A Smorgasbord of Color and Form

This spring’s rains has brought exceptionally beautiful sights.  There’s plenty of green and other gorgeous colors all around us.

olioThe first Cone Flower from the Echinacea genus has opened.  Even though the petals aren’t as perfectly formed as later ones will be, the pollinators don’t care.

olio1Drift Roses are covered with masses of blooms.  At the far end of the bed is a Prairie Sage (Artemisia ludoviciana) with its silvery airiness and a mound of gray Santolina (S. chamaecyparissus) with its buds ready to provide small yellow flowers.

olio2I love that drift roses stay under two feet tall and continually bloom through autumn.  To the right of them is Standing Cypress (Ipomopsis rubra) which will have brght red flowers in the heat of the summer.

olio3The clusters of roses make a strong visual  impact.

olio4This three year old Privet is blooming for the first time.  From the genus of Ligustrum, Privets are now considered invasive.  I’d be surprised if its seed would take hold in the hard clay in our area.

olio5It smells heavenly.

olio6Pink Guara’s (Gaura lindheimeri ‘Siskiyou Pink’) swaying branches look pretty in our ever present wind.  Beside the pot, the Texas Ash needs the sprouts at the base trimmed away – again.

olio7Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) is blooming.  To the left of it, Duranta is slowly growing, awaiting the heat blast of August to bloom.

olio8Pretty stalks of closed buds on Red Yuccas reach up for attention.  In the background is a raised bed that will be shown in the next picture.

Note the pieces of black ground-cover cloth.  They was put down about nine years ago.  Knowing what I know now – it doesn’t keep weeds from growing through the cloth; it hinders planting something new; and seems to last forever –  I definitely would not use it again.

olio9Henry Duelburg Sage (Salvia farinacea Henry Duelberg) continues to perform magnificently after eleven years.

olioaA wonderful plant that bees love.

olioaaTexas native Square Bud Primrose (Onagraceae Calylophus drummondianus var. beriandieri.) is a showy splash of yellow on a low mound of thin grassy stems.

oliobLarkspurs (Delphinium consolida) are providing their surprise locations all over the yard.  Scatter these seeds and have purple flowers popping up everywhere.

In the lower left corner are some native False Foxglove (Penstemon cobaea).

oliobbMore Pink Gaura in a flowerbed.

olioccA copper colored reblooming Iris.

oliodAnd a lavender and yellow one.  Can’t resist snapping pictures of these beauties in the spring.

oliocWe have always called these natives that appear in the yard Lamb’s Ears because they look and feel like the ones sold in nurseries. They have soft, velvety foliage.  But recently I learned that they are actually Mullein (Verbascum thapsus).  They are sure plentiful around here.  My husband loves to mow them down, but I want a few left to grow.

The leaves get about a sixteen inches in size.  Then late in summer a tall stalk will reach about three feet in height and small yellow flowers will form an elongated cluster.  Interesting plant.

Thanks for perusing my blog and enjoy your own green space.

“When a woman wears leather clothing, a man’s heart beats quicker, his throat gets dry, he goes weak in the knees, and he begins to think irrationally.
Ever wonder why?
She smells like a new truck.”  unknown

Early Morning Golden Glow

In an attempt to beat the harsh sunlight, I went out early to get some pictures.  Only when I looked at them on the computer did I notice the eerie gold cast from the rising sun.

earlymorning glowBy the gate a couple of young rabbits were hopping around.  At first, they looked like cottontails.

earlymorning glow1But some of the pictures show characteristics of jackrabbits – tall ears, long front legs, and coloring.  So it seems that the jackrabbit population in the yard is growing.

earlymorning glow2In the backyard flowerbed everything is waning.  Flame Acanthus (Wright Anisacanth) or hummingbird bush on the left with slender red blossoms provides a perfect tube for hummingbirds to feed.

reblooming1The flaky bark on the branches, along with its shape, makes a nice winter accent.  Acanthus does well in sunny, well-drained soil. It is hardy throughout zone 8, and root hardy to zone 7.

reblooming3The Thryallis (Galphimia glauca) with the yellow flowers had a burst of reblooming after a few cooler days a couple of weeks ago.  It’s a gorgeous bush when covered with bright yellow flowers.

earlymorning glow4In the background of the previous picture is this new arbor structure.  The plan is for this Cross Vine (Bignonia capreolata) to cover the sides and top to make a shady nook.

The stats say that the vines grow 50 feet, so I think it will happen.  It also seems to be evergreen here.  Another vine in the same family, Trumpet, is greatly maligned as being too aggressive.  They both have pretty orange tubular flowers.  So far, I’m happy with the look.

earlymorning glow5The root system of this Mexican or Desert Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) still concerns me because it’s so close to the house, and the tree itself is larger than I expected it to grow.

earlymorning glow6Bees were extremely busy in the early morning.

earlymorning glow7So active that getting a pix required some patience.

earlymorning glow9For some reason, the Duranta (Duranta erecta) has not bloomed very much this year.  I suspect it’s because I did not do a good job of fertilizing everything or applying mulch this year.  The bees were enjoying the few flowers on it.

earlymorning glow8Also, the Morning Glory only has a few blossoms.

earlymorning glowcClammyweed (Polanisia dodecandra),a  small native bush was given to me by a friend years ago.  It’s one of those plants that comes up in different spots every year.  Insect holes in the leaves appear every year.  Otherwise, it’s a pretty little bush.

earlymorning glowaA couple of wildflowers, Snow on the Mountain (Euphorbiaceae), came up in a flowerbed.  At first, I kept planning to dig them up.  Then, I decided to leave them because they brighten up the area.

earlymorning glowbThe actual flowers are yellow and tiny set in white and green bracts.

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog.

“Chocolate comes from cocoa which comes from a tree. That makes it a plant. Therefore, chocolate counts as salad. The end.”  unknown

Flowering Trees

It makes sense that a person who loves flowers would also love flowering trees.  I definitely fit into that category.  Trees that have flowers tend to be small trees; at least, the ones I know about.  Doesn’t matter.  Ornamental is good.

birdofparadise2 Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) is a small tree that can be kept trimmed to a bush shape.  That also makes it fuller.  It should have full sun, although mine is on the east side of the house and gets only morning sun.

birdofparadise4When it freezes, the Mexican Bird of Paradise will drop its foliage.  Because of space constraints, we cut the branched trunk back pretty severely.  This one is in a flower bed next to the house.  I don’t recommend that.  Who knew it would do so well and get so big?

birdofparadise5The leaves resemble those of a mesquite.  Its uniqueness are the yellow flowers with the long red stamens or as my granddaughter calls them – eyelashes.birdofparadise2In the heat of the summer, the tree is covered with the yellow blossoms.

desertwillow8One of my favorite flowering trees is the Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis).  This one was labeled Bubba Desert Willow.  Sounds real Texan.  It’s also called Desert Catalpa and is native to the far southwestern part of the state, which is extremely arid.

desertwillow3This Desert Willow I want to keep with multi-branched trunks.  The wood is so sinewy that the native Indians used it to make bows.

desertwillow7On the other side of the house is a Desert Willow that has one main trunk.  They can grow to 20 – 30 feet tall.

desertwillow4The flowers are spectacular with a deep rose or wine color.  Their shape is like that of an orchid.  They grow on the tips of new growth branches.

desertwillow6I have tried unsuccessfully to get a close up picture of a flower.  The wind blows their branches so much that every photo is blurred.

Desert Willow grows in dry washes in the wild.  When cultivated, it should not be over watered.

ratama4One of my new favorites is Ratama (Parkinsonia aculeata ) or a Texas Paloverde (cercidium texanum).  I’ve heard these two names used interchangeably.  But other people have told me they are two different trees.  Anyway, I can’t tell the difference because I’ve never seen them together.  Other names used are Jerusalem Thorn and Mexican Palo Verde.

My understanding is that this is not the same tree as the Blue Paloverde seen in Arizona.

ratamaThey are smallish trees that can grow to 25′ tall.  The bark is green, and the leaves are long and narrow and don’t really look much like leaves.

This Ratama was purchased in the spring a year ago. It made it through the winter last year.  I was relieved because this is pushing the northern boundary for them.

ratama2Their branches also sway in the wind all day long, so I’m pleased this photo came out as clear as it did.

Some trees provide shade and others are just for show.  If there’s room in a yard, I think both enhance the great outdoors.

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”       Cree Proverb