In the few moments of sunshine in this past week or so, autumn native bloomers spark light and color-joy.  Fall astersSymphyotrichum oblongifolium, beaten down by heavy rains, turn their exuberance to singular rays of sunshine.

Pollinators reveal themselves, taking advantage of limited breaks in the clouds.

Syrphid fly on a Fall aster.


Plume-heavy grasses, like this Lindheimer’s muhly, Muhlenbergia lindheimeri,  add feathery grace to the garden.

Heavy rains weigh down the panicles, which sweep walkways,

…and drape over perennials like the ZexmeniaWedelia acapulcensis var. hispida.

Zexmenia’s yellow joy is undiminished.

Absent is the Texas sun, which bleaches color in the height of day.  Instead, gloomy is de rigueur, highlighting startling color.  Crimson Turk’s capMalvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii, and Plateau goldeneye, Viguiera dentata, pair in a color palooza.


These days, sunshine is provided by blasts from blooms.

Plateau goldeneye enjoys its flowering zenith and pollinators (when it’s not raining!) rejoice.


Light in the garden serves as a beacon during dark times.  These little perennial shrubs, White tropical sageSalvia coccinea, and their partner, the still young Mexican orchid tree, Bauhina mexicana, flower intermittently throughout summer.  Both plants are in their prime once the cool and rain begin in autumn–and we’ve had plenty of rain, that’s for sure!

Amidst Austin’s emergency water restrictions caused by historic flooding, with silt and gunk slowing water treatment and risking bacterial infestation, we’re boiling water for cooking and drinking.

But water from the sky–pure and nourishing–pleases the garden.   Stately FrostweedVerbesina virginica, thoroughly pink Rock rosePavonia lasiopetala, and normally dry-loving Blackfoot daisyMelampodium leucanthum, are awash in blooms.

Austinites have heeded calls for water conservation, thus allowing our water treatment plants to meet demand.  Aerial photos of Lady Bird Lake demonstrate the mess that the treatment plants are rectifying.  We have a 90% chance of heavy rain today, but the rain is slated to end.  Sunshine is in the forecast and all–people, critters, and water treatment plants–will enjoy a break from the wet.   We’ll be boiling drinking water  for a few more days, but normalcy is anticipated.

This little Gray hairstreak (and all other pollinators) will be back in full-wing, fulfilling their pollinating drives. No doubt they’re weary of resting under leaves during heavy downpours.


While our blue skies are recently rare, my blue fix is provided by patches of Henry Duelberg Sage, Salvia farenacia.

Syrphid flies also appreciate the blue, working during rain breaks, the blooms of Henry Duelberg

Blue skies are forthcoming.  Our gardens will dry, our streams and lakes will clear. Blooms and beasts will return to their daily duties.


27 thoughts on “Antidote

  1. Boiling drinking water? Wow… the aerial shots of Lady Bird Lake are pretty telling- yikes! Still, there are so many feasts for the eye in your garden. The Malvaviscus especially, jumped out at me. What a fantastic red! Hope moderation finds you soon. It seems like you’ve gone from one extreme to the other – desiccated to drowning in a mere few weeks. Hang in there…


    • Yup, boiling away. I washed a load in the dishwasher for the first time , using the sanitize and heated drying, neither of which I’ve ever used. Some plastic containers melted; hope that means it’s hot enough. 🙂

      Yes, the red Turk’s blooms are spectacular. They bloom May to November, but are really in their gloring from September, going forward. Hummingbirds and all other pollinators love Turk’s!

      Our climate is extreme and becoming more so. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a crazy weather pattern we are having! Your garden looks absolutely wonderful, lush and happy after all this rain. I just love Lindheimer’s Muhly, especially this time of year…what a graceful plant. Thank you for sharing.


  3. Yes, I don’t recall this much rain in October–ever. I’m enjoying the cool though and am glad the heat is done. I’m so happy that I now have enough full sun in my garden for the muhly; I’ve long admired that plant!


  4. It’s still raining here, but like you, we’re anticipating clearing skies tomorrow and a gorgeous weekend. Your garden is beautiful, and you’re right that the flowers can light up the day even when the skies are gray as can be. I especially enjoyed seeing that Turk’s cap — have you ever eaten the fruit?


    • Yes, here too. It’s been steady all day and also where I work in the pm. The garden is lush, but honestly, I’m glad the rain is coming to an end for a while. (Though, that is tricky, isn’t it? Wishing rain would end in Texas??) I don’t have any serious complaints, but I’d like to see some critters and sunshine! I have tried the fruit, just a taste; it’s sweet and I think some make a jelly or preserve from them?


  5. Autumn is delightful in your Texas garden! And I know that spring is beautiful in your area, too, as I experienced it this year at the Garden Bloggers Fling. I really liked Austin! Sorry about the water issues–we had similar major flooding/water issues here in Madison in August, and the lesser problem of soil saturation is still an issue. Praying for more sun for you and for our farmers here. 🙂


    • Thank you, Beth. Autumn and spring are wonderful here; I also like summer, it just goes on a bit too long. probably like your winter? 🙂 I remember hearing about your flooding. Gosh your soil is still saturated! Wishing your famers well. We’re supposed to clear up tomorrow and have good sunshine for a while. I just hope the skeeters are mostly done for the season.


  6. Bauhinia mexican is one that I have never heard of. Bauhinia punctata is rare in the Los Angles Region, and even more rare here. Bauhinia variegata is more popular as a small tree in Southern California, but does not like even the mild frost here. The white flowering cultivar was popular in the 1990s, although I think it looks weird compared to the real thing.


    • I love it too! Yes, there was so much silt and gunk that the systems were slow to properly treat the water for Austin’s population. Last I heard, the boil water will be lifted tomorrow. And I agree: this is going to become more common as we have these more extreme weather events.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The sun is here! The sun is here! I bet you’ve been soaking it in as I have with maximized garden time.

    Ah, I’m sorry to hear you’re in the boil order area. We lucked out by a few miles.


    • The blue skies and sun have been glorious! I like Oregon weather, but sheesh–enough already! The boiling is only inconvenient and hasn’t been that difficult. Still, it makes one appreciat how easy we have it.


      • When the warning first went out we didn’t know where our water came from. It really did make me so grateful that this is such a rare thing where we are. We are so fortunate in so many ways and it is far too easy to take such things for granted.


      • I agree. As well, it’s not like I’ve had to hike 5 miles (or whatever), then carry a jug of water back to my house, then build a fire to boil it. At worst, this was an inconvenience. At best–it is a reminder of our fortunate we are AND that these things are going to become more common because we’re failing to prepare for the impacts that climate change is going to have on our everyday lives.


  8. Tina, I’m so sorry that I have to boil the water. I have been disconnected from the world. Shortly after arriving in Madrid from the country house, they had to admit me to the Hospital. I am already at home, in absolute rest. Today is the first day that I take the computer to read your post with such magnificent photos and full of flowers of great beauty. I love them all but the autumn Asters, the crimson Turkmen with those flowers of that beautiful color and the Plateau goldeneye with their yellow-golden color and those wonderful flowers have captivated me. Your garden is really beautiful and as it was the heat, enjoy it Tina. I hope everything returns to normal as soon as possible and that the tap water is potable very soon. Have a nice weekend. Take care. Greetings from Margarita.


    • I hope you’re recovering well, Margarita and I’m very sorry to here that you’ve been ill. Wishing you a speedy recovery–you have a wonderful weekend, too.


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