Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Friday, September 7, 2012

This week in the garden - #30

Gerbera daisies, like this one blooming by my back porch, always make me happy when I see them.

It's been another dry week, another week of deploying the sprinklers on a daily basis. The dry spell that we've had for several weeks now has created a lot of stress for many of my plants. I think my spicebush, for example, is now past the point of no return. I planted it early this year for the Spicebush Swallowtail butterflies and they took to it with a passion, laying batch after batch of eggs on its leaves. The resulting caterpillars decimated the plant several times, but it continued to come back and put out new leaves - until the rains stopped. Since then it has lost all of its leaves and I fear it is dead. When I replace it, I'll replace it with two, maybe three, plants to give the butterflies more options and spread the stress around a bit. Also, I'll try to make sure the new plants are kept well-watered until they are completely established. Never let it be said that I don't sometimes learn from my mistakes.

The butternut squash seeds that I planted last week are up and doing well, but the acorn squash shows no signs of germinating. Those seeds were old. I may have to buy some fresh ones if I want acorn squash this year. The onion sets that I told you about, the ones that had been in my refrigerator for five months, seem none the worse for their long cold storage. They are popping out of the ground like magic as if they are in a hurry to get on with it!

This red salvia (I think) is one of those gifts of Nature. It seeded itself in one of the beds of my garden. I don't know where it came from and didn't even notice it until it started blooming. Then I lifted it and put it in a big pot where it has continued to bloom its little heart out, much to the delight of passing hummingbirds.

Red seems to be the dominant color of blooms in the garden just now. Of course, Turk's cap carries the banner for red every month of the year. It bloomed all last winter when it was continually visited by overwintering Rufous Hummingbirds and so far it has been in bloom every month this year. It's also grown as big as the side of the house and almost as tall. I'm going to need to cut a bit - or a lot - this winter.

And, as I showed you earlier this week, the Lycoris "naked ladies" are still tempting passing butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees with their spidery blooms.

The heat index has been just about unbearable all week, but the weather maps show that there may be some relief in sight. Cooler temperatures are expected over the next several days. There's even a possibility of showers tomorrow. My fingers are crossed.


  1. I would love these flowers in my garden but if it means having the kind of heat you have, then I guess I can do without them!

    1. They survive the heat, but they probably would appreciate more moderate temperatures, Bonnie. (So would the gardener!)

  2. I do hope you get some rain and cooler temps! We are suppose to have more "fall-like" weather this weekend and I am so looking forward to a little reprieve from the heat and humidity. At least to get me in the mood! Surely just a teaser since it is only September but welcome nonetheless!

    1. We had a teaser a couple of weeks ago but it didn't last. I'm looking for a bit longer foreplay this time! The weatherman is promising. Let's hope he's not just a tease, too.