Robust Flower Bed

Still have the same dilemma that I always have when planting.  Beds usually become too crowded because the plants get bigger than I imagined they would.  Or there is too much space around the plants.

frontbedhjpgThis bed is visible from the front porch and front windows.

frontbeddI like the colors and the plants individually but overall design needs work.

frontbedbThe yellow border is made up of Stonecrop Sedum.  From a small start taken from my mother’s yard, I have scattered it around in several beds.  This year I put some around the edge of one end of this bed to create a border.

The positive characteristics of this sedum is that it roots and spreads quickly, is drought tolerant, and covers nicely.

frontbed8As soon as summer heats up, the yellow will disappear and leave tall dead stems that will need to be cut off, unless they don’t bother you.  The green will become a dull greyish green.  So it’s not a perfect plant.

frontbedcThis is the first Butterfly Weed (Asclepias) I’ve had that is covered in blooms with a bright orange color.  I have two others in a different bed that look pretty bland.

This plant seems misnamed because it doesn’t attract butterflies like other plants that grow nearby.

frontyard614uIn front of the Butterfly Weed Bush is a native Blackberry Lily (Belamcanda chinensis) that has filled out this year.  A friend assured me that I would like it when she gave it to me.  And she’s right even though the blooms are not large.

frontbed1These Shasta Daisies (Leucanthemum) have spread and bloomed like crazy this year.  These were also a pass-along from a friend.

frontbedNot sure which specific Gomphera these are, but they are a neon magenta color.  I planted them because I didn’t think last year’s Gomphera were coming back.

frontbedmThe Texas Bluebells (Eustoma exaltatum) have gotten leggy this year, so they are susceptible to being trampled by whatever creatures stomp through them at night.

Some interesting facts about Texas Bluebells:
The Japanese have been breeding them for over 70 years and know them as Lisianthus.  They have developed pink, white and deep purple varieties with both single and double petals.

Texas Bluebells are little known now because they are so pretty.  People have picked them so much that the native flowers haven’t been able to reseed in the wild.

frontbed7Bluebell are delicate looking flowers but are hardy in nature, if left alone.

frontbedkThis monster just keeps growing.  If it didn’t die in the winter, it might just take over the yard.  I don’t remember what it is, but it was bought at a Lady Bird Johnson Center sale, so it’s a native.

frontbedlSandwiched between that plant on the left and the Cone Flowers on the right is another mystery plant.  I don’t think I planted it, but it grew here last year, too.  I keep waiting for it to bloom hoping to identify it.  The leaves look like those of a mum.  If it doesn’t bloom this year, it’s out of here.

frontbedjThe Cone Flowers(Echinacea) did a great job of reseeding because many more are coming up.  The Standing Cypress (Ipomopsis rubra) with the red flowers did return but apparently did not seed.  I’m still hoping that some of those seeds will set for next year.

frontbedaLove the look and color of these Coneflowers.

frontbediThe Blue Curls bush (Phacelia congesta) also is growing like a weed.

frontbed9The Blue Curls flowers on stalks are a soft muted purple.

frontbednIn fact, the bush has gotten so big that the wind whirligig won’t move.

frontbed4The Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima) also is jammed up against a bush.  Small clumps came up all around the original plants.  I have moved several to get a fuller look at this end of the bed, but some four legged varmits keep digging them up.

Makes me wonder if I’ll ever get it right.  I like a nice full look, but not this crowded.

frontbedfLast year three small Strawberry Fields Gompheras (Gompherena haageana) were planted here.  I asked the man at the nursery if they would reseed.  He said “Maybe.”

This year I had given up hope but the other day noticed the mass of tiny plants.

frontbedfgjpgThey are already blooming and getting their height.  So I have plenty of Gompheras to share.

Guess I’ll keep muddling along trying to get the look I want in the flower beds.

“The biggest lie I tell myself is “I don’t need to write that down.  I’ll remember it.'”  Unknown

Old and New

Old or new?  That can mean friends, habits, experiences, tastes, or whatever.  Do we have to choose?  Sometimes circumstances, such as locations or life changes, dictate that we can’t embrace the old and the new at the same time.  But fortunately, it’s possible to enjoy old favorite plants and the acquaintance of new plants at the same time.

birdofparadise5This was one of the first bushes we planted after we moved here.  We did make a mistake where it was planted.  I certainly don’t recommend planting a Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) in a flowerbed beside the house.

birdofparadiseIt was a surprise that it grew so fast.  If allowed, it would grow into a small tree.  We cut it back almost to the ground every winter in an attempt to keep its roots from damaging the foundation.  I’ve learned that doesn’t really work because the roots continue to grow even when the trunk is managed.  My hope is that it has deep roots like most plants that are drought tolerant.

birdofparadise2Bees flit from the end of one red stamen to the other.  How they can gather pollen that quickly is a mystery to me.

birdofparadise3They are not alone on the bush.  The spider in this picture successfully netted this bee.

birdofparadise4Not only is the spider enjoying one meal but has another trapped for the upcoming meal.  It’s barely visible in the picture, but the bee on the right is caught in the same web.

Yes, almost every part of this bush is poisonous.

blackberrylilyA new friend in the Garden Club comes up with more varieties of Texas natives or plants that have adapted to this area than anyone I know.  And she’s always willing to share.

This Blackberry Lily (Belamcanda chinensis) is just one of many plants that she has introduced me to.  It is a bulb plant in the iris family.

blackberrylily2The flowers are rather small.  Clusters of shiny black seeds are exposed when the seed capsules split open.  I haven’t seen this yet, but look forward to it.

Blackberry Lily is native to China and Japan.  Crazy that it grows here.

I’m thankful for friends who have taught me so much and for fellow gardeners who are generous with their knowledge and their pass along seeds, bulbs, and plants.

“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you.  You have to go to them sometimes.”  Winnie the Pooh