Saturday, September 27, 2014


It has been a wonderful week where night temperatures dipped below 70° and day time highs barely touched the 90s. But summer isn't done with us yet as warmer temperatures are promised next week.

Cooler night time temperatures return color to the garden, with new blooms opening on the Salvia greggii. It isn't called Autumn sage for no reason. Clouds of pink and white gaura are a magnet for the bees.

Lindheimer senna, Senna lindheimeriana brings splashes of yellow to the landscape and the hanging pods assure us of an annual display. This is one plant the deer never touch so it is a great plant to have outside the walls. It has, however, found its way inside the walls adding a splash of late summer color to a mainly green landscape.

Sometimes I think a plant is about to die because the foliage has yellowed but then rain brings a fresh infusion and cooler nights bring back the green color to the leaves. It is almost the opposite of what happens in the spring when leaves are yellow because of the cold. This always happens on the hollies and columbines.

In the sunken garden flowering blackfoot daisies Melampodium leucanthum, have been growing quietly from seeds of the previous winter. They seem comfortable growing among the pink crystal grass, Melinus nerviglumis. Soon it will be their turn to fill the garden with pink seedheads.

This wouldn't be a Texas garden without the yellow blooms on the zexmenia, Wedelia hispida. Yes, it may like to take over the garden but when one grows in the perfect spot it is so worthwhile. Here paired with artichoke agave, Agave parryi 'truncata'
Did you experience a garden surprise this week? I had three. The first was the bloom of Lycoris radiata. 

Then the first flower on my pale pavonia, pale rock rose, Pavonia hastata, a passalong seedling from Diana at Sharing Nature's Garden. Although not a native it will be welcome unless it proves to be invasive. How could Rock Rose not love another member of the mallow family.

And two days ago this monster moth on the mail box. A giant female silk moth, Antheraea polyphemus. What a beauty she is and a first for my garden despite being found in all the states from Canada to Mexico. She has a short life and her only job is to find a mate.

We may never give us the fall color as found in the northern climates but we welcome the explosion of color in our Southern fall.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


When the high temperature for the day drops into the 80s then gardeners in the south know that the back of summer is broken and fall is on the way. The message also comes from fall blooming plants; those that respond to shortening daylight length.
The first blooms on the Philippine Violet, Barleria cristata, appeared this week.

It will be in direct competition with another purple bloomer, Mexican bush sage, Salvia leucantha. Salvia leucantha is a favorite of the hummingbirds as they begin their long migration across the Gulf of Mexico to Venezuela.

Another purple fall bloomer is the Fall obedient plant, Physostegia virginiana, although I have never found it to be particularly obedient.

With cooling temperatures came torrential rain, 8" overnight in my garden. A sure signal that the Oxblood lilies will push up through the soil within a few days. And here they are.

If my garden is anything to go by it is going to be a bumper season for the blubonnets. I have never seen such germination. The ground is literally heaving.

And heavy rains carried many of the seeds to the edges of the garden.

I rescued these from a watery grave this morning but there is no way I can salvage those above.

I have other seeds to manage. Earlier this year I received a bag of trial seeds from American Meadows. I chose the dry wildflower mix. In Central Texas we sow hardy annual seeds int he fall so that is my plan over the next week. They will find a home in spots where wildflowers are lacking. I doubt they could compete with the bluebonnets.

They also sent some packets of vegetables, carrots and lettuce. It will be interesting to see how their sugar snap peas compare with my favorite Cascadia. I have planted this pea for years and it never fails to produce the most incredible crop. The pod can be eaten from the snap stage to full pea stage.

Coupled with my left-over seeds and collected seeds from last year, I have my work cut out. However, cooler days will mean more hours in the garden.

There is no rest for the Southern gardener.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


The occasion was the naming ceremony for our newest granddaughter.

You probably know that I like to look for garden 'stuff' at garage sales. So after the event we were driving back to our son's home when we passed a garage sale, and of course I couldn't resist. I trotted down the driveway in my sari and the reward was.....

4 pretty glass balls for my stock tank. It was in need of a little pizazz to go along with the floating islands. And the bonus was they were in a large pewter bowl. I was too busy looking at the glass balls and the $2 price tag, to examine the dirty old bowl, but when I looked later I saw it said Nambe. What a find.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


This is a play on the words spoken by the Peter Gibbs at the start of Gardeners' Question Time, only he says 'You'll be back to the garden in 45 minutes' As we left on our recent vacation I turned and looked at the garden and spoke similar words. It has been exactly 45 days since we left.

We have traveled 7500 miles but I am so glad to be home, even if my garden did have some unwelcoming surprises for me. Overgrowth, weeds, stock tanks down 18" dead plants. Whereas I would normally welcome the drizzle and colder temperatures that awaited us it certainly did not enhance the garden image. I began pulling out all manner of vegetation mostly from the overgrown vegetable garden. By the end of the week those beds should be clear and ready for new plantings. In the meantime I am enjoying the clashing colors of the gomphrena and spider zinnias.

I am hoping that the recent rain after an August without will bring back the plants in the sunken garden back into flower. For now I must be content with the zexmenia, Wedelia texana.

And the morning show of the chocolate daisy, Berlandiera lyrata.

Here is a surprise, a Hinckley columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha.

This tangle of pink gaura is a favorite of the bees.

I see liatris blooming along the roadsides and it's blooming in my garden too. A welcome flower in the fall garden.

and the Lindheimer senna, Senna lindhemeriana dotted around in the front courtyard.

I have yet to look forward to the first of the Oxblood lily blooms, the Copper canyon daisy and a host of yellow blooming daisies. Soon they will arrive.