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.
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.
Even 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.
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.
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.
The 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.
Remember the lyrics:
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