Sweet Rain

This week we’re received almost 2 inches of rain.  Depending on where you live, that may not sound like much, but it’s a blessing to us.

Rain and cooler temperatures is a boon to everything.  More irises blooming.

Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri) has shot up in height.  Some are over 4 ft. tall.

Each stem seems insignificant, but together, twirling in the wind, they are a lovely sight.

Last year, we planted a Greek Myrtle (Myrtus communis).  It appealed to me because it’s evergreen.  Immediately after planting, one side died.  So I was surprised to see all the flowers this year.

After planting it in the middle of a flower bed, I read that they should be planted alone.  Oh, well, we’ll see what happens in the future.

The flowers are striking and appear to be twinkling, like stars in the sky.

The other day, I gave this Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis) tree a hair cut.  Each spring the lower branches dip down to the ground.  Sorry I didn’t get a picture of that.  Anyway, it becomes impossible to move around the tree.  Cutting off the low hanging branches doesn’t seem to hurt the tree at all.

The raised bed to the right of the tree is where we planted some small Pink Muhly grasses about two months ago.Kindly Light Dayilies (Hemerocallis ‘Kindly Light’) are a bright spot in the yard.

Old Fashioned Hollyhocks or Grandma’s Hollyhocks stand tall and proud.

Some are so tall that they look in danger of falling over.

Want a drought tolerant plant that spreads and has a wonderful aroma when touched, try Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia).  They are native to the Himalayas, so it seems that they would not do well in our dry area.  Strangely, the Himalayas in India have massive amounts of precipitation, but in Tibet, arid conditions exist.

A worthy plant for our area.  Full sun needed.

On the edge of our porch sits this pot of Rose Moss that has been here for years.  Some or all of the moss returns in the spring.  This year, it needed to be supplemented with some new plants.  Love the yellow ones.

Hope your spring (almost summer) has received some rain.

“A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good just because it’s accepted by a majority.”  Booker T. Washington

Summer’s Heat is Coming

The fiery dragon is moving in closer with flames of heat not too far away.  Can feel him breathing down our necks.  Spring was just a brief hiatus.

Another picture of Eyeliner Lilies.  There was a close-up on my last post.  I’m so impressed with their height and sturdiness. What beauties.

Also, another shot of the Ditch Lilies with a mass of color.

Grey Santolina or Lavender Cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus) sports bright yellow button flowers.

A squirrel has discovered the treasure trove of acorns in the yard.  The extra large acorns laying on the ground from two Bur Oaks are providing many feasts.

Shasta Daisies are just staring to bloom.  Something else that needs to be divided.  That’s just part of being a gardener.  As I tell my husband, it’s an opportunity to stay limber, busy, and healthy.

The thing about daylilies is just that – they last one day.  But they will bloom again and again.  The flowers of “Always Afternoon” Daylily are large and striking.

Native Blue Mist or Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis) leafs out and blooms in late spring.  It’s one hardy bush with cold hardiness in zones 5 – 9.

This Yellow Canna has little flecks of gold on the yellow petals.

It’s warm enough for “Bubba” Desert Willows (Chilopsis linearis ‘Bubba’) to bloom and for sweat on the brow when laboring in the sun.  Their orchid-like flowers are a refreshing sight.

Hope you are healthy as you survive this isolation time.  Maybe it will be ending soon.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”         John Wooden

Lilies and More

Here we are – still isolated, same as you.  One plus from all this time at home is more time to spend outside and to get some work done.

Now for some lilies:  this Apricot Fudge Lily was planted last year.  The stem on this double Asiatic lily with apricot flowers should be taller next year.

Return star – second year of Eyeliner Lily has brought a taller plant and more flowers.

Its lovely crisp flowers last several days.  A breeder in Holland created this hybrid between an Asiatic Lily and the Easter Lily.

Good old Ditch Lilies were planted 14 years ago and perform every year without fail.

Perennial Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum) on tall stems add texture diversity.

Before they open, they’re encased in a rounded pod with a point at the top.  This one looks like a pixie with a hat.

I just can’t help myself from showing roses.  Brilliant Veranda is a small bush that does well in a pot.  I had it in a pot for 3 years, but fire ants loved to hang out there.  So last year, it was moved to a bed.  The color is just like the name says – brilliant.

This Astible was a mail order plant that arrived last year while we were out of town.  It didn’t look like it would survive, so I hastily put it in this pot.  It will be moved to an area that gets some shade and receives regular water.

Native perennial Four Nerve Daisies (Tetraneuris scaposa) keep filling in spaces.  However, they aren’t taking my suggestion to grow into the area in the bottom right of the picture.  Just got to be patience.

They prefer rocky, well-drained soil and do not like clay.  Inour raised bed, the soil has been amended and is looser than clay, so they’re happy.

Although I’ve never been able to see them, four dark purple veins are supposed to be clearly visible on both sides of the ray.

Desert Bird of Paradise or Yellow Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) is in full bloom.

It’s unique blossoms draws everyone in for a closer look.  This bush was planted way too close to the house and leans out for light.  The rope ties it to the stake to keep it somewhat upright.

“In the blink of an eye your life can change.  Be sure to make the most out of each moment.  Today is a gift from God.”  Matt McMillen

Golden Oldies

For me, spring is a time to welcome back old friends – reliable perennials, that is.  It might be a bulb or a bush that blooms or trees leafing out.  Or it might be a flower that seems magically to grow a stem, leaves, and then flowers.  Ain’t it grand.

Stella de Oro Daylily or Stella D’oro is sometimes demeaned as being too common.  But in my book, it’s a wonderful low growing bulb with gorgeous flowers.

We have weeded this bed since this picture was taken.  This year the strong winds have forced me to take pictures whenever I can.

Goldenball Leadtree (Leucaena retusa) is a small ornamental tree that grows to a height of 12 feet.  The multiple trunks have branches growing almost to the ground.  Last year we trimmed the lower branches off to making mowing around it easier.  Plus, I like the airy look.

This Texas native can also be found in New Mexico and northern Mexico.  The small leaves makes it an excellent tree for drier areas.

The one inch puffy balls are bright yellow when they first open up, but turn golden just before they fall off.

Larkspurs have been blooming for a couple of weeks, but the old fashioned Hollyhocks have just started.

Hollyhocks are not for formal gardens, but they always remind me of the gardeners who struggled through the depression and WWII.  They’re cheerful plants that don’t require much water and little attention.

They can develop rust, but that happens only in really wet years.

Henry Duelburg (purple) and Augusta Duelburg (white) Salvias (Salvia farinacea ‘Henry Duelberg’) that are a form of Mealy Cup Sage and may be sold under that name.  These Texas natives thrive in South and Central Texas.

In our area, these are foolproof winners.  They are zone 7 cold hardy.

I would never have heard of French Hollyhocks (Malva sylvestris), except for receiving a passalong from a friend.  They are cold hardy to Zone 4a.

In spite of their hardiness, the flowers have a sweet daintiness look.

“Both politicians and diapers need to be changed often and for the same reason.”  Ronald Reagan

Alluring Roses

Some people are hesitant to grow roses.  If I can grow roses, then anyone can.  Just like growing anything, there are a few things to consider:  selection, soil, and site.

The selection of which rose to grow is the first step.  Hardiness of the rose is determined by several factors.  Old  garden roses have proved the test of time.  If they’re still around, that’s proof that they did not die off from diseases or require high maintenance.

Old roses tend to have lots of green leaves, grow on their own roots, and are easy to propagate.  The bush in the above picture is an old rose that I cannot identify.  I propagated it from a small stem that was given to me.

A good source for old roses is Antique Rose Emporium in Independence, TX.  Their catalog is available, and they ship.

Earthkind Roses list is a great reliable source for hardy roses.

Found roses fall into the hardy category because they’re likely old roses.  This is Martha Gonzalez, which was discovered in Navasota, TX in 1984 growing in Martha’s yard.

Martha Gonzalez is a small bush that blooms over and over from spring until late fall.

This David Austin rose bush Alnwick shows why a rose growing on it’s own root is important.

Three years ago we planted the Martha Gonzalez bush and 100 feet away in another bed we planted this Alnwick Rose by David Austin.  Imagine my confusion recently when I discovered what looked Martha Gonzalez growing as part of the David Austin.

The green shoots are the red flowered branches and on the other side are brown branches with the David Austin.   I sent an email with pictures asking about this situation to Antique Rose Emporium.

Looking down into the bush, it’s easy to see that both types of roses are growing from the same root stock.

Antique Rose Emporium generously answered my questions.  These red roses are not Martha Gonzalez, but Dr. Huey roses, which is often used as a root stock for grafting.

So, bottom line, roses grown on own root stock are best.

Double Delight is one of my favorites.  It is a multiple award winner and is a cross of two hybrid tea roses.  The aroma is what gets me.

It’s easy to achieve the right soil needed, if a raised bed is used.  Roses don’t require perfect soil, but also can’t tolerate extremes, like heavy clay.  Amending with compost helps loosen the soil.  David Austin’s Princess Alexandra of Kent rose was named after a cousin of Queen Elizabeth.  It’s a shrub rose that spreads out rather than upward.  It was planted last year, so time will tell how it performs.  Has a nice aroma.

All roses need full sun, which means at least six hours a day.  Living Easy Apricot-Orange rose grows on own root.  Its color is stunning.

Another site concern is cold hardiness zones.  It’s important to know your zone where you live.  Like any plant, check the zone before you buy.

Rainbow’s End Rose is a miniature bush that is about 18 inches tall.  The flowers first bloom yellow with red edges and then turn red as they age.  So, both red and yellow flowers on the bush make it a show stopper.

Although I truly believe that hardy old rosebushes and earthkind roses are the best choices, sometimes I get intrigued by the unusual.  Sentimental is a floribunda with striped red and white blooms and a strong scent.  It was bred in the US and came on the market in 1997.

This blog is way longer than usual, but I’m passionate about roses.  At least, I didn’t show all my bushes and didn’t attempt to talk about different categories of roses.

I appreciate anyone who reads my blog.  Thank you for your time.

“Laughter is the shock absorber that eases the blows of life.”  unknown

Blackberry Winter Over?

Hopefully, last week was the final throes of “Blackberry Winter”, the late cold snap that comes at the time when blackberries are blooming.

The Catalpa or Catawba tree has a very short window of looking good.  Its thin leaves are torn by wind and turn crisp on the edges from summer sun.

This tree is one of my bad choices that I’m living with.  But I don’t have the heart to chop it down.  It would probably survive better as an under story tree in our area.

Privet gets a bad rap in my opinion.  I know that it spreads easily in places that have much more rain than here and more fertile soil.  But that’s not a worry here.  The butterflies love the blooms, and I like the aroma and the arching branches.

Clematis ‘Jackmanii” vine has large purple blooms.  It comes from a grower in Surrey England in 1862.  He crossed two vines to produce this hardy version.

I took this picture because I like the elongated shape of Bur Oak leaves.  The huge acorns are another characteristic of this oak variety.

Bright Red Yucca’s towering stalks of blooms stand out in a landscape.  I think I went overboard on the size of the sign, but I still like it.

Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) grows well in semi dry soil and full sun.  It’s an evergreen that spreads.

This hardy yarrow was bought at a garden club plant sale.  The tight cluster of flowers top a stem full of lacy leaves.  The blooms also last a long time.

Summer is coming, so it’s time to enjoy these mild days of spring.

“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”  C.S. Lewis

What’s Blooming and Growing in Cool Weather

Cool weather continues.  In fact, one day last week there was frost on the ground.  The world has gone wonky.

Katy Road Roses covering a six foot bush.  This rose was introduced in 1977 and was known in Texas as Katy Road because it was “found” on Katy Road in Houston.  It was actually developed by Dr. Griffith Buck at Iowa State University to withstand the long, cold winters of the Midwest.  He named it Carefree Beauty.

Because this rose also does so well in the hot, dry summers of Texas, it was named the 2006 “Earth-Kind® Rose of the Year” by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.  The bush has several flushes of rich pink blooms from spring until frost.  Each flower produces a large orange rose hip.

So call it Katy Road or Carefree Beauty, it’s a great rose for the garden.

To the right side of the rose bush are Ox-Eye Daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare).  They can be aggressive but are so pretty, I think they’re worth it.

Maggie is an old Bourbon rose that blooms profusely.  It was “found” in Louidiana by Dr. William Welch of A&M and brought to Texas.  It’s a winner.

Another Bearded Iris to praise.  The solid dark purple ones are behind the purple and pale lavender ones.  I’m sure I didn’t plan that.  Just a happy accident.

These are so dark that they don’t photograph too well.

Artemisia is a plant that I think every large yard should have.  This one has been in a pot for years.  I have another one that is trying to take over a flowerbed.  To keep it in a space, simply cut off the runners.  They each have roots, so they can be potted and passed along.

To the left is native Yellow Columbine – very hardy perennial.

Artemisia has a slight silver tint and tends to be evergreen in our mild winters.  The softness of the foliage is amazing.

This Iris looks light lavender in this picture.  But in real life, it’s a true blue.  Adds a little magic to the garden.  Actually, all Irises provide elegance.

Hope you and your family are safe and well.  I pray especially for those who live in city apartments or any confined space with children and for those whose jobs have been affected by all the closings.  These times definitely call for patience.

“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in your mind.”  David G. Allen

April Posies

In this isolation time, the only ones who see our garden are people who open my blog.  Thank you for viewing the flowers with me.

This Amaryllis has been in the ground for about 4 years.  I put it there on a whim, not expecting it to survive the summer heat.  It blooms early and dies down.  So I guess the bulb doesn’t mind the summer heat.  Mulch helps.

Lots of flowers.  The strong winds this week may beat them to death.

Native Four Nerve Daisies spread to create a bright spot in a bed.

 

Byzantine Gladiolas (Gladiolus byzaninus) are winter hardy.  These have been in the ground for three years.  They multiply, and these need to be divided.

Byzantine Glads have been grown since 1629 and are often found in old cottage gardens.

What a glorious sight.  Reblooming Irises tend to have larger flowers and are often two-toned.  If the weather cools down in the fall, they’ll bloom again.

Because the wind is whipping everything around, I cut this one and brought it inside to enjoy.

Roses in the left background and a Minnesota Snowflake Mockorange (Naranjo Falso ‘Minnesota Snowflake’) in this bed.

The temporary fencing is an attempt to keep critters like armadillos from digging up newly planted bulbs.  Until they grow stems, I find them laying on the ground and drying out.

This particular Mock Orange doesn’t have a strong scent but is covered with flowers.

A Salvia Greggi  that should have been trimmed back in the fall – thus, some partially bare limbs.

Another Rebloomer Iris.  Sweet color.

The first stem of Larkspur flowers just opened.  That means many more will follow.  Behind that, the crimson red flowers of Texas Quince are still holding their color.

One more Iris.  This beauty is on a really tall stem – maybe 3 feet.

I appreciate each person who looks at my blog.  I really enjoy comments.  Thanks.

“When something bad happens, you have three choices: you can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”  unknown source

Chilly Days

The weather has reverted back to winter-like days with overcast skies and cooler temperatures.  This hasn’t stopped the plants from springtime mode.  In fact, they seem to like it.

For the first time in three years, the two Texas Mahonias (Mahonia swaseyi) are blooming.  These were purchased at the Native Plant Nursery in Medina.

The yellow balls open into pretty petite flowers. The shrub looks somewhat like Agarita, that grows in the fields.  The leaves have the same shape but aren’t as prickly.  It grows well in limestone soil.

Normally, I wouldn’t buy a plant from a nursery in Houston because their climate is radically different than ours.  But since this would be a pot plant, I knew I could find a good spot for it.

Purple Ground Orchid or Hardy Orchid (Bletilla striata) needs a shady area with indirect light but no direct sunlight.  It is delicate looking but is a perennial.

The details of its petals make it an exceptional flower that definitely looks like an orchid.

The Columbines (Aquilegia flavescens) are at the height of their bloom period.  Love this perennial.

Such zany flower shapes.

Dianthus or Pinks look so bright and cheerful.  The long stems came with this plant.  I think it’s some kind of Sedge.  I like the way it looks in the pot.

So many different varieties of Dianthus to choose from, but this one is my favorite because the amazing color is so varied.

Flowers on Eve’s Necklace or Texas Sophora (Sophora affinis) will become the string of black pearls necklace that make it unique.  The seed pods are poisonous.  The small tree Eve’s Necklace grows well in the center of the state and makes a great ornamental tree in the yard.

Gulf Coast or Brazos Penstemon (Penstemon tenuis) blooms before the harsh heat of summer takes over.  It is a native in southeast Texas and requires more moisture than most of the plants grown here.  Fortunately, it’s usually receives rainfall here at its bloom time.

Ox Eye Daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) are show stoppers and reliable perennials.  They can be invasive but are easy to dig up.

Crossvine (Bignonia capreolate) is blooming.  I had great hopes that this vine would cover this arbor.  But it’s been a slow grower.  Maybe someday.

Now a fond farewell to the Dutch Irises.  Your spring visit was short and sweet.  Thanks for coming.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”              Ecclesiastes 3:11

Early Blooms

Each day this time of the year brings unexpected weather.  It can be overcast and cold or sunny and warm.  On the warm days, it’s time to work outside pruning or planting.  I have several inside projects that I’m trying to finish on the colder days.

But as blooms keep popping up each day, I long to be outside every day.

Old fashioned heirloom Irises are blooming in the field across the driveway.  Most of these bulbs were given to me by friends and have performed for years and years.  Old Homestead Irises is another name for them.

They’re so hardly that they grow right along with the weeds and cacti.  I’ve dug up several cacti in this area, but they keep coming back.  These pass-a-long Irises don’t need much water and no attention.

This Rusty Blackhaw Verbiurum (Viburnum rufidulum) is more persnickety.  It requires some early morning light and afternoon shade.  It prefers to grow along water streams and edges of wooded areas.  So I’m pushing the envelope to even have it where I live.

It was first planted in a sunny spot, where it barely survived for two summers.  Then it was moved and seems happy here.

After several years in this more protected site, it’s finally producing some clusters of lovely white flowers.

Miniature Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepsis indica) loves the sun and blooms in early spring.  It maintains a nice, rounded shape naturally.

It’s a nice accent plant or in groups.

And now, my favorite perennial shrub this time of the year:  Bridal Wreath Spirea is the pièce de résistance.

The arched branches are literally dripping with clusters of flowers.

It just doesn’t get lovelier or more romantic than this spring time beauty.

In spite of the unusual circumstances of social distancing, flowers still bring beauty to the earth.  Enjoy them.

“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”  Lady Bird Johnson