July 5, 2011

Where Do You Go From Exceptional?



It's July 5 and most of the state of Texas is experiencing drought conditions.  In fact, most of the state is experiencing 'exceptional' drought.  I'm just wondering where do we go from exceptional?

It's a little early for me to start pining for the slightly cooler temps of September but I find myself looking for signs.  It's almost instinctive after so many seasons in Texas.  You experience dozens of 100 degree days and you naturally start thinking you're nearing the end of them and that fall must be around the corner.  Not so.

The butterflies have been noticeably absent this summer although there are plenty of drought tolerant nectar and host sources.  I miss them.



On a positive note, there are a few new visitors to my garden.

You know you're a wildlife geek when the the Bobwhite quail couple that has been nesting nearby has a slew of babies and you can't pull yourself away from the window!  They stroll through the yard every morning staying along the edges of the perennial beds searching for seeds and insects; dad in the lead, babies following along and mom pulling up the rear.  They are so dang cute and I'm stalking them paparazzi style and hope to get a photo soon.  They are shy as can be.



Gardening is sometimes such an ironic endeavor...a large portion of our lot is covered by a canopy of Oak trees and I've always longed for a sunny corner to grow sun loving perennials, maybe a rose or two...some veggies.   A couple of years ago the sunny bed was added and I've grown tomatoes, okra, eggplant and herbs there. 

This year I planted lots of perennials instead and the spring showed such great promise...but the harsh truth of this year's drought laughs and sneers at my optimism.  The Globemallow is one of the few plants to sneer right back!


Several of the transplants have succumbed to the heat and lack of rain forcing me to rethink my plan and shake my head at my desire for a full sun bed.  Come fall the perennial hibiscus will be relocated to a part sun location and be replaced with a Pride of Barbados.  A heat loving plant that is drought tolerant once established.  They are in showy bloom all over town right now and I love their orange and red hues and should this type of heat be our new normal it should thrive regardless.





Despite its struggles, the hibiscus is blooming.  The inch of rain we received a couple of weeks ago revived everything a bit.


The trail behind our home is usually in bloom with various native wildflowers and grasses during the summer months.




In fact, the trail doesn't look much different this month than it did back in February during our brief snow event.  Mmmm, I think going back to that February morning might be a refreshing way to spend a few minutes...winter walk.


Although weirdly similar in color to the drought map, I much prefer these hues in this image taken during winter.   The possumhaw was a favorite photographic subject from fall through spring and if I ever figure out a way to gain enough space I'd like to put one in my garden.

Lest you think I'm crazy and bound for living solely in the past, I'll end with a shot taken of the garden this morning.  Talk about sneering at the heat and drought!  These flowers never fail to make me smile.



I'd love to hear what you're finding to smile about this summer.

27 comments:

  1. Smile, I try to smile about everthing. almost everything. any ways. I'm smiling that I was able to spend considerable time in the garden because of my shoulder injury. I'm smiling because I have so much more to do! it's the journey not the end. I remember when i live in san antonio going through a seven year drought, I researched weather patterns and found that most droughts lasted 7 years. sure enough a flood followed the drought. so I try to tell many to be careful what you ask for . lol. we will see.

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  2. Wow...you all really are very dry down there. I hope you can get some rain soon! Your flowers still look lovely - and the hibiscus is gorgeous! Isn't that amazing that your winter shots have more color & reds in them than the summer photos? Happy Hope Grows Day! :)

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  3. Smile! Yes, greggo, I thought of that while I wrote the post...always thinking to be careful what I wish for! Seven years...ugh.

    Yes, Hanni that amazes me too...I think I actually prefer the winter shot to the current!

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  4. Oh my. I will not be complaining about the heat up here anymore. We just left the rains and now we are headed into the sunny days without the rain and already the plants are feeling it. Going from 60° and wet to 90° and dry has them all confused. But at least we are not on a drought chart. The chart makes it look so dire.

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  5. I thinked that weather patterns have been 'exceptional' all over. 100F is high even for us here in the tropics. I hope you get some rain soon. We're already into our rainy season, thankfully.

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  6. I agree that we usually receive a couple of weeks worth of triple digit heat, then it's over. This year is an exception and I, too, find myself longing for just a bit of relief. Don't give up on your sun garden just yet. I put in a new bed this year, and most of my transplants have died, and a lot of new plants have too, or are on the verge. I have never lost a rose transplant before. This year - four. I'll try again next year and maybe we'll get some rain! Your garden looks great for these extreme conditions!

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  7. We're really dry here, too, but my soaker hoses are saving the day and that makes me smile! I've had lots of hummers and bees but almost no big butterflies. This is the second blog I've read today that has mentioned a lack of butterflies. Your rudbeckia and coneflowers look great!!

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  8. Cat, I love how your camera finds beauty even in the drought. thanks for the perspective.

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  9. That map and the news about drought from Texas are sobering. Exceptional is not a word I want to hear about a season's weather. The flowers that are laughing at dry conditions look so great in your photos, but I know the garden is not what it should be this year.

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  10. Oh Cat, I pray you get a break in the weather soon...bring on some rain!! Your pic's as always blow my mind, your hibiscus is just beautiful! Crossing my fingers for some drought relief I wish I could send some Seattle rain your way, but at last its sunshine and blue skies here =) Stay cool...xx

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  11. Hi Cat, We gardeners talk about the weather in a way that goes far beyond the pleasantries of polite conversation. Weather conditions really matter to a gardener. I was out working on my vegetable patch (which is slowly coming to life) and found myself musing that, in the past, a family like mine would be very dependent on their vegetable garden to get through the winter. If there was no rain in those days, I am sure there would have been lots of prayers said and maybe even a desperate rain dance or two. I hope you get some rain soon.

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  12. We are experiencing a dry spell too but not that exceptional like yours but today it rained for a while just enough to wet the soil and a cool evening! Love the 2nd photo of your hibiscus, beautiful!

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  13. I am smiling because we have had some rain in the past couple of weeks. Before that we had several weeks of no rain. I hope you find rain running down that road very soon. Your garden looks lovely despite the lack.

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  14. "Finding to smile about this summer": Air Conditioning!

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  15. Right now I am smiling because summer finally decided to come out again ;-) It was freezing and rainy and that is not OK for July in Germany. If you want to see butterflies - I posted some just for you ;-)
    Take care and keep on smiling, Sandra

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  16. We have caught up with your heat here in FW.

    I spoke with a fellow gardener a few weeks ago about the lack of butterflies and she said it was due to the fires - the migration went around us.

    The passionflower in the loft garden sure misses the butterflies, but all the flowers make me smile!

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  17. Such weather extremes! Our spring was so wet. As a consequence I am noticing that some of my flowers did not fair well ... my bee balm is stunted as well as my perennial sunflowers. My fox glove might not make it all. I have rethought some of my garden as well. I came to the conclusion just yesterday that each year is different and that not everything will ever look its best all at the same time. That, I suppose, is why diversity works so well. I would be glued to your window, too, watching those Bobwhites. Love, love the Globemallow!

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  18. Gosh, right now I am smiling about the beautiful photos in your post - the two of the Hibiscus! Amazing, beautiful photographs!

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  19. It's always nice to be exceptional at something, but probably not droughts, right? Thanks for the map. Had not seen that yet. I see DFW area is still in the just "abnormally dry" category. That really surprised me. It just feels worse than it is. I guess I can quit whining now. It's all relative, right? I'm sure "abnormally dry" would look pretty good to about 90% of Texas right about now. I see our relatives in Lubbock are in the same boat as y'all. In spite of it, Cat, you still have a beautiful garden and you manage to wow us all with your EXCEPTIONAL photographs!!!

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  20. I'm new to your blog.
    You have such an extreme weather! Hope it rains!
    Anyway you have beautiful garden with pretty flowers!

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  21. Cat - even in 'exceptional' heat, your photos still stop me in my tracks. Echoing many others - that Hibiscus profile picture is 'the money shot'- booya!

    What makes me smile right now? The big, fat bumble bees savoring the electric pink Monarda blooms in the new 'Cottage' garden! :D

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  22. I just love quail. There's a bird I could watch for hours on end. Something about the way they run makes me laugh. Glad to hear you've got a gang making themselves at home.

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  23. Enjoyed looking through your pics, Cat. Your flowers are lovely. Looking at your drought map, I think you'd find the same red areas in South Alabama. It's tough and makes the summer miserable. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'll be sure to visit again.

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  24. I am so sorry that you are having such a tough summer. It makes me appreciate living in the mid-Atlantic where water is usually plentiful.

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  25. Goodness Cat, you do have to contend with some extreme weather. Certainly a challenging climate to garden in - a constant seeking for things that thrive in such heat, like that wonderful Globemallow. Your post brought a wry smile to myself because we are experiencing a sudden cool spell again, and today, torrential rain. A week ago the water butts were empty thanks to a hot spell, now they are full to overflowing again. Despite the strange weather the Rudbekias I grew from seed this year are making me smile with flowers in shades of deep yellows through rusty oranges to a lovely deep red. If the rain stops for long enough I will take some photos!

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  26. I really love the outside hibiscus photo, crisp lines, graceful curve and yummy pink. The jet stream has blessed us with a mild cooler summer so far. In fact, most produce is 3 weeks behind whatever normal used to be.

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Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

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