The last weekend in August is the time for the ‘Hotter Than Hell’ annual bicycle ride in Wichita Falls, Texas. This event brings out tons of people who torture themselves on a up and down hill course in 100 plus temperatures. I mean: who does this?
But then, who lives in this climate? The answer: native Texans and many who have come to the sun belt to enjoy the wonderful winters.
What else survives the heat? There are actually quite a few plants that have adapted to extreme heat as well as the native plants.
This Elkhorn (Euphorbia Lactea Forma Cristata) is seven years old. I like the curly, unpredictable growth habit. However, it does not survive winter, even here, so it has to be brought in.
That’s difficult since it has grown so large. The spikes on the ridges are extremely sharp. Last year a tall spike broke off. No problem, I just planted it and now have another Elkhorn. The white sap is poisonous, so handle with care.
In the back to the right is an ornamental pepper plant, which has struggled this year. It wilts between waterings, which is about three to four days apart. It has several smaller plants that came up this year, so I probably should have taken them out of this pot.
The plant in front is Escheverua ‘Blue Curl’ which needs bright, but not direct light. That requirement applies to most succulent plants.
Some things are starting to look ragged at the end of summer. Like this ten year old Oxalis. But it’s hanging in there.
It’s a challenge to find enough shade in our yard for plants that need it. Above is Coleus and Purple Heart that get early sun as the sun hovers over the horizon.
The potted Petunias have surprised me because they have lasted from spring into August. I will definitely use some of them again next year.
Here is a Moon Flower plant in another shady area and the pot with the new Elkhorn.
The flowers of Moon Flower or Jimson Weed (Datura wrightii) are always a delight.
The metal pickup on a pole is about five feet tall. That is a gauge for how tall the Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri) has gotten.
Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala Scheele) is not a consistent bloomer, but I enjoy it when flowers appear.
The flowers actually look more like a hibiscus than a rose.
Just this year Basham’s Party Pink Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Basham’s Party Pink’) was designated a Texas Superstar Plant. I wondered why because we have two that are four years old, and this is the first year for them to bloom. So I did a little research. Although the plant label that came with them did not state this information, they do not do well in alkaline soils. We definitely have that in spades.
This year, I’ve poured the water on them and the blooms are gorgeous.
Crape Myrtles do so well in the whole central Texas area that I was surprised to learn that this one has different soil needs. I certainly won’t dig them up. But now I know they need extra water.
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center just sent out an article to encourage all the gardeners in Texas who are weary of the sun and hot temps this time of the year. It pointed out some positives to note: dried, brown, fried flowers provide seeds for birds and next year’s crops of flowers; act as mulch and insulate the ground from the heat; dried flowers provide beauty in form; and brown is not an ugly color. That’s a great spin for us all.
“It’s a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do.” Walter Winchell