Most Unusual Spring

Usually, by this time in May, warm or even hot days are the norm.  This year, we seem to be stuck in some colder days and some warmer days pattern.  It’s been hard to force myself to weed and do other chores outside on those colder overcast days.

However, I must admit that many of the plants have thrived in this cooler weather.  These Coral Drift Roses are full of flowers.  Drift roses only grow to a height of 3 to 3 and a half feet tall.

They are extremely tough and obviously survived our harsh winter.  Our hot, dry summers don’t phase them, either.  They bloom over and over throughout the summer and fall.  They are a cross between full-size groundcover roses and miniature roses.

These roses are the best for blooming and have not had any diseases in the six years they’ve been in the ground.

Love them and highly recommend them.

The camera doesn’t do justice to the color of the flowers.   They are between a deep rose and a coral color.

Another really hardy plant is Dwarf Stella D’Oro Daylily.  I like that it grows low and is a repeat bloomer.

I lost everything in these pots in February.  Replanted a Rosemary and added some annuals in the other pots.

Etoile Violette Clematis was not bothered by the cold, even in a container.  The original label stated that it is cold hardy down to minus 20.  Hope that is never tested.

Even though it’s listed as a summer bloomer, it’s a rebloomer from late spring to late fall. This vine is seven years old.

An old pot of Dianthus also is looking good.  It’s amazing how cold and heat hardy they are.

Last year, I added some Ox-Eye Daisies to this trough, mainly to keep down the weeds.  They weren’t watered much, so the ones on the left died.

I do like this bottle bush my husband made for me several years ago.

I’ve had Yellow Columbine for years, so I’m giving these red ones a try.  The label indicated that they are cold hardy down to below 0 degrees.  Nice, bright two-toned flowers.

Our recent rains have brought lots of flowers on these climbing roses.  Now I just need to deadhead them for more blooms.

Hollyhocks are starting to bloom.  Several years ago, an abundance of rain brought rust disease.  Internet information said to dig them up, roots and all and destroy.  I tried to dig them up, but must not have succeeded because they keep popping up.

Hooray, Larkspurs blooms are scattered across the back yard.  I always look forward to them.  Very cheery.

Hope your late spring is bringing lot of flowers to your space.

“As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind – every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.”  John Glenn

Springtime? One Day, Yes and the Next Day, No

Just when spring seems to have sprung, winter ricochets back to zap us again.  Fortunately, some plants can withstand a short spell in the 30’s.

Texas Mahonia (Mahonia swayeyi) was purchased at Medina Natives Nursery four years ago.

These tiny flowers will become berries.  Being a Texas native, it’s very hardy.  It has many similarities with Agarita in our fields.  But it’s not nearly as thorny.

This crazy-looking Allium makes me smile.

Ditch Daylilies are poised to bloom.  Some Yellow Columbine migrated to this spot.

The Ixora in this pot had to be replaced.  I’d like to blame the extreme cold in February, but it didn’t do well last year.  Even though it’s topical and is native to the Philippines and surrounding areas, it survived for 15 years in this pot.  The unusual color of the flowers is almost indescribable.

The stars of the show this time of the year are the Irises.  True blue flowers are rare, so this is special.

The word Iris comes from the Greek goddess of rainbows.  The many different colors of Irises explains that.  Sketched pictures of irises have been found on Egyptian walls in pyramids and other grave sites.

Takes my breath away.

Three years ago I bought a few Penstemons.  The purple ones have spread to fill up this flower bed.  This is the sole remaining pink one.

Eve’s Necklace is a small ornamental tree with bright green leaves and strands of sweet smelling flowers in early spring.

Those strands of flowers will become strands of black seeds encased in  black pods.  It’s a great small tree.  Before I bought this one, a friend said that everyone should have an Eve’s Necklace.  Planted the thought in my brain.

“Spring is the time of the year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.”  Charles Dickens

What’s Blooming and Growing in Cool Weather

Cool weather continues.  In fact, one day last week there was frost on the ground.  The world has gone wonky.

Katy Road Roses covering a six foot bush.  This rose was introduced in 1977 and was known in Texas as Katy Road because it was “found” on Katy Road in Houston.  It was actually developed by Dr. Griffith Buck at Iowa State University to withstand the long, cold winters of the Midwest.  He named it Carefree Beauty.

Because this rose also does so well in the hot, dry summers of Texas, it was named the 2006 “Earth-Kind® Rose of the Year” by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.  The bush has several flushes of rich pink blooms from spring until frost.  Each flower produces a large orange rose hip.

So call it Katy Road or Carefree Beauty, it’s a great rose for the garden.

To the right side of the rose bush are Ox-Eye Daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare).  They can be aggressive but are so pretty, I think they’re worth it.

Maggie is an old Bourbon rose that blooms profusely.  It was “found” in Louidiana by Dr. William Welch of A&M and brought to Texas.  It’s a winner.

Another Bearded Iris to praise.  The solid dark purple ones are behind the purple and pale lavender ones.  I’m sure I didn’t plan that.  Just a happy accident.

These are so dark that they don’t photograph too well.

Artemisia is a plant that I think every large yard should have.  This one has been in a pot for years.  I have another one that is trying to take over a flowerbed.  To keep it in a space, simply cut off the runners.  They each have roots, so they can be potted and passed along.

To the left is native Yellow Columbine – very hardy perennial.

Artemisia has a slight silver tint and tends to be evergreen in our mild winters.  The softness of the foliage is amazing.

This Iris looks light lavender in this picture.  But in real life, it’s a true blue.  Adds a little magic to the garden.  Actually, all Irises provide elegance.

Hope you and your family are safe and well.  I pray especially for those who live in city apartments or any confined space with children and for those whose jobs have been affected by all the closings.  These times definitely call for patience.

“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in your mind.”  David G. Allen

Spring Beauties

What a difference a little rain and warmth make.  Spring is busting out.

Fresh green in the yard is a delight.

Giant Spiderwort (Tradescantia gigantea) is one of several different varieties available.  Three were planted in 2014.  They do multiply but aren’t agressive.

The bright yellow against the purple takes on an almost neon brightness.

Dutch Iris “Miss Saigon” is a refreshing type of iris.

The blue petals look like a bird in flight.

These were planted in 2016.  They’re labeled as annual but bulbs are faithful to grow and bloom again.  Sixteen bulbs cost $4.94.  Can’t beat that.

A few blooms of Yellow Columbine, Golden Columbine, or Southwestern Yellow Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha A. Gray) are opening.  The form of these flowers are whimsical and fun.  The foliage is evergreen.  It’s a native, so that’s always good.

A new world each spring brings flowers blooming, birds singing, and sunshine on my back.

“Choose being kind rather than being right, and you’ll be right every time.”            Richard Carlson

Wonderful, Overwhelming Spring

As much as I love spring with the new life it brings, it is easy to become frustrated with all the attention the yard needs.  When you add that to other commitments, plus the unexpected ones that come up, some of the joy of it all is lost.

So, I’m trying to relax and not let the weeds or the busy schedule spoil this season.

Love Spiderwort (Tradescantia gigantea).  It loves the cool mild days of spring but shags out when the heat hits.

Mock Orange (Philadelphus x virginalis) also likes prefers the milder weather.

The leaves maintain their light green color until the first freeze.

Columbine (Aquilegia flavescens) is a Texas native that does really well with morning sun and afternoon shade.

Dianthus, also called pinks, is a more hardy soul.  The roots systems of some perennials can’t survive a cold winter in a pot.  But these guys greet us in early spring.  I like the look of them in pots.  The thickness of the plant also keeps weeds out.

Blackfoot Daisies( Melampodium leucanthum) with roses is a pleasing combination.

Wish I knew the name of this rose.  It was planted years ago when that sort of thing wasn’t important to me.

For a very short period of time, blossoms hang on Eve’s Necklace bush (Sophora affinis).  Soon, black pods of seeds will form like beads of a necklace.

Good old faithful Ice Plants glow in the sunlight.  The foliage looks a little ragged as the weather warms up.  I can’t even remember how long this has been in this pot in this spot.

Blue Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis) pokes its head up briefly in the early spring.  This plant has been here for years and never seems to get much bigger.  But the root is solid.  I tried to dig it up one time – not happening.

Gulf Coast Penstemon (Penstemon tenuis) form tight clusters with lots of flowers.  Although it is considered a good plant for a marshy area, it has done very well in our drier area.  But, of course, we’ve had more rain than usual in the last year and a half.

This week the garden club had the dedication of the Blue Star Memorial to honor veterans.  The flower bed behind the plaque was built and planted by the club.  True to Texas weather, the wind whipped everything and everyone.  But it was a special event.

Hope you’re able to look past all the demands of your time and enjoy the moment.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Spring Flowers

A colorful spring makes each day special.  It also provides abundant conversation topics between strangers and friends.

Most Texas blooming native plants, especially west of Interstate 35, say adios when the heat arrives. Who can blame them?  The summer can be unbearable.  This spring has been cooler than most.  Maybe that’s a good omen about the upcoming summer.

Texas Spiderwort (Transcantia humilis) is a native of Texas and southern Oklahoma.  It blooms March through June.

A crazy mystery about its name.   Why was it named after John Tradescant, who served as a gardener to Charles I in England in the 1600’s?  It’s a western hemisphere plant!  There must have been a reason.  Anyone know?

Golden Columbine or Golden Spur Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha) has a delightful, zany flower.  It also blooms a couple of months in late spring before the weather gets hot.

Really interesting flower formation.

Several years ago Columbine was planted in a front flowerbed.  Here it is now in a side bed.  It’s also in several flower pots.  I don’t mind that birds and wind spread it because it so cheery and unique.

Found this Dianthus at Lowe’s.  It’s impossible for me to just walk past the plants.  The colors are almost neon.

Dianthus is mostly native to Europe and Asia but does very well here, especially if it’s shaded from late afternoon sun.

I think this is a Four Nerve Daisy.  Can’t even remember how long ago a couple of these were planted.

Even if it isn’t Four Nerve Daisy, I know it’s native because it was purchased at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

And then, there’s the re-blooming Bearded Irises.  Not native, but thrive here.

This light pink one is new.  As you can tell by the large cluster of the ones behind it, irises spread nicely.

Peachy gold and white ones.

Irises are just so easy.  Drop a bulb into a hole at the appropriate height;  once and done.  Plus, it creates new bulbs.  How great is that?

Another native, Square Bud Primrose (Onagraceae Calylophus drummondianus var. beriandieri) grows low to the ground and provides a pop of yellow.

Love the beauty of spring.

“Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.”  unknown

Some Favorites for Spring

Gardeners each have their own favorite plants, so I don’t usually foist my choices on others.  But today I’m going to make some recommendations.

If you have read my blog before, you know how much I love roses.  Part of the reason is because before we moved here, I didn’t have the space, sunny spots, or the time to do any gardening.

Then, surprisingly, roses not only have survived here but were a success.

Drift Roses are a relatively new type of Knock Out® Roses.  These are Coral Drift Roses.  They are low growing and constantly covered with flowers from early spring until the first freeze.

If I can have roses here in my high alkaline, clay and rock soil, then anyone can.  They are in lasagna raised beds that have amended soil.  Other than that, all they need is sun and water.

The rocks at the edge of the beds are to keep the water from washing off the slopes.  Texas has lots of limestone fossils.  This one and the following ones came from the edge of a creek on our property.

There are some roses that are exceptional performers.  Like this Belinda’s Dream that flowers on and off for months.  It has no disease problems.  Just give space for bushes to get huge – about 6 feet across.

Tropicana is a popular rose that does well in many different areas and is usually available at all kinds of nurseries.  It is a hybrid tea that blooms fairly often.

My all time favorite of the roses that I’ve tried is Double Delight because it has a strong scent that is out of this world.  It is also a hybrid tea.  I recently bought another one at a local nursery because I’m not sure how long roses bushes last.  Mine is twelves years old and doesn’t look as healthy this year as usual.  But we did have some hard freezes this winter.

Clematis vines are a great choice for gardeners.  There are many varieties available that grow well in different zones.

Many have prettier, fancier flowers than this one, but I chose one that does well here – Jackman Clematis.

Yellow Columbine (Aquilegia flavescens) brightens up the early spring.  After the bareness of winter, it is just what the doctor ordered.

This soil was not amended, so it’s a tough plant.

As you see, pollinators are drawn to it.  Plus, it’s so cheery.

Another category of flowers is bulbs.  Stella de Oro Reblooming Daylily is technically not a bulb but a herbaceous root plant.

To keep it blooming, deadheading spent blooms is necessary.  It’s a gorgeous low growing, bright yellow flower that pollinators love.

There are many different flowers that fit into the vague, incorrect category “bulb”.  For example:  tulips and daffodils are bulbs, irises are rhizomes, gladiolas and crocuses are corms, and daylilies are tubers with tuberous roots.  Confusing.

My point is that plants in the “bulb” designation are a wonderful addition to any garden.  They tend to be reasonably priced; some produce new bulbs so your investment grows and can be shared; many different varieties are available to grow in different zones and climates; and most provide beautiful flowers year after year.  What a bargain.

Henry Duelberg Salvia (Salvia farinacea) was discovered growing beside a grave in LaGrange, Texas.  Greg Grant named the plant after the deceased.  It is one wonderful, eye catching plant.  Keep it contained because it spreads.

The white version, Augusta Duelberg, was named after his wife, whose grave was beside him.  A Texas SuperStar® plant that blooms from early spring until the first freeze.

As usual, it is best to “dance with the one who brung you” meaning it’s important to select plants that do well where you live.

“Don’t let the thoughts of failure stop you from trying, even when you fail, it’s not enough to give up.  The light bulb itself finally found success after so many trials.”  Terry Marks.

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Busy Season

Don’t ya just love spring?  Even though the stress of not getting everything done in time hangs over my head, the flowers and green everywhere just blesses me.

This year two plant sales for two different garden clubs means that I’m digging up plants that have spread and propagating others and potting them as quickly as I can.

Some of the early spring bloomers have to be savored quickly, like this Flag Iris.  These stunning and unusual flowers last a little longer than a week.

It’s good to have other types of bulb plants waiting to take their place.

Redbuds can also be a flash in the pan stunner.  This picture was taken from the highway.  It is either an Oklahoma Redbud or someone had done a good job of keeping a native trimmed to one trunk and nicely shaped like a tree.

Most Texas native Redbuds have multiple trunks with a rather shrubby look.  Doesn’t mean that I don’t like them.  I love their bright colors.

Yellow Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha) or Granny’s Bonnet or Gold Spur Columbine is a wonderful spring blooming perennial.

The flowers are uniquely shaped and the foliage is evergreen.  Two pluses.  The yellow variety is native to Texas and does extremely well in our poor soil.  Morning sun and afternoon shade does the trick.

Wow.  Makes ones heart sing.

Another look at Bridal Wreath Spirea (Spiraea prunifolia) with lovely drooping branches that are covered in white clusters of flowers.  Hear wedding bells?

Spiderwort (Tradescantia pallida) is putting on a show.  It’s a Texas native that can’t take the summer heat but shines in spring.

Clusters of three petaled flowers with bright yellow stamens.

This David Austin rose, Lady of Shalott, is my new favorite.  It has a delectable aroma.

Since I absolutely adore roses and am wonderfully surprised at how well they do here in this lousy soil,  I’ve decided to put in some more rose beds.  Until the tiller we’ve ordered comes in, they are in pots.

The beds have to be built up and enriched with piles of decomposed leaves, manure, etc.  Therefore, it takes some time to prepare the beds.  We’re short of time now, so they will be in pots for awhile.

This unnamed rose bush blooms continuously once warm weather arrives.  And it has.

Hope you’re having a great spring enjoying the flowers in your yard or wherever you see and smell them.  Thanks for taking time to read my blog.

“Her nagging is a sign that she cares.  Her silence means she’s plotting your death.” unknown source

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Garvan Gardens

On a recent trip one of our stops was at Garvan Woodland Gardens just outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas.  It is the 210 acre botanical garden of the University of Arkansas in the Ouachita Mountains.

garvangardens4Most of the acres are a naturally wooded area of tall pines.

garvangardens8Pathways lead guests to a variety of sights.

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garvangardens1Shaded areas are filled with abundant under story trees and shrubbery.

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garvangardens2Although it was the tail end of the blooming season for Azaleas, some flowers remained.

garvangardens3A heavy crop of berries on some kind of holly.

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garvangardens9Few of the plants had identification labels.

garvangardensaaIn a few sunny clearings were some grassy areas circled by flowerbeds and flowerpots.  Begonias, Spider Plant, and Caladium make an attractive arrangement.

garvangardensaSeveral vine covered pergolas open to patio like settings with flowers and seating.

garvangardensbThis is a purple Columbine, but I don’t know the variety.

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garvangardensdPretty Pinks or Dianthus

garvangardensddLove the color and design of this three foot tall pot.  The requisite three elements are there:  thriller (don’t know the name of the plant); filler (petunias), and spiller (a variegated ivy).

garvangardenseLots of large beds were filled with annuals such as pansies.  There were both staff members and volunteers working in the gardens.

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garvangardensgAnother bed with these newly planted small plants, probably annuals.

garvangardensggLoved this bush, but don’t know what it is.

garvangardensiFour and a half miles of shoreline on Lake Hamilton provide wooded views of the lake.

garvangardenshEuphorbias in bloom.

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garvangardensjAs we leave the lake observation point and head back into the wooded gardens, there are what look like native blooming plants.

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garvangardenskSeveral nice bridges in the gardens lead to new surprises.

garvangardenslThis shrub was about six or seven feet tall with arching branches.

garvangardensllGorgeous flower clusters.  Wonder what it is.

My next post will finish the Garvan Gardens visit.  Thanks for taking the time to scroll through all the pictures.

“Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”  unknown

Perennials Reign

Spring is a wonderful gift coming between the dreary months of winter and the dry, charring summertime.  This year’s springtime has been amazing.

During some unpleasant dental work, which made staying in the big city for three days necessary, I couldn’t wait to return home.  Just being at home is comforting.  But being able to enjoy the lush green fields makes me understand the promise of lying down in green pastures in the 23th Psalms.  Plus all the wonderful flowers in the fields and my yard makes home even more alluring.

rosesblooming2This Vinca vine came from a friend.  I was warned that it was invasive.  That normally doesn’t concern me, but it is definitely spreading out.  I plan to watch it and see if it can be controlled.

rosesbloomingbThe Wild Blue Indigo (Baptisia australis) makes its short but spectacular show in early spring.

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rosesbloomingfGiant Spiderwort (Tradescantia gigantea) has obviously taken hold after being planted last spring.

rosesbloominggThis is a Texas native that needs more shade than my yard has, so it will quit blooming when it gets too hot and the sun is too harsh.  But, for now, it’s making a splash.

rosesbloomingjGray Blobe Mallow (Sphaeralcea incana) has grown nicely since last spring’s planting.  It surprised me that it kept its foliage all winter.

springbloomsdThe turkeys have been very active this spring and coming up into the yard or just behind the fence.  Their gobble, gobbles  make me look up to search for them. I was finally able to get a picture.  Boy, are they the nervous type.

rosebloom3Columbine’s (Aquilegia chrysantha)yellow shooting stars flying in the wind.  They are thinner than usual.  I discovered that some creature had dug a deep hole under one of the bushes.  In doing so, the dirt covered up and killed some of the plants.  So I transplanted some from a flowerbed where I didn’t want them to fill in the vacancy.

rosebloom4The yellow of these Kolanche blossoms pop against the blue pot.

rosesblooming5The same three Dianthus clumps bloom every year.  Last year I planted three others hoping to fill in the space.  They did not make it.  I recently read that there is only one variety that will live in our clay soil.  Don’t know how easy those are to find.

specific flowers4Wouldn’t you know, when I did my post on roses recently, there was not a single bud on this Madam Norbert De Velleur climber.  It burst into bloom earlier this week while we were gone.

specific flowers6Buzzing filled the air while I was photographing the lush blooms.

specific flowers7Don’t know the type of bees these are, but they were abundant and active.

At this time of the year, spring flowers make my day.

“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”
Confucius