Thursday, August 16, 2007

Report from the jungle

I just logged on and saw that I haven't posted since the middle of June. I missed July and August's Garden Blogger Bloom Days and, looking out at the garden, it looks like the blog is not the only thing that's been missing some attention.

No excuses really but some explanation: We returned from a three-week trip late Tuesday and much of the month or so prior to the departure was consumed with trip planning and preparation as well as finishing up other (paying) work. So both the blog and the garden were ignored.

We returned from our tour of Germany and the Czech Republic to find the Bermuda grass in the back yard an astonishing three feet tall. That was all I could take in at first but once D. hacked the grass back I could see that in three weeks the garden had gone out of control. Really, truly out of control. Apparently the unusual rains of May, June, and July continued through much of our absence and my failure to cut things back before we left resulted in a mad tangle of foliage.

Yesterday and today I've been trying to make a dent in the mess — pulling out masses of purple heart that has consumed whole areas of the long bed, removing enormous quantities of weeds and encroaching Bermuda grass and a few plants that died, either from too much rain or too much competition from overgrowth surrounding them (the mallow plant in the back bed died before we left and I found that all three of the salvia nemarosas that I planted behind the new agave at the corner of the long bed had also died, shaded out or smothered by the shocking growth of the bamboo muhly behind them).

The rains have continued, starting this morning and continuing on and off all day. The forecast predicts more rain over the next few days (the result of a tropical storm that came ashore in south Texas this morning). More rain, more growth, I suppose.

Right now I look at the garden and I'm not quite sure what to do. My impulse is to rip some things up (the volunteer chile pequin's time has come, I think: It's the size of an overstuffed arm chair, much too large for the place it claimed for itself) and cut most everything else in half. I just want to restore some kind of order, give myself and the plants some breathing space.


Carol said...

What? No before pictures for us? It can be overwhelming, I'm sure. Good luck and keep your pruners sharp!

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Annie in Austin said...

Hi Susan,

It's good to hear from you - that sounds like a wonderful trip!

Even if you'd stayed home you couldn't have saved everything - it's a weird year.


Pam/Digging said...

Welcome back, Susan. I wondered where you'd been off to.

Annie is right. It's been a weird summer in the garden. And I discovered, as you did, that the bamboo muhly---so drought tolerant and suitable for arid locations---happily responds to heavy rain by growing like a weed. I've been pruning mine hard all summer.

M Sinclair Stevens (Austin) said...

I've been back from three weeks in the UK for a month now and I'm just starting to be able to see the garden underneath the overgrowth. What a wonderfully rainy summer it's been. I wish I could have spent more time planting new things rather than dealing with construction mess.