Unrelenting Heat

It’s still hot.  It’s still dry.  It’s still hot.  It’s still dry.  The summer merry-go-round keeps circling around and around.

So how could any plant survive this?

First of all, the plants in the yard have received more watering than usual.

Some plants actually live and bloom better in the heat, like this Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata).  The foliage is green most of the year.  But it’s flowering performance with its strong sweet smell comes in the hottest part of summer – mid August into September.

One warning:  prune it back to the ground by the beginning of spring, or it will be so heavy, it will tumble down and bring the trellis with it.  The optimum time is early winter.

The flowers disappeared from Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) when the heat cranked up, but the foliage is pretty and unique all by itself.  The ruffled leaves are soft to the touch.

This lovely plant is new to me this year.  Although I can’t find the tag, I think it is Rose Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena Globosa).  The leaves are wider than other gomphrenas, and it grows in a rounded mound.

Strawberry Field Gomphrena (Gomphrena haageana) are individual plants with a bright red ball at the top of each stem.  They reseed so freely that just a few can guarantee many flowers for years to come.

Another successful bush for this heat is Desert Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii).

Bees and other pollinators flock to it.

Caryopteris or Bluemist shrub (Cayopteris x clandonensis) shines in the heat.  The main concern is more about its cold hardiness.  But it has survived some low temperatures.

Celosia is a large plant family that includes several annuals, such Cockscomb.  This one is Flamingo Feather (Celosia spicata).  All celosias do well in the heat.  The trick is to save their seeds.  I’m hoping to do that with this plant.

A favorite in Texas is Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima).  There’s no question that it’s a stunner.  But the problem is that it isn’t cold hardy here.  So it has to be brought inside for the winter.  That’s possible for a few years before it gets too large.
So I’ll just enjoy it for now.

Blue Potato Bush (Lycianthes rantonnetii) is listed as cold hardy for here in Zone 8.  But I have lost one already, so for right now it is carried to a protected area each winter.

A plant that should not be grown here is Firebush (Hamelia patens).  I resisted getting one as long as I could.   It does very well two zones warmer than here.  For now, it’s in a pot.

Sometimes, I think my love of plants is madness.

Of course, the very best plants for any region are the native ones.  If they grow in a field with no supplemental water, that is a dead give away that they’re perfect for the area.  Snow on the Mountain (Euphorbia marginata) forms large colonies in the dry fields.

Sometimes a few will come up in the yard, so I let them grow.  Obviously, this Swallowtail butterfly appreciates it.

 “To find some who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, this is the ultimate happiness.”  Robert Brault 

Antique Rose Emporium, Again

For people who like whimsy in the garden or just creative ideas, Antique Rose Emporium is the place to visit.

emporiumThese stacked pot arches are in several places in the gardens.emporium3

emporium6Several older houses and buildings are scattered around the grounds.  This one may have been the home of the owner at one time.emporium1As one would expect, there are lots and lots of roses for sale.

emporium0I absolutely love this vine.  It is tropical and so impractical for me, but I was sure tempted to buy one.

emporium5The flowers are breathtaking and exotic.

Skyvine (Thunbergia grandiflora) has lots of common names such as Blue Thunbergia, Bengal Clock Vine, Bengal Trumpet Vine, and Blue Sky Flower.  It has naturalized in many tropical areas around the world.

emporium9

emporiumaCute.

emporium7There are so many of these extra tall towers for climbers that I couldn’t pass up snapping shots of them.

emporium2More roses.  It’s fun to walk around soaking up the scents.

emporium8The bushes with blue flowers are Cape Plumbagos (Plumbago auriculata), which must have winter protection in my area.

emporiumbSomething for everyone.

emporiumjlI only remember the story line of The Wizard of Oz in a general line.  Here is one of the wicked witches.

emporiumlThe sign:  “Come in, my pretties”.  The old lady Elmira Gulch rode a bike and was swept into the tornado.  The same actress played Elmira and the two witches.

emporiumjThe Tin Man has run out of oil.

roseempcToto waits for Dorothy.

emporiumcInteresting plant with the pink tips.

emporiumdSpiked Cockscomb (Celosia spicata) definitely attracts butterflies, even at the end of blooming season.

emporiumeTheir twisted stems also got my attention.

emporiumfAs you can see, each photo opportunity seemed better than the last one.

emporiumgA simple flat bucket of Marigolds, I think.  Put a rabbit and a mailbox with it, and voila, you have something to draw attention.

emporiumhA new favorite bush, Firebush (Hamelia patens) is a tropical bush that requires zone 9.  I’ve been debating with myself about giving it a try.  Maybe I could find a protected spot where it could make it through freezes.

emporiumiLike the hair on this one.

emporiumkGrasses, ferns, and other plants, all mixed together.

emporiummThey make gardening look so easy.

emporiumnLast year I looked for a deep red Coleus but couldn’t find one.  Now I know where to find one.

emporiumoAlso liked this unusual Coleus with a polka dot look.

emporiumpLiked it so much that I just had to take a picture of one in a pot with a spiky plant.

emporiumqThis metal cat greets visitors or hisses a goodby.

Our visit at Antique Rose Emporium sparked my creative juices.

“If a man says he will fix it, he will.  There is no need to remind him every six months.”  unknown

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Fredericksburg & Kerrville Gardens

The National Museum of the Pacific War or The Nimitz as it’s known locally, keeps expanding.  A one day visit is not sufficient to absorb all the information and view all the exhibits.  Maybe a younger person with lots of stamina would be more successful.  Down the street from the original building is an open air museum with military vehicles and more exhibits in new buildings.

fredericksburgcOn this visit we were focused on a new garden, a Japanese Garden, behind the the main building.

fredericksburgdThe Garden of Peace was a gift of the people of Japan.

fredericksburgccThe climate in Japan is very different than central Texas, so plant selection must have been tricky.

fredericksburgdd

fredericksburgdddMany of the plants used are favorites in the area because they are so hardy.  A Crape Myrtle shades this spot.

fredericksburgeWith the raked white sand and a few small pines, the Texas plants look right at home.

fredericksburgeeA traditional style Japanese house can be viewed from the outside.

fredericksburgeeeLooking back at the garden, we are standing at an opening in the wall that leads to a memorial area.

fredericksburgggHundreds of pictures of men and women who served during WWII are embedded in limestone walls.

fredericksburgfIt’s a quiet area with some traffic heard in the background.

fredericksburgff

fredericksburgfffIt’s a wonderful tribute to fallen servicemen and others who served.  But also, it’s a grim reminder of horrific suffering.

fredericksburggA screw propeller from a ship makes a fitting statue.

fredericksburiIn Kerrville we visited the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at the AgriLife Extension Building.

In the above picture patches of different kinds of grasses are grown.  Made we wonder how they keep the grasses from creeping into the other plots.  Maybe our native Bermuda is the only one that is a monster.

fredericksburii

Firebush (Hamelia patens) is a Texas Superstar plant. It is very heat and drought tolerant once established and will grow in almost any soil.

fredericksburiiiPlus, it’s really attractive with bold color.

fredericksburkA large grouping of another Texas superstar Yellow Bells (Tecoma stans) was stunning.

fredericksburjPollinators, especially butterflies, love Dill plant.

fredericksburjjAnd I love the airy structure.

Our one day outing was beneficial to choose gardens for our Master Garden class to attend.  It was a beautiful cool-ish August day, which are normally rare.  This year we’ve been blessed with many such days.

Thanks for taking this trip with me.

“Happiness is a choice, not a result.  Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy.”  Ralph Marston