Indian Summer

After the threat of a freeze two weeks ago, we lugged in most of the potted plants and covered others with sheets.  It was in the mid thirties for two days.  Then back up to the middle 90’s since then.  With some record highs, it’s a crazy Texas autumn.

Although some gardeners don’t consider it worthwhile to take Coleus in for the winter, I do.  Sure, I could buy new ones in the spring, but then I wouldn’t have this one that came from a friend’s mother.

In the warm shed, Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) bloomed again.  That’s the pretty pink ones at the top.  The other pink ones are Crown of Thorns.  Note the sharp thorns that define them.

Another pot of Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii) that was gingerly carried inside.  Those thorns reach out and grab your skin.

Most of the plants, like this White Plumbago (Plumbago Auriculata Escapade White), were looking spiffy.  Re-flowering occurred after the summer heat had ended and some pleasant days of 70s were a boon to us all.

Ditto for the Purple Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) or Sky Flower.

It’s a shame these flowers are all in the shed where I can’t enjoy their last hurrah.  But the rule in our household is that once the plants are carried inside, that’s where they will stay until spring.

Mexican Flame Vine (Senecio confusus) was looking good.  If we lived just a couple of zones south of here, the evergreen foliage would survive the winter and be good to go next year.

Can’t get much cheerier than this color.

Same with American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana).  It might be okay here, but I don’t want to take a chance.  We just might have a hard freeze sometime this winter.

I really hated to hide this beauty away.  The cooler temperatures had brought back all its glory.  Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra) is one showy plant.

Some bulbs, like this Stella de Oro Daylily have been reblooming.

Dianthus or Pinks (Dianthus ssp.) should die down during the winter, but return in the spring.

In the fields, good ole Prairie Verbena or Sweet William (Verbena bipinnatifia)  blooms and blooms.

There’s always the roses to enjoy.  This flower on Belinda’s Dream (Rosa hybrida Belinda’s Dream) reminds of the kid Arnold Horshack in “Welcome Back Kotter” with his hand waving in the air, demanding attention.

Belinda’s Dream definitely deserves attention.  It was the first rose chosen as an Earthkind Rose and is still a hardy, disease resistant, consistent performer.  Love it.

The bright fire engine red of Show Biz Rose (Rosa Tanweieke)  keeps on blooming.  it is a floribunda rose that was hybridized by Tantau and introduced in 1985.  To me, it’s a reminder of our visit to the Biltmore where we bought it at their nursery.

The plants in my yard are friends that bring memories of certain people or places.  Thanks for taking time to read my blog.

“Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take you breath away.”  anonymousSave

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Is It a Rose?

The common or colloquial names of plants can be confusing.

In Texas, these large bushes are known as Rose of Sharon.  The flowers are a give away that it is definitely not a rose, but is, instead, a hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus).  It is in the mallow family and is native to Asia and India.

Another common name is Althea.  If you want a showy, easy to care for, large bush that is covered in flowers from late spring until late fall, this is your guy.  It thrives in zones 5 to 8 and only needs pruning once a year.  I prune off spend flower casings in late fall or early spring and trim a few branches to keep the natural shape.  Love it every year.

This is commonly called Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) with flowers that also have a hibiscus look.  This shrub is low growing with branches that spread out.  Another easy, dependable one.  They love the frequent droughts in zones 7 – 9.

Desert Rose (Adenium obesum) is another mystery name.  The swollen bottom part of the trunk is its most unusual feature.  It must be kept at least 50 degrees at all times,  and 60 to 90 degrees is required for it to keep its leaves.

I put mine in a heated shed in the winter where it is probably a little less than 50 degrees.  It loses its leaves and takes a while to produce leaves and flowers each year.  It should be re-potted to a larger pot about every two years.  Not sure how large the pot should be that it stays in permanently.

How did these plants come to be called roses?  Nothing about them looks like roses.  I’ve not been able to find out.

Now, on to real roses.  We’ve lived here 12 years and my first rose plant was a gift.  It was a great surprise to me that it lived and bloomed.  Because all the ones I’ve planted have done so well, I just keep planting more.

In the foreground of this picture is Oso Easy Paprika, which has a wonderful indefinable color.

Mr. Lincoln was bought because it has long stems, so I thought it would be a good cut flower.  That part has been disappointing because the flowers fall apart within a day or so when cut.  But it does make a striking rose in the yard because it is tall and has a bold color.  The flowers last a long time on the bush.

These two bushes also have great colors, but I don’t know what their names are.  The Oxeye daisies were planted years ago and were a nice border.  This year, they have spread and become invasive.  But they are easy to dig up and are great pass-a-long plants.

This is one of two new beds with roses.  It has been a pleasant surprise that even though the bushes are small, they have bloomed frequently.

As I buy roses now, I’ve become more discerning.  I want hardy roses that have a scent.  This Double Delight Rose has the strongest, lovely aroma of any rose I have found.  I have an older one, but this new bed is easy to see from my kitchen window, so I chose one for this spot.

Lady of Shalott is a David Austin rose that has a wonderful aroma.  On the David Austin site, you can select roses by many categories.  I looked at those that can do well in poor soil and have a scent.

These flowers are several days old.  When The Lady Gardener first blooms, the petals in the center have some apricot color.  This small bush has bloomed profusely.

Alnwick shows off some of the characteristics of many David Austin roses:  a tight center of petals and a round, cupped perimeter.

Roses – so many varieties to choose from and so little time.  That’s a wonderful challenge.

“As you walk down the fairway of life, you must smell the roses, because you only get to play one round.”  Ben HoganSave

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Surviving the Heat

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.

surviving1Potted plants, like this Kalanchoe, that have the advantage of mostly shade survive fine.  They don’t mind the heat, just the sun.

surviving9A different Kalanchoe thrives outside in the shade.

surviving7Orange 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.

survivingbIt definitely is an attention getter on the front porch.  Looks goods against the pot of Dusty Miller succulent.  This pot goes into the heated shed for the winter.

survivingcThe part of the stem just below the flower is the seed pods.  Each little point contains a seed of roughly the same shape.

survivingThis 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.survivingaMore pot plants:  pepper plant and Boston Fern to the back left.  The Woodland Fern on the right is in the ground.

surviving5Out by a shed is a Plumbago with white flowers, a Scented Geranium, a Crepe Myrtle with black leaves and a Mexican Oregano.

surviving6Mexican Oregano (Poliomintha longiflora) with pink tubular flowers.

survivingbbAn 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.

survivingccThis rose, The Showbiz Rose, is in a pot because right now I don’t have a place available in a flowerbed.  It is a heavy blooming floribunda.

It was purchased at the nursery at Biltmore.  Really, I should never be allowed to walk through a nursery just to look.

survivingdBut who could resist this beauty?

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?

surviving3Now to some easy care plants, like this New Gold Lantana.  Basically, put it in the ground and forget about it.

surviving4Mexican Petunias have finally become aggressive after about 10 years.  Easy as pie if you have enough space for them.

survivingeA skittish Cardinal enjoying seeds in the grass.  Usually, they bolt at the slightest movement.

surviving2I 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

Lilies and More

Back home, the results of recent rains continue to shine.  I’ll post more about our trip later.

bulbsThe Kindly Light Daylily’s (Hemerocallis ‘Kindly Light’) bright color and quirkly petals scream for attention.

bulbs1They spread nicely, too.

bulbs9Crimson Pirate Daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Crimson Pirate’) like most daylilies isn’t very picky.  It like well-drained soil, full sun or partial sun, and tolerates heat and humidity.

bulbs6The flowers on the old fashioned, pass along Daylilies aren’t as large as they used to be.  They desperately needed to be divided, but the heavy clay makes that a difficult job.  Maybe I could plan a dividing party.  Wonder who would come?

bulbs4Two Daylily bulbs were growing out in the grass, so I transplanted them.  Now they’ve spread.  In front of them is a Salvia Greggi.

bulbs2

bulbs5Sorry the hanging flower buds on this Clematis are a little out of focus.  I have waited for four years for this to bloom and almost yanked it out of the ground a number of times, but patience paid off.  So far, the flowers are not that impressive.

bulbs7Purple Leatherflower Clematis (Clematis pitcheri Torr.A. Gray) is a Texas native and is fairly heat and drought tolerant.

The purple in the background is Larkspur.

bulbs8Because all clematis like their feet in the shade and the vine in the sun, I stacked some rocks at the bottom of it in an attempt to shade the roots from the low west afternoon sun.  But now the plants around it have grown up enough to help shade them.

bulbsaDesert Rose (Adenium obesum) is finally blooming again.  It’s weird shaped trunk bottom is supposed to be part of its charm.  Each year, it is supposed to be repotted to a just slightly larger pot with the bulb lifted a little higher.  I haven’t done that yet because I don’t want to disturb the blooms.

To the left is a pot of Kolanchoe.  So many new kinds of Kolanchoe are being developed, which I hope are as hardy as the older ones.  Beside that is a new type of Dusty Miller that is a succulent.  On top of the cart is a Begonia.

bulbsbThis Beebalm ( Monarda  didyma) has grown really tall.  To keep it from laying on the ground, I put a wire cage around it.  It was probably planted in the wrong place since they prefer full sun and space for wind to blow around and through them.

bulbscCrazy looking flowers.  I’m still waiting to see lots of pollinators on them.

bulbsdSo much is growing and blooming now that it is hard to focus.  We have been so blessed with rain and mild weather.  The heavy duty heat will come, so we need to savor this time.

“Cavities are like parking tickets; they show up by surprise and take all your pocket money.”  unknown

Not a Rose

When is a “rose” not a rose?  When it belongs to a completely different family than roses.  Roses (Rosa) are woody shrubs in the Rosaceae family.  Most of us recognize a rose without even thinking about it.

So why do so many other flowers have “rose” in their name?  Who knows.  Maybe because of the romance and sentimentality associated with a true rose.

notarose3Ross Moss (Portulaca Grandiflora) is considered an annual, but is a perennial in our area.  It is a member of the Portulacaeae family.

Even in a plastic pot on the north side of the house, it returned after a cold and long winter this year.  Rose Moss can’t tolerate our heavy clay soil, so it needs a pot with good drainage.

notarose2Desert Rose (Apocynaceae Adenium Obesum) is actually a succulent member of the Oleander family.

notarosebOne of its characteristics is the formation of a bulb shape at the base of its stem as it ages.  This one only has a slight bulge so far.

notaroseMexican Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) is a perennial related to the agaves.  Polianthes means “many flowers” in Greek.

They don’t usually start blooming here until August, when the heat has been around awhile.  This picture is from last year.  The temps, as well as the humidity, have hit high gear, so they might be blooming in a month or so.

rockrose6Texas Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) is a member of the Mallow family.  It is a small shrub that needs little moisture.  Mine doesn’t get much bigger and rarely blooms, maybe because it’s in a bed that gets watered.  It could also be that the amended soil in the lasagna bed is too good for it.  Never thought I’d say that about anyplace in my yard.

notarose4Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is in the Mallow family.  It is also known as althaea.

notarose5More pictures show the abundance of flowers.

notarose1All the bushes in the above pictures came from a friend’s cuttings.  She got them from her sister in Michigan.

pinkroseofsharonThis is a different variety of Rose of Sharon that I ordered from a catalog.  Nice color and ruffled center.

pinkroseofsharon2Doesn’t even look like the same flower.  All Rose of Sharons are hardy, hardy, hardy.  Not much water is needed to live, but it is necessary for them to bloom.

What do all these plants have in common?  They are drought tolerant, pretty, and thrive in the heat.  Despite their names, they are not in the rose family. notaroseEven a stone is called a rose.  If you use your imagination, a rose shape can be seen.

Desert Rose is a variety of gypsum that forms in the spaces between sand particles. It traps the loose sand in a unique flower-like crystal structure.  They tend to be small.  These are 1.5 inches across.

Rose rocks are found in Tunisia, Algeria, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and in central Oklahoma.

Oklahoma rose rock was formed during the Permian Period, 250 million years ago, when western and central Oklahoma’s  shallow sea coverage was receding.   It is the official rock of Oklahoma.  Didn’t even realize that states had designated rocks.

“I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered.  But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue:  no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.”                     Eleanor Roosevelt