This and That Blooming

The milder and wetter summer here has been a boon to flowers.  By mild, I mean that the highs are in the 90’s rather than the usual 100 plus.  Usually by mid July, everything would be shriveling up.

acanthus2This Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var wrightii) is still sprouting flowers every day.  It’s also known as a Hummingbird bush and Mexican Flame.

Flame Acanthus is native from west and south-central Texas into northern Mexico.  It is named for Charles Wright,  botanical collector, who collected extensively in Texas from 1837-1852.  He also collected in Cuba and his native Connecticut.

acanthusFlame Acanthus is a deciduous shrub that blooms from summer to the end of fall.  It dies in the winter and new shoots come up in the spring.

balloonEven a few Balloon Flower or Chinese Bell Fowers blossoms are opening.  Balloon Flowers (Platycodon grandiflorus) bloom consistently every year.  I just need to remember to deadhead them more often because they won’t bloom without that.

bluemistbutterfliesThe Blue Mist Flowers (Conoclinium greggii) are just coming into their own and attracting butterflies like honey draws flies.  Grow it in full sun where it thrives, and they will come.

gold lantanaGold Lantana brightens its corner.

gold lantana3New Gold Lantana is a Texas Superstar Plant, which means it’s drought tolerant and survives many different soil and weather conditions.

The older varieties of Lantanas are hardy but are considered weeds because the birds eat the seeds and spread them.  Also, they tend to be tall and lanky and drop their flowers after rains.

The new improved varieties have been sterilized.  They bloom profusely without the berries and spread out.  They are an asset to the garden.  Just keep the spreading characteristic in mind when planting.  Another bonus:  all Lantana is considered deer resistant.

gaurafullEach morning the wind blows through this spreading White Gaura.  It provides a good morning wave and makes me chuckle.

White Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri) is also called Lindheimer’s Beeblossom.  It is a perennial native to the U.S.  The four petal white flowers open early in the morning.  I’ve read that the flower fragrance smells like cat urine.  I don’t really detect any smell.

gauraThe buzz of the bees on the Gaura was loud when I was up close photographing them.  A few landed on me but took off with a shake of my hand.  These bee were constantly on the move.  Near the top of the picture one is visible.  These are smaller bees than the bumble bees on some other bushes in the yard.

This species is named after Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer (1801-1879), who is often called the Father of Texas Botany because of his work as the first permanent-resident plant collector in Texas.  He was a German immigrant, who came as a political refugee.  Lindheimer is credited with the discovery of several hundred plant species.

whitegaura2So delicate.

Remember the lyrics:
“Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white, clean and bright
You look happy to meet Me.”

It’s a joy to look out my windows and be greeted by all the flowers.

“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.”                John Ruskin

Autumn Blooms

It happens every October or November.  A few colder days makes us actually believe that summer is over.  It never is.  But the cooler temperatures have given new life to plants that have endured the summer furnace.  Cooler here means in the high eighties with lows in the fifties at night.  But we’ve had a few nights in the low thirties.  Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus wrightii) or Hummingbird Bush is a shrub that attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.  This one was bought at the spring plant sale at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflowers Center in Austin.  It’s hardy and does well in full sun, blooms in the summer and fall.  It does need average regular water.Although Lil Miss BiColor Lantana isn’t the orange and yellow flowered Texas Lantana growing wild in the fields, it does well here, grows fast and takes over a large space.  Its branches arch out about five feet.  Lantanas are deer resistant, so they are very popular here.

This one came from a stray shoot growing in my mother’s yard in West Texas.  This particular kind of lantana can take over a space.  But occasionally, I just lop off any unwanted long branches.

The Blackfoot Daisies (Melampodium leucanthum) are still going strong.  They are a Texas native that love full sun and are a great border plant because they don’t grow taller than a foot.  Blackfoot Daisies bloom all summer and into November.

This New Gold Lantana (lantana x hybrida) has spread out about eight feet and continues to be covered in blossoms.  It has survived for five years and is great here because it tolerates our sun and heat and blooms constantly from spring until a freeze.  New Gold Lantana is on the Texas Super Star list, which means it is one tough cookie that survives our extreme soils and climate.

Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus drummondii) or Texas Mallow is on the left.  A small part of a Autumn Sage or Salvia or (Salvia greggii Gray)  is in the lower right of the picture.  Both are favorites in Texas gardens because they perform so well.  They both grow in a variety of soils all over Texas.  The branches  of Turk’s Cap grow upright but tend to lean.  The red flowers have swirls with red stamens sticking out the top.  I don’t see that it looks like a fez, but that’s where the name came from.

Turk’s Cap grows in shade or sun but does better in the shade.  In the sun, sometimes it gets mildew, although I haven’t experienced that.  It has dense, deep roots, so it doesn’t transplant very easily.

Autumn Sage is also known as Cherry Sage or Gregg Salvia.  It is in the mint family and has a minty scent when brushed against.  It is native to the US and is a work horse in gardens across Texas.  It is a 2-3 ft. tall shrub that blooms from spring to frost and is drought tolerant.

I’m thankful for Texas native plants and for those that have adapted well to living here.  I love plants that flower and endure the heat.

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
-.George Bernard Shaw