Gardening challenges probably exist everywhere, but we feel that we have an extra measure here in hot and dry, cold and dry, rock and clay, with a few inches of top soil Central Texas. So compensations have to be made.
This Gray Globemallow (Sphaeralcea incana) is a good example. One of the reasons I’ve shied away from natives before is that some with dusty foliage look drab. As it turns out, that grayish color is a result of fine hairs on the leaves. These hairs deflect the sun’s rays away from the leaves, resulting in a cooler surface. This cooler surface means less water evaporation.
The thin flower petals and brilliant color reminds me of poppies. But Gray Globe Mallow is much easier to get established – just stick it in the ground and give it a little water to get it established.
Another survivor is Copper Canyon Daisy (Tagetes lemmonii). As the “ii” in the botanical name indicates, it is named after a person. John Gill Lemmon collected the plants after the Civil War in the 1880’s in southeastern Arizona. The leaves are green, not gray, but slender. So less surface area means less evaporation. So far, it’s been a fast grower.
It blooms in the late fall when most other flowers have died. Copper Canyon Daisy grows wild in Sonoran Desert of Arizona and in northern Mexico, but has adapted very well here. Usually, if a plant’s name includes the word “Mexico” or “Mexican”, it thrives in our part of Texas.
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” Unknown