Monday, June 30, 2008


So we finally had some rain at our house last night. Right around midnight a thunderstorm rolled in and dumped about a half an inch of rain. Woo-Hoo! My plants were getting REALLY crispy and I was just about to give in and water the hell strip. This June has now officially gone down in the record books as the hottest on record in Austin, and they have been keeping records for a little over 150 years! Here are the stats for June 2008 according to KVUE weather news:

87.4 degree avg temperature - this is an average of BOTH the morning AND evening highs and lows.

99.4 degree avg HIGH temperature

20 days at or above 100 degrees (the average number of 100 degree days for Austin for the entire year is 11)

And Summer just began! Gah. Y'all laugh at me about the name of my blog, but I swear the sun is trying to kill me!

Well, thank goodness for the rain last night, it seems to have perked up my garden a bit.

The rain caused the rain lilies to start blooming. Here is yellow rain lily Zephyranthes citrina :

The first Cantaloupe is starting to swell up:

The Ginormous Turks Cap has begun blooming. This is ONE plant and it will easily be double this size by the end of the summer and reach up above the fence. You can see the scratches on the fence it leaves from the branches blowing in the wind near the end of the summer:

Native Sunflowers (I just LOVE sunflowers):

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly on Pride of Barbados (can you spot him? He is kinda camouflaged):

Leadwort Plumbago:

The Guara has been flowering throughout all the heat and dry conditions although it seemed to be more floriferous today after the rains (and notice the green grass in the background that gets watered by the neighbor's sprinkler - the rest of my grass is turning a nice shade of brown):

Sweet Potato Vine in flower after the rains:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

There are Dragons in My Garden!

This spring I planted some wild Snapdragon Vine (Maurandya antirrhiniflora) from seed. They are supposed to grow to 3 ft or so. Mine aren't that big yet, but they did just start flowering. And they seem to be crazy drought tolerant. I just mulched them today, but they have been growing on bare earth and didn't seem to mind at all. Hopefully now that they are mulched, they will grow a bit faster for me.

This snapdragon vine is a delicate looking thing, but it's flowers are quite pretty. Here is the bloom:

And here are some photos of one of the dragonflies that frequent my garden:

They dart to and fro about the garden catching all those little annoying bugs for lunch. I am sure glad to have these dragon friends around!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pride of Barbados and Yellow Rain Lilies

The Pride of Barbados are so spectacular right now I could not resist posting some more images of them. This plant LOVES the heat and is drought tolerant. I think mine has been watered once all spring. It will freeze back to the ground in the winter, but as long as it is mulched it will come back from the ground in the spring. Mine are actually planted in a fairly sheltered spot, so they never completely freeze back. They stay green and about 6 inches to a foot tall throughout the winter.

Here is a wide shot of the Pride of Barbados:

A shot from the side:

A close-up view:

I also noticed that one of my yellow rain lilies bloomed today. It was dwelling in a flower bed that got a sprinkler shower yesterday - I guess it liked that.

Rain lily bud:

Rain lily flower:

A little closer look at the flower filaments:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bloom Day - June 15th

So it is only June and the summer heat has settled in like it is August. It was 100 degrees AGAIN today. I don't even know how many records we have broken in Austin since May - at least 12, with 11 days at or over 100 degrees and most of the other days have been 98-99 degrees. My garden is acting like it is August. The hummingbird is dive bombing my new fountain, playing in the water and the other birds are crowding at the base of it taking showers and grabbing drinks. Water must be getting scarce out there. My plants are turning crispy and my lawn will be a nice shade of brown in another week or so. But the summer flowers are still a-bloomin'- let's take a look...

The Pride of Barbados looks amazing!

A close-up view of the flower:

The Shrimp Plants seem to be digging the heat:

The Rock Rose are also looking splendiferous:

A closer look:

Agave and purple Salvia Greggi:

Black and Blue Salvia:

Blue Passionflower:

The Turks cap just started blooming:

The first Sunflowers:

Oh! I just bought this nifty blue pot today at Hill Country Water Gardens. I filled it with a Gold Star Esperanza and some Salvia Splendens. The hummingbirds immediately discovered the salvia about 5 minutes after I potted them up:

Blue Dwarf Morning Glories:

Red Coreopsis:


Yellow Lantana and OH! a garden friend:

The 'Hell Strip' out front by the sidewalk that never gets watered has Wright's Skull Cap, Yellow Lantana, Damianita, and Bulbine blooming:

My Fuschia 'Angels Earrings' is holding on. The flowers seem to be getting smaller as the weather gets hotter and hotter, but it is still making a go of it:

And here is a Gulf Fritillary butterfly hanging out on the seed pods of the yellow columbine:

Last, but not least, the desert willow has some pretty fabulous blooms:

Friday, June 13, 2008

I'm Growing Butterflies!

The caterpillars are beginning to take over my garden. The Black Swallowtail caterpillars are munching down on my Parsley:

They use plants from the carrot family as their host plants. These include Carrots, Dill, Parsley, and Fennel. Here is a closer shot of the beautiful stripes on these guys:

Here is a Gulf Fritillary caterpillar:

He is munching down on a passionflower - the host plant of this species. They COMPLETELY defoliated my huge passionvine last year, but the passionflower is adapted to such abuse and came right back from the ground this spring. The caterpillars then spin themselves up in their cocoons and hang themselves all over my house. The chrysalis is light brown and closely resembles a dead leaf. This one is on my porch chair:

Here is a picture of a Queen butterfly on my mist flowers. Boy do they dig the mist flowers! They simply MOB this flower - it is like Queen butterfly Crack!:

The Queen butterfly is related to the Monarch butterfly and like the Monarch, uses Milkweed as its host plant. Some milkweeds contain cardiac glycosides which are stored in the bodies of both the caterpillar and adult. They make them distasteful to birds and other critters that might otherwise think the Queen a nummy snack.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Summer Colors

It is hot and windy outside! The temperature continues to stay in the upper 90's - low 100's and the wind doesn't seem to want to let up! And it is only the beginning of June. I think we are in for one long, hot, summer. My garden is already being overtaken by hot summer colors - yellow, orange, and red are dominating right now. Check it out:

Black-eyed Susan:

Yellow/Orange Cosmos:

A closer look:


Native Lantana:

Mexican Hat:

A few of the Nastursiums are still hanging on:

Squash Blossom:

Scarlet Runner Bean - This one won't set beans until the weather cools down in the Fall, no matter though, I grow it for the fabulous red flowers:

Damianita and OH!, A blue flower! - Wrights Skull Cap:

Big Red Sage - This is a Hill Country Native that was once thought extinct, but thanks to the LadyBird Johnson Wildflower Center it was rediscovered and brought back from the brink. Awesome!:

Here is a blue one - Agapanthus 'Peter Pan':