Thursday, September 30, 2010


We have had rain in September before but I don't recall the plants responding this way.

The blue gilia is in full flower again. A delicate little flower on spindly foliage but it certainly is a tough little plant.

It thrives on nothing but limestone rubble.

The pink oxalis is also blooming again. I was surprised to see it in the upper meadows.

A milkweed hosts two visitors, the monarch caterpillar.

The milkweed assassin bug, Zelus longipes. He's a good guy. Welcome him into the garden to eat aphids and stink bugs.

Desmodium or tick-trefoil is also blooming in the meadow. A welcome plant which, being a legume, will replenish soil nitrogen.
My second sago palm is also putting out a new flush of leaves. I hope they have time to harden off before the cold weather arrives.

Monday, September 27, 2010


It is inevitable that I spend more time in the back of the house. The sunken garden and the vegetable garden demand quite a bit of attention.

The front courtyard garden is less demanding. The dry creek and gravel lend themselves to lots of self sowing and that's just fine with me.

It is also a great place for cactus and succulents as the area is shaded from the hot afternoon sun.

This area in front of the dining room window was redone this spring. Blackfoot daisies almost carpet the area. Hundreds of seedlings appeared in the spring and I just let them be.

In one corner by the seating area I have an artichoke agave surrounded by zexmenia. It is rather aggressive in growth but a shearing now and again keeps it under control.

Now that the temperatures are moderating I think we will be spending more time sitting out enjoying the sounds of water from our repurposed 'lump' of concrete.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


My garden is happy to have made it through another summer. Yes, there have been plant losses but those plants that made it are starting to put on fall color.

Salvia greggii is on full flower once again along with huge stands of lantana.

The flowering is just in time for the fall migration of the hummingbirds as they begin their journey to winter homes like Venezuela.

This week we are promised cooler temperatures as a cold front passes through our area.

It will be time to get back into the garden again and prepare for our winter planting season. Time to return to the nurseries and see what tempting offerings they have.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


It was a favorite expression of my father to describe something wonderful. Along with the "bee's knees"

This morning I took a stroll around the garden and exclaimed out aloud on three occasions. First when I saw this plant in flower. It is commonly know as 'cat's whiskers' and in the botanical world as Orthosiphon aristatus. It is a herbaceous perennial but only to zone 9. I will have to take cuttings if I want to keep it over the winter, and I do! Thank you Robin, at Get Grounded, for this passalong. I had completely forgotten about it so my absence from the garden this summer, and any kind of weeding, saved it. I spotted it last week and noticed the development of flower panicles at the end of the stems. I was just waiting to see what the flower looked like as I had no idea what it was. This morning, when I saw the flowers open I knew immediately. I had a grin like a Cheshire cat, even though I'm from Lancashire!

The second surprise came in the cactus pot. I had seen flower buds developing and this morning the first flower opened. This, despite the fact that the cactus itself has gone from an upright form to a prostrate form over the summer. Even after rain it hasn't perked up but it is flowering.

Three years ago I planted several Lycoris radiata bulbs in the English garden. I thought they had disappeared. Nothing until this morning. Only two showed up but I'm thrilled. I must put a marker in the ground so I remember where they are.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I've been taking a week off from gardening as we have visitors from England staying with us. I wonder how many other people take their visitors to the grocery store! Not that Whole Foods is the average grocery store. We popped in there on Friday to pick a couple of 6 packs of different beers and were met with a fantastic pumpkin display. If only the weather was the kind you expect at pumpkin time.

I couldn't decide which ones I liked the best there were so many varieties. To my eyes the plain old orange ones couldn't hold a candle to the others.

We met our friends the first time we were here in Austin in 1968 so they had a good memory of some of the places we visited back then. Mount Bonnell was one. Aside from the view of downtown and Lake Austin the flowers up there took me by surprise. I think recent rains were responsible.

There was a sweet fragrance on the air from the flowers of the shrubby, many branched, Texas kidneywood, Eysenhardtia texana.

Snapdragon vines, Maurandya antirrhiniflora, twining through many of the bushes which grow along the edges of the escarpment.

Dayflowers, Commelina erecta, beneath them.

and of course Texas sage, Leucophyllum frutescens, in all its purple glory.

Amazing how quickly plants respond to the rain.

I was so busy tripping around town that I almost missed my own flowering.

The Texas fishook cactus,

A second flowering took me by surprise. A quick response to the recent rain.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Pam, at Digging, reminds us that the garden isn't just about the flowers. Without foliage there would be no flowers. Some plants only flower after many years so if we are going to enjoy them in the garden then we must be happy with their leaves. Here are a few of my favorites.

My Agave,Bloodspot. I picked this one up in California last year and grow it in a pot just to be sure of controlling its growing conditions.

This is the Manfreda maculosa. If you see something in common between it and 'blood spot' it is because 'bloodspot' is a likely cross between maculosa and A. macroacantha.

Flowering of pink ruby grass will be late this year. This one plant is a hang over from last year but most of the plants are weeks away from flowering. Their foliage is one of the best of the small grasses remaining green with no additional watering.

Grandfather's pipe, Callisia fragrans, was a passalong from Diana, at Sharingnnature's Garden. It was going great guns in the spring and early summer until a wren decided to build its nest in the pot. It was the largest wren nest I have ever seen and resulted in several branches dying and the plant being stunted. when we came home I moved out the nest, watered the plant and it is now on its way to better health. It hangs on the front gate.

This is something that has never happened before. The sago palm is putting on a new set of leaves. It normally puts out only one ring in the spring. It was late this year and now, after the rain, it is putting out more! Strange year.

A combination of sweet potato vines and ornamental pepper in a pot. I'm nt noted for my pot culture but this one has worked well.

A few graptopetalum survived the winter and are now in a hanging planter in a shady spot. They will come inside for the winter. Austin weather is not to be trusted.

My wonderful Agave desmettiana X variegata. It wouldn't be my garden without them. My treasures.

Agave augustofolia x variegata, will probably have to come in for the winter.

Finally, what color on the lower leaves of the amaranth. A sure sign that fall is on the way. Please!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Every month Carol at Maydreams invites us to share what is blooming in our gardens. Here's what is blooming in my garden.

The yellows

Lindheimer's senna, Senna lindheimeriana.

Flowery senna, Senna corymbosa.

Retama, Jerusalem thorn, Parkinsonia aculeata.

Maximillian sunflower, Helianthus maximiliani.

The purples and blues

Greg's mistflower, Conoclinium greggii.

Mexican bush sage, Salvia leucantha.

Fall obedient plant, Physostegia virginiata.

Texas sage, Leucophyllum frutescens.

Snapdragon vine, Maurandya antirrhiniflora

The reds and oranges.

Red spider zinnia, Zinnia tenuifolia.

Burgundy blanket flower, Gaillardia grandiflora x burgundy.

Globe amaranth, Gomphrena globosa.

Purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea.

The whites

Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum.

Blackfoot daisies, Melampodium leucanthum.

The big mix. Happy bloom day everyone. Go take a look at everyone else's September blooms.