Friday, July 08, 2016


This post, 2015 October, Glinda’s Garden Day, was written by Annie in Austin/ Diva Glinda for the Divas of the Dirt blog.

The hot dry weather continued over most of Austin in September 2015. In the neighborhood where Sophia, Karla and I live there was no measurable rainfall from the beginning of July to the 3rd week of October - some precious moisture did fall on other parts of Austin.

Once we got into October some red Spider lilies brightened the garden. Would there be more flowers when the Divas of the Dirt came to my (Glinda's) house?

One tree was already looking forward to fall – here is the loquat forming buds on October 12th

October was my assigned month as hostess but there was no good date for everyone. Our Divas of the Dirt lives were even busier and more erratic than usual. I was expecting out-of-visitors, other Divas faced necessary medical procedures, one was going to a big formal wedding in East Texas, another was involved in house renovation work. There were fundraising events for nonprofits, birthdays, people arriving and leaving, aging parents in need of care, and some of us hoped to go on the semi-annual Travis County Master Gardeners tour on the 17th. I decided to go with Halloween day – no matter how many of us showed up, we could have a few laughs.

A couple of us made it to Pam Penick's extraordinary garden for the Master Gardeners tour – what fun! 

A few days after the tour my out-of-state houseguests arrived, and the moment the wheels of their plane hit the runway at ABIA, it started to drizzle. The promised El Nino was sneaking in.

Rain fell off-and-on for days – in our neighborhood the total was about 13" over an 11-day period. One big storm dropped more than a foot of rain in places like Wimberley, South Austin, and Buda – a dangerous and damaging amount of water. 

Meteorologist Emily Borchard posted an amazing map showing the speed at which the rains had banished drought.

Then some sad news – one of the Divas would soon be on the road, heading to the funeral of a beloved relative.

The day before our meeting, more than 4” of rain fell in a few hours in my neighborhood, swirling and threatening to lift the pots on the patio. Thank heavens our lot has a bit of a slope!

From the front porch I could see a squirrel clinging to the underside of the Arizona Ash trunk, trying not to be swept away by the downpour.

By Halloween morning the rain had slowed to a drip. I added a black lace cover to the piano and topped it with an orange pumpkin.

The dining room table was set with a few Halloween decorations, ready for the arrival of Mattie, Sophia, Buffy and Annie.

The casserole was ready for the oven  and it was costume time! When the Divas arrived, they were greeted by someone from the days of early TV – Lucy, the Vitameatavegamin saleswoman from I Love Lucy.

This goofy idea got a great reaction from Buffy! Thanks to Sophia for snapping the photo.

Eventually we got around to eating breakfast – cranberry juice, orange juice and coffee to drink, cut up pineapple, red grapefruit and watermelon for fruit, and a casserole of wild rice, jasmine rice, eggs, shallots, mushrooms, Greek yogurt and Swiss cheese. And pear bread with blueberry preserves and cream cheese frosting.

After breakfast we kept talking for awhile because the yard so wet. But we couldn’t stay inside – maybe we should just take a stroll around the garden to look at the plants or sit on the patio? Sophia took a photo when Annie gave this a try.

 Well, you know those Divas of the Dirt – the “looking” part only lasted a few minutes and soon they were raking up the leaves and sticks, then pulling tree seedlings and weeds out of the softened earth. [Photo by Sophia]

They said raking was no big deal, but when they were done – it was a big deal to me!

Buffy decided to tackle the horrible Bermuda grass which was trying to take over the parkway.

Look at the parkway after her work - what a garden angel!

Mattie’s pooch Barbie is our unofficial mascot and a good companion when we’re in the garden. 

Although it was too wet to plant bulbs or transplant perennials, the cleanup made an enormous difference.

There are no photos of the simple lunch – I borrowed Sophia’s panini grill and made sandwiches with Black Forest ham and Herbed turkey on a choice of rye bread, sourdough or gluten free bread. There was a green salad with tomato wedges and avocado dressing.

There are photos of the dessert – a mostly gluten free Black Forest Cake from a recipe I found online.

I had all the pieces baked and ready to assemble – starting with the chocolate shortbread base. This layer was not gluten-free but since it was separated from the rest of the cake by whipped cream, anyone avoiding flour could just leave it on the plate.

In another bowl was a mound of just-whipped cream.

There were three chocolate sponge cakes, pre-soaked with cherry juice spiked with Kirschwasser, ready to be spread with cherry preserves and layered with whipped cream.

Then the cream was topped with chocolate curls. The cake was a hit!

With the ground still quite saturated, we’d done all that could be done outdoors … it was time for everyone to go home and get ready for the Trick or Treaters!

A few days later, the rain convinced bluebonnet seedlings to sprout. The seedlings would have enough time to grow before April bloom time.
This post, 2015 October, Glinda’s Garden Day, was written by Annie in Austin/ Diva Glinda for the Divas of the Dirt blog.