I'm not nearly as freaked out by corals as rattlers but it was still startling to have such a large one show up out of the blue that way. Trowels crossed "your" snake will vacate your garden now you are back and are going to be hustling and bustling about.

  9. AAAHHHHH a rattler? Yikes! Yes, we all know they are there but to see him- I would have been so scared!!!!

  10. That table trick is familiar to me as well. My umbrellas always seem to be up when the high winds blow through. I switched over to a metal table by the pool years ago. It's just too risky with our crazy weather. You're garden seems to have managed fairly well. Do you think it's due an appropriate plant selection for this area or a good drip system?

  11. Ah, coming home after a summer absence is always scary in central Texas. A rattler just makes it that much more exciting, right?

  12. Great pic of the rattler, but I'm rather glad I am thousands of miles away from that kind of thing! Do take care in the garden, love the cacti!