Autumn is Awesome

The cooler days and nights with highs in the 60’s has rejuvenated us all.  Plus a few misty days and overcast skies has relieved all plant life from being attacked by harsh sunlight.

So I’m taking a break from the Arkansas posts to show what’s happening in the yard.

fallyardbMost of the Bluemist Flowers have faded but these are full and fluffy – reminds me of tiny pompoms.

fallyard12Potted Bougainvillea’s colors have deepened and are a tropical delight to enjoy.

fallyard11Even the Russian Sage has more blooms.

fallyard10Some flowers are bravely hanging onto an old-fashioned Geranium.  Wind gusts have been high lately.

fallyard9Salvia Greggi in a pot provides bright color.

fallyard8Boston Ferns in the back with a large Kalanchoe in front are massed in a corner by the house.  In front is Coleus and an Airplane or Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum).

The Coleus came from cuttings from a friend.  I’ve already taken cuttings inside to create another pot next year.  They will root in water and still make a pretty decoration while doing so. Also, I may need them to start again next spring since I don’t know how well this will survive in the house this winter.

The Spider Plant has been in this pot for years.  They prefer to be root bound.  Everything in this picture was a pass along plant except the ferns.  And those come from the original two that I bought, which have been divided many times over the years.

fallyard7Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) has a few blooms.

fallyard6Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) has lost most of its leaves but still has some wonderful velvet blossoms.

fall2yard5The one I had last year did not make it through the winter.  So I’ve taken some cuttings and hope they will root in case a freeze does this one in.

fallyard2Gray Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea incana) still has a few flowers, which surprised me.  I consider this was a hot weather bloomer.

fallyard3This little bee was flitting back and forth searching for an open bud.  Since this picture was taken many flowers have opened.

fallyard4Gray santolina or lavender cotton (S. chamaecyparissus) has some interesting characteristics.  It grows tight with little space between its branches.  I like the rounded shape and love the soft texture of it.  There aren’t many plants that I touch as I pass by, but this is one.

fallyard1Cooper Canyon Daisy (Tagetes lemmonii) has its main blooming in late fall with a less spectacular blooming in the spring.  It is drought tolerant and one tough cookie once established.

fallyardThis daisy is a Texas native that is found only in nurseries that carry natives.  I found it at Natives of Texas in Kerrville.  An odd quirk of this plant is its smell.  It stinks and reminds me of kerosene.  That made for bit of a smelly car on the way home from Kerrville.  But a plus is that deer stay away from it.

Cool days, some rain, and long lasting flowers make autumn, when we have it, special.

“Autumn’s the mellow time.”   William Allingham

Peter Cottontail

Remember the children’s book The Tale of Peter Cottontail by Beatrix Potter?  Peter disobeyed his mother and went to Mr. McGregor’s garden to eat vegetables.  It was probably written to encourage children to obey their parents because in the end Peter didn’t feel well, was given chamomile tea and put to bed while his brother and sisters had bread, blackberries, and milk for supper.

cottontail2We have our own little cottontail in the garden.  One evening as I was pruning, he was munching in the flowerbed and didn’t seem afraid of me.

rabbitplanterRabbit flower pots have a whimsey that I enjoy.  The plants in this rabbit is Dwarf Sanseveria.  In the background is an heirloom Geranium and to the right is a pot of Airplane or Spider (Chlorophytum comosum) plants.  Their common name comes the plantlets that grow on long stems.

The plantlets are easy to propagate.  Just stick one in a pot of soil, and another plant is created.  In fact, I was getting so many Airplant plants that my husband asked me to stop planting the plantlets because that meant more pots to carry into the greenhouse.

It’s often considered a house plant, but they do great outside in filtered light or shade where there’s harsh sunlight.  They are not cold hardy and have to be moved indoors during the winter.  But the rhizomes will usually re-sprout if there’s not a long or extreme freeze.

cottontailAs my clippers snipped, the cottontail prepared to run but changed his mind.

rabbitplanter2This pot has Kalanchoe plant, which looks kind of sad right now.

rabbitStone statuary fascinates me.  I especially like the large ones seen in old English gardens.

cottontail3This cottontail is nibbling on grass.  If that remains his sole diet, I’ll be happy to have him around to clean out the grass in the flowerbed.  His mother lives in this same area, but she is skittish and stays out of sight most of the time.

“The federal government is like a handicapped turtle trying to crawl around and keep up with the rabbit, which is technology.”  James Breithaupt

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