Thursday, August 27, 2015

Peeks of fall

I had some time this week to clean up the garden. I'm happy to see my heat-weary plants with new promises of fall flowers..

Mystic spires salvia staging a comeback

Lantana promising flowers

A new plant I tucked in various (hot, dry) places is Homestead Verbena- and it is putting out beautiful purple flowers.

I also have a few late summer scraggler veggies popping up. I get a cucumber every once in a while (the one below needs to keep growing!), and I was excited to discover my tired old tomato plants putting out a couple of last tomatoes. I pruned the rest of the plant after this picture hoping that the new growth will make a few more over the next month or so.

I trimmed the autumn sage a few weeks ago and it is now putting out new flowers. 

My volunteers in the back enjoyed the rain from last week, too:

Scarlet sage that has spread through my walkway

A small pigeonberry plant

I have many Drummond's ruellias. Their flowers are subtle but they do really well in my dry dry back area! Now if I can move them out of the walkway closer to the fence..

What are not looking good either in my garden or in the neighborhood are the Mexican plum trees . The one below is in front of Fullmore middle school and it has the same ratty yellowing leaves as mine does. I hope it is just seasonal change.

And it just feels too soon to have to rake leaves (which I did today)! My sycamore is starting to drop so I made a giant pile in the driveway.... now bagged in the front.. The pecans are also dropping in my yard and in the neighborhood. They are mostly green still but that just makes them heavier when they land on my head while I'm walking.

The green plant at the top left corner is a crepe myrtle. It had been a large (25 ft tall at least) tree on the neighbor's side but was chopped down during construction of a new house last year. It looks like it is growing back from the roots and also has flower buds on it's tips. What resilience (or stubborness!).

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Looking around

Back to school tomorrow. The calendar I made for summer break is all filled up- no more weeks left. The kids have visited their classrooms, met their teachers, had playdates with school friends. My youngest is starting kindergarten, so it'll be a big day tomorrow.

But that is then- and I'll process it when it comes. I've been working on mindfulness.. and I'd rather reflect on my garden and summer today.

So- after the rain come rain lillies- filling in a dusty spot between a pecan tree and the street.

And I finally slowed down enough to watch this Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia) flit around my passionflower vines for what seemed like an hour..

A giant bumblebee flew off before I got my phone, but a honeybee was happy to crawl around the passion flowers.

The weather hasn't cooled off enough to get fall flowers yet, but my self-seeding zinnias have held strong, attracting butterflies to my front yard all summer long.

And this rock purslane has been chicken resistant so far. I have native (?) purslane volunteering in my gravel driveway and have left it be. I hear it is edible (maybe, maybe not), but also like it's sturdiness in 100 degree heat.

So the garden is good, even with sycamore leaves everywhere (too soon!!) and ratty mulch from scratching hens.

We went to the coast mid-week to spend time with the in-laws. It was fun swimming, walking and fishing. I loved it tonight when my son told me "This has felt like the longest week- it was great." He's become a fisherman, catching and releasing croakers and the occasional lucky red fish. I don't fish, but can appreciate the meditative nature of it. It's about as still as I ever see him get!

And the coastal scrub land is gently fading into fall. Wild beautyberry bushes are full of purple berries, partridge peas are in bloom and the grasses are long and variegated- green starting to turn to red and brown.

I made a "summer bucket list" this year to motivate me into getting outside and enjoying Austin. It's otherwise too easy for me to fall into "busy work mode" and forget what there is to do around here (even though I've lived here since 1980..) Between the kid's camp field trips and our weekend outings I think we did pretty well. I'll list it in chronological order for me to remember next year :)

Deep Eddy Pool (multiple times)
Field Trip- Neuroscience lab (when can I go to summer camp!!)
Field Trip- Thinkery
Field Trip- Austin Zoo
Movie Day- Inside Out
Field Trip-Wonder World
Field Trip- Boggy Creek Farm (not counting my Saturday escapes there for veggies!)
SoCo- Home Slice, Big Top Candy Store, Big Stacy swim (many many swims there)
Bob Bullock Museum
Field Trip- Austin Nature Center
Fourth of July Fireworks at Auditorium Shores
Peter Pan Golf
Hike the green belt and swim while there was still water!
Movie Day- ET at the Paramount theater
Krause Springs (first time there)
Field Trip- Bartholomew Park
Field Trip- Planetarium
Field Trip- Austin Aquarium
Schlitterbahn (always a winner)
Field Trip- Skateland (do all 7-10 year olds end up going there? That was my roller skating hey day, too)
Field Trip-- Faulk Library
Blazer Tag (I'll admit, the air conditioning was a big draw)
Austin Ice Cream Festival
Barton Springs
Movie Day- Pixels
Hopping House
Movie Day- Minions 
Local library many many times- summer = reading time!

That feels full- a good summer I think. I hope everyone else has had a good one, too.