Rocks glowing beneath
fire-breathing dragon hot
Texas summer sun.
The temperature for this area is predicted to reach 105 degrees (Fahrenheit) today, and I can already hear the hot sun hissing on the horizon. Luckily, last winter, we had Emilio Ramirez landscape our backyard with rocks and some different types of yuccas, agave, and cactus (among other things). Rocks don’t wilt, and desert plants are able to tolerate intense heat much better than grass. We also had Emilio install a 38 head drip system so we can give everything a cool drink when needed. However, even with the drip system, I still need to use the hose every so often—because trees and bushes require more water than agaves and yuccas. I often walk around my yard and stick my finger (or a screwdriver) into the ground to test the soil moisture, so I will know if I need to water again. It might be a little bit easier to maintain than grass, but Xeriscape does not mean no maintenance!
Of course, when we switched from grass to rocks, the ‘creatures’ that wanted to inhabit the backyard changed too. I never saw a scorpion in Virginia, but I have seen a few here. Last week around midnight, I heard my Siamese cat talking rather loudly. She never talks like that unless she is communicating with ‘something’ of great interest. So I got out of bed, turned on the light, and saw that she was calmly escorting a scorpion across the tile floor. Oh no! The scorpion was obviously annoyed, as it was waving its tail over its head while it walked beside her. Of course, I have no picture of the scorpion because I was too worried about saving my cat—so you will just have to believe me. I did not get a photo of the black tarantula either. The spider was safely outside, but I was so stunned by its size that I didn’t even think of my camera. Oh well. It seems that the only creature I managed to photograph this summer was a grasshopper at the Government Canyon State Natural Area a few miles away. It was meditating like a Zen monk in a small sliver of shade, trying to keep a cool head on a hot afternoon.
There are others who have no choice but to stand in the heat without water or shade.
Wildflowers along the roadside bow their heads and pray for cooling rain.
Not all will survive the fire-breathing dragon hot Texas summer sun!