verbena

In a (tiny) Vase on Monday

After an out-of-town trip (only 24 hours), I was missing my garden.  Funny how quickly that happens.

Painful signs of our lack of rain awaited me, but some blooms just won’t be stopped.

I gathered a small handful of stems and put them in a new little vase that jumped into my shopping cart a few weeks ago.

In this vase you’ll find: verbena bonariensis, zinnias, a piece of plum yew, a foxtail fern, a bit of river fern, a piece of primrose Jasmine, and a small stem (not visible in the photo, sadly) of flowering senna.

Just a smattering of sweet blooms can brighten up any room in the house.  Check out more beautiful flowers at the hostess of In a Vase on Monday, Rambling in the Garden,  at https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com .

Happy Monday!

Dazzling color in the spring garden…

We all love the spring garden — the awakening of plants that herald the arrival of spring and provide a foreshadowing of more  to come.

As the sun shifts in the sky and the breezes begin to warm up, I’m enjoying some rejuvenating time in the garden.

I bought these sweet glass daffodils to bring a pop of color into the garden before the daffodils were ready to open up.

The ‘Kate Izzard’ irises are loaded up and several of them are opening every day.  You can tell that I should have divided them last fall, which I fully intended to do, but I seriously need to do that this fall.

Just gorgeous.

Even though traditional tulips aren’t in our Central Texas plant palette, these species tulips, cluisana ‘Lady Jane’ are sweet substitutes in my garden. 

This little patch of phlox disappears entirely in the head of summer, but I can count on it to emerge in spring with loads of little blooms.

My cemetery irises are also popping open all over the garden.  Our winter clearly made the irises happy.

Bluebonnets are covering my decomposed granite path, and even Kallie’s playground filled with pea gravel.  Fletcher enjoys a peaceful moment with them here.

While most of the buds on my monster wisteria were frozen in our last freeze, there are still some opening up and draping delicately from the fence.

And then there is the homestead verbena.  What a powerhouse.  In the cooler spring and fall, they thrive and liven up any spot in the garden.  They will shrivel and look poor in the heat of summer, but just shade your eyes and pretend not to see them until they return again in the fall.  Even though many of our bloomers start now and run through the fall, homestead verbena is well worth it’s little summer break.

Now that the threat of freezing is past (I have my fingers crossed as I type this), it’s time to fill in the rest of the garden with new and exciting plants that will herald the summer.

Early bloomers are putting on a show in the spring garden

Even though it’s only March, it’s already spring here in Central Texas.

After our exceptionally mild winter and welcome rains, the early bloomers are already hard at work in my garden.

In addition to the daffodils I included in my last post, many of the other perennials are already flowering.

This loropetalum is bursting with hot pink fringe-like blooms.

It’s the one I’ve pruned to become a small tree.

These pretty little blooms below called to me at the Natural Gardener last week.

And as soon as I started typing, the name flew out of my head! I’m sure you know just what they are – they aren’t mums, they might be gaillardia.


The wisteria is starting to bloom. Like last year, there is some growth on the back side of the fence, but there are plenty of buds for me to enjoy inside the fence.
I love looking at the Mexican plum tree buds against the pretty blue sky.
The stone wall makes a nice backdrop for the trailing lavender lantana behind the pool.
The hellebores would have preferred a colder winter, but some of them are giving me some blooms — this is ‘winter’s wren.’
The strawberries are blooming their ever-loving heads off! Soon we will be able to eat more than one ripe one at a time. I long for the day when we get a small bowl full.
My absolute favorite low-grower is ‘homestead’ verbena. That bright purple color is just stunning.
All of my blackfoot daisies are back again from last year. You just can’t beat these little guys for drought tolerance.
The alyssum is mounding up all over along the rock path already.

‘May night’ salvia can do great in the garden here, but my luck with them has been hit and miss. I love their low-growing form, but they are hard to get established.
Kallie’s window box is full of little pretties that I got last weekend at the Natural Gardener.
After some slacking last year, many of my irises are showing off for the first time. I don’t know the name of the purple or the white iris, though I believe the white one may be a pass along from Pam of Digging or Annie of The Transplantable Rose.

As always, Fletcher wanted to know what I was doing in the garden with that camera around my neck, so he had to come check out the salvia, too! I’m sure he thought there must be something edible in there!

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!

New bed well on its way…

On Friday, many of the plants for the new bed went into their new homes.

I wasn’t able to get several of the things on my list, but I did get most of them, so this is a good start.

And I was able to transplant all of the plants from the preious bed — either to more appropriate spaces to fit the design of the new bed, or into other beds where I had holes.

I’m also very excited that I was able to harvest from my own little volunteer ‘incubator’ of Lamb’s ears. They threw off seed from their blooms and new babies started growing in the playscape gravel next to the cutting garden. More than 20 of them were pulled from the gravel and put into the new bed. If you get out your magnifying glass, you can see them on the lowest level of the bed next to the Blackfoot daisies. The are the silver dots in this photo! What you can’t see just below the Lamb’s ears are several mounding Pink Texas Skullcaps, Skutellaria suffrutescens.

Visible only in this photo in the very back is my transplanted Butterfly Bush, Buddleja, which may or may not be ‘Black Knight.’ It is a deep royal purple and very vibrant. (In the process of researching the botanical name for my variety, I learned that is isn’t spelled Buddleia, which is how I’ve always spelled it, but Buddleja. Saw it first on Wikipedia and didn’t trust them as a horticultural resource, but then I confirmed it with Dave’s Garden, which I do trust! Thought that was interesting trivia.) Around the base of it, I transplanted several Lantana montevidensis, ‘Trailing Purple.’

The pinkish grass is Fireworks Purple Foutain Grass – Pennisetum rubrum ‘Fireworks.’ Next to it, Silver Ponyfoot, Dichondra argentea.

Up here is Artemesia powis castle which I hope will spill over the wall to mix with Blue Velvet Trailing Verbena, Verbena hybrida.
Obstructing your new here is a stick-like native persimmon. I was going to take it out, but I may prune it a bit and look at it for a while to see if it will fit in and can stay. Look closely behind it and you will see a Salvia GreggiiHot pink.’ Next to it are three Daimianita daisies, Chrysactinia mexicana. You can see them better below. Then on the lower level, almost out of sight, are 5 gray Santolinas, Santolina chamaecyarissus.

On the upper level there are three Euryops chrysanthemoides with some Sweet Potato vines Ipomoea batatas to surround it and trail down the wall around the Salvia Mesa ‘purple‘ and the Mexican Feather grasses Nasella tenuissima. Blackfoot daisies and Lamb’s ears in foreground. To the left of the Euryops will be a large blue Agave, a small boulder and some ground cover of Purple Wine Cups.

So, that’s it so far. I’m quite happy with this very xeric bed. Still searching for Mexican Oregano, LARGE Blue Agave, Color guard yucca, and a Queen Victoria agave or something similar with the upright form and strings! And another ground cover.

Zilker Garden Fest

I had a delightful day yesterday with my parents at the Zilker Garden Festival. It’s the plant event of the year in Austin, and my favorite thing to do. We’ve been going for at least 20 years and I never tire of it.

Vendors come from all around to sell plants and pottery and garden art and other crafts. There is a kid’s corner and music and food and it’s just the most wonderful time.

I filled my wagon this time (I usually do) and am so pleased with the interesting things I found:

Ming Fern
3 Homestead Verbena
2 sedums – 1 variegated no-name and 1 pulchellum Sea Star
1 Mock Orange Philadelphus coronarius
1 spotted Bromeliad
1 Dragon Tongue Bean
2 bags of Tulipa Clusiana bulbs (gave one to my Mom and Dad)
1 Aloifolia Yucca (pink and lime green variegated)

I like to buy unusual things at ZilkerFest, because the nursery vendors tend to bring their best or most interesting specimens to show.

Today I planted bluebonnets, 3 tomatoes, 1 pimiento pepper, horseradish, chamomile, and my Space saver cucumber seedlings. I also planted two passalong Baby Blue Eyes that Bob at Draco Gardens brought to the Design A Go Go.

I still have some Society Garlics from my friend to passalong for any Austin area gardeners who need some. Let me know if you want some!

Another beautiful day is on tap for tomorrow … wonder what trouble I can get into the garden tomorrow? Do you have garden plans for Tuesday? Or the rest of the week?