Purple Blooms

Continuing with the color theme, today the focus is on purple, the color of royalty.

bloomingnow3This Jackman Clematis (Clematis jackmanii) was chosen because it is reported to be a good clematis choice for our area.  Other clematis have prettier and more complex flowers.

bloomingnow1After its initial flourish of flowers, it hasn’t bloomed again.  Clematis is supposed to be an easy vine with lots of blooms.  So I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.  Maybe it needs fertilizer.

bloomingnow2I do like the color and size of the blossoms.

bloomingnow7It’s crazy that some Larkspur are still blooming.

bloomingnowdMexican Petunias (Ruellia simplex) really are purple.  I don’t know why these look pink in the picture – probably the strong sun.  Can’t get any easier than this plant.  The biggest problem is that they spread with underground runners.

bloomingnowfAnother winner is Henry Duelberg Mealy Cup Sage (Salvia farinacea ‘Henry Duelberg’).  The flowers are all gone now.  But I just trimmed them back for a second blooming this summer.

bloomingnowvI love the look and smell of Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia).  The color is too subtle for some people’s taste.  But the soft pastel blends in well with stronger colors.

bloomingnowwGregg’s Blue Mistflower (Eupatorium greggii) is also a light purple, almost a lavender.  It’s pale color makes it look bland except for all the butterfly activity.  That gets one’s attention.

purpleDeep purple African Violets is the prettiest violet, in my opinion.

white3One stalk of French Hollyhock (Mallva sylvestris ‘Zebrina’) survived from the rust fungus.  It was actually not in the flowerbed, but just outside the yard in the weeds.  I transplanted it, so we’ll see what happens next year.

Flowerbeds5This is the flowerbed that I was going to be cautious and not over plant.  Who knew the bushes would get so big and the flowers reseed and multiply so well?  Not me, obviously.

purple3The Texas Bluebells (Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum) are especially tall this year.  All the rain in May made everything abundant and hardy.

flowers8Such a pretty flower.

purple5The Blue Curls (Phacelia congesta Hook) has been like a Jack in the Beanstalk plant that just keeps getting taller.

purple6Unusual flowers and foliage make it an interesting plant in the yard.  It’s another purchase from Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  One of those impulse buys without much knowledge of its characteristics.

Purple robes may have belonged exclusively to the kings, but fortunately, we can enjoy it where ever we wish, including our gardens.

“The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy.” Abraham Lincoln, 1864

Cool is Good

What a difference the cool days and nights make.  A sigh of relief is heard from all of nature.

firecrackerBright red  Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var wrightii) shines in the sunlight.  It is not covered in blooms like this today as some have fallen off.

africianbullbineBoth of the above hot weather plants are doing well with the cooler days.  Orange African Bulbine  (Bulbine frutescens) has lots of orange and yellow blossoms waving in the wind.  The bed of purple Wandering Jew also sports many lavender flowers.

bluemistGregg’s Blue Mist (Conclinium greggi) just keeps on giving to the butterflies.  I always puzzle over the name of this plant.  Where is the blue?

bouganvillaEven though Bougainvillea is a warm tropical plant, even it seems to be enjoying less heat.

turkcapTurk’s Cap, Texas Mallow, Mexican Apple, or Bleeding Heart (Malvaviscus drummondii) has outdone itself this year.

Its many good qualities include being drought tolerant, surviving heat, and growing in many types of soils, wet and dry environments, and sun and shade.  This means it is grows well in far West Texas arid sand, in East Texas gumbo soil, and in North Central Texas black clay, and in my rocky caliche.  Hooray for this great plant.

plumbagoImperial blue cap Plumbago (Plumbago auriculate) also has bloomed and bloomed this year.  It is native to South Africa and is an evergreen perennial there.  It loves the sun, but will freeze back here.

iceplantThere seem to be several plants called Ice Plant.  Both of the blossoms of my two look similar, but the leaves are different shapes.  The one in this picture doesn’t bloom  as profusely as the other one.  I have been unable to find a more specific name for them.  But they are wonderful succulents.

mexican petuniaAnother plant that flourishes here and blooms from late spring to the first freeze is Mexican Petunia (Ruellia brittoniana).  I have the tall version shown in the picture and the low ground cover one.

Sunshine is needed to grown them.  The tall ones form colonies of woody stalks and can be invasive.

mexican petunia2Their flowers have crinkly petals.

Such a nice time of the year.  It’s a good time to enjoy the outdoors.

” I have CDO.  It’s the same thing as OCD, but all the letters are in alphabetical order…As it should be.”
Tee shirt humor

Regal Purple

There are no words in the English dictionary that rhyme with purple or orange.  I remember a group of songs written for elementary school teachers to use in language arts.  One of the songs was titled “Purple is Urple”   The songs were zany and fun and used to inspire creative writing.

Who knows why the phrase “Purple is Urple” is stuck in my head.

bluecurls2This native Texas plant is called Blue Curls (Phacelia congesta), but the flowers are actually purple.  So I’m including it in this post.

The plant is also called Caterpillars or Fiddleneck.  Other names include Spiderflower and will Heliotrope.

bluecurlsOne of the first things noticeable about this blossom is the protruding stamens.  In nature, Blue Curls grow in colonies.

Phacelia is from the Greek word phakelos which means bundle.  This refers to the coiled flower cluster.

I bought this one at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center plant sale in the spring.  I haven’t seen it for sale anywhere else.  Or maybe I didn’t know to look for it.

mexican petunia3The mass of Mexican Petunia (Ruellia brittoniana) in my garden just keeps spreading out.

mexican petunia4The flowers have a crinkly look like crepe paper.  This is a Texas Superstar Plant.  It feels right at home in full sun, even Texas sun.  They are drought tolerant, once established, and seem to be insect and disease free.

mexican petunia2I have a few of the Katie Dwarf Ruellia, but they don’t bloom nearly as well as this taller variety.  But they are not as aggressive, either.

passionflower2The Passion Vine (Passiflora incarnata) flower has such a tropical and mysterious look to it.  And because they are tropical, they can withstand the heat here.  Regular watering is required for it to bloom.

It is a strong rooter.  Sometimes I break off strips that reach out and grow into other plants.  I usually just toss them into the field that is nearby.  They will crop up and grow there without much water.

Purple has long been a color signifying royalty.  When Jesus wore the crown of thorns, they also mocked him with a purple robe.  In the Byzantine time, a new ruler was said “to be born to the purple.”

“There is no evil that does not promise inducements.
Avarice promises money;
luxury, a varied assortment of pleasures;
ambition, a purple robe and applause.
Vices tempt you by the rewards they offer.”
Seneca, Roman philosopher, mid 1st century AD

Purple in the Yard

Although our autumns are iffy and interspersed with many summer days, the somewhat cooler days give plants a chance to recover and bloom.

These are two small Texas Asters (Aster oblongifolius)  that I bought in the spring at Barton Springs Nursery in Austin.  Now they’re two big ones.  This is my first experience with asters.  The fact that they have spread so fast and are blooming so profusely makes me a great fan.

I also love their color and feathery petals.

The Blue Mist has continued strong all through the summer.  It’s an amazing plant not only because it’s a butterfly magnet, but because it blooms so long.  It’s like the turtle in the Tortoise and the Hare.  It just keeps on going.

The light is giving the flowers on this Butterfly Bush a burgundy color, but it actually is purple.  It has also bloomed all summer in spite of the fact that an armadillo dug a deep hole down into its roots.  We filled in the dirt numerous times.  Finally, we sprinkled Ortho Fire Ant Killer on the filler dirt and put more big rocks at the top.  The fire ant killer stinks, so we thought it might discourage pests.  So far, so good.

This is ornamental garlic.  Last year it didn’t do much but is finally filling out and blooming well.

This is that same garlic plant.  The low setting sun is giving the petals a pinkish cast.

Rosemary has pale purple or lavender flowers.  This plant has spread like wildfire.  It’s about 4 feet in diameter and 3-4 feet tall.  I trimmed it quite a bit a couple of months ago.  I need to get back at it.

Another faithful bloomer – Mexican Petunia.  It’s about four feet tall.  One small cutting was planted five years ago and has now spread to cover a five foot by eight foot area of a flowerbed.

This Plumbago has struggled all summer.  It’s in a pot, but I’m not sure where to plant it.  Duranta is a heat lover, so it has performed well all summer.  Purple jewels just drip off its branches.

A Reblooming Iris has an early bloom.  It needs to be a little cooler for them to rebloom.  These were ordered from one of those mailings that gardeners get.  It’s really not a good idea for those of us who live in an extreme southwestern climate to order from companies in the north.  But those catalogs are so tempting.  However, this one turned out to be a good purchase.  These irises bloom in the spring and again in the fall.

They need a little more water than the old farmhouse natives in this area.  My native irises are not even in the yard but in a field close to the house.  So they don’t get watered at all.  Of course, they haven’t fared too well the last couple of years, but should be okay in a year with more rain.

There are a few more purple plants still looking good.  These are some I really like.

Purple, red, and yellow are my favorite flower colors.  It’s dangerous for me to say favorite when I talk about plants because it seems many are favorites at different times.  That kinda negates the proper use of the word.

“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.”   Jenny Joseph

Mexican Petunia

About four years ago in the summertime, we returned to the DFW metroplex for some business.  I was shopping at a strip mall.  It was the typical setup:  a wide sidewalk, curb, and then parking lot paving.  But in front of a bookstore was a 2′ x 4′ cutout in the concrete.  Growing in this small amount of dirt was a blooming plant that I had never seen before.

I went inside to ask if they knew what kind of plant it was.  One clerk told me that they were also curious and how looked in their “flower books” but couldn’t find that plant.  She offered to let me take a cutting from it.  So I broke off a 4″ stem, put it in a cup of water, and brought it home and planted it in a small pot.  The next spring, I put it in the ground.

That first season, it grew a foot and a half and bloomed.

Today it covers a 5′ x 4′ area.

Of course, it dies down during the winter but comes back full force in the spring and blooms until cold weather.

Not knowing the name of the flower put me on a mission to find out what it was.  But I could not find it in nurseries and no one seemed to know.  Then we were visiting Longwood Gardens outside of Philadelphia, and there it was in a pot.  I asked about it and was told that it was Mexican Petunia.  Now I was very skeptical since I already had some Mexican Petunias.

The ones I had were short and flush against the ground.  But it turns out they are definitely in the small family.  The Dwarf Mexican Petunia is a Texas SuperStar plant recommended by the Texas A&M Agriculture Program.  It seems they don’t recommend the larger variety because it can be considered invasive.  But I love it.  It’s fairly easy to pull up when it gets out of its designated area.  Plus, Mexican Petunias are drought tolerant, do well in our hot Texas sun, and aren’t too fussy about the soil.  What’s not to love?

I was so focused on finding the name of the taller plant that I ignored the similarities with the dwarf variety.

“Despite the gardener’s best intentions, nature will improvise.”     Michael P. Garafalo