Monday, February 18, 2019


Do you have a flower that has a strong memory link to your past? I do. Mine is the anemone.

It is rather a strange memory. It was my last year in high school and I was taking the A level botany exam. As part of the practical exam we had to identify a flower using the Flora. I don't know if they still have floras today but this was book in which you could trace the identity of a plant by identifying all the parts of the flower. Each identifying feature would take you to another page and more choices. Eventually you arrived at what you hoped was the correct ID. We were all rather fearful of what we would get, having just been presented the cross section of an elephants trunk and a dormouse in the previous Zoology practical exam.

The good news was there was a flower I immediately recognized at each place, the anemone. I still had to trace the id but at least I would know if I had done it correctly. I even remember my flower was purple.

The flower above is from a bag tubers I planted in pots in the fall. Not the prettiest of colors but still the first bloom to open and to once again trigger that 56 year old  memory.

Here in Texas the first flowers of the New Year are almost always the native Texas anemones, Anemone berlandieri, more commonly called windflowers because they open on windy days. They usually arrive singly and are white or shades of pink and purple. This was the first time I had seen clump. Those would be perfect in my rock garden if only I could get them to clump.

Anemone berlandieri
Of course the prettiest are the purples and pinks although it is not the petals that have color but the sepals.

These flower will enjoy center stage for a few weeks. As the flowers fade the center cone grows upwards into a thimble shape until the fluffy seeds mature and are blown away on the wind.

Saturday, February 9, 2019


Since moving to Texas, with barely any down time for gardening outdoors, indoor gardening has slipped to a minimum, too difficult to take care of during long periods of travel. But as I look around the house on this rather miserable, chilly day I am surprised by how many plants I do have. Of course they are plants brought inside for the winter but the bonus is many are flowering.

This cane begonia, Begonia 'Matchmaker' is a cutting from a plant that Gardeners' Supply used when filming here two years ago.

I asked them if I could have a leaf from the plant and they generously left me the whole plant. The mother plant is in a large pot which I will prune well when safe enough to leave outside for the summer. I took two stem cuttings from the plant last year and rooted them in water. This is the first one to flower.

The leaves have this characteristic speckled appearance as well as the angel wing shape and their stem resembles bamboo, hence classified as a cane begonia.

Another begonia is Begonia erythrophylla, more commonly named beefsteak. A passalong from Julie Marcus at the Wildflower Center.

By contrast its towers are more delicate. The fallen petals lying on the ground are not unlike the wintry mix we have experienced over the last two days.

On Friday I received another passalong, this Euphorbia milii var. Splendens, Crown of Thorns, from a garden friend who is leaving town. The plant comes from Madagascar.

Like its cousins, the poinsettias, the plant requires a certain amount of dark nights in order to flower.
The flowers are easily recognized as those found on many euphorbias.

The stems are thorny, being adapted for water storage, with the leaves dropping as they age.

The plant requires little care as long as it receives a good amount of sun and sparce rainfall. Sounds like a perfect plant to put outside in a rain-sheltered position in my summer garden.