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August


August is an ugly month.  Growing up in the Chicago area it was a great month - the last of summer but turning cooler towards the end with the trees just beginning to get ready to change color.  School would be starting soon and that usually meant a new wool skirt and sweater - sometimes worn on the first day of school because it had already started to turn cool.   The August of my youth lead into fall colors and then a long cold snow filled winter.  I miss the fall but not the winter.  But regardless of all of that, August was wonderful.

Not so here in Texas.  We are at the peak of summer right now and most of us are sick and tired of it.  Summer, that is.  We still have high temperatures in the middle to upper 90's.  It has been hot for so long it's hard to imagine that it might ever get cooler again.  Yes, yes, I know.  August 22nd is the day that the average high temperature starts it's oh so slow drop towards the cooler temperatures of fall.  That may be statistically correct but it sure doesn't seem like it.  It's hot.  It's dry.  Summer is unrelenting.

Some of the plants out here agree with me.  The marigolds have all but stopped blooming although part of that could be the fact that picking the blooms over the time I wasn't walking was very spotty.  They do produce more blooms if you pick them regularly, but at this point they look tired and burned out.

This was the first year for me to plant zinnias and they were lovely.  Like the marigolds they are now tired and even more burned out looking.  August is not kind to zinnias.  Even the errant poke berry that managed to get a foothold in the zinnia garden bin looks tired and old.  Our tomatoes are long gone, of course, and even the peppers are tired and done for the year.

There are some plants that seem to thrive in this unending, unrelenting heat of summer.  The Texas sage looks stunning!  That last rain we had two weeks ago really did the trick.

And the ferns are looking full and happy.

Much of the front garden still looks happy and bright.

Most of the herbs in the herb garden are long past but the Thai basil still looks wonderful.

We had some good rain a couple of weeks ago.  Now we are inundated with parasites in the goats and llamas.  We are working our way through that.  Parasites are always an issue with goats, not so much with llamas.  There is nothing like a good hard rain after weeks and weeks of hot summer to activate all those little devils.

Despite the fact that some of my plants look wonderful, I still say August is ugly.  I am happy that September is only a few days away.  It will still be hot and dry but we will be on our way to much appreciated cooler temperatures.