Friday, July 28, 2017


This is never more true than when it comes to gardening. I have lived and gardened in many places around this great country and gardening here is a whole other country, and it's not England!

For one thing, we can garden year round, our best seasons being spring and fall. It's that period from June to October when the heat of summer takes its toll on all our plants that makes us wonder, "Is it worth it?"  How are you are feeling about your garden right now, after these endless 100+° days with a lot more to come? Did someone say 107° tomorrow? And, no rain.

My return from a 4 week vacation was just in time. I have spent the last week both with hose and pruners in hand giving the ground some much needed water and cutting back lots of dead vegetation. Strange how when you leave for 4 weeks there is more than 4 weeks of work to catch up on. That 'Month of Sundays' that my mother used to go on about will not be enough.

The areas above are my sunken garden and vegetable garden. All the plants you see are self sown. This is a particularly good year for the narrow leaf zinnias-I'll never know why because we had several very cold nights this winter. But one of the reasons the plants in these areas do so well in the summer heat is the cool root run they enjoy under thick paving stones. They survived a whole month without water. Mulch is one thing but solid stone is quite another.

Gomphrena 'Fireworks' can also take the cold and heat. It seems to be one of the hardiest of the gomphrenas with the plants surviving winter cold to burst with their 4th of July display just in time for the celebrations. They can be a bit weedy but I'm not going to complain about that. I just cut them back and back they come. They may benefit from some water from the vegetable beds but other than that they get no additional water.

There's not much going on in the vegetable beds right now so I am leaving the Lindheimer senna, Senna lindheimeriana and orange cosmos, Cosmos sulphureus, which seeded there, until fall vegetable planting time.
The blanket flowers just keep on flowering and that is just fine with me and the goldfinches. I particularly like the darker colored ones that appear.

And this surprise yellow one.

But that aside one thing you have to know about summer in Texas is that it is more than worthwhile helping your plants get through the heat because they are sure to give you a fine display during our much anticipated fall. And if you don't want to spend too much on water then collect every drop you can. A bucket in the shower, a bucket under the AC fall out, wash your vegetables into a bowl and water your plants with it. There are lots of times we just let water run down the drain when it could be collected for the garden.


  1. Yep, gardening in Texas is a whole other country, or more likely, planet! Just an hour ago I was thinking about how I lived in two different unair-conditioned houses in Austin. How did I do that? Well, I was young for one thing. But I think it also wasn't as hot in the 70s as it is now. I know you put a lot of work into your garden and it shows!

  2. Look at your garden!! You have more going on, after traipsing around Europe, than I do when I was here, watering and mumbling under my breath.

    This has a been a vicious summer, here. I'm going to rethink a few things, this winter.

    Stay cool....

  3. Good philosophy, Jenny -- and it does all pay off when our beautiful fall weather arrives, which will be here in *only* 2-1/2 months. I'm ready!

  4. Much the same could be said of gardening in SoCal, Jenny, except that you get even more of the intense heat than we do. Despite enjoying a relatively tame summer thus far, there are areas of my own garden I can't pass by right now without thinking I should just tear everything out and start over. But then I remind myself that fall isn't all that far away...After what I'm sure has been an intense clean-up effort, your garden is looking very good for mid-summer!

  5. Your garden looks wonderful compared to mine and I haven't been away. There are some dead spots (or opportunities) where whatever did not make it will be replaced with a plant that did. Gomphrena 'Fireworks' is the best, mine is going on five years. Whether low temps or serious heat and drought it always comes through beautifully. I'm also adding more native muhly grass, yucca, nolina, and cactus.

  6. Your garden looks wonderful. That second photo with the fountain is perfect.

    Gaillardias do wonderfully here also, even though it is a mere 85F. 107F, oh, dear!

    I wash fruits, vegetables, and rice out in the garden so the water benefits plants, not the kitchen sink drain.

  7. Such a gorgeous looking garden! It is impressive what you grow in such heat and with little water! After gardening in the heat and humidity of North Carolina, I learned that it really is all about the right plant in the right location.

  8. Your garden amazes me. So many plants flourish in what looks like so little soil. You're right about water. We waste too much. If we ever move again, I'd like to design a house where the waste water from sinks, shower, washer and dishwasher go to the gardens. Strangely, that's illegal here in New Braunfels. It's required in some arid regions of the country.

  9. Such a beautiful Texas garden. The longer I live here, the more I fall in love with that garden style. You can't even tell you went out of town. You definitely have picked the right plants.

  10. Your garden looks lovely. You can't tell a bit that it has been ignored for 4 weeks!

  11. "To love Texas you need to know Texas" -
    So true, whether TX or NM or ... You're grounded and get it. I'll always remember breakfast and looking at your garden with Dave. I'll be polite and not tell you about our weather, but because you're grounded in your ecology, your garden looks just fine.