Sunday, July 31, 2011

Broken Records

If you listen to the weather forecast in Texas these days, it sounds like a broken record...

"Hot with a chance of hotter"

Change the station and the same ol' song is playing...

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Hurricane Don, a glimmer of hope for rain, turned out to be...

Hurricane Dud!

Triple digits and deficits are the talk of the town  -- and I'm not talking about the economy.

Speaking of broken records, the Dallas/Fort Worth area has just broken a record.   2011 has now moved into the #2 spot for the streak of 100-degree days we've had.   30 days (and counting) with 100 degrees or more.  That's a month of hundreds, folks!    And to top that off, we have had no rain for even longer than that!

The record to beat was 29 consecutive days, which was set in 1998.   That just happens to be the year that we built our house and started establishing our yard.

Here are a few pictures of what we started with...

nothin' but dirt!

I'm getting a little concerned that if we don't get some rain pretty soon and we don't get a break from these temps, nothin' but dirt is about all I'm going to have left!  

In order to break the #1 record, we would need more than 42 consecutive days of 100 degrees.   I did not move here until 1986, but anyone who has lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for any length of time has heard of the infamous Summer of 1980 where we had a grand total of 69 days of 100 degrees or more, 42 of those in a row.

You know...maybe striving to be #1 in everything is not all it's cracked up to be!

On a side note, I know I am dating myself when I talk about "records."  If there are any 20-somethings reading this blog, they probably have no idea what I am talking about when I refer to "vinyl."    To say something sounds like a "broken record" is to say the same thing over and over in when you have a scratch in a phonograph record causing the needle [or stylus] to stay in the same groove and play it over and over.

I went to lunch at the Dream Cafe over in Dallas today, and instead of taking your name or giving you a beeper to notify you when your table is ready, they give you an old vinyl album cover.   Then they call the name of the artist when a table is available.

Today I was Willie Nelson

I don't know about Willie, but if I had my "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," they would be... tears of joy!

Take heart, Texas.   Even though Lynn Anderson could not promise us a rose garden, I think I can safely say...Along with the sunshine, there's GOT to be a little rain sometime...right?   I sure hope so!
Stay cool, Y'all!

Toni :-)

UPDATE:   We finished out the summer finally breaking the 1980 record with a total of 70 days above 100 degrees.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Alphabet's July Journey Continues (Q & R)

The alphabet journey continues... 

is for Queen

I've got a couple queens in my garden.  One is 'Queen Emma' Crinum Lily given to me by a friend.  It is cold tender in my Zone 7/8 garden, so I will either need to protect it this winter or just enjoy her this season and say good-bye.

Another queen is my favorite Caladium, 'White Queen'

is for Rain...oh, how I wish!

(this space intentionally left blank)

There is no picture for Rain because we have had no rain!

*  *  *

How about this instead....

is for Rocks!

Now we're talking.  I love rocks.

  I have moss rock boulders surrounding my pond.

And more edging the flagstone steps in the backyard.

There's river rock forming a dry creek bed in my backyard.

And I also use river rock to edge my flower bed along the sidewalk in the front yard where there is a tendency for washout in heavy rains
(heavy what?? -- I can't remember what that is anymore)

In the picture above are some rocks I brought back from Wisconsin that I got on my folks' farm.  My husband wasn't too keen on the idea of having rocks rolling around in the bed of his pickup truck for 1100 miles as we drove back to Texas, but he obliged me... just this once.

 Here is another Wisconsin rock.  I found this rock "pickin' rocks" out of the field on the farm when I was a kid.  I've been carting this rock around the country for almost 30 years!!
I've always thought it looked like petrified wood.

I keep it in the house in an arrangement on my dining room table with a bunch of other rocks I've collected over the years.

 I've got lots of flagstone paths.

Below is one I built just last month leading to my compost pile.

I even have concrete "rocks" too!

Here's a cute rock frog
that I got as a
Christmas gift last year.

And my neighbor gave me this whimsical rock ant
This same neighbor has given me several granite boulders he gets off his deer lease property.

(Did I mention I have the best neighbors?!)

And here are some "cool" rock formations my grandson and I made in the river near the cabin we stayed at on our family vacation in northern Georgia last week. 

Playing in the river was a nice way to stay cool, too :-)
It was a welcome break from the sweltering temps we are having in Texas!


And last, but not least, here's a rock container I have where I grow sedum.

Speaking of which....

 Stay tuned for the next alphabet installment...

And stay cool!   

We are on Day #27 of  consecutive 100 degree temps
in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  

Toni :-)

To view previous alphabet posts, click on the letters below

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Spoonful of Foliage

 For this month's Foliage Follow-Up, I wanted to show you some 'Bengal Tiger' Cannas I transplanted a few weeks ago.

Don't they look like spoons?!

A spoonful of foliage helps to fill a garden space
fill a garden space
fill a garden space
Just a spoonful of foliage helps to fill a garden space
In a most delightful way

(I think Mary Poppins would approve, don't you?)

Visit Pam at Digging to get the scoop on foliage around the world :-)

Happy Foliage Follow-Up!

Toni :-)

Friday, July 15, 2011

What's Bloomin' - July 2011

Here's a look at what's bloomin' in my garden this month... 

Enjoy the tour...

This violet Salvia greggii has been a bit of a disappointment in years past, but this month it seems to be making up for lost time!

A collection of...

Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' 
Summer Phlox
Salvia greggii (pink)
'Henry Duelberg' Salvia
Holy Basil
Shasta Daisy

'Becky' Shasta Daisy

Hayrack filled with:
Dragonwing Begonias
Purple Angelonia
Creeping Jenny

This next plant was given to me by a friend, and it has turned out to be one of my favorites!  This picture does not do it justice.  It blooms nonstop from spring to frost, handles the hottest temps, attracts butterflies and bees.  It goes dormant in the winter, but even after the deep freezes and snow last winter, it bounced right back in the spring.

'Azure Skies' Heliotrope

Another photo of 'Henry Duelberg' Salvia. 
I think 'Henry' shows up in almost every Bloom Day post
because it is almost always in bloom!

The bumble bees like it

And so does this little one

 Mexican Milkweed...

...waiting on Monarchs

And here comes the Pink again...

Knock-Out Rose
'Rosa Radrazz'

If you want to see more pink, click here

Holy Basil

I wish you could smell this through the computer! 



It also is a reseeding annual and filler of blank spaces :-)

Some annual color in containers...
Torenia 'Summer Wave Bouquet Deep Rose'
 Sweet Potato Vine 'Midnight Lace'
Caladiums 'Carolyn Whorton' & 'Red Flash'

Formerly a flower...

Yellow Pear Tomatoes :-)

A few more annuals...

Angelonia (Serena series)

'Cora' Vinca

Note:  The 'Cora' variety of periwinkles is resistant to Aerial Phytophthora fungus.  

Click here to learn more 

And some 'Cora' Vinca with Melampodium

Both the vinca and melampodium are annuals that reseed in my garden each year and fill in any blank spots between the perennials.
And finally a few parting shots of the front perennial beds...

Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

Visit Carol and May Dreams Gardens 
to see what's bloomin' all over the world!

Toni :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Alphabet's Journey to July (P)

And we continue our journey through the garden alphabet...

I have so many pink flowers that I decided to devote this post to just one letter, so without further ado...

is for Pretty in Pink

Summer Phlox (Phlox paniculata) top the list as they are in profuse bloom
(when they are not drooping from heat exhaustion!)

Another Phlox, called 'John Fanick,' is a variety found by Greg Grant at a home in San Antonio.  It is designated a Texas Superstar because of its mildew resistance and heat tolerance (which is certainly being put to the test with these triple digits lately!)

Hydrangeas are pink in our alkaline soils

Crape Myrtles lift pink up to about 15 feet

And pink Katie's Ruellia grows only to about 3 inches tall

Salvia greggii saves its best show for autumn...
but doesn't disappoint this month

Loosestrife puts on its best show in the heat of the summer

Purple Coneflowers are always happy to pose for a picture
(I don't know why they are called "purple," because they sure look pink to me)

And finally, Pentas, Begonias, and Caladiums add pink
to my container plantings this summer

Wow, that's a lot of pink!

Please come back on the 15th for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day so I can show you the other colors I've got blooming in my garden this month ...

and maybe just a little bit more pink :-)

To view previous alphabet posts, click on the letters below

Happy gardening in God's colorful creation...

Toni :-)