Southern Garden Symposium

The Southern Garden Symposium met in Saint Francisville, Lousiana, in October, 2019.  Although I knew that gardening conditions are very different there than they are here in Central Texas, it was a chance to see some old southern gardens and hear some interesting speakers.Saint Francisville is a small town with few large meeting venues.  So attendees could choose different sessions held in small buildings in different parts of town.  On the first day, a catered lunch was provided at Afton Villa Gardens.

The antebellum home was destroyed by a fire in 1963.  The gardens remain and are used as a park.

Not sure if this concrete basket is as old as it looks, but it fits perfectly in the setting.

My kind of flower bed – massive plantings with different kinds of flowers.  There are red Zinnas, white Cleome Spider plants (Cleome hassleriana), Marigolds and Pentas.White and Pink Cleome Spider flowers look like sparklers.

Bright Marigolds mixed with Mexican Bush Sage.

English Ivy clinging to the old bricks, more Marigolds, and small purple flowers in the clay pot make a stunning display.

The same flowers were repeated in many beds.  I don’t know if that was intentional or because those flowers were suited for autumn.

Pink Cleome mixed with a wood fern and some kind of shrub.

Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha) is what I consider to be a Central Texas plant, but it obviously does well in other types of climates.

It is native to subtropical and tropical conifer forests in central and eastern Mexico.  This area is about the same latitude as Central Texas.

Brazilian Black and Blue Sage, also called Blue Anise Sage (Salvia guaranitica), needs some shade from midday sun.

Gardening book sales are always a hit anytime gardeners congregate.  Purple Plumbago or Cape Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) in pots flanking the statute.

These large old tree with Spanish Moss hanging down just screams “southern garden.”

After lunch, there was plenty of time for wandering.Peaceful setting for wandering and relaxing.

“Southern living:  where the tea is sweet, words are drawn out, days are warm and faith is strong.”  unknown

More Pictures from Rose Emporium

Although this nursery in Brenham is named Antique Rose Emporium, there is so much more there than roses.

Like these Cleome Spider Flowers (Cleome hasslerana).  It’s an annual that reseeds.  Every time I see them, I promise myself that I’ll order seeds and try them.

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.

Not sure what these small flowers are.

Lots of garden art from small gnomes to larger objects create odd and interesting vingettes.

These are some fancy, feathery Dianthus.

Wish I knew where they buy all their unusual yard art because they don’t have it for sale.

Pretty sure this is Zexmenia, a hardy Texas native with low water requirement.

How about this strange combination.  But it works.  What is that old contraption?

Dwarf Mexican Petunias  (Ruellia brittoniana) circle behind the angel.  They are a Texas Superstar plant and are not as aggressive as the taller ones.

Unfortunately, they never seem to have these Celosia from the Amaranth family for sale.

I also like the cluttered look of the flowerbeds.  Beware, Neat Freaks, this is probably not your kind of place.

These are huge Morning Glories.

Really like the stacked pots.  These suckers are heavy, so where ever they are positioned is permanent.  Couldn’t quite figure out how the top pot is elevated.

Airy Cosmos always provide fun movement in the garden.  I’m also going to give these a try.  But they need some space.

Every time we’ve visited this nursery, seasonal annuals are planted around this lady.  Can’t decide if these are a new type of mum or marigold.  Maybe neither.

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

Late Spring at Dallas Arboretum

A morning at the Dallas Arboretum at any time of the year is always a treat.  Their spring plantings are especially nice.

dallasarborThese Cleomes (Cleome hasslerana) with the common name of Sparkler Mix were much prettier than this picture shows.

dallasarbor2Much of the vegetation at the gardens are shade plants.  Therefore, I do not know the name of many of them, so I’ll just show the pictures.  I live in a world of direct sun.  Picture a child’s drawing with the sun rays reaching the ground.   The Death Star, as I’ve heard it called, nukes us in the good ole summertime.

If you know the names of any of these plants, for shade or sun, I’ll love to hear from you.


dallasarbor4The tree with the fuzzy clump on the end of the branches got my attention.

dallasarbor5Now, if I ever do live where there is shade, I definitely want one of these Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea Quercifolia).  In Texas, that usually means places with lots of humidity (ugh).   Dripping wet with sweat most of the year is not fun.

dallasarbor6But I do love these bushes.

dallasarbor8This is one of those small ornamental trees that I think I should know the name of, but can’t remember.

dallasarbor7Very genteel looking.

dallasarboraThere are always large expanses of the same flowers at the gardens.  Look beyond the red at the floral Peacock in the background.

dallasarborbThis large grassy area is often used for special exhibits.  The people on the left give size perspective.  The girl on the right and her family are getting photos taken to celebrate quinceanera.  In the Mexican and Latin American culture, this is the coming out or debut of a 15 year old girl into society as entering adulthood.

Pictures of her in a hoop gown and a huge family party are parts of this tradition.  It’s not uncommon to see several girls and their families being photographed at these gardens.  Perfect setting.

dallasarborcThe beak of the two peacocks are metal cones and the crest feathers are real peacock feathers.

dallasarbordVery nicely done.


dallasarborfThe opening between these two concrete pillars lead into a small reflecting pond and sculptured hedges.



dallasarboriThese grayish pines seem out of place to me.  In the background is White Rock Lake.

dallasarborjThe deep red flowers of these Red Yuccas are bolder than the varieties with a coral red blossoms.  Very striking.

dallasarborkOccasionally, some plants have an identification sign.  These pink flowers are listed as Wild Garlic (Tulbaghia comensii).

dallasarborlConeflowers, maybe?

dallasarbormThe 22 acre Camp estate above was added in 1980 to the original 66 acre grounds of the DeGolyer estate to complete the present size of the Arboretum.  The DeGolyer house and estate were acquired in 1976 for the gardens.

dallasarbornThis seems a strange combination of plants.  But everyone’s taste is different.

dallasarborpThe Millet is an interesting plant that is not seen often in our area.  Maybe because it’s not available or doesn’t do well here?

dallasarborqThere is a test garden area which was confusing to me because there were many well know plants there.  Maybe they were new varieties.  Once again, I feel like a guided tour would have been helpful to a plant novice, like me.

dallasarborrSalvia Sallyfun Snowhite Danziger (2011) on the label.

dallasarborsAs we leave the Arboretum, there is a container with a purple thriller, probably a salvia, a pretty white lacy spiller, and a begonia filler.

dallasarbortA serene scene provided by Heliotrope ‘Scentropia Dark Blue’ (Heliotropium arborescens): purple flowers and Euphorbia ‘Diamon Drost’ (Euphorbia hybrida) : the white ones.  Information provided on labels.

dallasarborvBegonias in abundance.

dallasarboruHope you have a chance to visit gardens near you for a plant fix, if you need one, like me.  Although my preferences have shifted the last few years to native plants, I still enjoy the lushness of gardens that require water and more water.

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”    Winston Churchill