Spring Flowers

A colorful spring makes each day special.  It also provides abundant conversation topics between strangers and friends.

Most Texas blooming native plants, especially west of Interstate 35, say adios when the heat arrives. Who can blame them?  The summer can be unbearable.  This spring has been cooler than most.  Maybe that’s a good omen about the upcoming summer.

Texas Spiderwort (Transcantia humilis) is a native of Texas and southern Oklahoma.  It blooms March through June.

A crazy mystery about its name.   Why was it named after John Tradescant, who served as a gardener to Charles I in England in the 1600’s?  It’s a western hemisphere plant!  There must have been a reason.  Anyone know?

Golden Columbine or Golden Spur Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha) has a delightful, zany flower.  It also blooms a couple of months in late spring before the weather gets hot.

Really interesting flower formation.

Several years ago Columbine was planted in a front flowerbed.  Here it is now in a side bed.  It’s also in several flower pots.  I don’t mind that birds and wind spread it because it so cheery and unique.

Found this Dianthus at Lowe’s.  It’s impossible for me to just walk past the plants.  The colors are almost neon.

Dianthus is mostly native to Europe and Asia but does very well here, especially if it’s shaded from late afternoon sun.

I think this is a Four Nerve Daisy.  Can’t even remember how long ago a couple of these were planted.

Even if it isn’t Four Nerve Daisy, I know it’s native because it was purchased at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

And then, there’s the re-blooming Bearded Irises.  Not native, but thrive here.

This light pink one is new.  As you can tell by the large cluster of the ones behind it, irises spread nicely.

Peachy gold and white ones.

Irises are just so easy.  Drop a bulb into a hole at the appropriate height;  once and done.  Plus, it creates new bulbs.  How great is that?

Another native, Square Bud Primrose (Onagraceae Calylophus drummondianus var. beriandieri) grows low to the ground and provides a pop of yellow.

Love the beauty of spring.

“Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.”  unknown

More Pictures from Rose Emporium

Although this nursery in Brenham is named Antique Rose Emporium, there is so much more there than roses.

Like these Cleome Spider Flowers (Cleome hasslerana).  It’s an annual that reseeds.  Every time I see them, I promise myself that I’ll order seeds and try them.

Notice the white rose buds to the left of the picture.  One reason I enjoy this nursery so much is how they mix roses with other flowers.

Not sure what these small flowers are.

Lots of garden art from small gnomes to larger objects create odd and interesting vingettes.

These are some fancy, feathery Dianthus.

Wish I knew where they buy all their unusual yard art because they don’t have it for sale.

Pretty sure this is Zexmenia, a hardy Texas native with low water requirement.

How about this strange combination.  But it works.  What is that old contraption?

Dwarf Mexican Petunias  (Ruellia brittoniana) circle behind the angel.  They are a Texas Superstar plant and are not as aggressive as the taller ones.

Unfortunately, they never seem to have these Celosia from the Amaranth family for sale.

I also like the cluttered look of the flowerbeds.  Beware, Neat Freaks, this is probably not your kind of place.

These are huge Morning Glories.

Really like the stacked pots.  These suckers are heavy, so where ever they are positioned is permanent.  Couldn’t quite figure out how the top pot is elevated.

Airy Cosmos always provide fun movement in the garden.  I’m also going to give these a try.  But they need some space.

Every time we’ve visited this nursery, seasonal annuals are planted around this lady.  Can’t decide if these are a new type of mum or marigold.  Maybe neither.

The nursery acquired its name from the fact that antique roses were all they sold at the beginning of the business.  The owner was one of the original Rose Rustlers in Texas that propagated roses from those in cemeteries and old homesteads.  Those were treasured because they had scents, were hardy in unforgiving weather, and lasted decades after they were planted.

Now, the owner has branched out to some new roses that are scented and hardy.  He has hybridized a few himself and has recently hired a young man to extent their efforts with some new methods.

“Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.”  unknown

Roses and More

This year, Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas, is celebrating its 30th year of operation.

Inside the chapel, where the annual symposium is held, rose decorations set the theme.

This wreath hung on the podium.  By the way, the speakers we heard on Friday were excellent.

A frame on an easel held this vase of gorgeous roses.  We all wandered up to try and figure out how it was created.  I think wet florist foam was behind the half pot and all the rose stems were stuck in it.

A couple of these frames were hung on blacked out windows.

And, of course, there had to be a cowboy boot filled with sweet smelling roses.  We were so glad we attended this special event, even though we were only able to stay for one day.

Arriving early and using the lunch hour to wander around the nursery is always a treat.  This is so much more than a nursery.  It’s like an arboretum.  There are flower beds everywhere filled with all kinds of plants, like this fancy Zinna.

One of the things I like about this place is the whimsy scattered all around.  A living bedroom provides a smile.

All sorts of plantings show ideas for lots of different tastes.

Beds of simple, common flowers like these Dianthus or Pinks illustrate that gardening doesn’t have to be expensive.  Although, it definitely can be because it becomes a consuming hobby.  I speak from experience.

Simple, yet elegant setting.

A dying vine with some berries left provided a viewing spot for this bird above our heads.  He certainly seemed oblivious to our presence.

A small fenced in area contained lettuces and other greens and edibles growing beside flowers.

Brightly colored peppers are eye catching.

A bed of one of my favorite perennials:  Henry Duelberg Salvia (Salvia farinacea ‘Henry Duelberg’).  Another common name is Henry Duelberg Mealy Cup Sage.  Loves the sun and attracts bees.

But the heart of this place is roses.  So many choices to choose from.

Several posts will follow to show more of Antique Rose Emporium.  Thanks for stopping by.

“I was born with a reading list I will never finish.”  Maud Casey

Indian Summer

After the threat of a freeze two weeks ago, we lugged in most of the potted plants and covered others with sheets.  It was in the mid thirties for two days.  Then back up to the middle 90’s since then.  With some record highs, it’s a crazy Texas autumn.

Although some gardeners don’t consider it worthwhile to take Coleus in for the winter, I do.  Sure, I could buy new ones in the spring, but then I wouldn’t have this one that came from a friend’s mother.

In the warm shed, Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) bloomed again.  That’s the pretty pink ones at the top.  The other pink ones are Crown of Thorns.  Note the sharp thorns that define them.

Another pot of Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii) that was gingerly carried inside.  Those thorns reach out and grab your skin.

Most of the plants, like this White Plumbago (Plumbago Auriculata Escapade White), were looking spiffy.  Re-flowering occurred after the summer heat had ended and some pleasant days of 70s were a boon to us all.

Ditto for the Purple Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) or Sky Flower.

It’s a shame these flowers are all in the shed where I can’t enjoy their last hurrah.  But the rule in our household is that once the plants are carried inside, that’s where they will stay until spring.

Mexican Flame Vine (Senecio confusus) was looking good.  If we lived just a couple of zones south of here, the evergreen foliage would survive the winter and be good to go next year.

Can’t get much cheerier than this color.

Same with American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana).  It might be okay here, but I don’t want to take a chance.  We just might have a hard freeze sometime this winter.

I really hated to hide this beauty away.  The cooler temperatures had brought back all its glory.  Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra) is one showy plant.

Some bulbs, like this Stella de Oro Daylily have been reblooming.

Dianthus or Pinks (Dianthus ssp.) should die down during the winter, but return in the spring.

In the fields, good ole Prairie Verbena or Sweet William (Verbena bipinnatifia)  blooms and blooms.

There’s always the roses to enjoy.  This flower on Belinda’s Dream (Rosa hybrida Belinda’s Dream) reminds of the kid Arnold Horshack in “Welcome Back Kotter” with his hand waving in the air, demanding attention.

Belinda’s Dream definitely deserves attention.  It was the first rose chosen as an Earthkind Rose and is still a hardy, disease resistant, consistent performer.  Love it.

The bright fire engine red of Show Biz Rose (Rosa Tanweieke)  keeps on blooming.  it is a floribunda rose that was hybridized by Tantau and introduced in 1985.  To me, it’s a reminder of our visit to the Biltmore where we bought it at their nursery.

The plants in my yard are friends that bring memories of certain people or places.  Thanks for taking time to read my blog.

“Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take you breath away.”  anonymousSave

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Old Reliables

One of the great things about old friends is that they love you in spite of your flaws.  I feel the same way about plants that I can depend on.

Privet bushes (Ligustrum vulgare) are invasive in the southeastern U.S. and are much maligned by horticulturists.  But here, in our hard, rocky clay, they just survive.

In early spring, they flower heavily and provide a wonderful aroma.

This bush has been here about four years, so at some future date, I may have to eat my words.  But, for now, we are enjoying it.

And so are the butterflies.

Strong scent attracts Painted Lady butterflies.

We have been dragging the same two pots of Asparagus Fern in and out of sheds for over thirty years.  Actually, the roots would probably survive outside in the winter, but it takes a long time for the sprigs to grow back out and look nice.

At one time, I had some in hanging baskets, but that required diligent watering.

It is interesting that they aren’t really ferns but are in the lily family.

For several years, Pink Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri) Whirling Butterflies has been blooming in our yard.  I must admit that they are becoming aggressive but are fairly easy to dig up.  They haven’t yet jumped out of the flower bed where they were planted.

I also like them in pots that can be moved around the yard.  They will return after the winter, even in pots.

Dianthus will return for several years but will eventually die out.  They are lovely little flowers.

This pot came from my mother’s yard.  At 97, she recently moved into assisted living.

Another Amarylis just bloomed.  This one is in the ground.  Even though this one isn’t quite as pretty as the last one I showed, I do like the short stem.

As I’ve said before, bulb flowers just keep on giving.

Shasta Daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum) are starting to bloom.  Year before last, they were divided and spread out into two different beds.  This year they have regained their fullness and filled in nicely.  Shastas are a good investment because they are reliable, add a bright clean look, and the clumps can be divided.

The Mexican Feather Grass behind them adds graceful movement.

“America is the only country where a significant proportion of the population believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked.”
David Letterman

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Garvan Gardens, Part 2

Garvan Gardens outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas, is a serene, calming place.  Because there were few people visiting that day, it seemed like we were alone in forest far from civilization.

garvangardensm

garvangardensmmSome workers were constructing this exhibit out of brush.  This art installation by W. Gary Smith is to last for a year.

garvangardensn

garvangardensnn Miniature fairy gardens created in pots are a current fad, but this Fairy Garden was built using tree stumps.

garvangardenso

garvangardensooEach one stood about 3 or 4 feet tall.

garvangardenspA small patch of Oxblood or Schoolhouse Lilies (Rhodophiala bifida) make an impact statement.

garvangardensppVery tall Pinks or Dianthus in a semi-shady spot.

garvangardensqThe Children’s Garden entrance is below this metal twig looking bridge.

garvangardensqqEverything we saw in this part of the garden is mostly rocks to climb on and secluded small areas to explore.

garvangardensr

garvangardensrrThe boulders were intriguing with the quartz in the stones forming sharp ridges.  Over time, the rock, whatever type it is, has eroded, while the quartz remained intact.

garvangardenssSome of the Children’s Garden might be intimidating to young kids.

garvangardent

garvangardenttBack on the main trail …

garvangardentttwe continue past this small pond with water Iris.

garvangardenuAlthough this peacock was alone, his loud mating cries broke the silence of the forest.  Guess he just wanted some attention.

garvangardenuuAnother pergola leading to a grassy area surrounded by flowerbeds.

garvangardenuuuAlliums towering above other flowers, like these Pansies.  I really wanted some Alliums and tried them once, but they didn’t come back the next year.  Don’t really know what the problem was.  Too hot, too cold, soil too alkaline?

garvangardenvMore Dianthus

garvangardenvvDelphiniums, maybe?

garvangardenvvvJust outside the Chipmunk Cafe were several miniature trains at different levels circling around a tree.

garvangardenwwwAnthony Chapel is a wedding chapel with construction similar to the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  I think this chapel was built in 2006 while ThornCrown opened in 1980.

garvangardenxThe wood is southern yellow pine.

garvangardenxxAnthony Chapel is a wedding chapel.  Lovely setting.

There is a separate building for wedding party members with a bridal changing chamber.  It can be rented for an additional cost.

garvangardenxxxThe whole intent of the design with 55 feet tall windows is to have full view of the surrounding woods.  The handcrafted scones are made of oak.

garvangardenwwHeading to the parking lot takes us past more trees and bushes.  This looks like Coral Honeysuckle.

garvangardenwBeautiful bloom on an Oakleaf Hydrangea (‘Hydrangea quercifolia’).

Thanks for reading our visit to Garvan Gardens.

“The only limit to your garden is at the boundaries of your imagination.”  Thomas Church

Garvan Gardens

On a recent trip one of our stops was at Garvan Woodland Gardens just outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas.  It is the 210 acre botanical garden of the University of Arkansas in the Ouachita Mountains.

garvangardens4Most of the acres are a naturally wooded area of tall pines.

garvangardens8Pathways lead guests to a variety of sights.

garvangardens7

garvangardens1Shaded areas are filled with abundant under story trees and shrubbery.

garvangardens

garvangardens2Although it was the tail end of the blooming season for Azaleas, some flowers remained.

garvangardens3A heavy crop of berries on some kind of holly.

garvangardens6

garvangardens9Few of the plants had identification labels.

garvangardensaaIn a few sunny clearings were some grassy areas circled by flowerbeds and flowerpots.  Begonias, Spider Plant, and Caladium make an attractive arrangement.

garvangardensaSeveral vine covered pergolas open to patio like settings with flowers and seating.

garvangardensbThis is a purple Columbine, but I don’t know the variety.

garvangardensc

garvangardenscc

garvangardensdPretty Pinks or Dianthus

garvangardensddLove the color and design of this three foot tall pot.  The requisite three elements are there:  thriller (don’t know the name of the plant); filler (petunias), and spiller (a variegated ivy).

garvangardenseLots of large beds were filled with annuals such as pansies.  There were both staff members and volunteers working in the gardens.

garvangardensee

garvangardensff

garvangardensgAnother bed with these newly planted small plants, probably annuals.

garvangardensggLoved this bush, but don’t know what it is.

garvangardensiFour and a half miles of shoreline on Lake Hamilton provide wooded views of the lake.

garvangardenshEuphorbias in bloom.

garvangardenshh

garvangardensii

garvangardensjAs we leave the lake observation point and head back into the wooded gardens, there are what look like native blooming plants.

garvangardensjj

garvangardenskSeveral nice bridges in the gardens lead to new surprises.

garvangardenslThis shrub was about six or seven feet tall with arching branches.

garvangardensllGorgeous flower clusters.  Wonder what it is.

My next post will finish the Garvan Gardens visit.  Thanks for taking the time to scroll through all the pictures.

“Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”  unknown

Perennials Reign

Spring is a wonderful gift coming between the dreary months of winter and the dry, charring summertime.  This year’s springtime has been amazing.

During some unpleasant dental work, which made staying in the big city for three days necessary, I couldn’t wait to return home.  Just being at home is comforting.  But being able to enjoy the lush green fields makes me understand the promise of lying down in green pastures in the 23th Psalms.  Plus all the wonderful flowers in the fields and my yard makes home even more alluring.

rosesblooming2This Vinca vine came from a friend.  I was warned that it was invasive.  That normally doesn’t concern me, but it is definitely spreading out.  I plan to watch it and see if it can be controlled.

rosesbloomingbThe Wild Blue Indigo (Baptisia australis) makes its short but spectacular show in early spring.

rosesbloomingc

rosesbloomingfGiant Spiderwort (Tradescantia gigantea) has obviously taken hold after being planted last spring.

rosesbloominggThis is a Texas native that needs more shade than my yard has, so it will quit blooming when it gets too hot and the sun is too harsh.  But, for now, it’s making a splash.

rosesbloomingjGray Blobe Mallow (Sphaeralcea incana) has grown nicely since last spring’s planting.  It surprised me that it kept its foliage all winter.

springbloomsdThe turkeys have been very active this spring and coming up into the yard or just behind the fence.  Their gobble, gobbles  make me look up to search for them. I was finally able to get a picture.  Boy, are they the nervous type.

rosebloom3Columbine’s (Aquilegia chrysantha)yellow shooting stars flying in the wind.  They are thinner than usual.  I discovered that some creature had dug a deep hole under one of the bushes.  In doing so, the dirt covered up and killed some of the plants.  So I transplanted some from a flowerbed where I didn’t want them to fill in the vacancy.

rosebloom4The yellow of these Kolanche blossoms pop against the blue pot.

rosesblooming5The same three Dianthus clumps bloom every year.  Last year I planted three others hoping to fill in the space.  They did not make it.  I recently read that there is only one variety that will live in our clay soil.  Don’t know how easy those are to find.

specific flowers4Wouldn’t you know, when I did my post on roses recently, there was not a single bud on this Madam Norbert De Velleur climber.  It burst into bloom earlier this week while we were gone.

specific flowers6Buzzing filled the air while I was photographing the lush blooms.

specific flowers7Don’t know the type of bees these are, but they were abundant and active.

At this time of the year, spring flowers make my day.

“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”
Confucius

Dash of Red, Pink, and Purple

At a very slow pace, plants are greening with a few flowers.  As usual, I’m anxious for it to look like spring all at once.

Backbreaking weeding has made everything look better.  It’s not over yet; just not as overwhelming as it was a couple of weeks ago.

blooming8The trusty  Knock-out Roses are blooming like crazy.  Another post gives more details about these roses.

blooming8bPlain and simple, but tough as nails.

blooming9bThis year I planted a couple of Dianthuses to fill in the bed.  Like the deeper color of this one.

blooming9Dianthus makes a hardy ground cover.  They look like miniature carnations because they are in the same family.

dianthusI’ve read that Dianthus only last a couple of years, but mine have come back each spring for  8 years.  Small clumps have come up in other beds.  This year I transplanted some of those close to the original plant hoping to get a dense cover.

Even though Dianthus should be planted in rich, well drained soil in a cool climate, this is proof that they can survive in poor soil in a hot climate.  They need full sun anywhere.

blooming2The Belinda’s Dream bush is sporting a few roses.  It’s no wonder this variety is recommended in almost every book and gardening magazine because they are definitely hardy.

bloomingaOne lone Larkspur looks forlorn up against the foundation.   A few Larkspurs are scattered here and there.  This is across the yard from where the seeds were planted last year.

larkspurAnother one is a couple of feet from the darker colored one.   The friend who gave me the seeds said that hers are sparse this year, too.

sageThis Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha) was just planted. It is also called Velvet Sage.

Pictures really highlight the flaws in your yard.  Even though I have picked rocks out of flowerbeds more times than I can count, there they are.  When I dug the hole to plant this sage and another one next to it, more rocks were brought to the surface.

Still need to put down mulch.  So I’m showing you my yard, warts and all.  If I waited until all looked good, I could not write this blog.

sage2In the background are the two Larkspurs and beside the sage is a new grayish Prairie Sage.

larkspur2In an attempt to show the velvet texture of the flowers, I held it up to try to steady it in the wind, but the picture blurred.  After several tries, I decided to just go with it.

The yard looks a little pathetic right now, so I’m enjoying every flower that opens up.

“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road.”  Henry Ward Beecher

West Texas Garden

It’s amazing what an occasional rain will do for plants – especially in West Texas.  These pictures are from a Thanksgiving Day visit to a relative in northwest Texas, but not as far north as the panhandle.  They had a five inch rain two months ago.  This year has been way below their average rainfall of 25″.  So that much rain at one time is a strong gully washer.

This Lil Miss Lantana is easily 10 feet wide and deep.  This backyard belongs to elderly relative who can’t do yard work anymore, but has a guy who helps her.   He will cut this lantana down to the ground in the near future.

At first, I thought this was a monarch or viceroy butterfly on this lantana.

When it lowered its wings, I was totally confused. There were several on this bush, so I kept taking pictures thinking that the photo was blurred in an odd way or my eyes were deceiving me.

Can someone tell me if this a butterfly or a moth?

There were also lots of tiny grey butterflies and several of these yellow ones.  But getting a picture of them with wings open proved to be impossible.

This pepper plant is 4′ tall and 3′ wide.  I thought the peppers had not developed fully yet, but was told this size of the pepper (about 1″) is mature.  When they turn red, they’re ripe for picking and are extremely hot.

Common names for Dianthus are carnation, pink, and sweet william.  There are about 300 species in this family.

One common characteristic is the fluffed edge that looks like it has been cut by pinking shears.

This backyard is small and protected somewhat by a solid wooden fence.  This has allowed these flowers to still be blooming in spite of some cold weather.  Plus, they are all container plants, which can be watered during the summer water rationing.

We Texans are proud of the Lone Star and display it in as many different mediums as possible.

The owner couldn’t identify this grass.  It was sold at a local gardening store, so it may not be a native one.

I was raised in West Texas, so this speaks volumes to me.  An empty pot in the sand with a man carved from agate  taking a siesta brings back memories of how sun and sand dominate the landscape.  Also, the Mexican influence is  important to the culture of the Southwest.

Petunias are an easy flowering plant to grow.  Most varieties today are hybrids.

This little clay goat reminds me of many products that come from Mexico.

This Vinca, also called periwinkle in English, is definitely on its last leg.  It’s a hardy plant that usually is an annal.

This foxtail fern is protected on a porch.

Also, the geranium is on the porch and only receives early morning direct light.

It’s great to see so much color and life in a small garden in a harsh environment.  It brings much joy to the owner and others.

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than one seeks.”  John Muir