Hanging onto hot color in the late summer garden

Even though we are well past Labor Day, summer hangs on like a blanket over Central Texas.  Days go by faster, but the heat hadn’t begun to wane until today.

After months without rain, my plants enjoyed an inch of the wet stuff this week – enough to rejuvenate the garden as we head into fall.

 The Pride of Barbados seems to mimic the sun with its hot orange blossoms reaching for the sky.

Jutting out like this, it seems alien-like.

Bursting with color, plants in the  front garden look like they are in a race to see who can grow the fastest, bloom the longest and be the brightest.  Hot time in the city…

Sometimes I am frustrated with the thryallis — it’s definitely a late summer bloomer and occasionally sleeps in after winter.  I think we’re spoiled with our vast array of three season plants.  I’m spoiled – a season and a half just doesn’t seem long enough!

Like its cousin, the red Turk’s cap, this Pam’s pink variety never disappoints in my garden.  In part shade with some morning sun, its delicate hats tip to me in the breeze.

More than 30 different species of Duranta grow in tropical climates.  Mine have been perennials most years, coming back in summer to bloom through the fall.  Only in very frigid winters have I lost them — two failed to come back after the winter of 3 days at 17 degrees.  I have the purple sapphire showers, the alba white and this lavender growing in my garden.

Another stunning tropical, this plumeria started blooming a few weeks ago.  Its scent is sweeter than the yellow flowering varieties I grow, but the color is amazing.

The candlestick tree (cassia alata) towering over other plants in the garden is just now starting to bloom.

The back shade garden brings some hot tropical colors to the party as well.  I have to replant Persian shield every spring, but I couldn’t garden without its color and texture.

While the Moy grande hibiscus is done with its plate-sized flowers, Lord Baltimore is still blooming strong beside the pool.

I know this is the result of my not pruning enough in the spring, but I am thrilled with the weeping form that my crape Myrtle has taken on in front of the cutting garden.

Only allowed on the vegetable garden fence, this cypress vine always perks me up when the veggie garden becomes a towering and crispy mess before the fall garden clean up.

This happy garden blog post brought to you from my favorite morning roost – particularly nice on this cool morning.  What’s blooming in your late summer / early fall garden today?

Tropical plumeria has a sweet surprise in the greenhouse…

If you ask me to envision myself in my happy place, you’ll find me on a beach somewhere, enjoying balmy breezes with a book in one hand and an umbrella drink in the other.

So when the weather warms up, I spend my time creating a similar happy place in my own garden.  Around our pool, I plant things that are lush — some tropical, some native.  The tropicals typically live in very large ceramic pots that overwinter in the greenhouse.

For many years, I’ve been growing plumeria, or frangipani.  I’ve been given some by my parents, who brought them back from Hawaii, and from friends who have passed along pieces of theirs.

And, I’ve bought a few at the annual Zilker Garden fest from a vendor that has has an array of exotic plants that I am always enticed to bring home with me.

A deciduous shrub, Plumeria spp is a tropical plant native to parts of Central America.  Most of mine are yellow, though I do have one or two pink varieties.  The yellow blooms fill the air with the most amazing lemony goodness. 

Mine are all still in the greenhouse, thanks to our late cold spells.  While I was watering in there this afternoon, I discovered two giant seed pods.  I haven’t seen them forming because this pot is in the very back corner of the greenhouse and I have to step up on some step stones to even see it.  They are the two elongated brownish pods going to the left and up of the main green stalk and then down to the right, cutting the photo diagonally.  Cool, huh?

The plumeria tree blooms in the summer and features waxy, showy flowers consisting of five petals in a funnel shape. When the flowers begin to wither, they are replaced by long, slender fruit. A nonedible seedpod, the plumeria fruit reaches lengths of between 6 to 12 inches. So, I must have had a bloom in the greenhouse over the winter that I didn’t see and now … voila!

You can propagate a new plumeria tree from seeds stored in the ripened fruit. It takes 9 to 10 months for the seedpods to fully ripen.  Then you can pull  them from the tree and harvest the seeds.

So, if you think you’re in the market for some plumeria seeds in about 7 – 8 months, leave me a comment here!

Early freeze means plants need TLC today…

Our first freeze here in Austin is usually the first week in December, so we are ahead of schedule today, with a freeze warning for the next two nights.

After a month of delicious rains, Austin gardeners are beaming with the resulting bursts of bloom and growth. 

But that’s about to come to a screeching halt if the weather forecasters are right.  The outlying areas of the Hill Country will certainly see a freeze, but Austin proper temps are usually a little warmer.  We’ll see.

Unlike most years, I got my plants into the greenhouse in time.

I’m still taking cuttings from tender plants throughout the garden, so space is filling in quickly.  I will admit that a few large pots/plants just didn’t make the cut this year so I could have room to walk into the greenhouse and to reach the ceiling windows in the back.

Many of the plants got a good clean up and a haircut.  A few of the plumerias that were towering over me were pruned to fit and the new stalks planted up in smaller pots.  After the heat of our dry and blistering summer, I get weary of potted plant care – every single day.  The cooler temps were invigorating and it was really fun to have my hands in the soil again.

The temperatures are dropping through the day today as the cold front hits.  I’ll turn the heater on late afternoon and keep them toasty warm through the night.

They look cozy in there together, don’t they? 

Now I just have to cover the peppers, pick the tomatoes and the basil, take more cuttings and water.

Guess I only thought I was ahead of the game!

Are you ready for winter?

By | 2016-04-14T02:39:28+00:00 November 12th, 2013|Blog, freeze, greenhouse, plumeria, pots, Sharing Nature's Garden, winter|0 Comments

Drought tolerant plants are beautiful summer bloomers…

The scorching heat has the humans in the garden working really hard to keep plants hydrated in this terrible drought. And for the most part, all the extra hand-watering (prompted by water restrictions and astronomical water bills) is paying off.
Yesterday was Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, the monthly communal gathering of garden bloggers around the globe and the brain child of Carol of May Dreams Gardens . To celebrate, there were many happy plants showing off in my garden.

This stunning Blackberry lily above, Belamcanda chinensis, is in full bloom. In spite of its name, it is neither a blackberry or a lily. It’s actually in the iris family. It is hardy in zones 5-10 and is a native to Japan and China. This is the first bloom of this plant for me and I’m going to have to have some more. The stalks hold many blooms, and the flowers are about an inch across.

My carefully-planted zinnias did come up – unfortunately they did not come up in the neat little circle of space in which I planted them! They’re coming up in the middle of many neat clusters of other, existing plants! It’s ok – they make me happy.
The double purple Datura is coming into its own this year for the first time. It’s swirling multi-colored blooms look so exotic.
One of our favorite native drought-tolerant plants here in Central Texas, the Blackfoot Daisy, loves the heat and all the abuse we can give it. We’re being very giving this year.
The monstrous Coral Trumpet vine is in full bloom. It wants to grow everywhere, and in spite of the fact that I have to prune it as it pops up 100 feet away from the main plant, it’s beautiful climbing up the fence.
The cannas are all blooming. The grasshoppers are having lunch on the bottom leaves, but they haven’t done too much damage.
This Clematis (I can’t remember the variety) with its bell-shaped flowers looks delicate, but in its 2nd year, it’s holding its own.
The Moy Grande hibiscus with it’s paper-plate-sized blooms has at least a few blooms every day.
The Plumerias in pots on the back patio have been in bloom for a long time. I am actually going to have to water them just a little less. I forget that they can tolerate this heat better than some plants in pots.
This plant – the Medusa hair in my garden statue’s head – was give to me by Lancashire Rose of Rock Rose. I can’t remember its name, either. Giving it a little spritz of water this week I discovered the sweetest little bloom. What a lovely reward. She looked quite different here in last year’s snow.
There are even surprised in the cutting garden. The Larkspur, (seeds given to my by Zanthan Gardens, two years ago) has bloomed profusely for two long springs. And today there is yet another bloom, coming up with the cosmos, just in time to surprise me for bloom day.

Gardening continues, in spite of the heat. Now that my post is up, I can’t wait to to see what’s blooming in other gardens around the world.

Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day~

Got a little garden bling?

I love bling.

I loved bling when bling wasn’t even cool.

Don’t know what I’m going to do when clothing styles change, because I’m taken with the swirls and the sequins and the glitter that are so popular right now.

Then I got to thinking, I like a little bling in my garden, too.

And I don’t mean gazing balls (I’m not so fond of them, actually).

Like this ginger I recently planted — it’s kind of like bling in my garden.

What’s garden bling, you ask?

You know — it’s those one-of-a-kind specimens, the exotic plants or the plants that perform amazingly. The plants you and your gardening friends ooh and ahhh over time after time.

So here is an overview of the plants I think of as bling in my garden. For starters, there’s this Carara Ginger — a tropical perennial with reddish bracts with pale purple to greenish tips. It blooms for several months and like part shade. It’s new to me, and I don’t know if it will do well here, but it called my name at the nursery.

This “Phoebe” hellebore is another delicate favorite that is a shining star in my garden. It never ceases to amaze me that she almost disappears in warm months, but comes back in the cold of winter like a pale princess.
Even though the foliage is less than attractive at times, when it blooms, this Night-blooming Cereus is stunning. Sadly, you have to catch it late at night or first thing in the morning to enjoy its one-night bloom.
The cassia, with their tall, exotic structure and candle-like blooms is always a thriller in the garden. Especially the year before last when they didn’t die back in the winter and grew to be about 12 feet tall in its second season.
Then of course there is the Moy Grande hibiscus — phenomenal blooms as big as plates. On a mid-summer day, there were as many as 12 giant blooms open at once. It’s a real show-stopper.
These irises are really exotic, but I’m so enamored with the color that I eagerly await their bloom every spring. It’s a Louisiana iris, “Professor Neil” and one of my favorites.
The Bletilla Striata, or ground orchids are defnitely bling. Just the thought that I have “orchids” growing in the ground amazes me!

The plumerias definitely are exotics, but they love it here. It’s been a particularly good year for them this year. They’ve liked the extra moisture in the air.
But on the same note, I’ve had to pull this Desert Rose out of the rain many times this summer because I wants to be dry, dry, dry. And it rewarded me with these great blooms.
These? No exotic at all, but the giant patch of wine cup that completely covers my rock path each spring is another jaw dropper. I walk around the path for months, because I can’t bear to cut it back one little bit!
And this ia a perfectly ordinary Wisconsin ditch lily, brought to me in a bucket by car by Lori, the Gardener of Good and Evil . Hemerocalis experts frown at these common ditch lilies, but this amazing plant bloomed for me ALL summer long and at times had a dozen hot tangerine blooms at once.

I had a hard time limiting my choices because there are so many plants in my garden that I think are special. So, these are just a few of my favorite things.

Which plants are the bling in your garden?

Hot blooms in the hot town tonigt…

I know it won’t be summer for quite some time yet, but for those of us living in Central Texas, it’s already here.

Luckily for us, the plants in my garden are happy to see it arrive, and are showing off some of their hot blooms in honor of our hot weather.

Bog sage

This is the passalong I got from The Gardener of Good and Evil‘ — a Wisconsin ditch lily!

My first Plumeria blooms of the season, with a wonderful, heady lemon scent.

This amazing Allium is not a bulb I planted (THEY all died, or rather, they are still dying a slow and hot ugly death!), but this is an onion in my garden whose bloom I didn’t remove!
Need a plant ID on this one. This is one of only a handful of plants left from the original owner. I love it, but have no idea what it is. It’s a BIG shrub – I prune it to 3×3.

A little knockout rose bloom ready to knock our socks off with color.
A little mix of Damianita and trailing Lantana.

The Pitcher Sage I bought LAST spring at the Wildflower Center sale finally grew and bloomed this spring.
This is the Buddleia that I pruned into a small tree shape this week. It looks so much better with a haircut, but it was hard to cut off some of those stunning hot purple blooms.
Everyone should have a little Parika Yarrow – and I got some more today from Robin at GettingGrounded to add into the mix!

Up close and personal with Senorita Rosalita Cleome.

And this delicate little beauty is a Blue Curls, given to me at the last swap by Bob at Gardening at Draco. I cannot get over how sweet this little bloom is, yet the plant is growing fast and hearty as it can be.

It’s so nice when the summer bloomers are young and happy and not yet stressed!