From Linda: July 1, 2009

Here’s about all we’re good for right now.

Toad getting cooled off

The Barbados cherries are stripped clean, and I know why.  The mockingbirds are feeding their nestling, secure at the top of our front mountain laurel, but definitely hungry.  I don’t know how I can help them at this point.

Our problems are pretty minor compared to theirs. At the same time, as urban/suburban gardeners, what affects us definitely impacts them. When the surprise rain came, I was thankful for the gardeners and the farmers, but my first thought was for the wildlife getting a break.

I grew up thinking that summer was prime-time gardening.  In Central Texas, that’s not the case, but at least I used to get things done in June and even July.  And though I concentrate on indoor projects in August, I always relied on a little break at the end of the month, when it’s time to gear up for fall.

Not so sure about that anymore. For years, we’ve teased our northern friends,  “Ha ha, we can garden all year long, with a 5-hour break in January.”  They’ve got the laugh on us now.

So, I’m catching up on chores that get minimal priority most of the year, like cleaning out the filing cabinets and scrubbing the refrigerator shelves. I might even clean the oven. Yahoo.

When a Hippeastrum ‘San Antonio Rose’ finally bloomed next to the kiddie pool, I was back in business. I got excited again and started redesigning beds in my head (more wildlife food on top of list).

Hippeastrum 'San Antonio Rose' (amaryllis)

Since my garden is hunkering down, I invite you to share another significant anniversary this July 4th weekend:  Harvey’s first year with us!  At this time last year, I wasn’t sure we’d celebrate even two weeks with him.

Rex rabbit Harvey

Some of you already know that it was the holiday weekend when our new friend Cynthia rescued Harvey from the school up the street.  Greg had noticed the dumped pet bunny on his walks with Chester. At that point, we’d been in an over-100 pattern for days.  He was getting a tad thin and obviously on the lookout for help. At least we could rescue him.  And take him for walks in our garden.

Harvey on leash

Like gardening, we learned about rabbit care from scratch.  Along with Cynthia, the volunteers at House Rabbit Resource Network (HRRN) helped us.  Everyone, especially Theresa, who has been our personal mentor, remind me of CTG’s importance and mission.

New gardeners are as clueless about gardens as we were about bunnies. There’s tons of information on the web, but it can be tough to sift through it for what’s truly relevant and accurate, especially when you’re totally new at something.

Thanks to personal guidance and trusted local resources, we’ve gotten more comfortable as bunny parents. We decided it was time to get (neutered) Harvey a friend. (Sort of like gardeners, you can’t stop with one plant).

HRRN took in little Gaby last January and got her spayed.  After that, devoted foster mom Penny cared for Gaby in her warren. With Penny’s loving attention, this bunny is a little sweetheart.

Dutch rabbit Gaby

To make sure that Harvey agreed, he and Gaby spent a few days at Theresa’s house to see if they were a match or a miss.  It was a match!  Here they are cuddling at our house during indoor playtime. They’re relaxing after serious runs, joyous dancing, and jumping competitions off the couch.  They’re litter box trained, so no problems there. Thanks to them, I keep up with my rose and herb pruning as their house litter box enticements.  Dandelions are their favorites, but for garden treats, the bunnies eat in season!

bunnies cuddle inside

I told Theresa that we felt like parents and in-laws at the same time.  To start the new couple off right, we ordered a two-story condo from Leith Petwerks and installed it in the den.

Leith Petwerks bunny abode

Pet care is like gardening.  Get the right tools, provide the right situation, pay attention to what they want, and stay in touch with the people who can guide you.

Since now is a good time for planning garden projects in the comfort of air conditioning, this week we repeat our CTG program featuring Debra Prinzing and William Wright on Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways, and a visit to a very elegant shed and tough garden in Bertram.

Until next week, sweet dreams of more rain and cooler weather, Linda

bunnies kiss goodnight

8 Responses to “From Linda: July 1, 2009”

  1. Judy Tye says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary! This post in particular I’m going to share with any number of people…the bunnies are so dear! Thanks for all you do…
    Judy

  2. Jenny says:

    Boy, do I have a lot of catching up to do after being away for a month. Where to begin. Well, somehow I missed the arrival of Gaby- she’s darling. Such a pretty coat, not that Harvey isn’t handsome. They look really happy together. Yes, I too am busy planning after coming home with some great ideas from my garden trips in England- but for now I have to work outside to get rid of all the weeds and dead stuff.

  3. Bob Harper says:

    Sure did like this week’s preview. You do definitely have a flair for writing interesting stuff. And, loved the pic of the frog in the bath and the fun pics of the rabbits. Thanks much. Hope you have a happy and WET 4th of July. bob

  4. I grew up thinking that summer was prime-time gardening. In Central Texas, that’s not the case, but at least I used to get things done in June and even July. And though I concentrate on indoor projects in August, I always relied on a little break at the end of the month, when it’s time to gear up for fall.

    Not so sure about that anymore. For years, we’ve teased our northern friends, “Ha ha, we can garden all year long, with a 5-hour break in January.” They’ve got the laugh on us now.

    Yep…you hit the nail on the head with those couple of paragraphs. Summer wasn’t always so horrible in Central Texas. I used to start think our misery zone was July 4th to Labor Day. The last 3 out of 4 years it’s been twice as long.

  5. Larry Green says:

    Well it is cool, rainy and wet here in the Denver, Colorado area as the 4th of July holiday beckons. And it barely has broken into the 90′s. It’s quite a contrast to earlier when I languished about what was growing in CTG country while nothing was happening here. Watching CTG and your blog gives me ideas about what I can trial later during my growing season.

  6. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Harvey and Gaby look like a very contented couple. Kudos to you & Greg for rescuing him and giving him such a happy home. I have to admit, the picture of him being walked on a leash cracked me up big time!

  7. Harvey on a leash is so funny! And what a cute girlfriend he has. That’s a great post; you’ve been promising a bunny post for some time, and I’m glad you did.

    Today I found myself googling “best affordable beach town to live in”. If this weather keeps up, I will have to leave Austin (for the second time). I left once in 1994 because I couldn’t take the heat anymore. I used to say that I could take summers heat up until July 4. It seems that no longer applies, as the past two years the heat has started in mid-May. A vacation may no longer be enough in the summer to get me out of it to more livable climates. And my water bill! Don’t get me started. Do you think this is an oddity, or has global warming ruined our fair city?

  8. The bunny condo is hilarious, Linda – Harvey and his companion have almost as much room as some students in dorms!

    Austin was horribly hot when we unpacked in July of 1999 but we assumed Texas heat and the brutal midwinter cold of the North were an equal tradeoff.

    After 10 years here I’m still not sure which area is harder to live in, but think there might be more emotional payoff to fine gardening in the North, where a genus like Hosta or Heuchera or Paeonia can produce a wealth of cultivars in a wide range of size, color and shape. Here we are pitifully grateful for anything that will flower – and it usually comes in one shape and two colors…yellow & red.

    I do find consolation in keeping the fountain full for birds and animals – that makes me feel like a benevolent goddess!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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