Monday, October 16, 2017

Texas Star Hibiscus

Gardening this year has been the best so far in this house. Several plants are well established, and they have put on a grand show. Among these is my Texas Star Hibiscus. I planted this about four years ago. Every year it gets about a foot higher than the previous year, and this year I enjoyed a wonderful profusion of blooms on the plant. I kept dead-heading spent blooms until about mid-July, and I let the last big wave of blossoms go to seed. I have not propagated any of these from seed, but if any readers would be interested, please leave me a comment with your mailing address. I won't publish your comment, but will mail you several seeds, and hopefully you can get at least one plant from them. I'd start them indoors in a sunny place in the winter, if possible. Also, if you're much north of Texas, I don't know how well these would do. They are a heat-hardy/water-thrifty perennial, and the plant dies down to the ground every winter, and puts a new set of canes at springtime. I like the look of the canes, so I let them stay up over winter and snap them off at the ground in spring. Also, unless you have tons of space for them, I would only plant the healthiest specimen to start with.
I first saw a Texas Star Hibiscus at a wonderful nursery in McKinney called The Green House, and they never watered theirs, and it came back year after year. Theirs was a massive stand of canes - probably several dozen canes, around 10' tall, with hundreds of blossoms through the summer. It was magnificent. My current plant will probably need a handful more years to get that tall, but it is on its way.

By the way, the purple plant in the right corner in the shade is a variety of Agastache (hummingbird mint) that I obtained from High Country Gardens. I just purchased that one this spring, and I was amazed at how quickly it established, filled out and started blooming. True to its name, it was a favorite with the hummingbirds, to my delight. :) I took this photo early in the morning when there was shade from trees across the street, but this stand of plants is around a boulder and gets full sun most of the day.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: long overdue

Yes, this is long overdue. This is the most recent photo of my darlings, although its not the best photo. I thought you should have a peek at them. Will try to post another photo soon.

They have been busy gobbling up as many freshly dropped pecans as they can muster. The nuts were huge early this year, but have only really started dropping in earnest in the last few days. It's a strange crop. Many I pick up are too light to have a healthy, edible fruit inside, and it looks to me as though about half the ones on the ground are bad. It is a shame, because I really wanted to share a huge pecan haul with friends, but it seems there won't be so many when all is said and done. Today it took a lot of effort just to gather about 175, and that added up to a handful of pounds, but when they have been shelled, that is not so many. Add to this the challenge of competing with the doggies for the nuts. I also don't want them eating the bad nuts, but as you know, Mochi will eat anything.

This is my mid-term week. Wow. Amazing. I have a massive annotated bibliography due Tuesday, and that is for a 20 page paper that will be due by the end of the semester. I will be pleased to have done with that. In truth, this is a class I would prefer not to have taken, but it is a small program and there are limited options for grad-level courses. I will be glad to have eaten this frog in the first semester, but I still reserve the right to bellyache. More than the misery, though, is the glory of the English Romantics. I'd never read essays by Charles Lamb. For those of you who do crossword puzzles, you know his alter-ego was Elia. Apparently he knew an Italian named Elia when he was younger and liked the name, plus Elia is an anagram for A Lie. All those years doing crosswords and I didn't know the backstory. So, yeah, mostly, the knowledge is rich, interesting, and meshes with earlier knowledge in a way that gives life a fuller feeling. Is nice.

If anyone is reading this, I hope you have a great week.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Beautiful dreaming

If you have a minute and are bored, do yourself and search google images for Ernest Delune (1857-1949), a master architect who created some of the most glorious Art Nouveau structures in Brussels. I hope to get back there one day, but my heart leapt every time I passed 6 Rue du Lac, in particular. One evening, we drove past in the dark, and the interior lights revealed a glory of stained glass in the lovely windows. *le sigh*

The above image is from a lovely travel blog entitled Milliver's Travels, and on this post, the author includes photos and information about several more lovely structures in Brussels.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Big ideas.

The grad students have been told that this is a vital time for us to attend conferences and submit proposals for inclusion in those conferences. Today I had an idea for a paper that I hope will fit the bill.

I have the most phenomenal professor for English Romantic Literature. The lectures are fantastic, and I love the material. Have fallen in love with Keats, who is absolutely amazing. To Autumn seems particularly fitting today:

To Autumn
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
      For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
   Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
     Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
   Steady thy laden head across a brook;
   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wow - has it really been almost 3 months?

Time is a nutty business. Amazingly, it's been almost three months since I checked in here. Sorry for the silence, but things have been busy, to put it mildly.

My 7th week of grad school is nearly over. The volume of reading is tremendous, but the material is mostly enjoyable to read. My assistantship is going well, and each interaction with students brings with it a lesson. Next Fall I will be teaching two classes, and I will be giving my lecture on The Tempest to the Shakespeare class in November. I am thrilled that professor asked me to come speak to his class. This is so much fun!

Happily, I was able to attend Blogorado this year, and it was restorative, to say the least. It is great to spend time with some of the dearest and best people in the world. :)

I am attempting to complete the lion's share of my major semester assignments in the next 3 weeks so that I can tuck into National Novel Writing Month with both feet starting November 1. The plan is to complete a novel I started several years ago. I'm also trying to encourage Himself to complete something brilliant he started earlier this year, which I hope he will publish on Amazon sometime soon.

Life is very busy, but things are going well. It is still rather amazing that I graduated in May, but it such a thrill to be working at studies again, and at another level. The challenge of grad level classes is dazzling, but it is thrilling to increase my knowledge.

I will try to check in again sooner than three months. Hopefully I'll have a publication of something from myself or Himself to announce soon.

Take care of yourselves!