carefree beauty rose

Fall color in the Central Texas garden

The fall color in my garden this week isn’t from autumnal leaves on trees, it’s from a nice 1.5 inch rain last week and a few days and nights of cooler temperatures.

These zinnias have a whole fresh set of flowers.

All the perennials shrubs and wildflowers are flush with blooms.  Not just fall colors – all colors.

The firecracker gomphrena I planted just a month ago is spreading and has made the transplant with flying colors.

I guess the change of seasons is making them happy and giving them some relief.

These wildflowers just popped up in my cutting garden.  They reseeded from somewhere into a mass clump of perky yellow blooms.

My carefree beauty rose is dotted with pretty pink blooms and the deep purple indigo spires make a lovely contrast.


I was surprised to find the Japanese quince in bloom – it must have happened over night when I wasn’t paying attention.

The lackluster purple hyacinth bean vine, which has struggled all summer long – is finally showing off.

The change of seasons makes me happy, too. 

Drought tolerant plants for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day


I had pictures on Bloom Day (on the 15th!) and I had most of the post done, but then … life happened. So, whether it’s the 15th or the 23rd, I still want to write about my garden and share it with you. Besides, things are still the same – no water, that’s for sure. But this morning it was a blissful 66, so hope is on the way.

We’ve had more than 86 days over 100 degrees here in Central Texas this summer. And we hit an all-time high of 112.

Our gardens are crispy and our arms are tired from dragging around hoses to hand water while we’re under water restrictions.

Only allowed to use irrigation systems for 1 day a week, before 10 am and after 7 pm, gardening has been more of a challenge than usual.

I’ve spent a lot of my time hand watering all summer long, so I have more blooms than some gardeners. I feel lucky to have had the time to devote to it.

But we do still have blooms and we’re learning more than we ever wanted to know about the true meaning of drought tolerant and xeric.

These Blackfoot Daisies are tough as nails and seem quite content in the heat.

Crape Myrtles are doing ok when they get a little water. Those with American Indian names are the most adapted to our climate.
This Katy Road/Carefree Beauty rose doesn’t seem the least bit concerned about the heat – and she’s providing some shade for the small cutting garden flowers around her.
Lord Baltimore hibiscus really came into his own this year with a profusion of blooms.
Mexican Oregano is thriving in this heat. In fact, I spent an hour cutting this one back as it completely outgrew its space and tried to take over the Sago and the nearby lavendar trailing Lantana.
Can’t kill this Datura either. Tough as nails and out of control.
Another Mexican native, Esperanza (also known as Yellow Bells) is a strong bloomer all summer long. It is outshining the variegated shell ginger interplanted with it.
Well, these Homestead Verbenas are happy, but I have also lost many of them this summer. I planted some in 3 different places at 3 different times since the spring and 6 of them bit the dust. These are well-established and have been in the crushed granite path for at least 3 years. Guess that made all the difference.
Some of the Lantana looked drought tolerant this year and some doesn’t. A few of them never really recovered from last winter’s 19 degrees. They grew some foliage but then just stopped. No more growth and no blooms all summer. Not a one. This “Bandana Cherry Sunrise” is full of blooms.
My photography skills were challenged on this photo — this is Pitcher Sage — a native plant that I got two years ago at the annual Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center sale. It is a stunning shade of blue and blooming its head off! In the same bed as the Lantana shown above and the Liatris below, also from the Wildflower Center sale. They share the bed with two salvia greggii. All of these plants are natives, they are in a space where they get less water than most of my other beds, and look great. There’s a lesson there — hope I’m paying attention!

Hope you have lots of blooms in your garden on this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, hosted each month by Carol of May Dreams Gardens. Happy Bloom Day!

Summer keeps hanging on in the garden…

It’s December 15th, and it’s not beginning to look even a little bit like Christmas here in Central Texas!

Unseasonably warm days have my garden confused.

Many summer plants are still thriving, or even putting on a second bloom.

While we’ve had a few close calls, I haven’t had a real freeze at my house yet this season.

Some plants had a few leaves turn and die but the lowest temperature I have measured is 33F.

I love living here — where we can garden almost 12 months a year. Sometimes that means the plants and I don’t get a long winter’s nap.

Having lived several times in much colder climates, I would like to see a little snow in the winter.

That’s why there are airplanes!

The dogs, Tanner (the tan one!) and Dakota, don’t mind one bit. Indian summer suits them just fine as they enjoy watching me work in the garden.

In the cutting garden, I’ve had these daisies blooming for months.

The Katy Road Carefree Beauty rose is very happy and producing wonderfully fragrant blooms.
Mexican Oregano is flourishing and has bloomed non-stop since the Spring.
The fall-blooming Mexican Mint Marigold, which began blooming in September, is also experiencing a long bloom season. I normally have fewer Fall-blooming plants in the garden, but this year, the Mexican Mint Marigold has had to compete for the spotlight.

This creeping Wegelia perennial groundcover, whose bloom is winding its way through this variegated grass, seems to come into it’s own very late in the summer and doesn’t last long. I’ve seen more growth than ever this year with these warmer days.
My Black and blue salvia was overshadowed by other growing plants this summer and had virtually died back. This brand new shoot came up from the roots a few weeks ago and burst into bloom.
Exotic red blooms cover my Bottle Brush tree, blowing in the breezes above a blue agave.
And, the ever-reliable button mums just keep coming back year after year to put on a big Fall show.

For a garden tour of what’s blooming all over the world, you can visit Carol, at May Dreams Gardens, where she hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of each month.

Bowl full o’ berries…

They tried to hide from me in the garden, but I saw them peeking out from under all that foliage and all those little white flowers!
See them there, being sneaky? But I’m smarter than they are, plus, my mouth was watering looking at those juicy, ripe berries. They’re going to be breakfast tomorrow.
Look at this beautiful variegated leaf on the base of the Eureka lemon tree. It makes me so happy to see the pink tinge on that cream and green leaf. It may be a long road back, but it’s coming right along. I’m going to fertilize it this week, too, to give it a little extra help.
This beauty is on the Carefree Beauty Rose bush – Katy Road. There are buds and blooms all over it.
This profusion of trumpets is my Crossvine that grows on the back fence…
…and way up into the neighboring oak tree! The fence is 6 ft tall, so you can tell how high those vines have climbed.

We’re back!

I’m back to blogging after a few weeks of taking care of family, and what to my wondering eyes should appear?

No, not eight tiny reindeer!
But a slew of new plants and blooms popping out in the garden — back after the winter’s hiatus to show off for me.
Above, a full 3 months ahead of schedule, I have a beautiful blooming Pride of Barbados. Our incredibly mild winter kept it from dying all the way back and so it got a big jump on growth. Which is great with me, because I just love those wispy, exotic blooms.

Caladiums are popping up in the shady beds in between other things.

This tiny Lobelia is a volunteer that decided to grow in the crack on the edge of the steps to the rock bed.
This is a salmon/pink Gladiola that is growing with a cluster of others behind the greenhouse and in the cutting flower bed. It’s the first one to open and I can wait to CUT it!
Here we have a cluster of Larkspur, given to me by MSS of Zanthan Gardens. In spite of my late planting of the seeds, they have proven to be winners and are so pretty — the first seeds to bloom in the cutting garden.
Here is a new bloom on my Carefree Beauty rose, also known as a Katy Road Rose.
Another shot of the amazing and HUGE display of Winecups in the rock path. They are growing so much that they have obliterated the entire pathway! I am happy to step out of their way and into the grass, though my DH thinks it’s quite foolish.
This Sago palm is very excited that it’s spring and that summer is on its way. This male is producing its cones, which are torpedo shaped and produce pollen. In the wild, the male pollen is spread by wind or insects to the female cycads, which produce a cabbage shaped reproductive organ with seeds that receive the pollen. Cool, huh?!

The Mexican Oregano is blooming profusely. It loves our sunny climate.
The black Elephant Ears are happy right now, but they may have to be babied some in the heat of the summer.
I love the orange bloom on this purple canna that showed up this week.
And these daylilies are lining one side of the pool bed with their deep, burgundy, velvety blooms.
Some Esperanza or Yellow Bells, have already been blooming around town, and mine have caught up. But it’s still pretty early for them.
My Rock Rose is showing her pretty flowers, too — next to the Indigo Spires Salvia.
These little Veronicas are growing nicely in their second year.

So, these are all my new friends that are back in the garden this year. So nice to be able to see them while walking around.
And my Mom is home and healing nicely ~~ thanks for your kind thoughts and prayers.