Some Favorites for Spring

Gardeners each have their own favorite plants, so I don’t usually foist my choices on others.  But today I’m going to make some recommendations.

If you have read my blog before, you know how much I love roses.  Part of the reason is because before we moved here, I didn’t have the space, sunny spots, or the time to do any gardening.

Then, surprisingly, roses not only have survived here but were a success.

Drift Roses are a relatively new type of Knock Out® Roses.  These are Coral Drift Roses.  They are low growing and constantly covered with flowers from early spring until the first freeze.

If I can have roses here in my high alkaline, clay and rock soil, then anyone can.  They are in lasagna raised beds that have amended soil.  Other than that, all they need is sun and water.

The rocks at the edge of the beds are to keep the water from washing off the slopes.  Texas has lots of limestone fossils.  This one and the following ones came from the edge of a creek on our property.

There are some roses that are exceptional performers.  Like this Belinda’s Dream that flowers on and off for months.  It has no disease problems.  Just give space for bushes to get huge – about 6 feet across.

Tropicana is a popular rose that does well in many different areas and is usually available at all kinds of nurseries.  It is a hybrid tea that blooms fairly often.

My all time favorite of the roses that I’ve tried is Double Delight because it has a strong scent that is out of this world.  It is also a hybrid tea.  I recently bought another one at a local nursery because I’m not sure how long roses bushes last.  Mine is twelves years old and doesn’t look as healthy this year as usual.  But we did have some hard freezes this winter.

Clematis vines are a great choice for gardeners.  There are many varieties available that grow well in different zones.

Many have prettier, fancier flowers than this one, but I chose one that does well here – Jackman Clematis.

Yellow Columbine (Aquilegia flavescens) brightens up the early spring.  After the bareness of winter, it is just what the doctor ordered.

This soil was not amended, so it’s a tough plant.

As you see, pollinators are drawn to it.  Plus, it’s so cheery.

Another category of flowers is bulbs.  Stella de Oro Reblooming Daylily is technically not a bulb but a herbaceous root plant.

To keep it blooming, deadheading spent blooms is necessary.  It’s a gorgeous low growing, bright yellow flower that pollinators love.

There are many different flowers that fit into the vague, incorrect category “bulb”.  For example:  tulips and daffodils are bulbs, irises are rhizomes, gladiolas and crocuses are corms, and daylilies are tubers with tuberous roots.  Confusing.

My point is that plants in the “bulb” designation are a wonderful addition to any garden.  They tend to be reasonably priced; some produce new bulbs so your investment grows and can be shared; many different varieties are available to grow in different zones and climates; and most provide beautiful flowers year after year.  What a bargain.

Henry Duelberg Salvia (Salvia farinacea) was discovered growing beside a grave in LaGrange, Texas.  Greg Grant named the plant after the deceased.  It is one wonderful, eye catching plant.  Keep it contained because it spreads.

The white version, Augusta Duelberg, was named after his wife, whose grave was beside him.  A Texas SuperStar® plant that blooms from early spring until the first freeze.

As usual, it is best to “dance with the one who brung you” meaning it’s important to select plants that do well where you live.

“Don’t let the thoughts of failure stop you from trying, even when you fail, it’s not enough to give up.  The light bulb itself finally found success after so many trials.”  Terry Marks.

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Busy Season

Don’t ya just love spring?  Even though the stress of not getting everything done in time hangs over my head, the flowers and green everywhere just blesses me.

This year two plant sales for two different garden clubs means that I’m digging up plants that have spread and propagating others and potting them as quickly as I can.

Some of the early spring bloomers have to be savored quickly, like this Flag Iris.  These stunning and unusual flowers last a little longer than a week.

It’s good to have other types of bulb plants waiting to take their place.

Redbuds can also be a flash in the pan stunner.  This picture was taken from the highway.  It is either an Oklahoma Redbud or someone had done a good job of keeping a native trimmed to one trunk and nicely shaped like a tree.

Most Texas native Redbuds have multiple trunks with a rather shrubby look.  Doesn’t mean that I don’t like them.  I love their bright colors.

Yellow Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha) or Granny’s Bonnet or Gold Spur Columbine is a wonderful spring blooming perennial.

The flowers are uniquely shaped and the foliage is evergreen.  Two pluses.  The yellow variety is native to Texas and does extremely well in our poor soil.  Morning sun and afternoon shade does the trick.

Wow.  Makes ones heart sing.

Another look at Bridal Wreath Spirea (Spiraea prunifolia) with lovely drooping branches that are covered in white clusters of flowers.  Hear wedding bells?

Spiderwort (Tradescantia pallida) is putting on a show.  It’s a Texas native that can’t take the summer heat but shines in spring.

Clusters of three petaled flowers with bright yellow stamens.

This David Austin rose, Lady of Shalott, is my new favorite.  It has a delectable aroma.

Since I absolutely adore roses and am wonderfully surprised at how well they do here in this lousy soil,  I’ve decided to put in some more rose beds.  Until the tiller we’ve ordered comes in, they are in pots.

The beds have to be built up and enriched with piles of decomposed leaves, manure, etc.  Therefore, it takes some time to prepare the beds.  We’re short of time now, so they will be in pots for awhile.

This unnamed rose bush blooms continuously once warm weather arrives.  And it has.

Hope you’re having a great spring enjoying the flowers in your yard or wherever you see and smell them.  Thanks for taking time to read my blog.

“Her nagging is a sign that she cares.  Her silence means she’s plotting your death.” unknown source

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

Yellow and White Blooms

Because of the weather, everything growing in the yard is late.  The weather:  that often discussed topic that none of us can change.  This year’s catastrophic winter and now spring has affected us all to some degree.  Compared to many, many states, we’ve had it easy.

But we still see the results of a much colder and longer winter than usual.  This winter there were more days, 70, of freezing or below freezing days locally than in written record.  That is well above normal.  Then this week on Tuesday, a 110 year record of the lowest temperature on the latest day of spring was broken with a morning temperature of 35.

blooming6The Columbines (Aquilegia) are sparse this year, but I’m glad we didn’t lose them.  Several shrubs and small trees did not make it.

blooming7Although this particular Columbine is not native, it has adapted very well.  The only Texas native Columbine is red and yellow and the blooms tend to be smaller.

Columbines are perennials that need partial shade.  Mine get morning sun and afternoon shade.  They are considered to be deer resistant.

bloomingThe bloom looks exotic like a tropical.

bloomingbThis sedum with the yellow flowers is a ground cover that is probably a Stonecrop Sedum.  It has not spread as well as I had hoped.  It is hugging some Crinums that have not bloomed yet.

bloomingcSo pretty for such a tiny little flower, but the bright color makes it noticeable.

bloomingdThe flowers on this Ornamental Onion have not truly opened. Last year the hail beat them down to the ground, so I wanted a picture in case that happens again.

Ornamental or Wild Onion is in the Allium family, but I’m not sure if any variety is native to Texas.

blooming3If forced to pick a favorite flower, I would say roses or daisies.  These hardy Ox-eye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) perform well every year.  They are native to Europe and milder climates in Asia.

blooming5If I move to the side to get a shot, it appears to be a field of daisies.  I would love that.

blooming4“Fresh as a daisy” is an apt idiom.

With no rain and the wind sapping everything, I’m thankful to have any flowers.

“You can find inspiration from others, but determination is solely your responsibility.”  Dodinsky

Mellow Yellow

Whether you prefer the soft colors or the bright bold colors for flowers, they bring a special lift to those who take time to enjoy garden sights.

columbine6Early spring brings the delightful Columbine (Aquilegia) blossoms.

columbine3Aquilegia is derived from the Latin word for “eagle” because the shape of the flower petals, which are said to resemble an eagle’s claw.  I’m guessing that refers to the long antenna-like spikes shown above.

columbine4The common name “columbine” comes from the Latin for “dove” due to the resemblance of the flower to five doves clustered together.  Some wild imaginations those botanists had.

columbine5To me, they look more like tiny comets zooming in the wind.  They are very hardy perennials.  I’ve seen pictures of purple and deep red columbines.  But only two varieties survive in Texas – this yellow one and one that is called red.  But the red one is really a combination of red and yellow.  This solid yellow one is the more common here and the hardiest.

columbine2Columbine are invasive.  Mine have scattered all around and are in pots and several flowerbeds.  If it really bothered me, I would pull them up.  For s couple of years I have dug them out of a flowerbed that I want designated for wood fern only.

All of mine get morning or diffused sunlight and shade in the afternoon.  They don’t seem to be particular about soil.

cabbageflowerIn the past other gardeners have told me to cut off the stems that flower on certain plants.  For instance, an ornamental cabbage, like the one above.  This year I decided to forget that advice and see what the flowers look like.  They’re more impressive than the plant itself.

“Spending an evening on the World Wide Web is much like sitting down to a dinner of Cheetos.   Two hours later your fingers are yellow and you’re no longer hungry, but you haven’t been nourished.”  Clifford Stoll