Boerne offers the beauty of central Texas, caves, and nature al natural.
The pictures in this post were taken at a Community Garden in the small town of Menard. There are raised beds that can be rented for growing vegetables. The garden is also used to teach Jr. Master Gardeners. They have a separate section with raised beds for them.
The flowers on Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) have a velvet look and feel. The problem is that it needs warmer winters. So, alas, it freezes back when I try to grow it. But it is a gorgeous plant.
One couple teaches the Jr. Master Gardeners and takes care of this garden. They recruit volunteers whenever possible. What a heart for their community.
Another tropical plant is Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima). Their bright color certainly steals the scene and makes us all drool for one. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that no matter how much you want some plants, if they won’t survive the winter, forget them.
Anyone with a garden anywhere knows that plant choices are important. Sometimes we cannot plant something we really like.
“The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.” John F. Kennedy
Cool autumn refers to the temperature, but, also, how terrific it is. Isn’t it astounding how many benefits come from rain?
Rain provides plants under a porch cover with moisture in the air. This African Blue Basil (Ocimum kilimandscharicum x basilicum ‘Dark Opal’) was small this spring. The ends of branches have been snipped off to use to flavor dishes several times.
This basil does not seed, so cuttings must be taken to root for new plants.
Behind the basil is Autumn Joy Sedum, with flower clusters forming. Beside that is Asparagus Fern, then a pot of Kalanche.
Autumn Joy Sedum is now in full bloom. It only blooms in the fall, but the large succulent leaves makes it a worthwhile plant the whole year. Plus, it does not need winter protection if it is nestled close to a dwelling or in some other protected spot.
“Pride is a steamroller. It’ll clear the path for a while, but sooner or later it’ll shift into reverse, and then…look out.” The Sea Glass Sisters by Lisa Wingate
We have been blessed by all the rain last week. The ground is wet, plants are green (including abundant weeds), and the tanks (stock ponds) are gradually filling up.
Anyway, the white flowers on this lovey lady are frilly and pretty. I was told it is Society Garlic; but after some research, it could be chives or onions.
Moon Flowers or Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii) have bloomed all through the summer and continues during the fall. It is a poisonous night-bloomer found in hotter areas of the US and in northern Mexico
It has lots of common names: moon flowers, thorn apple, moon lily, moon flower, Indian apple, angel’s trumpet, devil’s trumpet, tolguacha, locoweed and Jimson weed.
Texas Kidneywood (Eysenhardtia texana) is a native shrub that blooms intermittently from April to October. The recent rains have increased the amount of flowers that grow in an upright cluster like the native Vitex.
It does well in rocky limestone soil, which is perfect here. In the same family as acacias and mimosas, it lacks the thorns. Another plus is that it attracts pollinators.
Several websites claim that it is invasive, but that has not been a problem for me. Its mass of flowers probably does produce lots of seeds, but maybe the soil is too hard here.
Hope your weather is fall-like with cooler temperatures.
“You know you’re getting old when you barely do anything all day, but still need to take a nap to continue to barely do anything.” unknown author
Finding shady areas for plants can be a challenge if you live where the sun glares down with full force for months at a time. Shade doesn’t have to be a totally dark area, but one where there is no direct sunlight.
In my case, that means covered porches or close to the trunks of large trees. My porch areas can look messy because I also root many plants there. Here are Coleuses, Old fashioned Geraniums, and an Aloe Vera.
This one came from a cutting about four years ago. Coleuses root easily in water and are great pass-along plants.
A professional gardener for a public garden made the statement that neatness is more important than what you plant. I disagree wholeheartedly. And, let’s face it, it’s difficult to keep a garden weeded and cleared of debris when you don’t have a staff. That’s my excuse.
Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii) branches bend over and grow crookedly. This one will definitely have to be cut back before carrying it into the shed for winter. Maybe some friends would like a cutting?
This was bought at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. It can’t take our cold winters, like many of the other plants shown in this post. It also has sharp thorns. I keep telling myself to toss it, but here it is after two years.
These three pots of plants have been here for years and years. The Red Apple Ice Plant (Aptenia cordifolia) on the left and the Autumn Joy Sedum are perennial, and thankfully do not have to be toted into the shed for the winter. These are succulents, so broken stems can be planted directly into potting soil.
The Purple Oxalis is not cold hardy.
The Sedum will put on a show with pink flower clusters soon.
To the left is another Autumn Joy Sedum, Kalanche on the right, and Asparagus Fern in the back.
Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida) is an extremely hardy perennial ground cover. As demonstrated by this picture, it spreads rapidly and should be contained. This flowerbed is surrounded by a porch and a sidewalk on two sides.
“You can lead a man to congress, but you can’t make him think.” Milton Berle
As the summer drags it feet and lingers, the sun bakes plants. And often there’s no relief of cooler temperatures at night. So it’s totally amazing that some plants do so well through our long, hot summers.
Our winter temperatures are too cold for them, and they don’t reseed. But they are drought tolerant, can take the sun, and last for months. The wind creates beautiful movement of their feathers. So I’m sold. Love them.
This particular bush is Brilliant Veranda by Kordes. In a picture, the sun fades out their startling bright color. This is a small bush that does well in containers and has been in a pot for two years.
I’ve gone rather ga-ga over roses. Can’t seem to get enough of them.
Caryopteris, Blue Mist Shrub, or Blue Beard (Caryopteris x clandonensis) is drought tolerant, is bothered by few pests, and is hardy enough to make it through our extremely low temperatures last winter. Cold hardy zones 5 – 9.
It’s obvious why it’s called Blue Mist Shrub because it looks so much like the Gregg’s Blue Mist flowers. Stats say it will remain a compact small shrub: 3 – 4 ft. wide and tall. So far, it’s been great.
It’s great to have plants that endure the summer heat. They provide a reason to go out into the sunlight.
“Well done is better than well said.” Benjamin Franklin
Weeds appear in every gardening space. At least, I know they pop up here regularly. Some are unwelcome guests. Others, not at all. The good thing is that you get to choose who stays and who goes.
Those opened into tiny pretty flowers. So I turned to a friend to identify the plant. It’s Poke, Pokeweed or Poke Salad (Phytolacca americana). Flowers and fruits are toxic. The leaves can be eaten but must be processed properly.
A little research reveals that they grow quite large. So at the end of the summer, this one will be pulled up. It’s actually quite pretty at this stage, but I don’t want it taking over.
After a really good rain (praise and thanksgiving for that), these Rain Lilies (Zephyranthes atamasca) appeared in the fields and yard. Also known as Zephyr or Fairy Lily, they are native to the U.S. Cultivated species with white, yellow or pink flowers are available for purchase.
This is a weed that I actually planted because a friend gave me seeds she had gathered in a field. The seed pods are almost to open now. Clammy Weed (Polanisia dodecandra) is also known as Dwarf Cleome.
So what is the difference between a weed and a wildflower? Mostly, it’s which ones strike your fancy. Some might seem pretty and desirable and others bothersome because they have sharp thorns on them, push out other plants, or are just ugly. They all are somewhat aggressive. That’s the only way they can survive in the wild.
Sometimes it seems like I spend all my time getting rid of the ones that are very undesirable. So I remind myself to just enjoy the pretty ones.
“All gardeners need to know when to accept something wonderful and unexpected, taking no credit except for letting it be.” Allen Lacy
Plants that stand up to weather and time are excellent investments.
At zone 8a, we’re out of its normal range. The optimum zones are 6a to 7b. When it was planted, the zone maps put our area at 7b. Revised maps show we’re in a hotter zone.
I’ve since learned that the best growing conditions include a cold, long winter. Since we did have colder temperatures and a later spring, I guess that explains why it finally bloomed. Also, this lily prefers a dry, hot summer. Voila. We have that in spades.
The leaves appear first and die; then the naked stem with flowers appear.
Iron Weed (Vernonia noveboracensis) is a native that grows in bar ditches and bloom with some moisture. They can be gangly growing 3 ft. tall with flowers right at the top of the stem. Their best feature is the purple color of the flowers.
I got a fistful of seeds from a friend about 4 years ago. The plants reseed and will spread out.
“Respect old people. They graduated high school without Google or Wikipedia.” unknown
“In the good old summertime, in the good old summertime.
Strolling through the shady lanes with your baby mine.
You hold her hand, and she holds yours,
and that’s a very good sign.
That she’s your tootsie-wootsie,
in the good old summertime.”
This song comes from the Tin Pan Alley group of New York City music publishers and songwriters that started in 1885 and went through the early 1900’s. It was originally the name for a specific area in the Flower District of Manhattan.
These are the small palm tree looking stalks that forecast the blooming of Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius). In spite of the name, they are drought tolerant. The stalks will reach 7 feet with small sunflowers by the end of August.
Barn Swallows are pretty birds that look for a ledge where they build a nest of mud, grasses, twigs, etc. The birds stand on these ledges and poop all over whatever is beneath that ledge. They also return to the same nesting area each year. This includes their young as adults. Swooping in low, they almost run into your head.
Because the population had increased so much and nested under our covered front and back patios, there was always a mess on the floor. So, we hired a carpenter to eliminate the ledges.
What a mess to clean up.
“There is nothing I like better at the end of a hot summer’s day than taking a short walk around the garden. You can smell the heat coming up from the earth to meet the cooler night air.” Peter Mayle
Generally, brightly colored flowers are my first choice for the yard. However, white ones add sophistication and calm in the garden.
This Moon Flower, Thorn-apple, or Jimsonweed (Datura wrightii Regel) usually produces pure white flowers. This one has a slight pinkish tinge. Not sure why. This is a shady area most of the day with some early morning light.
Datura is a narcotic and if ingested, could be lethal.
This Butterfly plant is in a container. It seems to have done better in the heat than the ones in a flowerbed. It could be because I’m more conscientious about watering potted plants because I’m afraid they will dry out quickly.
This Purple Datura actually looks white with a hint of purple along the edges of the petals. Pictures on the internet show some with a deep purple color. The Purple Datura originates several places in Asia.
The leaves also differ from the white Datura.
Night bloomers, so early morning is the time to see their flowers.
Seeds from Clammy Weed from a friend who is into natives. Plant one and have a generous crop next year.
One characteristic of the Southern Crinim Lily is the growth of the bulb to a large size and the multiplication of the bulb. While it may be difficult to dig up, it’s a great pass-along plant that will be appreciated by the person receiving it.
There are conflicting views on the web – what? Old views say that white clothes are cooler in the heat, while darker ones absorb the heat. This view was practiced by the rich in the 18th and 19th century.
New views espouse that black is actually cooler because skin is hot in the summer and therefore reflects the heat back to the body from a white garment.
Anyway, white looks cool in the summer. Just enjoy whichever floats your boat.
“It sometimes strikes me how immensely fortunate I am that each day should take its place in my life, either reddened with the rising and setting sun, or refreshingly cool with deep, dark clouds, or blooming like a white flower in the moonlight. What untold wealth!” Rabindranath Tagore