Tuesday, September 25, 2018


I have often mentioned how red was my least favorite color among garden flowers. But there are beginning to be more and more times when I eat my own words, and that time is now. Sometimes red gives that little pop of color which just brings the whole garden to life.

Whereas spring in the front courtyard is mainly about the blues, whites and yellows, fall is mainly about the the varied greens of the grasses and other textured plants. The salvia, Salvia greggii, dormant all summer, spring into life. One of those straggly plants that every year I think of removing until now. Here, straggly looks better than bushy as their arching branches reach over the rocks.

In another corner of this garden the same is true of the firecracker fern. I have seen magnificent displays of this plant when grown in good soil but mine stays rather short and retiring until rain and cooler temperatures bring out the bloom.

Under the shade of the Lady Banks rose, dormant all summer, the shy and retiring Oxblood lilies, Rhodophiala bifida, respond to a good soaking rain by sending up their naked blooms. And what a show they put on this year.

And in the back garden there are the annual strawberry gomphrena, Gomphrena globosa and spider zinnia, Zinnia tenuifolia, and they are red too. Although they usually reseed each year I still save save seeds just in case we have an unusually hard winter.

Another red flowering plant that will be moved into the garage for winter is the Japanes Lantern hibiscus, Hibiscus schizopetalus. It is certainly worthy of a home in the entry garden, if only for its exotic frilled bloom.

Look how deep the color is on the blanket flower, Gaillardia pulchella. Cooler nights are responsible for the depth of color. All flowers seem to take on more color during the fall.

Yes. Red is good.


  1. I'm always conflicted about red as well.I made an area around and about my Lobelia tupa (my red gateway drug) where I plant reds and purples and yellows-jewell tones.After avoiding red for so many years I really enjoy this small but colorful corner of my garden.

  2. Reds seem to fit dryer, sunnier environments. I eschewed them in my former garden but they've slowly crept into my current garden. I love all yours but the Hibiscus in particular makes my heart sing. I saw it in a catalog recently but haven't made the plunge as my ability to grow it in this climate is questionable.

  3. Very pretty reds!

    Happy Fall ~ FlowerLady

  4. Those pops of red are gorgeous! What a little (lot) of rain can call forth...

  5. I love red for accents in my garden as well. I learned more about red flowering plants from your post. Your pictures are as beautiful as always. Can you tell me what the clumps of grass in the first pictures are? I like to add them to my cactus garden.

    1. The grass is Melinis neviglumis, ruby crystal grass. I love it because it does really well in poor soils and puts on a beautiful display of pink seed heads in the spring and fall. Never any need to water. A little weedy but easy to pull.

  6. I feel the same way as you about the greggii salvias and this time of year always wish I'd suffered through their presence all summer for the fall bloom. I'm nursing a cutting of a peach-colored russelia -- so I guess I'm not a huge fan of red either! But among the stone and blue succulents it looks fantastic in your garden.

  7. Oh yes, this is lovely! No matter what you do, Rose, it will be delightful in your garden. What a special place! I love what you said about admitting to changing your mind. That is happening to me, too. Plants that were of marginal interest to me in the past are becoming favorites. And plants that I didn't think I could grow in my shady place are finding little patches of sun. Gardening is a fun, never-ending experiment, isn't it?

  8. I love red i the garden (and other places), but I can understand how it isn't for everyone. Your Japanese Lantern hibiscus is beautiful as are the rest of your pops of red.

  9. With similar thoughts I had noticed this red trend in my own garden recently. I tried to avoid reds in the garden but there are so many great red blooming plants for our climate. I've decided to ignore the visual cacophony with pink, purple and lavender blooms. Your reds look great against the background of mostly green and silver foliage.