Sunday, March 9, 2014

A SPLASH OF YELLOW IN THE WINTER GARDEN

It's still winter here in central Texas and she let it be known this last week when the nighttime  temperatures plummeted to 20° It was bad news for many of our plants that had leafed out, some already with blooms.


 Here's one plant whose blooms were not affected by the events of that evening, Gopher plant or Euphorbia rigida.
This plant was new to my garden last year and I am thrilled with how it withstood summer heat and a very cold winter. Its long trailing stems seem to be just perfect for trailing over the limestone ledge rocks in the sunken garden.



I already have plans to add more to this garden. Several seedling have shown up in places remote from the original plant.


The milky latex sap found in the stems of euphorbias mean that the plant is not attractive to wildlife, a bonus in a garden where deer visit. It is in my plans to add more outside the walls where deer roam freely.


There are blooms on another unknown Euphorbia species, this one wintered over in the house. The tiny blooms show up like little beacons on the stems.
The Euphorbias comprise a family of over 2000 species, many of which will be recognized in the garden by their milky sap. Known sometimes a spurge most gardeners have one plant in their mind when we say spurge-that terrible spreading or upright summertime weed.


The blossoms of at least one of my agaritas, Mahonia trifoliata, was spared from the freeze. Tucked in a corner of the house and twisting around a live oak tree may just have saved this years berry crop. Because of its extremely prickly foliage it is best grown in wild areas of the garden.


Gerbera daisies are not flowers I ever buy, unless tempted by a sale tag. Who could resist a $1 sale tag for really healthy looking plants with many buds hiding in the crown of the leaves. I couldn't. And I was sorely in need of some larger pots to pot up the pepper plants I had bought.
We had just over 1½" rain yesterday and a chill wind is blowing today. I'm not feeling much enthusiasm to go out into the garden today.

21 comments:

  1. Your garden looks so green whole winter, I love it!
    What is the name of that tree in second photo? It looks so amazing and cute.
    Can it survive strong winter(zone 6)?
    I'm looking for a tree to plant in my front yard but it's hard to find one that can survive strong winter, really warm summer and doesn't grow too tall.

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    1. The plant is Yucca rostrata. I believe it to be hardy in zone 6. I bought this about 6 years ago in a 1 gallon pot. It has done very well in this corner of the garden with morning sun. It requires a well drained soil.

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  2. Your Euphorbia is gorgeous. I've never been fond of grey/yellow combination (I like grey with all other colors), but I sure like the Gopher. I especially love that third photo--beautifully framed.

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    1. I am certainly glad I found this one and it is so incredibly hardy. Plant of the moment!

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  3. Beautiful blooms. I think the only time I am a fan of the Agarita is when it is blooming- they are so pretty in bloom and so "mean" otherwise- yes best in the wild areas of the garden for sure!!

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    1. Mean is right. Mine are all in the wild areas and they seem not to mind being under the shade of trees, although I do have one in full sun. It is more bush like, the others have long reaching stems.

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  4. I planted a Gopher recently. The deer have left it alone, so far. Never know what they'll chomp.
    I had a little Agarita volunteer come up, in my wheelbarrow planter. I moved it to the fenced yard. It's out of the way, and I hope it does ok. I've noticed the ones growing in shade around here, don't get very big. That will be a good thing where I put it.
    Your garden does look good...even with this crazy weather.
    Stay warm...

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    1. I have some pretty big ones in the shade of live oaks and they are quite big. However, they could be very old.

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  5. I'm thinking i will have to try gopher plant soon. it has really grown on me over the past few years.

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    1. Do make sure it has a place to send its very long stems. You want to see those flowers.

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  6. You have such a lovely garden! I absolutely love the gorgeous rocks in there. Don't forget when taking your succulents out of your house to give them light slowly. Water also! Can't wait to see how they did. And I sure hope your cold is over! Geez 20's!!! Yikes!

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    1. Thank you for the reminder. Yes, I do need to be reminded in the rush to put them in their summer places. Most only get morning sun but the Texas sun is very strong.

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  7. I added gopher plant to my garden last year as well. I really love it! It seems to be able to grow in places where other plants have failed to thrive. I'll definitely be adding more gopher plant to my garden. I haven't seen any volunteer seedlings yet, but I'm wondering if those flopping stems root to the ground or can be snipped as cuttings; do you know?

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    1. It does seem to be undemanding and I am beginning to like that more and more. I had 6 seedlings this year. Not sure about the cuttings. Maybe I'll try experimenting with pegging one down and see what happens.

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  8. You always have such alluring photos, Jen. So alluring in fact I went out and bought two gopher plants all my own to jazz up my own spaces this time of year. Now I must decide where to place them and then keep fingers crossed they are happy enough to procreate as yours have.

    We got hail along with our rain as well but thankfully the bluebonnets weren't harmed. I am SO ready for all the cold to leave us, but fear I'll be kicking myself for being in such a hurry once we hit day after day of hot-dry-nothing but sun territory. It feels like I'm so often looking for some weather other than what we have!

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    1. I am beginning to wonder if we got some hail too because I noticed some markings on my grandfather's pipe that were not there last week. I am sure you will love the gopher plants as much as I do.

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  9. What I learned in college, is how Spring is not a season, but winter decreasing and summer increasing. Your Euphorbia and Mahonia look great to have, as they show what takes "spring" in stride! The limestone chunks around your yucca are a hoot...truly Swiss cheese w/ those holes.

    Looks great to me...and 1-1/2 of rain is well-deserved...0 here.

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  10. Hello,
    Is the taller plant behind the gopher plant in picture #2 weeping sotol?

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  11. I learn something every visit here. Looks like most of our agarita blooms made it through the cold too. They perfume our back bird-feeding area. The vanilla fragrance always makes me want to come in and bake cookies. Hoping for enough rain to make berries again this year. The cardinals and mocking birds love them.

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  12. I am still surprised when I see species of Mahonia that are native to places that are normally hot and dry. I always associate them with the cool and rainy northwest.

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