Sunday, February 15, 2009


Thanks to Carol at May Dreams I am out with my camera searching for February blooms. There are quite a few.

I know spring is in the air when the thimbleweed or windflower, Anemone berlandieri, starts to bloom. In shades of white to purple this is the first wildflower to bloom in the spring. The bloom period is short, just a matter of one or two weeks. What appear to be petals are not petals but sepals and all parts of the plant are poisonous. The center of the flower elongates which is an adaptation for wind dispersal of the seeds.

This bluebonnet flowering in the vegetable bed is flowering ahead of the masses. Most others are only a small circle of leaves. The recent rain and warm days should accelerate their growth but April is likely to be their peak bloom time. Notice the white marker on the flower: a guide for the bee. Once fertilized the mark turns red and the bee can no longer see the mark.

The four nerve daisy, Hymenoxy scaposa, has flowered all through the winter. It re seeds in the gravel and this one has produced a nice clump in between the path stones. It gets to stay.

The Carolina jessamine, Gelsemium sempiverens, perfumes the air with a delicate fragarance. To say this vine is vigorous would be an understatement. It sends its greedy roots for up to twenty feet. This particular plant is starting to show its age and will come out once it has bloomed. I will replace it with something a little less rambunctious. The plants around will be very grateful.

Erigeron daisy.

The ice plant is perfect a perfect companion for the viola among the stones in the sunken garden. I like it so much have rooted cuttings. It roots easily.

Alyssum is at its best during the cooler spring weather. I shall have to watch out for the dreaded  harlequin bugs who favor this brassica.

A lone coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, is getting an early start on the season. It is in a sheltered location where it receives some heat from the wall of the house.

Gaura lindheimeri "Siskiyou pink" also surprises with an early flowering. This drought tolerant plant, like many, has a deep tap root and for this reason does not transplant well.

In the same garden the Texas mountain laurel, Sophora secundiflora, is flowering on the lower more sheltered branches. 

Osteospermum will get a good cutting back this week.

The Viburnum tinus " spring bouquet" will take anything thrown at it. Dust, heat, drought and  pollution and still maintain it s bright glossy evergreen leaves. The buds start out pink and open white. 

Finally the white oxalis, my only flowering house plant.


  1. Hiya Jenny,

    Another early riser. Is the sun up at 6 AM?
    That Mountain Laurel is amazing. How can it have peaflowers? Being a Laurel I mean.
    A. berlandieri is to steal for. And so early. Why is it called Thimbleweed I wonder? Digitalis is much more of a thimble shape.

    So much and so colourful. And so unusual. You must really enjoy the contrast or did you not have a garden in the UK?

  2. I always like to hear about the names and folknames of flowers in other languages. And so it is nice to hear that Anemone berlandieri is called 'Windflower': In my country (Belgium), one of the folknames of the Anemone nemorosa (wood anemone) is 'windbloem', and yes, literally translated that means 'windflower'.

  3. Not quite and today is cloudy so it will be a while before it burns through. I think they call it the thimbleflower because the center elongates as the flower matures. It actually is longer and thinner than a thimble but I think that's where it got its name. I never had a garden in the UK- I was married here and have been over here 41 years- not all in Texas but that is where we started out when my h came to U.Texas. Now we are back and I love it here.

  4. I didn't know that about the bluebonnets! And seeing those bluebonnets made me think of visiting your garden last spring, still one of the highlights of my brief visit.

    Thanks for brightening up my wintry morning with so many blooms, and for sharing little tidbits about them.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  5. Greeting from Darwen in Lancashire. How lovely your flowers
    are. I've only plant in bloom we've had so many frosty nights here.

    Thanks for sharing

  6. Jenny, what fabulous plants! I'll check out the anemone for next year. Sadly, I'm not sure that our mountain laurels are going to do anything this year--I can barely spot bloom spikes. Linda

  7. Hi Anne and thanks for visiting. We have many folk stories here by our Native American Indians about native plants. When many come into bloom I will do a posting about them. Thanks for the idea.
    Carol- It was a pleasure to have met you last year. Your thoughts on gardening are always a surprise and lots of fun. I'm glad I joined you special day.
    Linda- Nice surprise to have a visit from another Lancastrian. We still visit St Annes on a regular basis. The gardens of England are so wonderful and such an inspiration. Love Gardeners World.
    Lindalynn- Do you have a gardening blog? - I can't find it because you have not enabled your profile so can't reach your blog. Would like to visit. The anemone is wild and grows in the native areas of my lot. However I have noticed some now growing in the gravel of the walled garden. Must be the wind.

  8. I LOVE this. You have so much! Here in Raleigh we have a good variety for a winter show, but not this good. Sadly, not everyone is a gardener in the winter.

  9. Ey-oop lass - ye're a bit far from ome! I'm from Glasgow via Liverpool, Lancaster, Sundry other points, and now Santa Cruz. It looks lovely and sunny in your current neck of the woods - beautiful color! Jessamine honeysuckle must like it out your way, I just saw it blooming on too, today. I wonder if I should try it here in USDA Zone 9 + deer??

    Happy gardening!

  10. Your garden looks beautiful already, Lancashire Jenny! You're growing a lovely assortment of flowers that apparently like Central Texas.

    Happy GBBD!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  11. Wow, beautiful garden! This makes me look forward to Spring even more. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Helen- Thanks for visiting. Sometimes when I look at the garden a this time of the year I can't believe that in a few short weeks it is going to be ablaze with flowers. Things happen so quickly when the warm weather and longer days arrive.

    Country mouse. Nice of you to comment. Y'all are a long way from home too. I bet, like me, you have had to get used to gardening in a lot of different conditions. I think the Carolina jessamine should work for you and all parts of the plant are poisonous so the deer really do leave it alone. Of course it only blooms for a short time and then nothing much throughout the rest of the year. However it puts on quite a show. We are zone 8
    Annie- After spending the day out in the garden I'm thinking -this is all far too much work.

    Katie- Thanks for stopping by. Ah! yes, Spring. I hope we get a decent one and don't go straight into summer.

  13. Wow, that is the earliest blue bonnet I have ever seen.

  14. I saw a Texas mountain laurel in full flower today and couldn't believe it, but I see you have a few flowers too. In my old garden, the laurel isn't doing anything yet.

    Seeing your pics reminds me of my visit last April. Remember how cool it was that morning?

  15. Interesting stuff about the bluebonnet. Isn't it amazing what tricks nature has up its sleeve?

  16. Hi Aunt Debbi- I usually have one that shows up early. This one is in the vegetable bed and has great soil. It has been growing all winter. My others were severely affected by the lack of rain so they are going to be late this year. Still early days yet- we may get some rain.
    Pam- Ill bet it was in town where it has been sheltered. My blooms are rather small- not the great long panicles but they may come later. I remember that day- was chilly because of the rain we had the night before however the weekend was gorgeous for your spring fling.
    Dreamybee. Oh yes trust mother nature. Darwin was right about that.

  17. Hi LR!
    Mountain Laurels and cone flowers in bloom already! what on earth are you feeding your plants over there :)
    I just posted a pic of where my mountain laurel is bloom wise, nowhere close!
    Interesting on the blue bonnet, I did not know that they did this. What a remarkable thing to do.

  18. HI ESP- Weird isn't it. My garden has more frost and plants normally bloom later than those lower down and in the city. That cone flower is really weird. Most of the others are barely coming through the ground.

  19. I can't believe you already have mountain laurel in bloom! I have many bloom spikes, so I'm hoping for a nice display this year. And a bluebonnet already; you must have an interesting microclimate with lots of sunshine. thanks for the lovely post.

  20. The Texas Mountain Laurel is beautiful, as is the windflower. Such delicate coloring -- it's a lovely wildflower.

  21. I love the Texas Mountain Laurel blooms and wish I could see them in person. How come no one told us at Spring Fling about the Bluebonnets & the bees. That is so interesting. I don't think we have harlequin bugs around here, as I've never seen anything bothering the Sweet Alyssum. It's such a great little groundcover thing.

  22. Get grounded- I have lots of microclimates but none of them are really favorable. I am as amazed as everyone else about the mountain laurel. You had better hope that we don't get a frost.
    Sweet bay- I love the anemone- it is delicate but a wonderful sign of spring and I don't think the deer eat it.
    Mr Mc G's daughter- Were you in my group at the WFC tour? I always tell people about this fact if there are bluebonnets around.

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