The Daily Muse

A Garden Journal -- June 2005

Last Update: June 27

June 7 - morning

It has been a very busy time in the garden... I have been almost maniacal trying to keep the weeds in check and simply keeping up with all of the fertilizing, as well as  disease and insect control. The recent rains have resulted in an explosion of growth and I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will have another rainy stretch or two in the coming weeks.

I have added a few more plants to my already over-extensive potted plant collection... a Flame Creeper Azalea and a Red Leafed Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum atropurpureum.) I purchased both of these plants when I was in Houston recently visiting my parents. The azalea is a very compact spreading variety that looks great in its white clay container, it has an orange-red flower and is in bloom now. I believe it is related to the "Gumpo" azaleas which bloom heaviest in late spring and then sporadically throughout the rest of the year. The Japanese maple was grown from seed and was not grafted, so I thought I would try my luck with it. Because our region is marginal for Japanese maples, I believe the non-grafted varieties are our best bets - they have one less hurdle to clear in order to thrive. (Many grafts are imperfect and present difficulties if the plant is not planted in ideal conditions.) I have supplemented the potting mix for both plants with greensand and other minerals to compensate for our limey water. I'll let you know how they perform.

I am off on another shoot for my Missions documentary today. More pictures soon!

June 11 - morning

Pictographs at Hueco Tanks State Historical Area.

I just returned from three days of shooting in the El Paso area for my documentary, Misiones: The Spanish Colonial Churches of Texas. I enjoyed being in the dry heat of the desert (compared to the super humid conditions here in Central Texas.) One of my favorite locations was Hueco Tanks, located about thirty miles northeast of El Paso. This area, set out on the desert floor, has spectacular granite-like outcroppings that reminded me of Enchanted Rock. Tucked away among massive boulders, the huecos, or tanks, are caches of precious rain water that have long attracted wildlife and man. Native Americans left striking images or pictographs on hidden walls that resemble masks. A guide took us to the "Cave Kiva" where the pictures below were taken. Talk about sacred places! There was no mistaking the special qualities of the Cave Kiva - the light, spilling in through several openings in the stone, was truly magical, and the smooth walls of the cave offered perfect shelter from the blazing sun. I think I may have a new favorite place in the Lone Star State!


One of the granite hills of Hueco Tanks. Taken near the entrance of the park.


Looking down at one of the huecos - those are twenty-five foot tall willow trees for scale.


Boulders on top of one of the outcroppings. Some of the pictographs can be found in crawl spaces like you see under the rocks pictured here.


Looking down at a boulder field.  Again, those are full grown willows to the left.


Inside the Cave Kiva.


One of the mask-like pictographs. This one looks distinctively feline to me.


The designs are quite sophisticated.


Go Longhorns!


A truly amazing place!


Yucca close-up.


Sotols in bloom in the Franklin Mountains north of El Paso.


Mission Ysleta.


The Presidio Chapel of San Elizario.


Buttresses of San Elizario. I must have shot 50 abstract images of the architecture of this church.


San Elizario detail.


Yucca and chapel.


The back of the church.


Stained glass at San Elizario.
















Door at San Elizario.

June 14 - morning

We are already in the summer dodrums with high heat (near 100 degrees fahrenheit) and very high humidity. Despite that, I have been working very hard to keep the garden in order... I have spent most of my very limited free time tending to the garden's needs. Thank God for big floppy garden hats! Without mine, I would never be able to do half of the work that I have been. There is a chance of thundershowers in our forecast today and I am keeping my fingers crossed - we could really use a little rain. Here are a few close-up images from the garden...

The Agapanthus are in full bloom.


More Agapanthus with a few daylilies.


Sunflower 'Lemonade.'

June 19 - afternoon

Agapanthus 'Peter Pan' in the evening light.

It has been brutally hot for the past week and there has only been the faintest hint of rain... not even enough to wash the dust from the leaves. Despite the heat, I have continued with my near-maniacal efforts to bring the garden into check. Earlier, I must have weeded five hundred elm seedlings from our largest planting bed (not to mention the occasional spurge, sow weed, and bermuda grass strand that dared to sneak in under the fence.) I was sane enough to limit my weeding to shady areas today and found the effort to be relaxing... I just took my time and tried to be extremely thorough. The pay-off was that I redeemed a part of our garden that I had been avoiding looking at. Often, when I am in the middle of one of my weeding binges, I hear the words of advice my Dad used to give me when I was young, "Any job worth doing is worth doing well." I try to live up to that old truism and feel we'd all be a bit better off these days if it was repeated a bit more often. Thanks Dad, Happy Father's Day!

Here are a few new images...

A Buddha statue that we just purchased for the garden.


A Gulf Fritillary butterfly on one of our echinaceas.


Our Incence Passion Vine is at its peak today! It must have fifty blooms on it!


Talk about bizarre flower forms!


Another shot of our Agapanthus from yesterday evening.

June 27 - morning

Another miserably hot (and dry) weekend, but that didn't stop me... here are a few new garden pics...














Tithonia (aka Mexican sunflower.)


The conversation room with pink scullcap, Mexican oregano, sharkskin agave, and other plants.


Luna napping.

Continue to Daily Muse for July 2005

Return to Daily Muse Menu

All material Soul of the Garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.