August. In Texas.

Can I just say that late summer in Texas can just absolutely suck it.

This is the season where all we hope for is survival for our plants and ourselves. We did actually have a “cold front” blow through for a couple of days- where the morning was in the low 70s and the afternoon only got up to about 93. A legitimate cold front round these parts. And now it’s gone. I just googled “does sweating burn calories.” Nope, it sure doesn’t, so there goes any vestige of a silver lining.

The webworms are back for their second round in all the surrounding pecan trees. There was one on a low enough branch that I could rip the webbing open and was glad to see a red wasp moved in within minutes afterwards to attack the caterpillars. Evil of me? Yes. Super satisfying? Also yes.

I’ve already pulled out one of the cherry tomatoes because it was so covered with spider mites it wasn’t salvageable and I worried about them spreading to the other tomatoes. No surprise there… they did anyway. So far the surviving three are limping along in spite of it.

The garden isn’t ALL hideous and dead- but I’ll give you the real look of a Texas garden here- not the pulled in tight shots of the few things that look okay. So here is a  few comparative before and after pictures to illustrate what I’m talking about.

Plumosa asparagus fern in my huge pot. Loved that thing. It’s in a smaller pot and then stacked on a tower of other pots to reach the height of the top.
Same plant as above, now removed for triage in the shade. Watering was sufficient- it never dried out, but turns out all the open area in that terracotta pot acted like an oven/heat sink and I cooked a plant. I COOKED A PLANT just sitting in the sun on my deck. This place I swear to god…

How about a before and after on the lawn?

It used to be green

The grass in the back is ignored. We water the St. Augustine lawn we installed in the front yard, but the back we don’t because we plan on putting in a large brick patio soon, and the less bermuda in the world the better. But oh man does it go from “Alright looking if you don’t get too close” to “don’t fall in the lawn chasms” real quick.

And this is in the SHADE

The ground cracks and grass dies in the heat and drought of the summer.

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Fun Fact: Leveling the ground where the new shed is going to go killed the grass next to it- probably due to an increase in soil temperature and losing more moisture by stripping the grass in that area… the pomegranate tree is making it though.
Remember this shot of the gourds in late spring/early summer?
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Yeah… they don’t even have any gourds on them. See how badly I need to weed? It isn’t going to happen anytime soon, lemme tell you.

And, perhaps the most devastating to lose:

My beloved bronze fennel. RIP.
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The other three fennels I put in the fence line garden are gone now too and there is a precipitous drop in the number of black swallowtail butterflies because these plants were such a draw for them. Or maybe I’m just not outside as much to see them anymore. One of the two.

Into every Texas life a little no rain must fall, I guess. Even in the midst of a central Texas summer, there is hope amongst the ruins…

First butternut squash I’ve ever grown. Lord above I need to weed.

The world doesn’t all look like this though. I got back a few weeks go from a trip to Canada and Minnesota so I’ll leave on some shots I took on that trip as a reminder to myself to just hang in there.

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Flax field in Manitoba. So for my work trip in July a group of coworkers and I walked through this field to go look at a grave of an early settler before we went to the Icelandic museum that predominantly was about the lady who’s grave we walked to… but the museum ended up being closed by the time we went. I then had to pull 2 ticks off my Columbian coworker’s head (the first she ever had) in the middle of a bar later that day. (FYI- don’t take off your hat and put it on the ground in a flax field in Canada.) I have a weird fucking job sometimes. But the flax field was pretty, so that’s my point here.

And on the way back from Manitoba I spent a couple of days in St. Paul, MN with my aunt.

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Minnesota is like a dream right now.

One of my favorite places to go when I’m up there, and that my aunt indulges me in on just about every trip, is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. And we’re going to talk about this even though it isn’t my favorite piece, but we MUST discuss Spoonbridge and Cherry.

Claes Oldenburg. Because of course it is.

Okay but here is the thing- that picture is NOT one I took on that trip! It doesn’t look like that anymore! The cherry is not bright red now, it’s this weird brown undertoned dark red/plum color! My aunt and I are scandalized! No one has any answers! We must have answers! (I was so scandalized I forgot to take pictures so you’ll have to take my word on it.)

There have been other big changes to the sculpture garden too, not just the color on the cherry. They’ve moved the pieces around, have taken some beloved ones out, added some “meh” new ones, and replaced lots of the lawn with pollinator gardens/wildflowers. And I’m cool with that last part, but they stuck my FAVORITE piece off on the edge, right next to a street, and it really loses some of the effect due to the backdrop now, which is a bummer.

It deserves better, but I still love it so

If you have a chance, go see it. Just try to imagine it without the street behind it. At least this way more people can see it from that street, right?

Here in Texas it’ll cool off right around October (sometimes December), so we are all just hunkering down and surviving till then.

2 thoughts on “August. In Texas.

  1. I am so sorry for your heat and drought.

    I had a problem with Japanese Beetles which devastated my buttercups! So I kind of feel your pain. So sorry…

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