Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Drive around Texas after a fall rain and as like as not you'll see roadsides of rain lilies, Zephranthes ssp and gardens of oxblood lilies, Rhodophiala bifida. Today I had four different kinds of lily open in response to the rain we had last week. The most prolific are the Ox-blood lilies which I have clumps in a couple of places. Many years ago a garden friend offered me some of her bulbs. They were in full flower.  "Just take them home and put them in water, enjoy them in the house and when the flowers die just plant them in the ground" What a forgiving plant which will allow you to dig it up when in full bloom and then enjoy its flowering for days. Come fall, and following a rain you notice a small nub of green peeking through the ground and within a day or two the flower bursts open from a single green stem. Later, when the flowers die two strappy leaves appear and remain until early summer the following year before they disappear. During their dormant time they prefer to be dry. They also prefer to be planted with their bulb tip just above the ground.

Our native rain lily flower, Z. drummondii, comes from a deep rooted bulb. I try to gather the black seeds before they fall because much as they like my my herb garden I would like them to bloom elsewhere.

My pink rain lilies,  Zephyranthes ssp, don't seem to produce seed at all. How I wish they would.

But the yellow ones do, and they now seem to be popping up in different places.

Long stems of liatris open their flowers from the top down. I watched a queen butterfly visit today. She must have forsaken the Gregg's blue mistflower, Eupatorium greggii,  blooming in the back garden.

This year I took out the gray globemallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua, in the potager. Much as I loved its prolific orange blooms it just seemed to clash with the other plants. In its place I planted the more delicate pink variety which drapes over the low wall.

And my native Texas Indian mallow, Aubutilon fruticosum, in the front garden has a similar delicate appearance but velvety leaves.

Temperatures may still be in the 90s but both flowers and gardeners know we have broken the back of summer and we have only fall to look forward to you.
And Rock Rose wishes you a Happy September Bloom Day.

Thanks Carol at Maydreams for hosting Bloom Day for gardeners everywhere.


  1. I always admire the oxblood lilies when I see them in blogs out of Texas and the Southeast but I've never seen the bulbs or the flowers here and just assumed they didn't "do" California. However, I finally looked them up and found that they should grow here so I'll look into getting hold of some. We got rain here early this morning (0.78 inches) so it'll be interesting to see if the rain lilies I planted in spring think that's enough to pop their heads up for. Happy GBBD Jenny!

  2. Gorgeous shots! So far this year I've seen both the oxblood and the pink lilies come up here but no signs of the yellow I planted last year...yet. Fingers crossed it is simply waiting its turn and I'll certainly watch for seeds. I'm always trying to catch seed off the rain lilies that grow out front but the deer like to eat the pods and it is always a race to that finish line...

    Jenny have you gotten viable starts from seed off your native Texas globe mallow? I have what I -think- might be some that is in too much shade (bird planted probably) and it is crawling way out into the street trying for sun. I've gotten a few seed but wasn't sure about propagation. I'd love to hear any wisdom you'd have to offer there.

    Finally - just noticed this - the sweet frock you're wearing in your ID photo really goes well with your Oxblood flowers. Very nicely coordinated with your garden. Have a lovely rest of your week!

  3. Very nice! Those Texas mallows are sweet :)