Boerne offers the beauty of central Texas, caves, and nature al natural.
Cool autumn refers to the temperature, but, also, how terrific it is. Isn’t it astounding how many benefits come from rain?
Rain provides plants under a porch cover with moisture in the air. This African Blue Basil (Ocimum kilimandscharicum x basilicum ‘Dark Opal’) was small this spring. The ends of branches have been snipped off to use to flavor dishes several times.
This basil does not seed, so cuttings must be taken to root for new plants.
Behind the basil is Autumn Joy Sedum, with flower clusters forming. Beside that is Asparagus Fern, then a pot of Kalanche.
Autumn Joy Sedum is now in full bloom. It only blooms in the fall, but the large succulent leaves makes it a worthwhile plant the whole year. Plus, it does not need winter protection if it is nestled close to a dwelling or in some other protected spot.
“Pride is a steamroller. It’ll clear the path for a while, but sooner or later it’ll shift into reverse, and then…look out.” The Sea Glass Sisters by Lisa Wingate
Although this nursery in Brenham is named Antique Rose Emporium, there is so much more there than roses.
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.
Dwarf Mexican Petunias (Ruellia brittoniana) circle behind the angel. They are a Texas Superstar plant and are not as aggressive as the taller ones.
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
While the Gulf coast of Texas experienced horrendous flooding, the western and central part of the state were dry and dusty. Here we’ve had 13 inches of rainfall this year, less than half of the average 27 inches. We’re drier than even surrounding areas. I suspect that’s due to the fact than our property is in a valley between two ridges.
Desert Bird of Paradise or Yellow Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) is so hardy that some consider it invasive. This has been here for about 11 years, and only two years ago did another one come up in the same flower bed about three feet from the parent plant.
The thin, narrow leaflets on the compound leaves that resemble Mesquite leaves means that there is little water evaporation, so it’s a great plant for our area.
A desert plant from South Africa, African Bulbine (Bulbine frutescens ‘Orange African Bulbine’), doesn’t mind the heat. It cannot take cold, so we’ve been lugging two pots of these into a shed each year for more years than I care to remember – probably 11 years.
This year the vine has suffered from chlorosis. It’s one of those things I think of when I pass by it and forget later. Just recently I read that the iron should be applied with Sulfur Soil Acidifier. I bought some today, so there’s no excuse to postpone this task.
And, oddly, I still like them. They look great behind a bed of Blue Mist Greggii.
Extremes of weather plays havoc in gardens, but plant lovers just keep propagating, planting, watering, and weeding. It’s can be frustrating but satisfying and rewarding.
“There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.”
Just a week or two of high temperatures with no rain can transform a pretty garden to dry crusty leaves, dead flowers, and limp stems and foliage.
For the first half of July, everything still looked pretty good. The Vitex on the left had finished blooming and the Pink Coneflowers still had some flowers. I recently pruned the Vitex in the hopes that it will bloom again this fall.
Hardy Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) last a long time: from mid spring until mid July, depending on the weather . Their refreshing look makes me happy. But everything has its limits. 100 plus temperatures and dry heat with no relief buries us all.
The routine now is for me to get out early, just after the sun rises, and water pot plants every other day. Because I have so many, it takes over an hour. Gardening obession has gotten a little out of hand.
Purple Heart is also in the shade most of the day, so it is thriving. I have mistakenly identifed Purple Heart as Wandering Jew in some posts. A friend pointed out that they are not the same plant at all.
Mexican Petunia (Ruellia simplex) marches on. I don’t think anything can kill it. In fact, I have been trying to kill some that is encroaching on a rose bush. It took multiple applications of Round Up before there was any noticeable damage.
Mexican Petunias love the heat. Can’t say that I agree with them. Hope you live in cooler temperatures or can stay inside and enjoy A/C most of the time.
Prayer is exhaling the spirit of man and inhaling the spirit of God.” Edwin Keith
A small town in the midst of scrub brush in flat West Texas has a garden, which was the result of one man’s labor.
The Garden of Eden has some surprising elements. It’s been two years since I last visited, and it has changed some.
The yellow flowers are Texas Yellow Bells (Tacoma stans), which is a beloved plant that is native to far West Texas in the Big Bend area. It is a tall shrub with gorgeous flowers that is drought tolerant and abides limestone soils.
However, cold winters have done mine in. But I keep trying to save one.
Another hardy plant, Salvia Greggii Red Sage has a pleasant scent, especially when brushed as one passes by it. It is a semi woody plant that is native to Texas and Mexico. It thrives in the heat but does not tolerant wet feet.
Four O’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) were grown by the Aztecs for medicinal and ornamental purposes. They spread profusely. Where each black seed falls, a new plant will spring up. The seeds can be seen in the picture where spend flowers have fallen.
Palo Verde Trees (Parkinsonia aculeata) are desert trees that have pretty yellow flowers in the spring. Maybe the mild winters the last few years have allowed this one to get a foothold.
A clever tin man that I would like to duplicate but finding the right size cans could be a problem.
Although most of the plants in this garden are what one would expect to see in this area, it seems lush with the paths winding through tall shrubs and full plantings.
“Knowledge is knowing what to say. Wisdom is knowing when to say it.” unknown
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.
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.
One 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.Blue 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.
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.
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.
Just a few seeds from a friend and voila, you’ll have flowers forever. But they are invasive, so beware.
Neat and tidy in the garden isn’t my thing.
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.
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
The unrelenting sun is taking its toll. Some things, like the Cone Flowers, are wilting faster than usual. This is my fault because I haven’t done a good job of watering flowerbeds this year.
I read that the heavy rains in the spring work as a detriment when the inferno of summer comes because our plants are not accustomed to going from wet soil to dry.
Orange Marmalade Crossandra (Crossandra ‘Orange Marmalade’) or Firecracker Flower has done surprisingly well in mostly shade. It, too, likes the heat and humidity, but not the sun. No humidity here, so it must not be absolutely necessary for this plant.
This Desert Rose (Adenium obesumlso) needs winter protection. Mine only seems to bloom right after it comes out of the shed in early spring. They are known more for their trunks that are bulbous at the bottom than their flowers.More pot plants: pepper plant and Boston Fern to the back left. The Woodland Fern on the right is in the ground.
An Orange Bulbine (Bulbine frutescens) from South Africa in a large pot with Purple Heart behind it. In its native land, it grows in grasslands with well drained soil. Further south in Texas, it does well directly in the ground. Here it is an annual that must be protected in the winter.
It was purchased at the nursery at Biltmore. Really, I should never be allowed to walk through a nursery just to look.
Now that you’ve seen some of my plants in pots, is it any wonder that my husband dreads the end of fall and the beginning of spring?
I was rather late coming to the fad of grasses as yard plants. But I do like Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella or Stipa tenuissima). I’ve read that it can be invasive, but so far, that hasn’t been the case here.
“Misers are not fun to live with, but they are great ancestors.” Tom Snyder
Twenty degrees makes a world of difference. From 95 degrees to 75 degrees recently has perked up everything. It’s nice to have the weather match the calendar.
Also, we were blessed with six inches of rain.
Pictures of the garden really points out flaws. In this photo I noticed the Hackberry tree growing in the Salvia Greggi. I have since cut it down. Behind the salvia is hardy Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) and several different rose bushes.
The dead pods on the Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) are beginning to bug me. I was leaving them as food for birds this winter. But I decided to cut the heads off and leave them in the flowerbed. Then the stems can be eliminated. That way the birds can forage on the ground, and the dead plants are not an eyesore.
The Strawberry Gomphera (Gomphrena globosa) bloomed in the spring, hot summer, and now into autumn. Even though they are small, their bright color gives a great bang for the buck. They also reseed generously.
Several potted plants still look good:
The cooler weather is great, but it also means winter will be here soon and flowers will be gone. But winter is what makes spring so special.
“Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent free in your head.” unknown
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” from Matt. 26:41 refers to people giving into temptations. But right now, I’m applying it to working in my yard. It’s easy to make a list of chores that need to be done, but oh, so difficult to accomplish them. Each year it takes a little (or a lot) longer to “Tote that barge. Lift that bale.” That may sound a little dramatic, but lack of strength and energy is my plea.
The most difficult thing for me to keep up with is the weeding and containing aggressive plants. In this picture Mexican Petunias (Ruellia simplex) have finally reached out beyond where I want them to grow. In the spring, my husband helped me dig me up the ones that were encroaching on a rose bush. But once again they have almost surrounded it.
The petunias have been there for about 9 years and were well behaved in the past, so I shouldn’t complain.
Although it’s isn’t as much of a problem, I sometimes don’t keep up with the chore of deadheading. It’s especially needed on hybrid roses because they bloom so much better when the spent flowers are cut off down below the next leaf.
And there is a wonderful pay off of gorgeous blooms. This is a new bush that I bought on a trip to Kerrville. I was looking for a climber and found this one instead. Chicago Peace (Rosa ‘Chicago Peace’) has a wonderful aroma.
Makes me wonder how many milkweed plants would be required in order to survive the caterpillars feasting on them.
Watering can be a time consuming chore. But I always make sure to water the container plants because I know our heat would kill them in a flash without moisture. This Ajuga (Ajuga turkestanica) from central Asia needs mostly shade.
I got this at Lady Bird Johnson Center in Austin at a plant sale. I thought it was a Plumbago. But the flowers don’t look right for that. Often, the plants there aren’t labeled, so I don’t really know what it is.
Whenever I feel frustrated with myself for not getting to all the yard jobs, I remind myself that I have a yard and the plants for my enjoyment. So I try to relax and not beat myself up.
“There are men running governments who shouldn’t be allowed to play with matches.” Will Roger