San Antonio Botanical Gardens

Last week I was in San Antonio for a two day plant seminar.  On the third day we had a tour of the Botanical Gardens.

sagardens014The gardens opened in 1980, so the trees are mature and the garden is well established.  It has an old world feel to it.

sagardens1This is a Barbados Cherry bush (malpighia emarginata) that has  matured.  Compare it to the puny little one I have in a pot.

sagardens3And there are the red berries I was expecting to see.

sagardens2Little Ruby Alternanthera (Alternanthere ‘Little Ruby’) is a smaller, more compact version of the traditional Joseph’s Coat.  It is perennial in warmer areas and can be grown in full sun or light shade.

sagardens4Bamboo Muhly in the back is cold tolerant to zone 8.  With airy, light frothy branches, it is pretty in the wind.

sagardens8Bamboo Muhly works well next to drought tolerant plants.

sagardens5Everyone’s  favorite:  Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) needs a more tropical climate than we have here.  Since San Antonio is further south,  many tropical plants can survive there.

Caesalphinia pulcherrima means very pretty.  And it is that.

sagardens6Can a plant be more cheerful than this one?  The colors are so bright that it’s visible from a distance.

sagardenscA large group of plants in different size pots made a bold statement.  While I didn’t recognize many of the tropical ones, at the bottom, the light green is a annual potato vine.

sagardense

sagardens9

 

sagardensdThe green plant in the center with small red flowers on long stems is Red Potterweed or Pink Snakeweed (Stachytarpheta mutabilis).

sagardensbWith zone envy, I had to remind myself over and over that I am happy with the plants that I can grow.

sagardensa

sagardens9

sagardensRight off the bat, this bush grabbed my attention.  I learned that it is a Blue Potterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) from South Florida.

sagardens7The thickness of this Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) convinced me that I should cut mine back in the spring and trim it throughout the growing season so it will branch out more.

sagardensekkYellow Jacobinia (Justicia aurea) grows in full shade to light shade and is not cold hardy below zone 8.

sagardensfA really cute little gardener statute.

sagardensgWith a huge tropical plant in the center, this display will lead us further into the tropics.

The plant in the foreground might be Black and Blue Salvia.  Not sure about the yellow flowers id.

The next post will be in the lush part of the gardens.

“This is maturity:  to be able to stick to a job until it’s finished; to do one’s duty without being supervised; to be able to carry money without spending it; and to be able to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.”  unknown

Newbies

Newbie means that they are new in my yard and some of them are new to me, period.

newbiesA good source of hardy plants is garden club events.  This was bought at a regional meeting where the host club sold plants.  The prices are always reasonable, the plants are reliable, and the cause is good.

Many times I don’t know the plant but I trust the source.  This one was labeled Barbados Cherry (Malpighia glabra), so I expected some red berries.  This has pink berries and flowers that look a lot like Lantana.  It is hardiness zone 8 and 9, so it will have to go in a shed during the winter.

Barbados Cherry are large shrubs, and it will evidently have large red berries.

newbies1Another good source for plants in Central Texas is the Lady Bird Johnson Center.  Texas Kidneywood or Bee Brush (Eysenhardtia texana) is doing well in our alkaline soil.

newbies2It has a slight citrus smell and attracts pollinators.  The Mesquite looking leaves is a sign that it will do well in an arid climate.

newbies7Bought at a garden event, this plant was tagged Germander.  From what I’ve read, it’s an herb that is in the mint family.  It has grown, but doesn’t have much scent and hasn’t flowered.  The jury is still out on it.

newbies4Another garden club event purchase, Mexican Flame Vine (Senecio confusus) is a woody vine that grows up to 10 ft.  Senecio means confused old man which refers to its matted growth if not supported by a trellis or fence.

newbies6Since it is tropical, it has to brought inside here.  So I’m not quite sure how I will work out support for its branches.

newbies8New here means that at last I’ve gotten Lavender to survive.  I’ve tried it a couple of times before.  First, I thought it didn’t need much watering, so it withered.  The next one I watered a little, but rain from a roof flowed into it and drowned it.

These were given to us when we paid for a gardening seminar.  I’ve watered them but the pots drain really well.  So far, so good.

newbies9Oxblood Lily or Schoolhouse Lily (Rhodophiala bifida) is thought to be native to Texas but actually was brought here from Argentina in the early 1800’s.  My blooms were short lived, but so bright that they seem worth it.  Don’t really remember where I got them.

Experimenting in the garden can be fun and challenging.

“Long after this election is over Trump and Hillary will still be rich.  Half of us will be able to claim we ‘won’.  The other half will have 4 years to say that’s why I didn’t vote for ____.’

‘Just remember that we live in a different America than they do.  We have to live, work, and eat with each other in OUR America.  We don’t get to hop on a private jet and fly away from our communities’ problems.  We are what makes this country what it is, not the President.

‘He/she will not stop crime in our neighborhoods.  He won’t stop people from stealing your identity, and she will not stop any one from shooting up our local night clubs.  Hillary will not come teach your child right from wrong, but you can.  Trump will not come to your home and teach your child math, but you can.

‘WE as a UNITED people with sound morals, values, and ethics can make this country whatever we want.

‘Vote for whomever you want, but remember WE are the ones that shape our communities, not them.”     Barbara Janovetz

Oldies but Goodies

One of the pleasures of gardening is the return each year of perennials.  Success with plants is not always the case, so it feels good when it happens.

oldiesOne sure way to achieve success in the garden is to use native plants.  All plants are native somewhere, so planting native always refers to what grows naturally in your neck of the woods.

Clammy Weed (Polanisia dodecandra) is one of those wildflowers that comes up wherever it pleases.  If that doesn’t bother you, then it works.   I like the way the white flowers kind of glow.

oldies8Clammy Weed and Zinnas are easy to please – just a little water and sunshine.

oldies1Rose of Sharon also does well here.  Most of my bushes have the flowers that look like Hibiscus.  These have a rose look.

oldies2One of the best plant that gardeners in central Texas can have are Gregg’s Blue Mist Flowers (Conoclinium greggii).  Just step up close to them and have butterflies darting all around you.oldies3Blue Mists fill in spaces among other plants.  If you like that, you’re good to go.  If not, put them in a contained flower bed.

oldies44Another beauty is Turk’s Cap (malvaviscus drummondii).  It doesn’t look like it would survive Texas sun, but this plant has been in this spot for eight or nine years.  it’s tough.

oldies4The garden is doing well when all kinds of “good” bugs live there.

oldies5Bright red of these turbans always make me smile.

oldies7Behind the Blue Mist, Mexican Petunias (Ruellia brittoniana ‘Purple Showers’) keep expanding.  This is another one that needs to be contained if you have limited space.

This group all came from one cutting that I took nine years ago.  If you see something you like, then ask permission to take a cutting.  If it doesn’t survive, then nothing lost.

oldies6One of my favorites:  Henry Duelberg Salvia (Salvia farinacea ‘Henry Duelberg’) was planted many years ago.  I bought it long before I knew anything about it.  It is now a Texas Superstar plant.

Many hardly plants are found in cemeteries.  These were growing on a grave when they were discovered, so they were named for the name on the tombstone.

oldies9Ordinary Morning Glory reminds me of old gardens of the early settlers.  There’s a reason they have been around for years and years.  It’s impossible to kill them.

Just a few seeds from a friend and voila, you’ll have flowers forever.  But they are invasive, so beware.

oldiesaRock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) is one of the better behaved natives.  It stays where it is put and is not invasive.

oldiesbPretty little flowers that look more like hibiscus than roses.

oldiescStrawberry Gomphera (Gomphrena haageana ‘Strawberry Fields’) does come up profusely.  But it’s a small plant that looks good poking its head up among other flowers.

Neat and tidy in the garden isn’t my thing.

oldiesgCanyon Creek Abelia (Abelia grandiflora ‘Canyon Creek’) is fighting to keep its place in a bed since Pink Gaura keeps spreading out.

oldiesdThis bush in the back yard is so bright and cheerful.  I have sought to identify it definitively.

Finally, a nursery man had one like it and told me it was a Texas Flowery Senna (Senna corymbosa).  Other names include Flowering Senna, Tree Senna, and Buttercup Bush.

After about six years, it’s about 6 feet tall and wide.  Great plant.

oldiesfSmall green flying bugs or bees flit from flower to flower.  One is on a petal in the upper middle of the picture.

Wildflowers are just weeds.  So pick the pretty ones you love and plant a few seeds.

“One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.”  W. E. Johns

 

Water Lilies

The International Water Lily Collection in San Angelo is usually a surprise to people simply because of its location.  In dry West Texas to find the largest group of different lilies in the world is astounding.

It’s all the result of one man who had a fascination that became a dream and a passion.  Ken Landon has traveled the world to collect lilies from the wild in sometimes dangerous places.

lilieseIt all started with one lily that was found locally.  Landon then hybridized that one with another lily to make a hearty beautiful lily:  Texas Dawn, which is the state lily.

lilies001The lilies are in a city park and the ponds are about 15 feet below street level.  As we walk down stairs, we pass by Castor Bean (Ricinus communis) plants, which grow in warm weather climates.

lilies002Walking to the entrance to the ponds is Potato Vine spilling over a rock wall and making a bold statement.  Being below the street level requires terracing and plants that keep down erosion.

lilie02

liliesdThe rest of the pictures will be eye candy since I can’t identify each lily.

liliescAlthough the ponds are in a city park, the lilies themselves are owned by Landon’s consortium.  Ninety-nine percent of his collection of plants and seeds are stored to protect the species.

liliesbTo make the lilies pop out, a specific dye is used to make the water dark.

lilies034There are six ponds filled with lilies.  Each lily is planted in a barrel and submerged.

lilies8

lilies7

lilies6

lilies5

lilies4Dragonflies were flitting back and forth over the ponds.  One has settled on the bottom left petal of this flower.

lilies1

liliesAlthough the forms of the lilies are subtle to my untrained eye, the colors of both the flowers and the pads are lovely.

For anyone living in Texas, this should be on their bucket list.  The Lily Fest is September 24, but crowds will attend.  I prefer having the ponds all to ourselves but on a cooler day than when we were there last Friday.

“People tend to complicate their lives, as if life weren’t complicated enough.”  Anonymous

Container Uses

Flowerpots can be the solution to several problems for gardeners.

containersIf there isn’t enough shade in the yard, pots can be tucked under a tree, like this large Live Oak just on the edge of our backyard.

Plants like this Moon Flower or Datura (Datura Wrightii Regel) could not take the full force of the sun that blasts most of my yard.  It’s also known as Jimsonweed, Angel Trumpet, and Sacred Thorn Apple.  The species name honors Charles Wright who collected plants in Texas, Cuba, and his native Connecticut in the mid to late 1800s.

This semi-shady spot also addresses other issues.  Since I’m not sure Moon Flower can handle a freeze, being portable means it can go into a shed for the winter.

containers1Makes a peaceful setting, too.

containers4aAnother plant that needs shade or filtered shade is this Umbrella Plant (Cyperus alternifolius).  This came from a friend who gave me one umbrella top with a short stem.  The instructions were to place the top upside down in a jar of water.  When it rooted, it could be planted it in soil.  Weird way to root a plant, but it worked.

containers3Under this tree has also become sort of a plant refuge or hospital station.  Whenever a plant needs to recover, it goes here.  The Black and Blue Salvia (Salvia guaranitica)  came from a sale at a regional garden club meeting.  I didn’t know the seller and couldn’t ask questions.  As it turns out, not all salvia can survive our sun.  When it began looking sickly, I moved here it, where it has done very well.

containers4bIt has also proved to be a good place for Poinsettias to hang out during the summer.  The heat didn’t seem to be a problem, but direct sunlight is.

containers4cPots on a semi shady porch also work well for plants like Ice Plant.

containers7And Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii).

containers4Another helpful use for containers is when you buy a plant but don’t have a place to put it in the ground.  The White Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) will probably stay in a pot and be carried inside during the winter.  The dark foliage Crape Myrtle will eventually go in the ground.

Notice that there are all kinds of pots.  Some people like all their pots to be alike or at least the same color.  I just enjoy variety in plants and pots.

containers5This Salvia Greggii will be planted in a flowerbed whenever we create a new one.  Can you hear my husband groaning?

containers8Sometimes, pots are testing grounds to see how a plant will do.  It can easily be moved to find the perfect conditions it needs.  So far, this Bamboo Muhley (Muhlenbergia dumosa) seems happy on a porch where it gets morning sun and afternoon semi-shade.

containers6aPlants that absolutely must go into the green house in the winter are in pots, like this Orange African Bulbine (Bulbine frutescens).  This one and another are 10 years old.

Behind it is Elkhorn (Euphorbia Lactea Forma Cristata) and an Echeveria hybrid (Echeveria ‘Blue Curls’) that are destined for the green house again this winter.

containers7aSometimes a spot of color can brighten a corner, like this tropical Ixora in the Rubiaceae family.  Great use of a potted plant.

containers7abSince we carry so many pots inside for the winter, we no longer use heavy ones.  Although I do love the look of expensive large ceramic pots, that just isn’t feasible.The light weight plastic ones have come a long way in performance and looks.

“You can’t get rich in politics unless you’re a crook.”  Harry S. Truman

Fredericksburg & Kerrville Gardens

The National Museum of the Pacific War or The Nimitz as it’s known locally, keeps expanding.  A one day visit is not sufficient to absorb all the information and view all the exhibits.  Maybe a younger person with lots of stamina would be more successful.  Down the street from the original building is an open air museum with military vehicles and more exhibits in new buildings.

fredericksburgcOn this visit we were focused on a new garden, a Japanese Garden, behind the the main building.

fredericksburgdThe Garden of Peace was a gift of the people of Japan.

fredericksburgccThe climate in Japan is very different than central Texas, so plant selection must have been tricky.

fredericksburgdd

fredericksburgdddMany of the plants used are favorites in the area because they are so hardy.  A Crape Myrtle shades this spot.

fredericksburgeWith the raked white sand and a few small pines, the Texas plants look right at home.

fredericksburgeeA traditional style Japanese house can be viewed from the outside.

fredericksburgeeeLooking back at the garden, we are standing at an opening in the wall that leads to a memorial area.

fredericksburgggHundreds of pictures of men and women who served during WWII are embedded in limestone walls.

fredericksburgfIt’s a quiet area with some traffic heard in the background.

fredericksburgff

fredericksburgfffIt’s a wonderful tribute to fallen servicemen and others who served.  But also, it’s a grim reminder of horrific suffering.

fredericksburggA screw propeller from a ship makes a fitting statue.

fredericksburiIn Kerrville we visited the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at the AgriLife Extension Building.

In the above picture patches of different kinds of grasses are grown.  Made we wonder how they keep the grasses from creeping into the other plots.  Maybe our native Bermuda is the only one that is a monster.

fredericksburii

Firebush (Hamelia patens) is a Texas Superstar plant. It is very heat and drought tolerant once established and will grow in almost any soil.

fredericksburiiiPlus, it’s really attractive with bold color.

fredericksburkA large grouping of another Texas superstar Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans) was stunning.

fredericksburjPollinators, especially butterflies, love Dill plant.

fredericksburjjAnd I love the airy structure.

Our one day outing was beneficial to choose gardens for our Master Garden class to attend.  It was a beautiful cool-ish August day, which are normally rare.  This year we’ve been blessed with many such days.

Thanks for taking this trip with me.

“Happiness is a choice, not a result.  Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy.”  Ralph Marston

In Fredericksburg

Recently my husband and I drove to Fredericksburg to scout out gardens.  My mission was to fine appropriate places that a class of prospective Master Gardeners could visit as a group to provide additional information and to observe different garden styles.

fredericksburgThe first stop was the Master Gardeners demonstration garden at the Ag Extension Office.  Although it isn’t the prettiest area, it shows a specific trait that is valuable for Texas gardens.  It does not receive supplemental water – only rain water.  Tough plants, only.

fredericksburg1Mostly native plants and a few others that have acclimated to the region are used.  It looked like there had been little rain recently.

fredericksburg2Mexican Feather Grass and native Redbuds are drought tolerant.

fredericksburg3Some of the plants here are Salvia Greggii, Purple Sage, and Cross Vine.

fredericksburg4The next garden was the Biblical Garden at the United Methodist Church.  It is small but a pretty spot.  Someone has done research to match the names of plants mentioned in the Bible with common names of plants today.

fredericksburg6Since Israel is arid, many plants that survive there also do well here.

fredericksburg7This sign identifies the plant with the yellow flowers in the former picture.

fredericksburg8A Pomegranate tree (Punica granatum) is referenced in Song of Solomon 4:14.

fredericksburg9Palm branches were used in John 12:13 and are common in Palm Sunday services.

fredericksburgaPapyrus (Cyperus papyrus) is seen on the left, and Bulrush (Typhaspp.) on the right.  Exodus 2 relates the well known account of the basket woven to hold baby Moses.  Both of these plants are considered possibilities for that with papyrus being the most likely.  It is also what was used for paper by the early Egyptians.

fredericksburgbAlthough this could actually be Papyrus, it looks a lot like Umbrella Plant (Cyperus alternifolius).

fredericksburgbbTrailing Rosemary is in the foreground and Purple Plumbago is growing under the tree.

fredericksburhNext we visited the Texas Rangers Heritage Museum, which is still a work in progress.  Flowerbeds lined the parking areas and around the pavilion.  But it seems I didn’t get pictures of those.  Guess I was enamored with the sculptures.

fredericksburhhThe plants in the flowerbeds were pretty predictable – Purple Sage, Salvias, and Cactus.  Several plants had died.  It will be interesting to see how this area is developed.

Next post will show more public gardens that we visited.

“Real Gardeners buy at least 10,000 plants over the course of a lifetime without having any idea where they will put them when they get home.”  unknown