Saturday, September 5, 2015


My garden has got the blues. Cape plumbago, Plumbago auriculata, on the left and Leadwort plumbago, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, on the right. They happily share the same spot in a morning sun because they have different growing habits. Cape plumbago stands a couple of feet tall and leadwort is a ground cover spreading by underground rhizomes. I love them both because they bloom at the hottest time of the year. Both of them disappear over the winter and their place is taken by the Heart-leaf skullcap. When that dies down in late spring the plumbagos take over. Over the winter a Yucca rostrata towers over the area.

But I shall have to admit that I have been feeling a little blue of late. It 's been a horrible year for my garden. First horrendous hail followed by endless rains and now no rain in July and just an unmeasurable amount in August. Twice recently there has been a threat of rain and a brief shower one time may have washed a little dust off the leaves. But with that cold front came a change in barometric pressure and that is pure magic. The first to bloom is the Texas sage, Leucophyllum frutescens. Sometimes called the barometer bush, a title well deserved.

The pink one is growing outside the walls where it gets no irrigation. It was a seedling from ones I had at the front of the house; long gone because they didn't get enough sun to bloom. But then I have a white one in the front garden , not as showy as the pink/purple but pairing well with another fall bloomer, Salvia leucantha, which is just starting to bloom. You don't see the white ones very often and this one came from Vivero Gardens.

The change in pressure also caused a blooming of rain lilies and today a cactus is blooming. My Texas Fishhook cactus, has four gorgeous blooms. Now what could dispel a gardener's blues faster than a blooming cactus.

Or maybe it would be the Texas clematis, Clematis texensis, Princess Diana. Just blooming all summer long. This one, which I purchased in the fall to replace a Confederate jasmine, was sheltered from the spring hailstorm by the potted citrus.

If only all my citrus were doing as well as the Calamondin. It lost all its fruit and flowers in the hail but bloomed again and is now filled with ripening fruit as well as a few sweetly scented blooms. It should be loaded with tiny orange fruits by Chinese New Year in February. Grow this as an ornamental bringing in to the house in winter and it will be sure to chase away any winter blues.

If, at the start of the week, I said I was going to give up gardening then the garden gods made sure that I had changed my mind my the weekend.


  1. You are looking on the bright side and finding the best performers which are all looking wonderful. The clematis is just gorgeous and your Salvia leucantha pairs beautifully with the white sage.

  2. I'm sorry about the garden problems this year--my garden looks AWFUL--but what beautiful hail and drought survivors. Thank you for the tip on leadwort plumbago--I've had my hands on it a few times and then didn't get. Will add to the spring list for sure!

  3. I'm glad your beautiful blooms have seen you through the blues. I think the blues are hard to avoid, especially this time of year when the cumulative impact of the weather woes often leave gardens at their worst. In my own case, I've over-achieved on my drought-related water savings but left dead plants all about the garden. However, with visitors arriving soon to see the garden, I'm closing my eyes, digging in (literally), and trying my best to start a new chapter. I hope the recent change in your weather is the start of a new chapter for you too.

  4. I don't think I've ever seen a white sage before seeing yours. Gorgeous! There's a reason Cenizo/Texas Sage is mentioned in song lyrics about our state (The sage in bloom, is like perfume, deep in the heart of Texas). I can't say I've noticed a strong scent from the ones here, but it took a dozen Datura flowers before I could smell them so either something at our place discourages scent in flowers or (more likely) my nose is broken.

    I put in a couple of leadwort plumbago last year and had just about given up on them blooming again but as you note - they do wait to bloom, heat notwithstanding. I think their deep blue flowers are about the prettiest thing going this time of year. Do yours spread very rapidly? I'm not sure mine have done anything other than hang tough, but that is gracious plenty this year's weather considered.

    Except for your citrus it looks like it is the native Texas plants that are serving you well despite our horrible awful year so far. I'm taking that to heart and looking to fill gaps here (IF it ever really cools off again) with native plants. Bring it, Texas weather, plants may come and plants may go but gardeners are made of stern stuff!

  5. I had never heard of the Texas sage but it looks really great!

  6. The white Texas Sage might be my favorites - I see lavender and purples so much. Never had any luck with leadworts, but they hung on...except in the gardens I designed where people overwatered...there, they thrived!

  7. I do so love your blog. I was looking through some of your older post trying to find the one with pictures of your whole yard. I wanted to show my you know which one that is? We are having to redo our shade garden to a sun garden (Dallas) because of the loss of three huge, very old hackberry trees. Looking to do a more southwest vibe in it and yours is just gorgeous!

    1. back in April I posed a walk around the garden. You can find it here