Friday, May 04, 2007

Spring showers etc.

A winecup in this morning's soft rain

The garden came through Wednesday night's wild thunderstorms mostly unscathed, although the Old Blush rose suffered some minor injuries from a medium-sized branch that plummeted from a great height out of the neighbor's pecan tree. Fortunately it landed tip down and stabbed straight through the rose bush without inflicting serious damage. Those pecan trees, with their long, supple branches, both frighten and fascinate me in high winds. I watch them from the new porch or through the sitting room windows and their branches twist and turn in a thunderstorm as if a giant, invisible eggbeater was churning through them. In addition to the one pecan branch in our back yard, branches were down all over the neighborhood. No whole trees uprooted as a result of this most recent storm, though, at least none I saw.

The last couple of weeks of April and now the first few days of May have been remarkably wet and, until recently, cool. According to the National Weather Service we had at least a trace of rain on 15 out of 30 days in April (16 at the weather station at Bergstrom, which is closest to us, and 14 at the station at Camp Mabry). And we've already had nearly an inch and a half of rain in the first three days of May! But the temperatures have been rising these last couple of days and soon enough it will truly be summer.

With the roses mostly past their first flush of bloom, the garden has changed in the last two weeks. Maggie is still covered in blooms but Old Blush and Climbing Pinkie are resting. I expect them both to bloom again unless it gets too hot in the next few weeks. The new Cecille Brunner in a pot is covered in a new round of buds but that may be because it's so recently planted (or maybe it just blooms later; I guess I won't know until next year).

This week my new winecups (Callirhoe involucrata) started blooming. I'm quite pleased to have winecups back in the garden, even if they are the creeping rather than the standing variety (the kind I've had before, with the same flowers but held up on long rigid upright stems instead of on viney stems, is Callirhoe digitata). I'm liking the way they look in front of the agave parryii. That magenta is one of my favorite garden colors.

Also starting to bloom are the cleome, the dark blue plumbago, and the zexmenia. Even the sadly mistreated California poppies have produced a few flowers. The transplanted Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) seems to have fully recovered from the shock of being moved and is sending out new leaves at a fast clip (so much for the idea that PoBs are impossible to move; I've got several other seedlings that I may try to move in the fall). Although the various Salvia greggiis are past their first big bloom cycle, the Salvia guaranitica "Black and Blue" is about to bloom as is the Salvia "Anthony Parker" (strangely, since it's usually a fall bloomer; the two Mexican bush sages (Salvia leucantha), also fall bloomers, are sending up a few bloom stalks as well). All three of the cedar sages (Salvia roemariana), the transplanted one and the two new ones, are covered in blooms. And I discovered one large and two or three small seedlings behind the globe mallow. I'll move them as soon as the ground dries out a bit.


Dawn said...


I love the way the delicate winecups in front of your agave parryii; especially with the limestone surrounding the agave. You have a good eye for design.

Why did you get rid of your upright winecup? I have the creeping sort here and am happy that I haven't killed it yet. Hopefully it's tough enough to live despite my inexperience. ;-)


Anonymous said...


I saw your photo in the Statesman today. I never knew you had such a passion and talent for gardening. Simply beautiful.


Yolanda Elizabet said...

I think that we have been swapping the weather. You got the wet side of the deal and I the warm and sunny one. It should be the other way round of course, but I'm not complaining. :-) Next week a lot of rain is forecast over here, so you'll be safe then.

Love the name winecup and what a vibrant colour it has!

Pam/Digging said...

The new winecup looks delicious next to your small agave. Great selection, Susan.

Annie in Austin said...

Your combination of Agave, large rectangular stones and the Calliroe is extremely pleasing, Susan - I love magenta as an accent.

Maybe our two pecans also look as if a "giant, invisible eggbeater was churning through them", but that effect would be more visible to our 2-story neighbor than to us, thank heavens.

I'm glad Old Blush is okay.
Since we Austin garden bloggers have actually seen your roses, and smelled their fragrance, having them nearly smashed by a branch now seems personal!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Susan said...

Thanks for all the nice comments about my agave/winecup pairing.

Dawn — I don't remember exactly what happened to the standing winecups. Maybe they're just short-lived? I know I wouldn't have gotten rid of them deliberately so they must have died. They lived and were happy for a number of years, though, maybe five or six years?

Yolanda — Winecups are my favorite Texas wildflower. When I see a patch by the side of the road (a fairly rare occurence; they're not that common) I often have to pull over and take a close-up look.

Annie — It's interesting, isn't it, how your connection to a garden changes after you've spent a few minutes in it? I was similarly glad to see that your yellow oleander was blooming. I hope the extra sun doesn't stunt its blooms.

Hey Allan — I wasn't sure you were still in Austin (I suppose you might have moved away and still be reading the AAS on-line). I guess my start as a gardener must have happened after I last saw you. You'll have to come by and see the garden (and us) some time.