Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ug. Death. Destruction. Despair.

Is it possible that we have to endure 2-1/2 more months of this?

We've lost one of the lovely red cabbagey mystery rose cuttings, and the baldcypress by the pond didn't make it, either. We missed just a few days' watering a week ago, and pouf! All gone.

The cuttings we took of that neat yellow vine are slowly dying, even though they're in the shade, watered diligently, and dipped in rooting hormone.

The few remaining patches of Saint Augustine leaves are curled into tight little brown tubes. Even the weeds that originally usurped the StA are dead--I crunch my way across the lawn these days. Only the bermudagrass survives, of course. After the apocalypse/nuclear winter/sun goes supernova, it'll be a bermudagrass lawn that the remaining population of cockroaches will cavort over.

This hardens my resolve to install buffalograss next year, at least on the front bit of the property. StA clearly can't hack it without lavish watering that I'm unwilling to provide. Buffalograss, on the other hand, is said to be all xeriscapic and rugged and responsible. And the bermudagrass has got to go. As I survey the desolate ruins of our garden, it smirks at me--smirks!--complacently. You'll never kill me, it thinks. I'm like diapers in a landfill, lady. I am eternal.

We'll see about that.

Not this year, though. This year, it's all we can do to save the plants we already have. (In some cases, it's more than we can do.) So we've been watering what's left every day. The transplanted pear--which had been having a rather dreary spring--is now oddly unperturbed by summer.

Oddly chipper pear, completely unfazed by having been transplanted in June. Check out all the new leaf buds.

The ginkgo is much happier here on the eastside than it was last year in the rose bed. And the magnolia soldiers on, serene in the knowledge that we love it so much--and we invested so much money in it--that it'll continue to get moisture even if one of us has to open a vein to provide it. Most of our other trees were freebies, cast-offs, and bargain counter refugees. The 'Little Gem,' bought new at full (wholesale) price, is the pearl of our collection. Don't get me wrong--we love our cast of misbegotten freaks dearly--but the magnolia is our pride and joy.

Meantime, it's 97 degrees now at 5:30 in the evening. It hasn't rained in... I'm actually not entirely sure what rain is anymore. There's none forecast any time this geologic epoch. When you go outside, even at 5:30 in the evening, it feels like the sun hates you and is hurling big, hot, malevolent spears at you. You feel a sudden empathy for Niobe's unfortunate boys--you know what it's like to have the full force of the sun's malice turned in your direction.

I'd take a picture, but it's too disheartening. Imagine a rectangle full of brown crispiness from which waves of heat rise up, and you'll have the general idea.

Here's a funny thing. When I was researching the diss, my supervisor suggested I start simply reading old 19c periodicals (which are still only partially and cumbrously indexed). In one, I found an article touting the wonders of the green and fertile land of the Republic of Texas--its mild climate, its rich vegetation, its fruits bursting from the vine--surely, the article exclaimed, surely this must be God's country!

I console myself with the knowledge that fraudulent advisers end up in the 8th circle of Dante's hell, each one encased in his or her own individual pillar of flame. Which means they feel approximately like I do, every time I step out of my kitchen door.

Less Repining
We waited a few more hours (till the temperature dropped to a brisk 93F) to do a little more work on the patio. We pounded in more edging, so now the patio is completely encased and the walkway is mostly done. However, we still need to bang the edging further into the ground so that it's level with the stones. This will have to wait till we buy a mallet and have given the ground a good, long soak, though.

...and now that I'm looking at this picture, I realize that the stone walkway (which connects the patio to the study door) is too skinny--it doesn't match the paver walkway (which connects the patio to the mudroom door). Bother. We'll have to move the edging out a few inches on both sides of the path. Bother.

I know I've mentioned this before, but in case you've forgotten, we'll be pulling up the stones, laying down sand and getting it nice and level (in contrast to the ground here, which slopes away from the house), then reinstalling the stones and capping with cement. And we'll be filling in the stone walkway with crushed granite or decomposed granite or similar little bitty gritty items.

But it was nice to see the progress. Our lawn may be shrinking, but our patio is growing.

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