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