Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Frickin' August

I am not a huge fan of August when all is said and done.  June I adore, July is a personal favorite, but at about this time every year the promise of summer has faded as the garden offers little more than heat and drudgery.
There's a path in here somewhere
There is supplemental hand watering if you are still fascinated enough with some specimen to work hard to keep it alive.  Past that there is weeding.  A whole lot of weeding.   Especially if like me, you periodically turn a blind eye to weedy spots.

Such procrastination is dangerous.  Bermuda grass can sense my disregard and whenever left to its own devices hops right to making legions of baby weed producing seed heads.  Don't even get me started on the bindweed.  It seems everything that is not busy dying is busy overgrowing its bounds.

Rather than fall hapless victim to a growing sense of fatigue exacerbated by afternoon heat and Sisyphean chores, I decided the other day to make a list of what I am happy about in my garden beds.  I figure a different perspective may provide the extra little shove I need to keep from disgustedly throwing in the trowel for the season.

So, to follow, in no particular order, what I am fond of in my August garden.
1)  New hardscape elements
I am fortunate to have a late summer birthday in that it provides me with the opportunity to ask for gifts such as a new bench, or bird bath.  I am even more fortunate to be spoiled by The Hub who surprised me with both my requests this year.  A past example is the sundial given me by my Mom over two decades ago.

That is what is wonderful about things versus plants, especially in frickin' August.  Things don't need to be watered, weeded and best yet, they do not die.

2)  Goals reached

I've wanted to grow sunflowers as a returning element close to our major bird feeder each year.  I had several come up and develop good sized blooms but the squirrels kept gnawing the bloom heads from the stems and running off with them leaving little trails of petals in their wake.

Despite that?  I did manage to get one good sized seed head matured.  It matters not how long it has taken me to get to this point.   I prevailed by gum and I'm going to call it and relish it as a VICTORY!
3)  Welcomed visitors

I have been fretting about not seeing very many anoles this year and I've hardly seen any bees.  When I do spot a specimen of either it is exciting, both note and photo worthy.

Where's Waldo?  Double click and see how fast you spot the anole in the vines.  
After bees and anoles, my other most desired visitors are of the flutterby variety, and recently this guy, an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio-glaucus) brought me an hour or so of sheer pleasure as I watched him waft around the lantana.
Hello, gorgeous!

4)  Repeaters

Every year I enjoy the bounty of vigorous reseeders of the non-weedy variety.  Cosmos and Tropical Salvia are two of my favorites, and I can't imagine gardening without these surprise repeaters spontaneously adding their pops of August-resistant color.

Last but not least?

5)  Surprise bloomers

I put garlic chives in what I consider my "kitchen" garden, which is not so much a bed as a collection of plants intended to provide culinary support.  It was a complete delight and a bit of a surprise to see the wonderful blooms they develop.

The best part of making a list of the upside of August in my garden?  It was one late summer task I set myself that turned out to be more gift than challenge.

Despite the heat, despite the weeds, despite the preponderance of seemingly endless and thankless tasks?  As it turns out, my garden is indeed a constant source of delight and wonder.

Even in frickin' August.


Linda/patchwork said...

Your garden looks great. August is a challenge for gardeners...for anybody, really. But, we keep on going.
We're just trying to keep things alive here.
The anole photo is terrific!! And, I'm jealous that your coral vine is doing so much better than mine.

Cat said...

I love the glimpses into your garden. August is the home stretch for sure. September is just around the corner!

I'm jealous of the coral vine too. Apparently drought resistant doesn't mean drought proof. I just realized after the rains (when the vine perked up) that my irrigation doesn't reach the vine. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll get some flowers before the end of the season now that I'm on to the solution of the problem.

Tina said...

There are lovely things in your garden and I'm glad you shared. I've had more bee and anole visitors this summer than last, but not as many as in previous years. So sorry about the coral vine. This time of year should begin its more serious bloom time--mine has bloomed well this summer. Could yours be in too much sun?

TexasDeb said...

Linda - Cat - Tina: thank you for dropping in and thanks for commenting. I appreciate it.

Linda/Cat - My coral vine gets watered regularly and to answer Tina's question the problem with lush vines and so few blooms isn't sun. It's me. I kept pruning to keep it contained this year and I sacrificed blooms in the process. I'm still deciding if I think it is a fair trade.

Joan @ Debt of Gratitude said...

I wish I had your patience and stamina. I'm just so darn lazy, especially when it comes to weeding. I don't have a real garden, just some beds that look terrible right now. By the way, we have lost two mature holly bushes this year and can't figure out why. Since they were trimmed into a hedgerow, pulling them out will really look bad. Of course, so do dead hollys among the green ones.

PS: Is it hollies or hollys?

TexasDeb said...

Joan: Thanks for dropping in!

I am pretty sure it is hollies as plural but I'd look that up before putting any money down. And while I realize it is probably against protocol to refute a commenter, I am going on the record to state you may be many things, but lazy? I'm not buying that for a moment.

Every hedgerow or equivalent established here when we moved in over 20 years ago has lost key members. We go for a more freestanding mix with our replacement efforts. It's simply easier to accommodate the predictable casualties without the requirement for uniformity.