Shades of Red Flowers

“The Lady in Red” movie title, which I haven’t seen, indicates that red is an eye catching color.  Maybe the cut of the dress was, too.  Anyway, red in the yard definitely draws the eye.

redpinkdRed Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) and red Cannas both are easy red focuses and relatively inexpensive choices.  Since cannas multiple, plenty of space is needed for them to spread out.

Red Yuccas should not be planted where I put these.  The problem is that surrounding plants grow into them.  Now I know why I’ve seen them planted alone in a graveled area.  It’s almost impossible to pull intruding plants out of a yucca without wearing some kind of armor.

redpink8The height of the flower stalks on Red Yuccas make them a focal point.

redpinkaHummingbirds like the tubular flowers.  Another name for Red Yucca is Hummingbird Yucca.  I don’t know how much nectar they actually get from them, but they look like they’re feeding.

redpinkbThis Drummond Phlox (Phlox drummondii ‘Hook’)  bloomed but has since faded away.  I bought it at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at their April plant sale.  Maybe it’s one of the casualties from a wet May.

redpinkrKangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos Red) is an Australian native that is supposed to be hardy to zone 8.  I’m a little leery that it will make it through our winter, so it will probably remain a pot plant which is taken into the shed when cold weather comes.

The label said they make good cut flowers.  If they produce lots of flowers, I’ll try that.  The color is unusual and seems to change every time I look at it.

redpink9Flowers on Bubba Desert Willows (Chilopsis linearis ‘bubba’ Desert Willow) are almost orchid like with nice colors.  I have two on opposite sides of the house.  They haven’t bloomed much yet this year.  But they do well in the heat and should burst out in blooms soon.

redpink3Red Sage (Salvia greggii ‘Red’ Red Autumn Sage) is highly recommended for drought tolerant gardens.  It’s a woody shrub that returns each spring.

redpink4The aroma of the leaves when you brush up against them is an added bonus.

redpinkmA pot of begonias on a patio table is a bright spot of color that I can enjoy both outside and from a kitchen window.

redpink7Mr. Lincoln hybrid Roses are a bold red.

redpinkcCrimson Pirate Daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Crimson Pirate’) was planted last spring and did very well this year.  The stalk on this variety was only 1 to 1 1/2′ tall, which is nice for the front of the bed.

Even though daylilies only flower in the spring, these bloomed for weeks.  Every year I become more of a daylily fan.

“Worry is like a rocking chair: it keeps you moving but doesn’t get you anywhere.”  Corrie ten Boom

Orange in the Yard

The trend this year seems to be orange:  wear it and decorate with it.  Wearing it doesn’t work for my skin tones.  Nor do I use it much inside my house.  But outside it perks up spaces.

orangeyellowEvery year the old-fashioned orange Daylilies usher in spring so reliably and lift the spirits to say, “Winter is over.  Hurrah.”

orangeyellow8A generous gift of probably 60 bulbs from a friend about nine years ago, they keep on giving.  No problems, no worries.  Just plant and water occasionally.

orangeyellow9Three years ago, I moved a few that were on the edge of the bed to this spot.  The green leaves of a Rose of Sharon bush behind them makes them the star of the show.  Later, hibiscus-like flowers from the bush will provide some color.

orangeyellow3One lone Daylily that has come up around the corner of the house with some Violets that have also crept into this bed.

orangeyellowcFinal one.  Just can’t stop snapping pix of these beauties.

Orange is a funny word.  It’s one of the few words in English that no other word rhymes with.  Actually, languages are strange.  There’s a NPR radio program that answers questions about old family sayings and language, in general.  Check out  “A Way with Words” and let me know what you think..

orangeyellowaThe African Bulbine flowers combine yellow and orange.  They’re wispy and move in the breeze.  Since it originates from below the equator, it must be protected in cold weather.

orangeyellow2A striking small ornamental tree is Bird of Paradise.  There are at least three types of Bird of Paradise sold.

The one in the picture is Desert Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii).  The flowers are yellow with orange stamens.   Because of old incorrect informtion, I usually call it Mexican Bird of Paradise.

Ones with bright orange flowers is Pride of Barbados  (Caesalpinia pulcherrima).  These are prominent in large box stores.  My experience has been that they die in winter here.

Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) has yellow flowers and yellow stamens.  Since they all look similar, it can be confusing to choose the one that works for you.

orangeyellow4Tropicana Roses are one of those indefinable colors, but there’s an orange tint to them.  Another great performer.  This year it has been filled with flowers.  I cut them often to bring inside, but soon more appear.

orangeyellowhIxora did not fare well this past winter in the shed, but enough survived to flower.  Maybe some fresh air and sunshine will bring new growth.

orangeyellowiMost of my Ice Plants have pink flowers.  This one from a friend has orangish ones.

Maybe you can decide on a specific color pattern for your yard.  I simply can’t.  Therefore, I have a hodgepodge.  This is not what designers recommend.

“Every time I get mad, I remind myself that prison orange is not my color.”    Unknown

Grecia, and Opera House in San Jose, Costa Rica

After our circuit from San Jose to the Pacific coast, then to the Arenal and Monteverde areas, we return to San Jose.  Our last stop on the road was Grecia to visit a church and take a break.  Grecia is located in the Central Valley of Costa Rica and calls itself the cleanest town in Latin America.

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Iglesia de la Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes at first glance looks like a red brick building.

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But it is constructed with prefabricated steel plates painted red imported from Belgium in the 1890’s.  It is built in the Gothic style architecture that developed in the late medieval period or Middle Ages.  This was roughly from the 5th to 15th century.

Characteristics of Gothic architecture included pointed arches, a rib vault, rose windows, towers, and/or spires.  Towers are seen in the first picture.

garden3 The inside has a pristine look with the rib vault ceiling down the center.  I’ve heard that these tall vaults from the Middle Ages were meant to point people up to God.

Once a teacher, always a teacher, I guess.  Plus, I love history.

garden4The light messed up this photo of the windows and altar, but they were beautiful.

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garden5These trees with the yellow flowers were in several small towns in this region.  I think it is a Cassia Tree that originates in Asia.  It needs hot tropical conditions.

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Our final tour was the Opera House in San Jose.  The proper name is The National Theatre of Costa Rica (Spanish: Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica).   Construction began in 1891 with a grand opening in 1897 with a production of Goethe’s “Faust”.

It is located in the central section of San José, Costa Rica.  The traffic into and out of the city center was horrific.

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Financing for the building included a heavy export tax on coffee growers.

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The building’s decor is very reminiscent of European churches and castles.  The architect had traveled to Europe and wanted to duplicate the style and grandeur he saw there.

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This could actually be from one of the castles of King Ludwig of Germany.  Same style.

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This looks like the gilded walls found in Germany’s fairytale castle or Neuschwanstein.  Disney’s castle is copied from it.  Opulence to the extreme.

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Ah, buildings from the 19th century, even in the US national capital, really drip with splendor.

Once again, I want to say thank you to Diane Atchison for allowing me to use her photographs (the ones without my copyright) for my Costa Rica postings.  They gave a more complete picture of our trip.  With this post, I’m saying adios to our Costa Rica trip.

Thanks, readers, especially those who consistently read my blog.  I love sharing plants and trips with you all.  Your time and encouragement are much appreciated.

“Life is what you make of it.  Pura Vida.”  Costa Rica adage

Cone Flowers

One of my favorite perennials is Eastern Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench).   Eastern is in their name because they are native to the eastern U.S., but are also native to Texas.

They are just so easy and beautiful, making them a perfect perennal choice.

bloomingnownOne of their biggest needs is full sun.  Coneflowers grow to 3 feet in my garden, but I’ve read that they can grow even taller.

Another plus for coneflowers is that they reseed easily.  This bed was started with three plants in 4″ pots.  It’s only taken a few years for them to fill out this area.

bloomingnowm The drooping petals are distincitive, like ballerina tutus.

redpinkgPollinators love coneflowers.  This butterfly looks like a Variegated Fritillary.

redpinkhThis butterfly could be a Hackberry Emperor.

bloomingnowsI highly recommend coneflowers for central Texas.

bloomingnowrPainted Lady butterfly?

bloomingnowqThis is a Common Buckeye butterfly.

bloomingnowpAnother Painted Lady.

bloomingnowxTwo white Coneflowers (White Swan Echinacea Purpurea Elegent) were planted in another bed last year.  So far, no new ones are growing.  The cause is probably that there is large chunky mulch in this bed.  It was a mistake to put flowers that reseed in a bed with this kind of mulch.  I keep waiting for the large wood chips to deteriorate.

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” Zig Ziglar

Zacero, Costa Rica

Leaving the mountains of the Monteverde area, we travel down over high rolling green hills and pass through small communities.  The drive is beautiful.

The pictures taken by me have my copyright.  The others are used with permission from Diane Atchison.

gardenAt a stop in Zarcero, about 40 miles north of the capital San Jose, we have time to stroll through San Rafael church and the topiary garden.

garden1The church has a grand feel to it.  The column on the right looks like marble, but is actually a painted wooden one.  The church was constructed in 1895 with a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles.

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This view looks from the church to the garden.

parkmanThe topiary garden of ‘Parque Francisco Alvarado’ is the creation of Evangelisto Blanco in the 1960’s.   He took it upon himself to design this square.  To this day he still shows up every day trimming and maintaining the garden and greeting the tourists.

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The shrubs are conifer cypress, which survives in higher elevations.

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The large size of the shrub shapes means some serious ladders are needed, and that a great amount of time is spent working in the park.

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Their were some flowers in the park, although not an abundance.  The topiaries were the focus.

garden2Some of the designs are fanciful, like these creatures that look like shmoos created by Al Capp in the 1950’s.

175shmooAt least, that’s what I thought of when I saw them.

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This was a relaxing, enjoyable day meandering through the lovely church and garden.

“Let me not die while I am still alive.” Jewish prayer

Pretty Pink Posies

Okay, what can I say?  I like alliteration (heading).  Years ago we had a pastor who had three point sermons using alliterative headings for each topic.  Got my attention.

Back to pink:  many little girls love the color and want their clothes, rooms,  and accessories to be pink.  I don’t remember ever having pink as a favorite and am not particularly fond of it now.

redpinkfHaving said that, there is something sweet about pink flowers.  Just look at the Gladiola above.  They have been blooming profusely and make wonderful cut flowers.

redpink2In a new flowerbed, we recently planted these Drift roses with  pinkish coral flowers.  The best thing about Drift roses are that they stay low and spread out sideways.  At least, the information about them states that they will grow no taller than one and a half to two feet.  My plan is to keep everything in this bed low.  We’ll see how that goes.

redpinkThis Pigeonberry bush (Rivina humilisL.) is also called Rouge plant and Baby peppers.  That name may come from the red berries it produces.  It, too, is supposed to stay relatively small – 1 to 3 feet.  Due to poor planning in the past, many of my plants have outgrown their space.

redpink1Pigeonberry is a Texas native and does well in zones 7 – 10.  It blooms from spring to fall plus it has berries in the winter.

redpink6Can’t pass up showing Double Delight roses when I talk about pink.  Great aroma and all around great performer.

redpink (3)This Dutch Onion probably falls in the lavender category, but has a slight pinkish hue.

redpink (4)I’m not sure how they’ll do in the summer sun and may have to move them.  But since they’re bulb plants, I figure they will peter out soon and will return next spring.

redpinklGood old Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida) has returned and is quickly filling in its space.

redpinkjAnd they definitely need to be confined to an area.

redpinkoAnd the Rose of Sharon Althea (Hibiscus syriacus) have leafed out and are blooming.  These were planted about five feet apart years ago and are crowding each other but continue to be healthy with many flowers.

The good or bad thing about Altheas is that they produce hundreds of new plants each year.  So you have lots to share, but you also must pull up the sprouts before they get too big.  Some come up under my rose bushes and aren’t noticeable until they reach the top of the roses.  So I end up having to cut them off each year at the ground.  This involves an almost prone position on the ground reaching under rose bushes.  Not fun.

redpinknThis is also a Rose of Sharon although the blooms look entirely different.  This is a Double Rose variety.

redpinkqThorn of Crowns looked pretty all through the winter inside, but is adjusting outside in the semi-shade and should bloom abundantly.

pinkAn African Violet on the window sill with delicate flowers.

pink1Ice Plant came back in a pot even after the cold winter.  Such a brave little soul with a vibrant color.

“Wind chimes:  When ten thin tinkling tin things twinkle and tingle in the wind twinkling and tinkling the ten thin tin things make a tingling tintinnabulation of joy”  unknown

A little much?  Sorry.  Couldn’t resist.

Cano Negro River, Costa Rica

The river boat ride in the Cano Negra provided an excellent opportunity to see wildlife, especially water birds.  The Cano Negra is a 20,000 acre nature preserve.

The pictures that do not have my copyright on them were taken by Diana Atchison.

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This looks like a Blue Heron.

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Pretty sure this is a Great Egret.

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Bare-throated tiger-herons wait very still at water’s edge for prey.  As he waits for fish, frogs, crabs, and insects, his neck is stretched out diagonally.

riverride5Howler Monkeys provided the sound tract for our cruise.

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The Anhinga is a relative of the cormorant and pelican.  It’s also called a snake bird because it swims with its head above water.  It doesn’t have waterproof feathers, so it cannot completely submerge.
The Anhinga can glide long distances riding on the currents.

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This Sloth is high up hugging a tree.  It reminds me of the way Koalas sleep in trees.

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Nice disguise.

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Spectacled Caiman Crocodiles are smaller than other crocs with the maximum length of six feet.  Doesn’t make them look less scary.

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If it had not been for our Catamaran driver and our tour guide, we would have missed so much.  These Long Nosed Tree Bats are three inches long.  A zoom camera makes them look obvious.

riverride1But they were up above our heads and looked like part of the bark.

riverrideDon’t know the name of this lovely lizard with the long tail.

riverride3Common Basilisk lizard lives along water and in low marshy areas.

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It looks like a creature left over from the dinosaur age.  They are also called Jesus Christ Lizards because they can run on water when threatened.

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Another mystery.

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Don’t you love the tuft of hair on the back of his head?

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A Caiman crocodile sunning on the edge of the river.

Thanks, again, Diane for allowing me to use your great pix.

“Life is short.  Smile, while you still have teeth.”  unknown