Surviving the Heat

The unrelenting sun is taking its toll.  Some things, like the Cone Flowers, are wilting faster than usual.  This is my fault because I haven’t done a good job of watering flowerbeds this year.

I read that the heavy rains in the spring work as a detriment when the inferno of summer comes because our plants are not accustomed to going from wet soil to dry.

surviving1Potted plants, like this Kalanchoe, that have the advantage of mostly shade survive fine.  They don’t mind the heat, just the sun.

surviving9A different Kalanchoe thrives outside in the shade.

surviving7Orange Marmalade Crossandra (Crossandra ‘Orange Marmalade’) or Firecracker Flower has done surprisingly well in mostly shade.  It, too, likes the heat and humidity, but not the sun.  No humidity here, so it must not be absolutely necessary for this plant.

survivingbIt definitely is an attention getter on the front porch.  Looks goods against the pot of Dusty Miller succulent.  This pot goes into the heated shed for the winter.

survivingcThe part of the stem just below the flower is the seed pods.  Each little point contains a seed of roughly the same shape.

survivingThis Desert Rose (Adenium obesumlso) needs winter protection.  Mine only seems to bloom right after it comes out of the shed in early spring.  They are known more for their trunks that are bulbous at the bottom than their flowers.survivingaMore pot plants:  pepper plant and Boston Fern to the back left.  The Woodland Fern on the right is in the ground.

surviving5Out by a shed is a Plumbago with white flowers, a Scented Geranium, a Crepe Myrtle with black leaves and a Mexican Oregano.

surviving6Mexican Oregano (Poliomintha longiflora) with pink tubular flowers.

survivingbbAn Orange Bulbine (Bulbine frutescens) from South Africa in a large pot with Purple Heart behind it.  In its native land, it grows in grasslands with well drained soil.  Further south in Texas, it does well directly in the ground.  Here it is an annual that must be protected in the winter.

survivingccThis rose, The Showbiz Rose, is in a pot because right now I don’t have a place available in a flowerbed.  It is a heavy blooming floribunda.

It was purchased at the nursery at Biltmore.  Really, I should never be allowed to walk through a nursery just to look.

survivingdBut who could resist this beauty?

Now that you’ve seen some of my plants in pots, is it any wonder that my husband dreads the end of fall and the beginning of spring?

surviving3Now to some easy care plants, like this New Gold Lantana.  Basically, put it in the ground and forget about it.

surviving4Mexican Petunias have finally become aggressive after about 10 years.  Easy as pie if you have enough space for them.

survivingeA skittish Cardinal enjoying seeds in the grass.  Usually, they bolt at the slightest movement.

surviving2I was rather late coming to the fad of grasses as yard plants.  But I do like Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella or Stipa tenuissima).  I’ve read that it can be invasive, but so far, that hasn’t been the case here.

“Misers are not fun to live with, but they are great ancestors.”  Tom Snyder

Country Garden Visit

On a sunny day the last week of September a group of 10 people from the Brownwood Garden Club went to visit friends outside of Decatur.  They have lived there for about 35 years.

First, a disclaimer, these pictures were made in the middle of the day when the bright sun fades everything out.  Plus, I was using a new camera that still needs some adjustments.

Even though they are about 175 miles northeast of us, their soil and weather conditions are similar to what we have on the ranch:  caliche and rock with a little clay topsoil and sparse rain.  The yard is large and has several flowerbeds:  one is the length of the yard.

There were lots of clumps of spider lilies (the red flowers on the left) blooming this time of the year.

Many kinds of butterflies were everywhere landing on plants and people.  The red cockscomb reminds me of my childhood.  I grew up in West Texas, so we didn’t have many flowers or grass in our yard.  But Mother did always have some cockscombs.

This vine on an arch was new to me.  It is Cypress Vine, also called Star Glory.  I love it.  If only I had another place for a vine.

This is Mexican Oregano, which is at the end of its blooming season.  It is hardy and reseeds easily.

These pink puff flowers are gomphrena “fireworks’ and the orange-red is gomphrena “strawberry fields”.  Both are semi perennial and reseed easily.

The gardens are planted according to the amount of water required by the plants in each bed.  So here is a cactus type group with metal roadrunners right at home.

The gardener said the purple flowers are on a potato plant that she found on a sale table at a major nursery.  She’ll update me on how it makes it through the winter. This gardener’s main love is Texas natives.  That’s practical – don’t fight the environment.  The tall plant in back with yellow flowers is a Texas Gold Star, a type of esperanza.

Because of older trees, there are several shaded garden areas.

I’m a sucker for any scene that screams “country”.

These gourds were grown from seeds that came from Mexico.  They can be used in cooking when pulled from the vines when they are a yellow squash size.  In fact, we were served gourd bread (made like a pumpkin bread) that was very tasty.

These pictures just give a peek into this garden.  Our gracious hosts opened their home and garden for a lovely day of wandering around and asking questions.

“My father asserted that there was no better place to bring up a family than in a rural environment.  There’s something about getting up at 5 a.m., feeding the stock and chickens, and milking a couple of cows before breakfast that gives you a lifelong respect for the price of butter and eggs.” Bill Vaughan