Return to Austin

We returned from Ruidoso, New Mexico yesterday.  Nothing had changed outwardly in Austin.  Although the weather people insist that the high pressure ridge has moved to the west allowing for the possibility of rain, we have yet to see any precipitation here.  Hot, hot, hot!  The Garden looked good after having been ignored for over two weeks.  Emily did a great job of watering all of the potted plants and hanging baskets, and the irrigation system continued to water twice each week.  The casualty appears to be a large , irregularly-shaped patch of zoysia in the back lawn.  A large slab of limestone a few inches below the surface is surely the cause.  Yellow appears as the predominant bloom color now along with the watermelon red of the crape myrtle and a few “Knockout” roses.

We stopped by the Another Garden on our return trip.  We know that it  rained once in our absence; although wilted, plantings survived the lack of moisture.  Some elements of this garden suffered damage from those tricky longhorns.  Early in our vacation we  received a call from our neighbor’s grandson telling us that the herd was in the house pasture.  We asked him to coax them out to the open pasture with “cow candy” or cubes.   They had turned over the wood picnic table, torn down two rails of the split rail fence, upended a large, planted ornamental pot and the glider bench beside it,  pulled down a swing, broken limbs off of several small trees and shrubs, and trampled a few new plants.  Our best guess is that they were unknowingly and accidentally let in when some work was done over the 4th of July weekend.  A day later they were mighty thirsty and demonstrated their ire at being confined in a pasture without water.  Thanks, Grant, for noticing that the herd was in the wrong place at the wrong time and for sweet-talking them (or was that staying out of the way of a stampede?) into the water accessible acreage.

We’ll see if the Little Garden at Sunset House survives.  Four mule deer bucks visited us each day.  Several does ambled through at other times.  A new hollyhock was quickly taste-tested.  Bears checked out the dumpster and birdfeeders almost every night.  Ginger and Candy even chased a small cottontail rabbit early one morning.

Mule deer bucks visited each day.

Sunset House Garden

Sunset House Garden


Slavia greggii, Spanish Broom, yarrow and Russian sage make ou this “trial garden” between the front porch steps and foundation of the New Mexico cabin.  Pine cones were gathered and used as a quick and free mulch.



  1. Diane Brewer said,

    July 20, 2009 at 6:19 PM

    Pat, I LOVE the look of the pine cones in the bed. Cool.

    I am dying from this heat, and I think our entire yard is infested with chinch bugs. Huge patches are dying. They turn bluish, then brown. I am sick.

  2. gardenfences said,

    July 20, 2009 at 8:32 PM

    Even though pine cones can be flammable, they were a better choice for mulch than pine straw. They close up when wet and open as they dry, so I don’t think they’re efficient for holding moisture in the soil. Pine cones would look great as mulch in large, planted, decorative containers.

    Ugh! Chinch bugs! You might want to check out the Grow Green website (in the links column to the left) for lawn disease diagnostics and hints about ridding the yard of chinch bugs.

    • Diane Brewer said,

      July 27, 2009 at 11:24 PM

      As of this past Thursday, Perfectlawns Austin sent their lawn chemist out and he did treat for chinch bugs but he also treated for Take All Patch, which is what he said was really the problem. This affliction can kill the entire yard quickly.

      Our yard is a yellow and green patchwork quilt. So sad. He also said the men need to stop using large mowers until it is healed. Rain rain come today and please come again right away!!

  3. urbanzeal said,

    January 22, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    This is one of the most interesting blogs I have read and love to see the amount of effort yo uput into each and every little plant.

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