Monday, December 13, 2010

WHEN FLOWERS LEAVE

Despite the mild fall this year, those few frosty days took their toll and banished summer flowers, leaving garden bones. Fortunately they are not bare bones.

I couldn't wait to get my hands on a Whale's Tongue agave, A. ovatifolia, having been introduced to the plant by Pam at Digging. When we redid the area in the front garden earlier this year I gave it pride of place. It settled in quite nicely surrounded by several grasses of ruby crystals Melinis nerviglumis. Yes, this grass is about as invasive as mexican feather grass, all these plants having reseeded here, but I am starting to prefer it. For one thing it has a more mannerly appearance, staying green throughout the summer with no irrigation. It sends up beautiful pink plumes, particularly in the late fall. Of course, Mexican feather grass will always have a home here too.

In the sunken garden, I am still searching for the perfect plant for the center. I feel like the spot needs something tall but it would have to be a plant that can survive in all weathers. No water in dry times but could cope with lots of water during wet times. This area behaves like a rain garden getting much of the drainage from the surrounding raised areas. This year the purple fountain grass, Pennisetum setaceum, did not fare well during the dry summer. I may have to revert to the regular Miscanthus grass which I know does well here. I am still struggling to remove it from one area of the sunken garden, despite having taken up some of the stones to get at the roots.

This squid agave, A. bracteosa was shrouded all summer long with gomphrena. Now it has the winter spotlight. I removed 4 pups this fall. Best to get them out when they are young.

Heart leaf skull cap, Scutellaria ovata, has taken over the corner of the patio, where once the yellow columbine flowered. It might take over the whole garden if allowed.

Once the spot where a rosemary bush grew, followed by Agave desmettiana, is now a soft leaf yucca, Yucca recurvifolia. I hope it will flower next year.

All the narrow leaf zinnias are gone leaving behind the purple and pink skullcaps. I wonder what will show up in the cracks between the stones next year?

4 comments:

  1. Garden bones rule! (at least when it is too cold or hot)

    I like how I am not the only person on this theme, that flowers are fleeting. Or that bones are quite the opposite of "bare" when thoughtfully arranged. Thanks.

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  2. Good-looking bones indeed--aside from the beautiful plants you mentioned, those stucco walls and other hardscaping. Your garden's got it going on no matter the season.

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  3. Your garden bones are lovely. And isn't it wonderful to have all these drought-tolerant plants that withstand the heat and the cold?!

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  4. Your garden is beautiful in all seasons. Plus, isn't it nice to have that quiet, more subtle change from the riot of color each summer?
    I sometimes think I'd fall over dead if I lived in Hawaii with NO break in the growing season. I'd exhaust myself surrounded by flowers. :-)
    Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. I've enjoyed your garden blog so much in 2010 and look forward to RockRose, the 2011 season.
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

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