Friday, October 28, 2011


Some plants want to be in the spotlight when summer blooms start to fade and days become cooler. This grass is fast becoming a favorite. For one thing, I don't have to do anything. It just shows up. Then it is easy once the seed heads have faded. They either blow away or you can run your hand over them and pull them off. Pink crystals Melinis nerviglumis stays green all summer with a minimum or no water at all. It isn't fussy where it grows.

Another major fall bloomer is the Philippine violet. This is a plant that dies down to the ground during winter, but just look how much growth it puts on before blooming in late October. It seems to have no pests and the leaves stay green all summer. If you see one at the nursery, snap it up. You won't regret having such a beauty in the garden.

This is my first year to grow Salvia madrensis. I bought a 4" pot in the spring. It has grown quietly in a shady corner under the Lady Banks' rose, biding its time, until finally the flower racemes began to color and open. It may be root hardy but if not I am happy to grow it as an annual.

Celosia spicata, bristly pink plumes. It is hard to imagine what a hummingbird would find in one of these flowers, but they find something.

The fragrant mistflower, Eupatorium

Fall obedient plant, Physostegia virginiata, on cue.

Frost weed, Verbesina viginica. This one is in the border behind the pool. There are none outside the walls this year due to drought.

Mexican mint marigold, Tagetes lucida.

I only just identified this plant last evening. It is Exotic Love vine, Firecracker vine, Mina lobata. The single vine was growing in among the Cardinal vine. The leaves were completely different and I just thought it was some kind of morning glory that wasn't producing flowers. Imagine my surprise, today, when I noticed some flower racemes. The seed must have been mixed in with the Cardinal Vine seeds I received from gardening friend, Meredith at Great Stems. I hope to save some for next year as both these vines seem to be the answer to a trellis in a difficult spot.

Tithonia rotundifolia, 'torch' The monarchs love this flower.

Scutellaria wrightii with Erigeron annus.

The calamondin orange moved from its corner in the vegetable garden so that we can enjoy its fruits.

Some plants never stop. Gaillardia pulchella is one. A non-stop bloomer year round.

Zinnia seeds planted in late August make a show in a pot.

The yellow knockout rose with its faint lemony fragrance. Who would knock a knockout. Not I.


  1. Milenis spikes are great, I try Muhlenbergia seeds, it seems, but I failed.
    Definitely I have to look Philippine violet! I have read that can withstand cold temperatures and behave as a perennial.
    I'll have to prove, is lovely flowering bush and how well.

  2. I need to bookmark this post for the great new plant ideas. I see some that I lost this year - Mexican mint marigold and obedient plant. Eupatorium survived, but is not blooming much.

  3. All nice, but that knock-out rose is pretty impressive. See, you made it through summer, and now your flowery rewards begin!

  4. I love the crystals. Love. One of my favorite grasses. The Philippine Violet looks beautiful. I hadn't heard of those until this year. Everything looks great! You need to post a picture of your new pots with your arrangements!

  5. Mina lobata seeds are easy to find and widely sold. I grew it this year and even with neglect, it looked great. Your garden always impresses me.

  6. Any idea what cultivar of Celosia that is? If you've not grown it before, be ready for seeds!

    Also, the "firecracker vine" or "Spanish Flag vine" as I know it is a really great vine. Beautiful color gradients as the older blooms start fading to white. Reseeds quite heavily too.

    I'm going to have to try Cardinal vine as a change from the Cypress vine. Any chance you have some extra seeds to share or trade?

  7. I still wish my plants looked as good as yours - the tithonia is pretty much done for, but still every once in a while puts out a green leaf or two and a flower.

    And I just noticed that my white phillipine violet started blooming...but it's only like maybe a foot tall - maybe it will get bigger next year since it will have been in teh ground from the get go instead of planted in July.

  8. Yolanda- We had some pretty cold temperatures last year but our cold is not usually prolonged. However, I think if you were to mulch well it would survive. It does need a long season to grow to full maturity as you can see it is just now flowering at the end of October.
    Cynthia- I have plenty of Mexican mint marigold. May try to get some seedlings out for Sat.
    Desert dweller- We did but it isn't half as good as it should be looking in the fall. Not to grumble!
    Kacky- Didn't see any at the nursery this year. I would like a white one, although finding the room for it would not be easy.
    katie- I haven't decided yet whether I really like it. Looks great when blown up on a photo but he flowers are tiny. Maybe not enough sun.
    Alan- Oh yes, Alan. I know all about those seeds. Had this one for years. The ones I have growing are in the pathway. I let them stay, which was rather foolish. I thought it was Celosia spicata. Just the common or garden variety. Very tall, at least 6' or more. I will save the seeds of the Spanish flag, although if it reseeds where you live it will do here. I will try to save some seeds of Cardinal vine and let you know when ready to send. Anything interesting for me?
    Katina- These tithonia germinated in summer and are just now blooming. They are in an inappropriate place, of course.
    Lucky you to have the white violet. I don't think it grows quite so big as the purple one, which may be a good thing. Still mine is limited by having to grow back each year.

  9. Everything looks beautiful--I'm always impressed with your photos and garden. I had a seedling celosia early in the year, but it baked during the summer months--nice that your celosia looks so good.

  10. I like your blog, great job
    un saludo

  11. Jealous of anyone with flowers right now. My zinnias faed this week due to cold. Luckily we got our garlic in last weekend(all 240 cloves)

  12. I love the yellow salvia. It's an unexpected color for that group of plants.

  13. I wish I had your success with Ruby Crystals grass. Your flowery beauties are delightful, especially the Philippine violet. I must try that one.

  14. Beautiful Flowers!
    Beautiful Photography!

  15. I like those zinnias in the pot with that grass. What a superb combination. Your whole collection of blooms are really lovely.
    David/ :-)

  16. Spectacular garden. I am so envious. I have a raised potager (that's turned into a flower bed and not so many veggies)and a bed under some oaks in the backyard... hopefully all to be ripped out soon. Your beautiful garden will be my inspiration!