Saturday, June 14, 2008

Global Warming SUCKS

Okay, a hot June in central Texas may not exactly be proof of global warming, but it's definitely a lot warmer than last year and I don't like it one bit.

I was getting my toes done with Cathy in belated celebration of her birthday (happy birthday, Cathy!) when Matt called to tell me, among other things, that every plant in our garden needed water and needed it bad. That one of my beloved red cabbagey mystery rose cuttings was crispy (but it was just fine this weekend!), and that the cypresses, so briefly stable, were in peril again. And it only got to 99.7 today. Imagine the struggle (and expenditure in water) come August.

I hate summer.

The 'Purple Robe' black locust is yellowing, and it's been happy as a clam since we planted it late this winter. The "stable" bald cypress is completely brown. The indigo, in deep shade, is drooping. The 'Moonglow' pear is crunchy. Matt's been moving the hose around all evening, giving each of our most troubled and cherished plants long, slow drinks. And we'd better get used to doing that every other day or (in the case of the cypresses) every day.

I feel a bit icky about this from several perspectives: Using lots of water is expensive. It's not environmentally responsible. It's not consistent with my personal ethic of laziness. On the other hand, I have no intention of doing this next year (well, except for the Magnolia x soulangiana, 'Forest Pansy' redbud, and bay laurel I plan to buy this fall). So it isn't like we're making this a lifestyle. Also, once these plants get established and start to grow, they'll be giving love to the planet--sucking down CO2, cooling the house, &c, &c. They'll also look pretty. So I think it's justified, even though it makes me cringe a bit.

And the good new is that the magnolia and roses appear unruffled. The former, we've been spoiling with water. The latter had a year to come to grips with life outside of a pot. Our fledgling oaks, all of last year's planting, are also unfussed. It's all about the roots, man. It's all about the roots.

I don't have any picture's of today's brown crispiness, but here are some pix of other recent happenings.

Matt & I got some cuttings of this neat yellow-flowered vine with long bean pods. We're trying several variants on cuttings--tip cuttings, woody cuttings, and serpentine cuttings. In this weather, I'm not terribly optimistic, but I've got them in the shade in the orangery.

Check out some of their interesting morphological features: leaves divided into just 2 leaflets, and strangely flat little buds.

Also, their tendrils narrow to a super-fine point that grab onto things very aggressively. They're able to cling to bare skin--they don't hurt, but they hang on tight.

Here are some tip cuttings.

And--wow, we're switching gears now--here's an olive salad I made to use as a dressing on a muffaletta salad for lunch all last week. Doesn't that look tasty?

...and back to the garden again: here's a better picture of 'Graham Thomas' (the David Austin rose).

Our Zephyranthes, tired of waiting for rain, burst irritably into bloom last week (rain lilies usually only bloom after a rain--hence the name). The crocosmias Mom & Dad gave us also put on a gracious show, especially accommodating of them as we just planted them this spring.

This is the now-sort-of-stabilized cypress on the SW corner of the house (a tough spot--but then, it needs a tough plant). Note how most of the leaves are still swept upwards. We thought they had just stuck that way as a result of having taken an hour and a half trip in an open trailer, but it's been a couple of weeks now and the leave are still upswept. I begin to wonder if we don't have a pondcypress (Taxodium ascendans) on our hands instead of a baldcypress (T. distichum). The one by the pond, inappropriately enough, appears to be a true baldcypress. I'm actually rather pleased about this development--owing to my great affection for the genus, I had hoped to grow both species. (Someday, I'd like to grow T. mucronatum--Montezuma cypress--as well, though we've pretty well filled our little almost-half-acre to the brim. We'd have to grow it up through the middle of the house or something.)

And finally, a little bit of Austin out here in Elgin. There is this one spot of the house that has remnants of a strand of Christmas lights from some long-vanished tenant still nailed in place. In Austin "Christmas lights" is a bit of a misnomer since people leave them out (and on) year round in some of the more bohemian sections of town. Our little patch of lights is not likely to be removed during our tenure in this house because they are between the house's power lines. So they stay up perpetually, like a little bit of Austin funk out here in the country.

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