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

 

This and That

A little rain, a lot of wind requiring holding on to a tree for stability, a little cool weather, and some flowers hanging on is the situation here.

autumnblooms4The Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) is losing flowers quickly in this wind.  Earlier in the spring it wasn’t blooming profusely like normal.  But it recovered and is an interesting focal point at one corner of the house.

autumnblooms8It’s always a surprise where Clammy Weed (Polanisia dodecandra ssp. trachysperma) will come each year.  This year the holes of some insects left the leaves looking like tattered lace.

autumnbloomsmThe flowers are attractive but not bold.  With some decent foliage, it’s a nice looking plant.

autumnbloomsaI don’t know why it took me so long to discover Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha).  It’s a perfect plant for our arid conditions.  It’s a shrub that grows 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.  Oops, I definitely didn’t leave enough space for its width.

autumnbloomsnMexican Sage is a sun lover, although it will tolerate some shade.  It is drought tolerant and attracts bees.

autumnbloomsoPlus, the flower spikes have a soft velvet look.

autumnbloomspJust makes a person want to reach out and touch it.  We’ll see how it survives the winter.

autumnbloomseThe Swamp Sunflowers (Helianthus angustifolius) or Narrow-leaf Sunflowers put on their usual air show waving on tall stalks.  Most of the flowers are gone now, but they bloom for about two months.

autumnbloomsgOne stalk leaned over and it was easier to admire the flowers close-up.

autumnbloomshThe brilliant red turban-like flowers of Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii) just keep on attracting bees.

autumnbloomsfI love to watch all the flitting activity of the pollinators.  Very soothing.

autumnbloomsdSince Orange African Bulbine (Bulbine frutescens ‘Orange’) is not winter hardy, I’ve kept it in two large pots for years.  But the last couple of years, I’ve planted some as an annual in one bed.  Each spring when the pots are put outside, a few clumps are hanging just over the edge of the pots with their roots out of soil, so I decided to just put them in the ground, where they last until the first freeze.

This is a water wise plant that does well in the hot sun and is a beauty.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.”
Chief Seattle Duwamish

Summer White

Many years ago mothers in the south gave this advice to their daughters:  “Never wear white until Easter and never wear white after Labor Day.”  Who makes up these rules?

Anyway, kids today certainly don’t hear things like that.  In past times, It wasn’t even necessary to say to dress modestly.  That was understood.  Oops.  I’m talking about one of my pet peeves – parents not teaching their children to dress appropriately for the occasion.

almond2Back to wearing white.  This little bush of Almond Verbena (Aloysia virgata) is dressed with white blossoms.  It wears a sweet perfume, which the bees and other pollinators are drawn to.  Me, too.  I love its sweet almond vanilla aroma.

almondverbena2Almond Verbena loves the summer sun here but dies with the winter freezes.  The blooms resemble those of a butterfly bush or Buddleia.

They can grow up to 15 feet tall.  I’ve had this one three years, and it has only reached 3 feet.  Maybe it’s because it dies in the cold and grows slowly in the spring.

almond3It is a native of Argentina.  The branches tend to bend down, like a weeping willow.

It’s a pity that Almond Verbenas are not stocked in most nurseries.  I found this one in Austin.

whitehibiscusOne day recently as I was weeding, I walked behind the flowerbed that I normally see from my kitchen window.  On one Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) bush, all the flowers on the back side were stark white.  What in the world?  Don’t know why.  Maybe a soil deficiency?

whitebirdThis iron bird has lost most of it white paint.  Still cute.

whiteweedTwo years ago a friend gave me seeds for Clammy Weed (Polanisia dodecandra ssp. trachysperma).  Although I had never heard of it or seen it, Clammy Weed is a native wildflower found in many parts of Texas.

Clammy Weed gets this name because it is slightly sticky to the touch.  It is hardy, grows in full sun, and reseeds well.

angelbasketFor some reason, I can’t toss this poor little whitish grey angel in the trash, yet.

mexicantuberoseMexican Tuberoses (Polianthes tuberosa) are bulb plants that were domesticated by pre-Columbian Indians of Mexico, according to Dr. William C. Welch, horticulturist at Texas A & M.  It was one of the first plants taken back to Spain by the conquistadors.  It is still a much used garden plant there and in Mexico.

mexicantuberose2All I know is that they have a strong pleasing scent.  Mexican tuberoses flower on a tall stalk, like a daylily.  They look nice with another plant behind them to showcase them or with nothing behind them but a solid blue sky.  This is a Senna bush behind these two.

mexicantuberose3 Last year, I tried to divide a clump.  I wasn’t sure they would survive because a large bulb was covered in smaller bulbs, which I could not pull off.  So I cut through the bottom large bulb.  This picture shows one that came from a divided bulb.  There are also several other survivors, so I was relieved.

This tuberose is in front of an Acanthus.  Tuberose bulbs are also not easy to find.  I ordered mine from a grower in Michigan that specializes in heirloom bulbs.

White flowers can add a nice, clean look to a garden.

“Those who think it permissible to tell white lies soon grow colorblind.”  Unknown