What the Divas Did in 2005


This roller coaster of a year began with images of the tragic tsunami in Asia and TV footage of snow on the Gulf coast. Within the Diva world, we sympathized with Karla as she began the year with the death of a friend and a sudden job change.

Early in January we emailed suggestions for the planning meeting:

Fonda San Miguel [no Saturday breakfast], IHOP on Mopac, Elsi’s new location, Monica’s on the Square in Georgetown, and Eastside Café [also no Saturday breakfast] and the time to meet was 8:30 AM.

We tried to eat at Trudi’s on Burnet, but as the Divas met in the parking lot we saw that Trudi’s wouldn’t open until nine. New plan: Move down Burnet to the Waterloo Ice House. This restaurant had super breakfast tacos, great omelets and amazing biscuits.

The Waterloo dining room was laid back and warm, a congenial place for catching up on the news and getting organized for 2005. The paper slips with the months were drawn and as we set the dates, we hoped that this would be a good year for all of us. If you’ve read the entries for previous years, you know we are incurable optimists!


DONNA had drawn the month of February, frequently a great month for Austin gardening, and set the 26th for our first workday. February was damp and gloomy, even daring to rain on the morning of the 13th, as the runners wound through town in the Austin Freescale Marathon.

DivasoftheDirt, marathon

(If you don't mind a moment of shameless promotion, please check out my Austin Marathon Song on YouTube)

Two inches of rain fell during the 3rd week of February, with a 20% chance for more on the planned Diva-day.

We received a note from Donna:

If it's raining ...sleep in! If not, please be here sharply at 8:00 and we will eat non-diva style…y’all know what this means! :) I think we can knock out the project in 2-3 hours max. Then we can have a leisurely lunch.

The rain began before dawn and got heavier throughout the day … Donna’s turn had floated off, with hopes for a makeup session later on.


Annie’s diva-day was set for March 12, on a sunny, 80-degree day. But Annie was not feeling very spring-like. She was slowly recovering from a serious case of the flu. Looking out at all of the garden work to be done was not helping her to feel better!

She wrote: Hey Divas! Donna, I'm sorry that your date was a wash. However, for my Saturday I was planning on some general trimming, mulching, and a small side bed… anyone not afraid of heights that could climb a ladder and caulk a gutter?

DivasoftheDirt, materials ready

No one wants to miss Annie’s cooking; that day she made a stacked mushroom & egg casserole, sausage, biscuits, and a fruit salad with a combination of peaches, strawberries, white raspberries and blueberries, so colorful and delicate.

Time to go out to do the tasks that Annie requested! Going over the lawn as a team didn’t take very long:DivasoftheDirt, annie's lawn patrol

We’re more likely to reach for organics like Ladybug’s Terra Tonic or Medina’s HastaGrow rather than commercial weed/feed products, but that choice does mean more handwork.DivasoftheDirt, fence border

On a lovely day, with friends working at your side, weeding is easy – and a source of instant pleasure when you stand up and survey the results!outside fence border

When asked about the pole pruner, Annie said to forget it! Her ‘borrowed’ shade was almost gone after tree-topping and tree removal by her neighbors on either side. Instead of hoping for enough sun to make her flowers bloom, she was now worried about the survival of her shade-lovers.

We should concentrate on cutting back, removal of the winterkilled growth, weeding and remulching.

There are some plants that grow huge in just one season in Annie’s garden, and then die to the ground over winter.

DivasoftheDirt, B4 inside fence border

One of them, the Duranta, AKA ‘Blue Skyflower’, was a 5-foot cube of spiky dead branches in March. DivasoftheDirt, inside border after

We saw new growth peeking out at the base, ready to shoot up as spring came on. This Diva-garden photo shows how Duranta can bloom in the summer:DivasoftheDirt, duranta

Before the new season’s growth began, all the old growth had to be taken down and bundled into lawn bags. The Lantana-filled back border was a tangle of dead sticks, weeds and grass. It looked a lot better after clipping, composting and mulching.

Back border - BeforeDivasoftheDirt, B4 back border

Back border - AfterDivasoftheDirt, after back border

Lime was apparently Annie’s theme for the day. Lunch was festive with lime-colored table décor, as Annie presented a chicken pasta salad brightened with lots of colorful peppers, long, flat Mexican bread and Key lime pie, and she kept this theme going with limeade and Diet Lime Coke, too!

Agile Donna climbed the ladder and accomplished the hoped-for gutter repair, others weeded the perennial bed surrounding the crepe myrtle in front and a different group worked on the parkway bed. A beautiful red gaillardia had spread way larger than the label had claimed it would, and it was now in danger from the sidewalk traffic. DivasoftheDirt, gaillardia and BottlebrushThe gaillardia was transplanted into the center of the bed where it could sprawl, if only it could survive the move.

Now Annie could view her domain with anticipation instead of worrying about spring cleanup. She thanked us over and over. Our hope was that Annie might sit in the sun and mend, with her faithful dog Berne lumbering arthritically over to lie at her feet.DivasoftheDirt, peaceful haven


Central Texas endured major hailstorms in spring 2005 – the storms left many homes with smashed windows, roof & siding damage. Car dealers had to give discounts on hail-dented automobiles. Divas can ignore a few sprinkles, but we hoped that Buffy’s day would not bring hail or lightning – even Divas won’t work in that!

Hey Divas…Hopefully the weather will slowly improve and dry out a bit. I've not had a chance to get out into my yard to do anything yet. I've been itching to get out into the yard but it's either been crummy weather or I've been working!

Buffy’s timing was good – the day was dry, and we were happy to help her get her garden ready for one of the nicest events – her sister’s Baby Shower! Soon-to-be Aunt Buffy has a great layout for entertaining, with a covered porch near the living room and kitchen, a patio, and shade dappled paths full of interesting plants, so her guests want to spend time outside.DivasoftheDirt, Buffy in her garden

Buffy has made such a welcoming environment that a lovely native plant called Eve’s Necklace chose to sprout and grow in her shrub border, probably from a seed dropped by a passing bird. This is a compliment from Mother Nature!! Eve’s Necklace is a Sophora, a pinkish-flowered, deciduous relative of Texas Mountain Laurel.

As we have learned over the years, Buffy’s pyracantha and Mermaid Rose are in competition to devour the whole yard. The Mermaid waved its canes 12 feet into the sky, and stretched horizontally for 12 feet on either side. Every neighboring plant was impacted by this lovely, rampant rose, and this year the Loquat had gone a little nuts, too, with low-growing branches emerging at odd angles, reaching out to trip the unwary and obstruct the patio. If the guests were going to avoid botanical collisions, we had some real pruning to do.

As the one who’d talked Buffy into buying that Mermaid rose back in 2000, I felt partly responsible for the mess. We could reach some of the rose with the pole pruner, but how could we get the thorny wands out of the Loquat without deforming the tree?? Athletic Wilma came to the rescue, although she would regret it later. She climbed up the trunk like a monkey, and guided the cutting process.

Wilma in the LoquatDivasoftheDirt, Wilma in tree

Some Divas worked on the beds in the shaded end of the yard, while others knelt under the Loquat tree, weeding, digging, transplanting ferns and sedum, mulching and making this highly visible area a pleasant scene for those sitting at the patio table. Look! A rustic arbor and vintage metal bench were hidden under that Mermaid!

The tamed North BorderDivasoftheDirt, tamed border

Although the Loquat and rose now looked wonderful, the effect on Wilma was not so pretty – one of those plants gave her a bad case of contact dermatitis, just in time for the wedding of Wilma and Donna’s brother! Poor Wilma!

We worked on the whole yard, section by section. The garden’s charm was enhanced by grooming, while color was added by planting annuals. We arranged the ones we weren’t able to use in Buffy’s cute new garden cart:DivasoftheDirt, cart in secret garden

We were at Buffy’s house from 8 AM until after 6 PM, outside for nearly 8 hours. We were all pretty wrecked afterward. For some reason, almost all the Divas had started the day with minor medical or physical problems, and Donna was weary from tending a sick child. Mindy was supposed to take it easy that weekend; her definition of ‘easy’ was sitting in a lawn chair while wielding large lopping pruners. She cut up the twiggy debris and filled a stack of paper lawn bags. Wilma soon felt the effects of her climb, and my own overuse of the pole-pruner meant I couldn’t even make a fist with my right hand for two days.

But we will do anything for Buffy, especially when she makes us her famous Zucchini Soup and fresh, warm tortillas and incredible chocolate/caramel killer desserts!DivasoftheDirt, replanted window garden

Buffy appreciates us, too: The back yard looked amazing for the shower. It turned out to be such a beautiful day and the party flowed out into the back yard. I got so many complements on the garden and I of course had to brag about the Divas!


As the Diva who had most recently moved, my wish wasn’t for maintenance – it was for a transformation. That long section along the back privacy fence wanted to be a semi-shaded shrub border. I didn’t buy specific plants for this project. I wanted to recycle what we already owned.

Muscle and imagination might turn this motley collection of container plants into a landscape asset. We needed to remove lots of grass along with some pesky Asiatic Jasmine, dig in plenty of cotton bur compost and other soil amendments, with Lady Bug Revitalizer Compost for the topdressing and lots of mulching after the careful placement the few plants.

DivasoftheDirt, future shrub border

There were some small shrubs that should eventually grow into large evergreens. Some had lived for years on the deck at my previous house; others were bought as tiny starter plants, then grown in increasingly larger containers over the last two years. There was a 3-foot tall Camellia japonica ‘Pius X’, a little Michelia figo from Red Barn Nursery on Pond Springs Road, one Podocarpus/Buddhist pine from Howard’s Nursery on Koenig Lane, a Loropetalum called ‘Raspberry Razzle-Dazzle’, a few agapanthus bulbs, Oriental lilies that had bloomed lavishly on my former deck, a batch of caladium bulbs, just sprouting their white & green leaves, some impatiens & begonias, a small Barbados cherry from Mindy and one boxwood, still in a container from our former front entry.

The day got off to a weird start, with morning clearing following thunder and rain in the middle of the night. I had Googled around and found new recipes on a Bed and Breakfast website, so ‘Sweet Peach French Toast Casserole’ and ‘Eggs in Ham Crisps’ were ready for the oven. But by 9 AM, Annie was the only Diva to appear. After a few enormous thunderclaps, Annie ran back home to let Berne, who was terrified of storms, into the house. Donna called to say her child was sick, but the other Divas arrived soon afterwards.

Who cared about an early start! After the fun of visiting and breakfasting, we moseyed out to deal with four hours of mud and mess in the shade of a pecan tree.DivasoftheDirt, Middle of the mess

Many group decisions were made, and guess who was overruled more than a few times! As usual, the Divas were right, and my original ideas were a little, shall we say stodgy?DivasoftheDirt, dug and amended The boxwood was denied entrance into the border, but they let it stand guard in a container at the shed door, instead.

The Divas used all the caladiums I had started, placing the barely sprouted plants in one big group at the right side of the long bed. They told me to just go buy more bulbs if I wanted some for the front planters, and to quit scattering things in tiny clumps around the garden, and to think big! They also decided to mulch everything, including an adjacent perennial bed. TDivasoftheDirt, joined beds with birdbathhis action added a measure of unity to the whole back.

Here’s the long view from the shed door, past the new border and the perennial bed, up to the vegetable garden:DivasoftheDirt, long view south

My husband Ozz had kept a few crepe myrtle trunks from a tree-removal project, realizing they had sculptural qualities. The Divas agreed, and placed one over the Loropetalum – thus adding Razzle-Dazzle to Crepe Murder!DivasoftheDirt, crepe myrtle art

We adjourned to lunch on Chicken taco salad and Mexican Fudge, an old favorite recipe from Illinois. It’s made from shredded Jack cheese & Cheddar cheese layered with eggs & green taco sauce beaten together, then baked and served with tortilla chips. We finished with Cappuccino-frosted brownies, and agreed it was a good day’s work.


The following week brought another flurry of emails, as we set up a midweek session in place of Donna’s rained-out day. We heard some upsetting news: In the middle of the night, a badly driven, heard-but-not-seen vehicle had plowed across Annie’s front grass, knocked lots of bark off her big front tree, and totaled her car as it sat innocently in the driveway. The perpetrator disappeared before Annie or her neighbors got a look.

Annie was now driving to work in a rental car while hunting for a new one in her spare time. She hoped a new car might make it easier to load Berne into the interior. Annie patched the tree’s wounds and tried to get back to normal.

2005 MAY part 2/DONNA

Buffy, Annie and Karla were unavailable in the middle of a weekday, so a reduced squad of Wilma, Mindy and Glinda met at Donna’s house on May 25th, mostly to weed, water, add compost, and mulch the two large back borders we’d made in 2004.

While Donna had been out of town, her sister Wilma had given us the plan for the day:

I offered to poll the Divas to see if we could … get the mulching done quickly. We're talking 8:30 to noon. Donna’s son is doing better, although a bit clingy… Have your breakfast before you come, and she'll provide a hearty lunch and fluids…

Donna sent a confirming message:

Ok, I'm back in town and ready for action! Thank y’all so much for coming and helping me out!!! I will get supplies tomorrow and have planned a yummy ladies lunch. Cafe con leche pie for dessert, yea!

Some of what we’d planted in 2004 had done well; some had fizzled out or declined in the shady, heavily rooted bed. But the view was still tranquil and pleasant, and it looked really nice when we were done.DivasoftheDirt, left border

There were some places scraped bare by Hudson the dog – but it wasn’t his fault – it was the fault of those darned squirrels. They tease and torment him, always staying just out of reach.

It was a canine kind of day. As Wilma & Donna’s children played in the back yard, a man passed by the front of the house, pushing a kid in a stroller, looking back at a beagle that had been following him. The dog went right through the gate, back to where Donna & Wilma were working. The man kept going – figuring that the dog belonged there and was home.

The pup was friendly, sweet with the kids, okay with Hudson, not inclined to jump or dig, but he lacked tags or a collar. Donna brought him inside when we went in to eat. She was afraid to let him run loose again for several reasons. Besides the traffic dangers, some people pick up unchained dogs and dump them at the pound without first checking to see if any neighbors are missing a dog.


Naturally, as we enjoyed our lovely lunch, featuring tuna salad and that very fancy pie, the conversation turned to the ‘new’ beagle [who was sitting and behaving quite nicely], then to Donna’s dog Hudson, Wilma’s beagle Gretchen, Buffy’s pooch Libby, Annie’s dog Berne and his arthritis problems, and some obedience classes that Mindy was considering for her two big pups.

Donna did her best to find the beagle’s owner, working with local authorities and even becoming a designated foster dog-parent, but to no avail. He was eventually adopted and is doing very well. See if you can find him in this photo from May 2005, where he is camouflaged in Donna’s garden:DivasoftheDirt, border and beagle

We spent a little time on the hot front curbside bed that the Divas had made a few years ago. The iris was thriving, but everything else kept croaking. We wondered - maybe something from the Portulaca family would grow?

Donna later told us this idea worked:

I have been meaning to tell you I put in some Portulaca and Moss Ross… What a difference they made! Just six plants made my garden go from drab, to happy and complete!

By 2 PM, we’d had fun together and were glad we’d made it to Donna’s garden. Next up was Mindy’s house in June.

Canine Connections: After that workday, we all had pups on our minds, but didn’t know until later that a sadder tale had unfolded at Annie’s house. Her beloved old Berne was failing, despite the help of the vet. While we were pondering the lost beagle’s origin, Berne quietly met his end.


Mindy sent us a note in midweek:

Good Morning Divas!!! Well most of you were probably awake at the same time we were this morning with the light and thunder show--for all the noise and wind we had, only an inch of rain in the gauge. Then the news of the Oasis burning down!!! Boo-hoo!!! Hopefully they will be able to rebuild...

[This local landmark with its fabulous views was back in business pretty fast ]

It’s always good to be together at Mindy’s house, hanging out in her huge kitchen and watching her cook while we are catching up with the news. Annie’s life had taken a new turn. She had found a good car, had adopted a young dog named Chip, and she had photos! While still missing Berne, Annie knew that some Divas cannot live dogless lives.

Mindy’s projects usually have scope. When you have several acres, finding a project is never a problem! In 2004 we spent a rather ladylike day arranging Mindy’s deck and playing with container plants. This session would require help from a guy with a jackhammer.

A few years ago we’d made entrance gardens by Mindy & Warren’s front gate. Some of the plants had filled in and done well, others struggled to survive, and some had become deer salad. The walls are beautiful and set off any plantings:DivasoftheDirt, gate right B4

We dug and weeded, composted and mulched, and added in some artemesias and other plants that might do well. One side of the gate is a little more shaded, and there are more roots over there too. We followed Mindy’s lead and made it all look good.

Another area needs constant weeding – that path near the door, full of sneaky Bermuda grass. DivasoftheDirt, B4 pathThe Barbados Cherries were doing beautifully, along with Katy Ruellia and a sort of white mistflower loved by butterflies.DivasoftheDirt, after path

Our main task was planting half a dozen crepe myrtles. They may not be native trees but they sure are well-adapted, tough, low water-users once established, with beautiful blooms and interesting bark. Here on Mindy’s large spread, these trees will have room to grow. They can make flowery shade without having to hack them back.

Mindy bought one trio of lavender blooming crepes to screen and shade the patio, and another trio of semi-dwarf trees, the white-blooming ‘Acoma’, to give dimension to the rocky hillside.

To get them in the ground took all our Diva strength!! DivasoftheDirt, jackhammer gardeningWarren used his jackhammer and broke up the planting areas, but it still took a lot of muscle to get the rocks out and the trees in.DivasoftheDirt, rocky tree planting

When we put in the hillside trio of trees, something about the perspective made Mindy’s large home grounds seem even larger.DivasoftheDirt, acoma crepe myrtles

Mindy served a Greek-style pasta salad and Lemon Meringue Pie. She also used her mom’s recipe for a Coconut Pie that won raves.

We had a progress report from Mindy after a few days:

Good afternoon Divas-- Well a note of thanks to all of you for divine diva intervention in my much neglected post recovery yard. I have been very busy watering, liquid deer fence spraying and continually plugging away at that front bed!!! There's already vigorous new growth on the crapes, and all the bedding plants are looking cooler and happier :)

DivasoftheDirt, lilac crepr myrtle trio

I have also noticed to my utter dismay that my hibiscus and petunia planters (which were once considered safe on the deck) have been half stripped of leaves and the multiple blossoms I was looking forward to blooming. I think the heat has bolstered the bravado of the deer into coming on the deck!!!

A reminder for everyone that the Austin Pond Society tours are next month on July16th & 17th--this year a portion of the proceeds going to Marbridge Foundation. The information will soon be posted on their website: THE AUSTIN POND SOCIETY 2005 TOUR


Ozz and I went on the pond tour and had a great time. Tours and garden walks are a fun way to see real Austin gardens and meet some other gardeners. Most people here keep their front yards rather neutral, with the garden features and the more exciting plants enclosed in the back. Over the years we’ve been amazed to see how many drab and uninteresting front spaces lead back to spectacular personal environments. This does make it hard to find out where like-minded plant people are living!

The pond tour featured some big-buck, professionally designed and showy gardens, and some other more individual and funky ones that made us wish we’d get invited there for a party! A few people had gone totally tropical, with ponds, streams, bridges, exotic hibiscus in abundance and miniature banana plantations popping up in gardens that were designed for outdoor living and entertaining. At many homes there were red dragonflies swooping around, as we viewed ponds up against rock walls, ponds tucked in corners, ponds on hillsides, and rectangular ponds running beside the houses so you had to cross a bridge to get in the door. If you haven’t been on the pond tour you are really missing out on something wonderful – try to go on it next time!


Wilma had drawn October as the month for the Divas to work in her garden, but she proposed a different project for our group. She wanted us to revitalize the grounds of the Children’s Advocacy Center in Georgetown. Kids are taken there from all over Williamson County for meetings with social workers and officials. The location is a 100 year-old house on a fairly busy street and it needed a more welcoming appearance for its young clients. A troop of Local Boy Scouts had already done some great work, including the construction of a wooden access ramp and planting several trees. But the flowerbeds seemed to need our participation. We hoped to get donations of materials and plants.

Wilma thought the Divas should scope out the place in August, to give us time to come up with a landscape plan:

Hi Divas! I spoke with the Children's Advocacy Center director this morning, and we're cleared to visit there anytime Saturday. Mindy and I spoke this morning and think nine might provide for a little sleeping in while at the same time taking advantage of the crisp, cool August morning air. Ha Ha Ha.

On August 27th, we met at the center and looked over the grounds, measuring, taking notes, and trying to figure out what tools and supplies we would need to do such a big job. We realized that the difficult terrain called for tough plants, and tried to identify the existing trees and shrubs.

Afterward, we took a short driving tour around Georgetown since some of us had never seen the sights. There are a lot of cool old houses, and the impressive campus of Southwestern University,

Southwestern U

Lots of the students were around, and so were their parents. Classes would start on the 29th, so it might have been moving-in weekend.

Whatever the reason, we had a long wait for a table the Monument Cafe

Once we were seated we were very happy with the food and the setting. We were now pretty confident that we could make a difference to the grounds of the Advocacy Center.

But before we left Georgetown …this was a Divas of the Dirt outing, right? The best finish to any Diva Day is a trip to a local nursery! We loved going to McIntire’s Nursery in Georgetown, and we found some good stuff to take home with us.


A few days after our meeting, Katrina deluged New Orleans and the Alabama/Louisiana/Texas coast. Those of us who could help in the relief effort did so, and like the rest of America, we mourned for those whose lives were changed forever. The power of a hurricane on the coast was beyond anything we’d imagined. Once again, as after the tsunami, a feeling of helplessness overtook many of us.

Because Karla’s mom had serious medical woes, Karla could make no plans of any kind. She gave up the idea of hosting a September meeting, but thought November was a possibility. The originally planned September workday would have been brutal - the weather turned hot and horrible, with temperatures over 100 degrees every day. We hoped it would be better when we worked at the CAC in October.

Then Hurricane Rita blew in, and this storm had local effects. In Austin, the weather experts warned us to expect huge downpours and strong winds; even the Austin City Limits Festival debated going on with the show. The hotels in Austin were already full of people who had come for the ACL Festival. Everyone waited to see exactly where Hurricane Rita would make landfall as it aimed at the Texas coast.

While people in Austin followed the experts’ advice and took down their hanging planters, bought propane and batteries, got delicate plants under cover and put their cars in the garage, many folks in the target area fled from the coast toward Austin. Something like 17,000 people from East Texas and Louisiana camped out in Austin-area schools during the storm, along with thousands more who stayed with family and friends all over Central Texas.

Mindy, Karla, Donna and Wilma have roots and relatives in towns near the Texas coast, and some of their family members came to shelter with their Diva daughters. In spite of all the hoopla, Austin got only moderate winds & not a drop of rain, and the heat continued. Galveston was spared and Beaumont hard hit. As the last week of September began, most of the folks in the school gyms traveled back east, and Austin sweltered. One theory said that Hurricane Rita took all the rain off to the east, leaving a vacuum behind it, which then sucked the hot desert air across west TX to hang over Austin. It was 107 degrees on the 25th, and 108 on the 26th, nearly 10 degrees over the all time records. The weather forecasters kept promising cold fronts that never arrived.

2005 WILMA/OCTOBER at the Children’s Advocacy Center

DivasoftheDirt, CAC sign in progress

Thank you so much to all the people who were involved in making this happen!

Although they were temporarily hosting family members, Mindy and Wilma found time to line up donations for the CAC, with the invaluable help of Austin landscape professional Sara Twaddle. Some wonderful folks made our project possible, including the Texas Wood Recycling Company, who contributed a pickup load of Texas Native Mulch [driven over by Buffy] and J-V Dirt and Loam, who contributed several yards of great compost; lots of plants came from Marbridge Nursery, including Santolinas, Rosemaries and Jerusalem Sage; and the TX Nursery & Landscape Association contributed a cluster of plants of lambs ears and pink skullcap, a ‘Green Cloud’ Texas sage and a cool Dragon’s blood sedum.

The TX Nursery & Landscape Association [TNLA] also arranged for some professional labor to come to the CAC. More plants came from Wilma, Mindy and the other Divas, like Salvias, Mexican oregano and ornamental peppers.

On October 15, Mindy couldn’t be at the Advocacy grounds – she was enroute to the coast in a family caravan, going to rescue their mom’s home. Karla’s mother had fled from the area, become injured and needed help, and the family home was also in need of TLC, so Karla was with her family. We other five Divas loaded up our wheelbarrows, tools, sunscreen and gloves, and drove up to Georgetown, determined to do our best in the 90-degree temperatures.

Wilma was excited to see her idea become a reality:

I can't believe it's actually all coming together! Compost to be delivered tomorrow to CAC (thank you, Buffy for being there then!) Mindy will deliver plants she has… We'll meet there at 8 am… Daniel will come by midmorning with many-a-breakfast taco. I'll pick up lots of water.

Charlie Potts, of Dry Creek Tree Farm, came out to the site and helped us lay out the new beds. He’s the president of the TX Nursery & Landscape Assn, the group donating the labor costs. He introduced us to the two professional garden workers.DivasoftheDirt, helpers, Dry Creek Tree Farm Because of their hard work, we were able to complete this large project in just one day.

Many of the plants we put in were drought resistant and some were fragrant herbs.DivasoftheDirt, CAC plant layout We gave everything a deep soaking, mulched it all well, and watered again, DivasoftheDirt, water back left bedhoping for the best as the weather continued its extraordinarily dry and warm pattern.DivasoftheDirt, water done drive bed

Some delicious breakfast tacos appeared, delivered by Wilma’s husband Daniel. We were glad there were plenty of fluids available that day, and that Wilma had lots of healthy treats and fruit for us, too.

We know we can’t make life easier for these youngsters, but we hope the Center will look more friendly to them when they come here.DivasoftheDirt, front from NE corner

Thank you Wilma! DivasoftheDirt, leader WilmaYou got us involved in this project – and both the CAC grounds and the Divas of the Dirt are better because of it!


Karla had to give up the hope of taking a turn:

As much as I would love to see all of you and as badly as I need to work in my yard, I am going to have to pass on having any work day this year. It just was not meant to be. I miss you - hope you had a good time in Georgetown making the center beautiful. Glinda, did you get pictures?

Karla, we promise to work extra hard for you in 2006!!

2005 December

An email came from Annie in November:

Wishing everyone a safe Thanksgiving with families and friends!

Thinking ahead to our holiday gathering. I would like to host the annual holidiva gathering this year!

As usual our HoliDiva day was a cooperative effort, with Annie setting the standards high. The house smelled wonderful as we came in. She had her living and dining rooms totally decorated & sparking with silver ornaments. She’d placed two square tables diagonally from each other, and gave each of them different tableware – they looked very elegant, with chargers under the plates. There were four places set at each table – yay!! Eight guests means Diva-emeritus Sugar came to join our celebration, and sass up the conversation. Christmas music played softly in the background as we gradually arrived, put our special dishes on the stove or in the refrigerator and started talking.

There was a moment of apprehension when we realized that Buffy [this girl must set her watch to Mountain Time] was in charge of the appetizers – something we had previously agreed must never be allowed to happen. But when she finally arrived, and we enjoyed Buffy’s wonderful hors d’oeuvre, we decided that great and late was far superior to on time and ordinary.

Each Diva made part of the menu:

Buffy presented a delectable layered cheese and Pesto Torte as the appetizer.

Mindy made our favorite Poinsettia Cocktails and savory dinner rolls.

Annie’s entrée was perfectly Roasted Beef, smothered in Mushrooms, served with lots of gravy.

Donna brought the Crispy Salad, adding some crunch & vitamins.

Wilma’s smooth and creamy Garlic Potatoes were a hit.

Karla spiced it up with a cayenne Squash Casserole.

Glinda rounded off the feast with a Raspberry & Almond Trifle.

As usual we played the stealing-from-your-neighbor grab bag game. There were real treasures to steal at this 2005 Christmas Exchange:

A large antique tray from Wimberly;

A cool garden tote with well-placed pockets;

A metal sculpture of a rose on a trellis from Wimberly;

A set of individual place card holders;

A black metal & glass freestanding rain gauge;

A handcrafted Leaded glass star ornament;

A lovely folk art metal vine spelling out ‘Garden’, to arch over door or window.

We admired Annie’s new mixed border collie Chip, and he greeted us with enthusiasm. The presence of 8 women in combination with all the delicious food smells was a little too much for the youngster to handle. Chip snitched some of Donna’s salad and tried to taste the Torte and sip the Poinsettias. Once he knows us better he’ll undoubtedly calm down, but this first Divas gathering landed him temporarily in the crate. Just wait until he sees what we do to his space when it’s Annie’s garden day!

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