Thursday, August 18, 2016


Three weeks ago, when I returned from vacation, I moved all my cactus and succulents under cover. Temperatures were at 100º or close to every day. Even cactus don't like our afternoon Texas heat.

A little morning sun suits them just fine and that place happens to be on the patio. Some of the other plants in the front, where there is no shade, I covered with shade cloth.

At this time of year I certainly envy those who have filtered sun through their live oak trees. There is little of that here. Of course we expect such heat in August. What we don't expect is for it to be followed by a week of endless rain amounting to over 12" in some places. Over a 4 day period my garden had nearly 11" Now we are drowning. Rainy day visitors are showing up. Some of them are welcome others are not.

Of course we all expect rain lilies after a rain event and sure enough they arrived within days. I have lots of the white ones, and the pink ones, Zephyranthes labufarosa series, looking a little bedraggled after this last rain. This is a hybrid of Z. grandiflora and does not produce seeds.

 Today a new one appeared in the garden. This yellow rain lily with a burnt orange center is Texas copper lily, Habranthus tubispathus var. texensis. Where did it come from, I wonder?

I think it is so much more striking than the pale yellow Zephyranthes

I only have one clump of pink rain lilies but they have been outstanding this year, blooming 4 times over the last few weeks.
But an even bigger surprise today as I found a another of my daylilies blooming. This one behind the pool hiding among the bent stems of cone flowers.

There are other day lilies blooming too.

But by far the biggest surprise this year is the arrival of a Mexican red bird of paradise, Caesalpinia pulcherrima. The seedling appeared last year and I was not sure of its identity so left it. It disappeared over the winter but began to grow again. When a flower bud began to develop I felt pretty sure that it was a bird of paradise. Today it opened its first flower. The sad thing is that it is growing in a narrow strip alongside the pool. I can't afford for it to get much bigger.

It is in good company with the gomphrenas growing alongside. They too have grown enormously with all the rain.

All the blooms are making for a very colorful August garden.


  1. I love rainlilies and gomphrena; the former I have some success with in pots but gomphrenas have so far not done much of anything in my garden, even from an early sowing inside. Maybe it just takes too long for the weather to get hot here in early summer. Also, I am amazed that the Caesalpinia pulcherrima already flowers in its second year - another plant I would love to grow properly; I have some seedlings of it in pots at the moment but I doubt they will do well as container plants in the long run.

  2. I can't even comprehend getting that much rain in the summertime...

  3. The gomphrena, the copper lily and the bird-of-paradise... WOW!! :)

  4. What a terrific amount of rain--that must have been something to deal with.
    That bird of paradise is gorgeous--so glad you left it alone to see what it was.
    And GORGEOUS seating area. I love the cacti all nestled around the seating area. Beautiful!

  5. That's a LOT of rain! It's more than double what we received all last winter (although that was admittedly a very bad season for SoCal despite the El Nino hype). While I'm sure it brings its challenges, that post-rain freshness must have been nice. And what a bounty of new flowers it delivered! I love those rain lilies. The rain lilies here never seem to respond to irrigation - just real rain.

  6. We had 7 inches of rain in less than a week and I thought that was bad. These rain "events" as they now refer to them are pretty scary. Glad you and your garden survived.

  7. Your Gomphrenas are awesome. I have many succulents on my patio also--just a couple hours of early morning sun is enough for most of them.

    I hope your weather becomes more mild soon. It must be tough to get outside to garden when it is either pouring rain or baking hot.