Garvan Gardens, Part 2

Garvan Gardens outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas, is a serene, calming place.  Because there were few people visiting that day, it seemed like we were alone in forest far from civilization.


garvangardensmmSome workers were constructing this exhibit out of brush.  This art installation by W. Gary Smith is to last for a year.


garvangardensnn Miniature fairy gardens created in pots are a current fad, but this Fairy Garden was built using tree stumps.


garvangardensooEach one stood about 3 or 4 feet tall.

garvangardenspA small patch of Oxblood or Schoolhouse Lilies (Rhodophiala bifida) make an impact statement.

garvangardensppVery tall Pinks or Dianthus in a semi-shady spot.

garvangardensqThe Children’s Garden entrance is below this metal twig looking bridge.

garvangardensqqEverything we saw in this part of the garden is mostly rocks to climb on and secluded small areas to explore.


garvangardensrrThe boulders were intriguing with the quartz in the stones forming sharp ridges.  Over time, the rock, whatever type it is, has eroded, while the quartz remained intact.

garvangardenssSome of the Children’s Garden might be intimidating to young kids.


garvangardenttBack on the main trail …

garvangardentttwe continue past this small pond with water Iris.

garvangardenuAlthough this peacock was alone, his loud mating cries broke the silence of the forest.  Guess he just wanted some attention.

garvangardenuuAnother pergola leading to a grassy area surrounded by flowerbeds.

garvangardenuuuAlliums towering above other flowers, like these Pansies.  I really wanted some Alliums and tried them once, but they didn’t come back the next year.  Don’t really know what the problem was.  Too hot, too cold, soil too alkaline?

garvangardenvMore Dianthus

garvangardenvvDelphiniums, maybe?

garvangardenvvvJust outside the Chipmunk Cafe were several miniature trains at different levels circling around a tree.

garvangardenwwwAnthony Chapel is a wedding chapel with construction similar to the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  I think this chapel was built in 2006 while ThornCrown opened in 1980.

garvangardenxThe wood is southern yellow pine.

garvangardenxxAnthony Chapel is a wedding chapel.  Lovely setting.

There is a separate building for wedding party members with a bridal changing chamber.  It can be rented for an additional cost.

garvangardenxxxThe whole intent of the design with 55 feet tall windows is to have full view of the surrounding woods.  The handcrafted scones are made of oak.

garvangardenwwHeading to the parking lot takes us past more trees and bushes.  This looks like Coral Honeysuckle.

garvangardenwBeautiful bloom on an Oakleaf Hydrangea (‘Hydrangea quercifolia’).

Thanks for reading our visit to Garvan Gardens.

“The only limit to your garden is at the boundaries of your imagination.”  Thomas Church

Pretty Posies

Nothing brightens a day like a loved one’s smile or hug, hearing a favorite song, or a posy in the yard or in a vase.  Some might add chocolate to that list.  Okay.  I would.

Even though we are in the hottest time of summer, there are some flowers to enjoy.

whiteflowersSince last winter’s sustained freezing temperatures killed my Blue Plumbago, this year I’m trying a White Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) in a pot.  It will go into the shed this winter.  Maybe I’ll be brave and put into the ground next year. whiteflowers2Something about white is so crisp – in the landscape or in clothing.  Plumbago is considered a tender perennial, so this is probably too far north for it to survive the cold.  But the heat suits it just fine.

whiteflowers7This color of Periwinkle or Vinca has so much depth.  A pot of these tucked in a semi-shady spot is a great way to add color where needed.

whiteflowers3The performance of the Mexican Tuberoses (Polianthes tuberosa) this year was disappointing.  That could be due to both the extreme winter and the fact that some critter keeps digging up the bulbs.  I replant them when I find them, but probably too late.

The bush with the yellow flowers beside the Tuberose is a variety of Senna, I think.

whiteflowers4Only two Tuberoses bloomed this year.  So leaning in close is necessary to sniff that sweet scent.

“If you eat in the kitchen, your house is always clean, and you go to sleep at 9 pm, it means you don’t have internet.” unknown

Not a Rose

When is a “rose” not a rose?  When it belongs to a completely different family than roses.  Roses (Rosa) are woody shrubs in the Rosaceae family.  Most of us recognize a rose without even thinking about it.

So why do so many other flowers have “rose” in their name?  Who knows.  Maybe because of the romance and sentimentality associated with a true rose.

notarose3Ross Moss (Portulaca Grandiflora) is considered an annual, but is a perennial in our area.  It is a member of the Portulacaeae family.

Even in a plastic pot on the north side of the house, it returned after a cold and long winter this year.  Rose Moss can’t tolerate our heavy clay soil, so it needs a pot with good drainage.

notarose2Desert Rose (Apocynaceae Adenium Obesum) is actually a succulent member of the Oleander family.

notarosebOne of its characteristics is the formation of a bulb shape at the base of its stem as it ages.  This one only has a slight bulge so far.

notaroseMexican Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) is a perennial related to the agaves.  Polianthes means “many flowers” in Greek.

They don’t usually start blooming here until August, when the heat has been around awhile.  This picture is from last year.  The temps, as well as the humidity, have hit high gear, so they might be blooming in a month or so.

rockrose6Texas Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) is a member of the Mallow family.  It is a small shrub that needs little moisture.  Mine doesn’t get much bigger and rarely blooms, maybe because it’s in a bed that gets watered.  It could also be that the amended soil in the lasagna bed is too good for it.  Never thought I’d say that about anyplace in my yard.

notarose4Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is in the Mallow family.  It is also known as althaea.

notarose5More pictures show the abundance of flowers.

notarose1All the bushes in the above pictures came from a friend’s cuttings.  She got them from her sister in Michigan.

pinkroseofsharonThis is a different variety of Rose of Sharon that I ordered from a catalog.  Nice color and ruffled center.

pinkroseofsharon2Doesn’t even look like the same flower.  All Rose of Sharons are hardy, hardy, hardy.  Not much water is needed to live, but it is necessary for them to bloom.

What do all these plants have in common?  They are drought tolerant, pretty, and thrive in the heat.  Despite their names, they are not in the rose family. notaroseEven a stone is called a rose.  If you use your imagination, a rose shape can be seen.

Desert Rose is a variety of gypsum that forms in the spaces between sand particles. It traps the loose sand in a unique flower-like crystal structure.  They tend to be small.  These are 1.5 inches across.

Rose rocks are found in Tunisia, Algeria, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and in central Oklahoma.

Oklahoma rose rock was formed during the Permian Period, 250 million years ago, when western and central Oklahoma’s  shallow sea coverage was receding.   It is the official rock of Oklahoma.  Didn’t even realize that states had designated rocks.

“I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered.  But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue:  no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.”                     Eleanor Roosevelt

Summer White

Many years ago mothers in the south gave this advice to their daughters:  “Never wear white until Easter and never wear white after Labor Day.”  Who makes up these rules?

Anyway, kids today certainly don’t hear things like that.  In past times, It wasn’t even necessary to say to dress modestly.  That was understood.  Oops.  I’m talking about one of my pet peeves – parents not teaching their children to dress appropriately for the occasion.

almond2Back to wearing white.  This little bush of Almond Verbena (Aloysia virgata) is dressed with white blossoms.  It wears a sweet perfume, which the bees and other pollinators are drawn to.  Me, too.  I love its sweet almond vanilla aroma.

almondverbena2Almond Verbena loves the summer sun here but dies with the winter freezes.  The blooms resemble those of a butterfly bush or Buddleia.

They can grow up to 15 feet tall.  I’ve had this one three years, and it has only reached 3 feet.  Maybe it’s because it dies in the cold and grows slowly in the spring.

almond3It is a native of Argentina.  The branches tend to bend down, like a weeping willow.

It’s a pity that Almond Verbenas are not stocked in most nurseries.  I found this one in Austin.

whitehibiscusOne day recently as I was weeding, I walked behind the flowerbed that I normally see from my kitchen window.  On one Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) bush, all the flowers on the back side were stark white.  What in the world?  Don’t know why.  Maybe a soil deficiency?

whitebirdThis iron bird has lost most of it white paint.  Still cute.

whiteweedTwo years ago a friend gave me seeds for Clammy Weed (Polanisia dodecandra ssp. trachysperma).  Although I had never heard of it or seen it, Clammy Weed is a native wildflower found in many parts of Texas.

Clammy Weed gets this name because it is slightly sticky to the touch.  It is hardy, grows in full sun, and reseeds well.

angelbasketFor some reason, I can’t toss this poor little whitish grey angel in the trash, yet.

mexicantuberoseMexican Tuberoses (Polianthes tuberosa) are bulb plants that were domesticated by pre-Columbian Indians of Mexico, according to Dr. William C. Welch, horticulturist at Texas A & M.  It was one of the first plants taken back to Spain by the conquistadors.  It is still a much used garden plant there and in Mexico.

mexicantuberose2All I know is that they have a strong pleasing scent.  Mexican tuberoses flower on a tall stalk, like a daylily.  They look nice with another plant behind them to showcase them or with nothing behind them but a solid blue sky.  This is a Senna bush behind these two.

mexicantuberose3 Last year, I tried to divide a clump.  I wasn’t sure they would survive because a large bulb was covered in smaller bulbs, which I could not pull off.  So I cut through the bottom large bulb.  This picture shows one that came from a divided bulb.  There are also several other survivors, so I was relieved.

This tuberose is in front of an Acanthus.  Tuberose bulbs are also not easy to find.  I ordered mine from a grower in Michigan that specializes in heirloom bulbs.

White flowers can add a nice, clean look to a garden.

“Those who think it permissible to tell white lies soon grow colorblind.”  Unknown

Mexican Tuberoses

Have you ever planted seeds or bulbs and then forgotten that you did so?  Early this spring I planted some Mexican Tuberose tubers that I had ordered by catalog.

When they came up and bloomed, I was stymied.  These were a new plant for me, so I could not remember their name.  Eventually, the old brain kicked in, and I searched for the catalog and found the picture.

These are so aromatic.  I love the crisp white of the flowers.  This is a Mexican Single Tuberose, Polianthes tuberosa, which is hardier than the double version.  They were domesticated by the Pre-Columbian Indians in 1530 and were carried back to Spain by the conquistadors.  They remain a garden favorite in Mexico and Spain.  They are sun lovers and bloom in late summer and early fall.

The question is:  Will they survive the winter here?  They are perennial in zones 8-11.  This is 7b, but our winters have been so mild that I may just leave them in the ground rather than dig the tubers and store them like gladiola bulbs.  Actually, my glad bulbs made it fine last “winter” in the ground and bloomed this spring.

This is definitely a worthwhile buy if you can find them.

“It’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.”  Abraham Lincoln