Chris De Burgh’s “Lady in Red” lyrics include these lines:
“I’ve never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight. I’ve never seen you shine so bright.”
A red dress is an attention getter. Red flowers have that same effect in the garden.
Even a common old fashioned plant like Canna Lilies are still striking. Not only do the bright flowers shine, but the large leaves fill up a space.
They have the added bonus of being low maintenance and easy to grow. They probably bloom better with a little more water, but mine do fine with less than ideal amounts. The rhizomes multiply yearly which makes it easy to share the bounty.
Dynamite Crape Myrtles have a deep, deep red color. For all of central Texas, Crape Myrtles are one of the best flowering small trees around. They come in so many different colors and are a trustworthy performer.
I’ve read that Dynamites are fast growers. That has not been my experience. Granted, the soil here is dense clay with lots of caliche and rocks.
They did not even bloom for the first two years and only had a few flowers the third year. Just when I was about ready to give up, they were covered with full, gorgeous clusters.
Crimson Pirate Daylily is new this year. We’ll see how hardy it is in this climate.
The Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) has bloomed several times this year and none last year. Sometimes plant performance is a conundrum.
The wind whips it around pretty hard.
The pods for new blooms are clustered behind the one already open. So far, only one flower at a time blooms.
On a different branch a flower pod awaits its turn.
Turk’s Cap flowers are small but so attractive. The large, thin leaves look totally unsuitable for our hot summers. But it’s in full sun and has survived for five years, continues to grow and get larger.
Red Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) have shoots coming up all around the mother plant. It surprised me to learn that hollyhocks are short lived with only a 2 to 3 year lifespan. However, they readily reseed.
Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus Nees var. wrightii) looks so unimpressive from a distance with the red washing out in the sun.
Up close each tubular flower seems bold. Also known as Hummingbird bush, Wright’s desert honeysuckle, Wright acanthus, Mexican flame, and Wright’s Mexican flame. So it’s no surprise that hummingbirds, butterflies, and other insects flit around it.
All the new little bushes sprouting in my beds attest to the fact that it reseeds profusely.
Back in full force, Strawberry Field Gomphera (Gomphrena haageana) has filled out this spot nicely. Each flower contains about 60 seeds. That accounts for all the new plants this year.
Gomphrena also makes a good dried flower. I tried a few last year. If cut when the color is vivid, the color holds pretty well.
One Standing Cypress (Ipomopsis rubra) still has a few blooms but has mostly gone to seed. It is indigenous to the southeastern US and is a member of the phlox family.
Standing Cypress or Texas plume, Red Texas star, Red gilia has been difficult for me to get established. I don’t know if that is because it is biennial here or that the seeds are not sprouting. But it is such a striking plant that I keep trying.
“One of the most breathtaking concepts in all of scripture is the revelation that God knows each of us personally and that we are in His mind both day and night.” Dr. James Dobson