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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Fabulous Fall

A little rain and cooler weather does wonders for us all.

Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis) is a zone 9a – 11 plant; therefore it’s a pot plant for me.  Even though it loves heat, it does much better here in a shady area.  Our blazing hot sun burns tender leaves.

Everything I’ve read indicates that it is a pollinator magnet, but I’ve never seen one on or near it.  It’s a conundrum.

Scented Geraniums also like the heat but wilt in direct sunlight.  This one is so pretty with an impressionist painting look.

Don’t have a clue what this plant is.  It’s in a pot, so I must have planted it.  Or maybe it’s one I brought from Mother’s house.

It has been outside all summer and only got berries on it a few weeks ago.  Those berries turned into these pretty clusters of miniature flowers.  Anyone know?  Please comment if you know.

After some harsh cold spells last winter, this large shrub was dead as a doornail.  Then, two little stems came up.  We cut the large branches and main trunk off.  The stump is in the lower right corner.

One of my all time favorite flowering bushes, Texas Flowering Senna (Senna corynbosa) is hopefully going to survive.  These are difficult to find since most nurseries don’t carry them.

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana), is also known as French Mulberry, American Mulberry, Spanish Mulberry, Bermuda Mulberry, Sour, and Sow-berry.  I much prefer Beautyberry because the vibrant neon color of the berries is astounding.

Of course, they don’t survive our winters but do well in a protected shed.

Autumn means pretty colorful leaves.  This red one was found in a dry creek bed.  I’m not sure what tree it’s from.

Just got this birdhouse and signs up recently.  My husband painted the signs, while I painted and decorated the birdhouse.  The pole stands at the edge of a bed of native orange Cannas.

The days are comfortably warm, but the sun is still bright.  Wonderful autumn days pull me outside to enjoy the relief from summer heat.

The flowers of this African Orange Bulbine (Bulbine frutescens) bounce playfully when there is a breeze.

Not sure what kind of Purple Asters these are.  In the spring, I divided them and spread them out more.

Just love the bright cheeriness of them.

Ixora (Ixora coccinea) blooms from the time we bring it outside each spring and even retains some blossoms in the shed through the winter in the shed.  But near the end of summer, most flowers drop off.  Then magically, it blooms again.

A tropical shrub native to India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, it is also the national flower of Suriname.

Such a lovely color.

Hope you are enjoying autumn weather where you are.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  L. M. Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables 

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Compton Gardens

compton gardens9Our autumn trip last year included a visit to Bentonville, Arkansas.  Yes, the home of Walmart.  It’s actually a very pretty town with a small town feeling and lots of nice, older homes surrounding downtown.  Just a block or so from the center square is Compton Gardens and Conference Center.  It was originally the home of Dr. Neil Compton, a prominent physician who is credited with saving the Buffalo River, which had been threatened with destruction when the US Army Corps of Engineers renewed plans to build dams on the Buffalo River at Gilbert and Lone Rock.  Eventually, it became part of the National Park Service.

After serving in WWII, Dr. Compton returned to his hometown and opened a gynecology and obstetrics practice.

compton gardensaAfter his death, the house was renovated into a conference center.  The six and one half acres surrounding it are a refuge for the local citizens.

compton gardens8Being there in the fall, the trees were the most prominent feature.

compton gardensBut there were a few plants still blooming.

compton gardens1This American Beauty Berry (Callicarpa americana) still had berries but no leaves.  It’s a lovely bush that requires shade and non rocky soil.

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compton gardens3There was no sign providing information about this statue.

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compton gardens7A very serene and calm place to stroll around.

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compton gardenscMost of the trees were unknown to me.

compton gardensdPretty little flower, but I don’t know what it is.

This was very peaceful place to enjoy nature.

“No one has ever injured his eyesight by looking on the bright side of things.”  unknown

Tour of Austin Gardens

Last weekend we traveled to Austin for the Texas Book Festival and for the Inside Austin Gardens tour.  This post will focus on the gardens or more specifically, plants in those gardens.

Originally, I had planned to get sweeping views of the gardens.  Most of the yards were fairly small, but the crowd of people in them made it almost impossible to get the kind of pictures I wanted.  So I focused on plants that I like or would like to know more about.

The tour was billed as “gardens by gardeners”.  To me, this means that the design and work was done by the garden owner.  But of the six gardens, half were professionally landscaped.  All of the pictures in this post are from one garden.  This gardener designed her own garden but also designs for other people.

austingardensPhilippine Violet (Barleria cristata) is obviously a tropical bush.  Austin is a warmer cold tolerance zone than we are.  So this would have to be a pot plant here.  That’s true of so many of the plants that I coveted.

austingardens4Beautiful plant.

austingardens1American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) Mexican Beautyberry (Callicarpa acuminata) is a understory shrub that doesn’t tolerate freezes.  But I sure do like it.

austingardens2The Inside Austin Gardeners put labels in all the yards but not beside all the plants.  These labels were very helpful.

austingardens3Yellow Yucca (Hesperaloe Parviflora Yellow) is a slow growing succulent that like the Red Yucca should not be overwatered.  It seems to have fuller blooms when the plant is smaller than even a mature Red Yucca.

austingardens5Mexican Honeysuckle or Coral Honeysuckle (Justicia Spicigera) should be able to survive here.

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austingardens7Cute garden art.  Foxtail Fern (Asparagus densiflorus) is behind the snake.  That’s a container plant here.

austingardens9Don’t know the names of these plants except for Gopher Plant (Euphorbia biglandulosa).  It’s the small succulent in the pot to the side of the main plant.  That’s actually Ghost Plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense).

The larger plant is Paleleaf Yucca (Yucca pallida).

austingardensbThese pots, that are made from galvanized metal culvert pipes, are sold in at least one Austin nursery.

austingardenscThis home owner loves what I call prickly plants.  She has some really large ones that I didn’t get a picture of.

austingardenseThis ground cover was used in a large area instead of grass.  In fact, there was no grass in this whole yard.

austingardensfI think this is a salvia.  This is Amistad Salvia.

austingardensgAlso, don’t know the name of this ornamental grass.  It’s ‘Vertigo’ pennisetum.

A special thanks to the home owner Pam Penick who read this post and was kind enough to provide the correct information for some of the plants I misidentified or didn’t know the name of.

austingardensiSilver Ironweed (Vernonia lindheimeri v. leucophylla) is a Texas native, but I don’t know if it will grow in our 7b zone.

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austingardensmThere are lots of different muhly grasses in Texas.  Most have showy plumes.  This should have pale purplish-gray ones in autumn, but maybe it’s been too hot.

Pam, the home owner, has a popular blog.  A beautiful garden all around the house – probably my favorite one on the tour.

“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” – Brian Gerald O’Driscoll

Arboretum for Children

While at the Dallas Arboretum in October, we walked through the children’s area for the first time.  Actually, we mistakenly thought the pumpkin houses were located there.

The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is 8 acres of gardens and educational areas for children.  It’s extremely well done, and I know this blog doesn’t do it justice.  I succumbed to heat and exhaustion by the time we got to this area.  Sometime in the future, we’ll make this a priority viewing.  But it would be difficult to miss their seasonal and special exhibits, so we’ll see.

childarboretumcThe entrance gates hold the promise of a wonderful garden.  Since there is an extra fee for the children’s gardens, there is a separate entrance into it.  But most people seemed to come from the general area and just paid a small additional cost.  It seemed like a costly day for a young family.  Guess that’s true for any entertainment sites for children today.

childarboretum1One small, secluded space was designated for small children.  Nature was enlarged to become objects to climb on.

childarboretum2Whimsical creatures caught my attention.

childarboretum3The acorns and other wooden looking items appeared to be carved from real wood with natural cracking, but they are molded resin.

childarboretum4Just before I snapped this shot, a small girl climbed off his back.

childarboretum7This huge nest is about 8 feet across and is sturdy enough for a unique playhouse.

This particular area was actually my favorite; maybe because we went there first.

childarboretum5The orange and yellow spinners on poles could be operated from a walkway.

childarboretum8Here the water is being sprayed at the cups of one.  As it spins, it squirts out water and activates other movements.

childarboretum6Hands on area allowed children to manipulate different gadgets with a focus on learning.

childarboretumaThis American Beauty Berry (Callicarpa dichotoma) bush has rosy pink berries.  It’s native to the southeastern US.  In Texas, it grows mostly in the eastern section where there are piney woods and lots of shade and acidic soil.  But I’ve seen a few in central Texas.childarboretumbThe berries range from pink to red-purple.  They require shade.  My yard is mostly full sun, so I just admire them when I see them in public gardens.

childarboretum9To exit, we walked through many other interesting sections.  Maybe next time I’ll do a better job of capturing  the whole garden.

So many great places to visit not too far away.  The number of books I plan to read, and the number of places I want to visit is endless.  Just not enough time.

“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”  Unknown