Pastel Ponchos and Wildflowers

The first Fling garden was the Wildflower Center, of which I only saw a fraction.  Predicted lightning made me unwilling to venture far from shelter.  Heavy, lavish, torrential rain soon fell.  After experiencing another severe drought year in Southern California, the fifth out of the last sixth, torrential rain was a treat.  
The bold stone entrance complex of the Center made a wonderful contrast to the ephemeral delicacy of the surrounding native wildflowers.   Texas has a rich trove of natives.



 The light was dull and low due to heavy cloud cover, so poor photos seemed likely, but many turned out okay, or were, at least, in focus.
Salvia greggii 'Theresa'
 Callirhoe involucrata is my guess on this one:
 No idea.  The white lit up in the dull light




 Pink Oenothera and blue Salvia farinacea
 Salvia farinacea
 It became apparent we were in for a downpour, so I retreated to shelter.  The Austin area received something like four inches (100 mm) that day, which is nearly what we got during our entire rainy season this winter.  I stood and relished the wealth of water. 
Puddles!!!!!!
 Other bloggers, more accustomed to rain, were not so ecstatic
 Sodden bloggers soon huddled under cover. 
Or in the gift shop.
The rain continued at our next garden.  I also saw very little of that one.   However, the pastel ponchos made for fun photos
 More puddles!  The only bad thing about the rain was that it wasn't soaking my garden.
 The homeowners must have been somewhat exasperated that their carefully groomed beauty was hard to see in the downpour. 
 Visitors, also.

 Rain did give visitors a pause to chat.  Camaraderie flourished.   My rain-euphoria exclamations of joy at the rain made PNW and other northern climate gardeners, who had come to Austin hoping for sun and warmth, look at me with a sigh.   

 An interesting attempt to Camouflage The Air Conditioners, a common garden designer's dilemma in hot climates.  I loved the screen, though the contrast between the beautiful rusted screen and the grey glossy boxes it was screening was not quite satisfying.  Would it be any better if the screen was the same glossy grey as the AC units?  Its a tough problem to solve:  the unit's air flow must never be restricted, and space is always limited.  Our units at home sit in an island of concrete and are painful to look at. 


 I never opened my poncho, instead relying on the umbrella lugged from home.  An umbrella better sheltered the camera.  I shot one handed or with the umbrella pinched between neck and shoulder. 
 The rain transformed a garden mirror into an impressionist composition.


 Lots of beautiful vignettes, most of which I missed.
 Butia capitata was present in several Fling gardens.  Quite a nice palm species. 
 The homeowners could not have been more gracious about sheltering ninety-some wet bloggers from the rain. 
 The rain eased but lasted through much of the day, through several other garden visits.
 It didn't stop us (much).  There were gardens to enjoy!

Comments

  1. You managed to get some nice photos despite the rain. I like the impressionist mirror.

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    1. Thanks! I like the impressionist mirror effects also--the ponchos added bright color.

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  2. Many things I like about this post. First it is now, not midwinter when you are posting spring/summer photos. Two, the darkness, that's what it is really like, isn't it? Next your playfulness, your sense of humor, in the text and in the pictures. Your delight in the rain in contrast to the others from wetter climates. Superb choice of photos - the wildflower shots, the rainbow of ponchos. Well done.

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    1. It was dark! My camera did pretty good in that light. The night before I was reading the itenerary of gardens and one description was of dry riverbeds to "handle our torrential rains". My reaction was "Oh, wish I could see that! Be careful what you wish...etc.

      Happy you liked the post.

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    2. That's part of what makes Austin such a tough climate for all but the toughest plants from elsewhere; the rains, if/when they come, are frog-stranglers. So glad the storm didn't affect more than the one day of the tour.

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    3. The more delicate plants were rather horizontal, I noticed. And hail does texture Agave foliage into something resembling hammered copper...no hail this time, but I imagine they do get some.

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  3. The rain slowed us down but did not, as you note, stop us. I do wish everyone could have seen the Wildflower Center and Diana's garden in drier conditions. But you'll just have to come back to Austin!

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    1. Yes I would really like to see the Wildflower Center and Diana's garden in better weather (or even equipped with better rain gear and a waterproof camera.) The WC is #1 on my list to visit in TX. Still, crazy as it sounds, I loved the rain.

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  4. HB, That was a nice place to visit despite the rain, I am now very tired of rain: we've had 14 inches in 25 days, parts of my garden have become an extension of the pond and my roses are defoliated by fungal diseases. The palm tree Butia capitata is native to Argentina, very popular as street tree here. Have a great weekend!

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    1. 14 inches in 25 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my! I hope you get a little sun soon, so the roses can grow new leaves.

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  5. Saw some of the early pics on FB and my what a spectacular downpour that did look! Love the arches!

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    1. The stone arches and cisterns were very dramatic and evoked the history and landscape of the area just perfectly. A beautiful place, hope you get to see it someday in person!

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  6. I really wish for an overcast/ no rain hour at the Wildflower Center. A big wish. Still I'm grateful the time we had , and that storm was kind of awe-inspiring.

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    1. Exactly! And Pam said they really needed the rain, and the following days all the plants had that "Wheee! I got rained on! I'm gonna grow." beauty...

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  7. I clearly don't have your facility with one-handed picture-taking. Given my cameo in one of your photos, however, I realize that I tried to make do with my poncho (i.e. without my umbrella) at Diana's garden, which I didn't recall doing. In any case, the strategy didn't improve my photos. I used both the poncho and umbrella most of the day but was still sodden.

    We got a little drizzle here this morning but it wasn't enough for the roof-top weather station to measure. More drizzle is projected for tonight and tomorrow - I hope we both get it but I'm not counting on it.

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    1. Well the light was really not great for taking photos. Everyone's bright ponchos made for better pictures.

      Can you imagine if that four inches would have fallen here instead? Our gardens would burst forth with new growth within days. Bit of drizzle here overnight. The cool weather is good for them at least. They can harden off all their soft spring growth before the oven switches on...

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  8. It was funny how everyone from CA got very excited about the rain, while everyone else thought we were... slightly weird? But it was amazing to see that much water. And you still got some gorgeous pictures!

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    1. People were looking at me pretty sourly at joyful exclamations about the rain, but I couldn't help it. I would have gone out and stood in it, if I'd happen to have had towels and a change of clothes.

      Thanks!

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  9. The rain certainly made for a strong “bigger in Texas” memory, but I regret not being able to explore the Wildflower center and Diana’s garden in more detail.

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    1. It was an experience to remember. As Pam said you will just have to go back and see them again. :)

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  10. We don't need to know the name of every flower that you saw on this flower filled trip. Your photos are fabulous. I wish I could have been there so I am hoping to see a lot of your posts about the trip. I like to read everyone's take on the gardens. I am with you. The wildflower center would be on my list to see too. I love the mirror shot, very artsy.

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    1. Thanks, happy you liked the photos. It is fun (and educational) to read different takes on the same garden!

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  11. This week when we hiked - there was water - in the stream - greeted with excited noises from this Diana!!

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    1. That must have been fun, and not as uncomfortable as that torrent in Austin.

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  12. I was so excited to read your post and see all of the photos you took of bloggers and my garden, despite the horrible rain. We knew it was going to happen, but I was so glad that it didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirit. Since I was not taking pictures in my own garden (though I certainly should have to capture all of the bloggers) I don't have any. Would you mind sending me those from my garden in high res? You can send them to diana at dianas designs austin dot com. And thanks for sharing your photos with everyone else as well.

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    1. I'll do that. I won't send the out-of-focus ones with the rain all over the lens, though. I got plenty of those. ;^)

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