It happens every October or November. A few colder days makes us actually believe that summer is over. It never is. But the cooler temperatures have given new life to plants that have endured the summer furnace. Cooler here means in the high eighties with lows in the fifties at night. But we’ve had a few nights in the low thirties. Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus wrightii) or Hummingbird Bush is a shrub that attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. This one was bought at the spring plant sale at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflowers Center in Austin. It’s hardy and does well in full sun, blooms in the summer and fall. It does need average regular water.Although Lil Miss BiColor Lantana isn’t the orange and yellow flowered Texas Lantana growing wild in the fields, it does well here, grows fast and takes over a large space. Its branches arch out about five feet. Lantanas are deer resistant, so they are very popular here.
The Blackfoot Daisies (Melampodium leucanthum) are still going strong. They are a Texas native that love full sun and are a great border plant because they don’t grow taller than a foot. Blackfoot Daisies bloom all summer and into November.
This New Gold Lantana (lantana x hybrida) has spread out about eight feet and continues to be covered in blossoms. It has survived for five years and is great here because it tolerates our sun and heat and blooms constantly from spring until a freeze. New Gold Lantana is on the Texas Super Star list, which means it is one tough cookie that survives our extreme soils and climate.
Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus drummondii) or Texas Mallow is on the left. A small part of a Autumn Sage or Salvia or (Salvia greggii Gray) is in the lower right of the picture. Both are favorites in Texas gardens because they perform so well. They both grow in a variety of soils all over Texas. The branches of Turk’s Cap grow upright but tend to lean. The red flowers have swirls with red stamens sticking out the top. I don’t see that it looks like a fez, but that’s where the name came from.
Turk’s Cap grows in shade or sun but does better in the shade. In the sun, sometimes it gets mildew, although I haven’t experienced that. It has dense, deep roots, so it doesn’t transplant very easily.
Autumn Sage is also known as Cherry Sage or Gregg Salvia. It is in the mint family and has a minty scent when brushed against. It is native to the US and is a work horse in gardens across Texas. It is a 2-3 ft. tall shrub that blooms from spring to frost and is drought tolerant.
I’m thankful for Texas native plants and for those that have adapted well to living here. I love plants that flower and endure the heat.
A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
-.George Bernard Shaw