GBBD 200909: Sep 2009

Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites us to tell her what’s blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month.

September 2009

It rained. And rained, and rained, and rained. Between Thursday (9/10) and Sunday (9/12), Zanthan Gardens received over 7 inches of rain. We didn’t get much during the day on Friday (9/11) when it seemed to rain all around Austin but not in the center. But finally it began raining in the early evening and rained on and off all night. Then Saturday between 2:30 and 3:30 in the afternoon it suddenly poured and we got 2.6 inches in just that hour.

The skies remain gray and gloomy, the temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Summer’s grip is broken. Like a woman giving birth, we quickly forget the pain of delivery as we embrace this new life.

So much has died over the summer that my usually floriferous September has very few different kinds of flowers. It’s mostly the bulbs that stay dormant during the heat and only peek out after a rain. I’m starting to think this is the only kind of sensible plant to grow in Austin’s summer.

The rain brought out the rainlilies. I have four kinds, now: two pinks and two whites.

Zephyranthes labuffarosea
Zephyranthes ‘Labuffarosea’, a slightly smaller and paler pink rainlily. A passalong from Annieinaustin @ The Transplantable Rose

This thick-stemmed and thick-petaled white rainlily grows wild in my yard.

This small and more delicate white rainlily is a self-sown newcomer. It opened yesterday and is already beginning to curl its petals and fade today.

Podranea ricasoliana
The Podranea ricasoliana is a rampant vine which smothers everything in its path–but it’s hard to find fault with it when it’s in flower.

Podranea ricasoliana
Especially when the flowers look like this.

Pavonia hastata
Transitioning from the pinks side of the yard to the red side of the yard is the pale pavonia.

Rhodophiala bifida
But there is only one reason to visit my garden in September–oxblood lilies.

Rhodophiala bifida
And more oxblood lilies.

Rhodophiala bifida
And more oxblood lilies. I couldn’t be bothered to do anything else today but lie around looking at them.

Complete List for September

The list of all plants flowering today, September 15th 2009, at Zanthan Gardens. You can compare with GBBD September 2007 which was Austin’s unusually cool and rainy summer. I didn’t do a GBBD post in September 2008 because I was busy with work and the garden had already suffered the effects of the drought, even a year ago.

  • Duranta erecta
  • Hesperaloe parviflora
  • Hibiscus syriacus
  • Lindheimer senna
  • Malvaviscus arboreus
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’
  • Oxalis (purple)
  • Pavonia hastata
  • Plumbago auriculata
  • Podranea ricasoliana
  • Rhodophialia bifida
  • Ruellia, the woody and the viney kind but not the passalong
  • rose ‘Ducher’
  • Tradescantia pallida/Setcreasia (purple heart) both colors
  • water lily
  • widow’s tears/true dayflower–some type of commelina
  • Zephyrathes grandiflora
  • Zephyranthes ‘Labuffarosea’
  • Zephyranthes (tiny white)
  • Zephyranthes (large white)

GBBD 200908: Aug 2009

Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites us to tell her what’s blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month.

August 15, 2009: Just Add Water

Now at day 56 of triple digit temperatures in the hottest summer ever recorded in Austin, I didn’t think I’d have anything to post for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. The yard (no point in calling it a garden at the moment) is mostly dead grass and dirt. For last month’s GBBD, I actually took notes and photos and then didn’t have the energy or desire to write up the post. But here at Zanthan Gardens, we were one of the lucky few in Austin to be a beneficiary of an inch of rain on Wednesday August 12th.

In response, today, the ‘Labuffarosea’ rainlilies that Annie @ The Transplantable Rose gave me bloomed.

I’m taking my cue from the summer bulbs. I’m going to hunker down until the rain and then I’ll be back blooming.

Complete List for August

The list of all plants flowering today, August 15th 2009, at Zanthan Gardens.

  • Antigonon leptopus (2007) (2008) (2009)
  • Duranta erecta (overwintered) (2207) (2008) (2009)
  • Hesperaloe parviflora (2008) (2009)
  • Hibiscus syriacus (2007) (2008) (2009)
  • Lagerstroemia indica ‘Catawba’ (2007) (2009)
  • Malvaviscus arboreus (2007) (2008) (2009)
  • Nierembergia gracilis ‘Starry Eyes’ (2009)
  • Opuntia (2009)
  • Plumbago auriculata (2007) (2008) (2009)
  • Proboscidea louisianica, Devil’s Claw (2009)
  • Ruellia wild woody type (2007) (2008) (2009)
  • waterlily ‘Helvola’ (2008) (2009)
  • Zephyranthes ‘Labuffarosea’ (2009)

It’s interesting looking at my notes from last August–the first year of this beyond critical drought. The duranta and the rose of Sharon were surprising me with their toughness then too. The red yucca and turk’s cap had flowers but were worn and ratty looking. The nierembergia, the devil’s claw, and the cactus are new this year but toughing out the heat with supplemental water (well, I don’t water the cactus but it’s blooming anyway–in fact, better this year than it ever has.)

GBBD 200906: June 2009

Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites us to tell her what’s blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month.

June 15, 2009

The good news this June is that Austin got rain last Thursday. Almost 2 inches of rain fell at Zanthan Gardens. Other Austinites were not as lucky and had to contend with hail, power outages, broken windows, and funnel clouds. The bad news is that Austin is already experiencing 100°F temperatures. To put it in perspective, we are almost 15 degrees hotter than Las Vegas. Back in the 20th Century (“I remember…” she said, waving her cane in his face), June was a fairly pleasant month in Austin. We’d get lots of rainfall (June was our third wettest month.) Temperatures typically didn’t start soaring into the 100s until late July or August. Then we’d have only six to eight weeks of misery to get through until the hurricanes brought rain just as school started.

Apparently the new norm for the 21s Century is to start being miserable around Mother’s Day and continue until Halloween.

Zanthan Gardens

This photo is misleading. Taken a couple of days after the rain, what’s left of the lawn has perked up. (There is no lawn in the front yard anymore–just bare dirt until I can do something with it.) Everything looks refreshingly green. The whole reality is that it’s 100°F and feels like a jungle. You daren’t stand in the sun. The only a spot of color is from the small clumps sunflowers and purple coneflowers at the fence. In the center of the picture is section of the yard I’m filling with the 12 cubic yards of dirt I bought last week. It will be a terrace to connect the back porch with the garden house.

New for June

Every year when the spring flowers die down I think it would be nice to have something to extend the season. If we have a normal rainy June (like 2007), then it’s wonderful. But if we have a hot, dry June (like 2006, 2008, 2009), then I find it’s far more trouble than it’s worth during the season when I’m busy cleaning up the spring garden and feeding, cutting back, and mulching the shrubs and trees.


This year I tried zinnias again. I bought two packets of seed: a red and white striped one from Select Seeds, ‘Peppermint Stick’ and a pure white one from Renee’s Gardens, ‘Polar Bear’. The ‘Polar Bear’ gets only morning sun, looks healthier, but hasn’t bloomed yet. The ‘Peppermint Stick’ is in a less established bed (that means the dirt isn’t as good), gets full sun, and has put out two flowers. The first was red and white like a peppermint stick.

This is the second one. I hate this color.
Zinnia elegans Peppermint Stick
Zinnia elegans ‘Peppermint Stick’


I had better luck with the sunflowers. I bought two packets from Renee’s Gardens, ‘Van Gogh’ and ‘Chocolate Cherry’. I planted them both in my seed starting bed on April 9, 2009. I was able to transplant the ‘Van Gogh’ out and they did really well. The ‘Chocolate Cherry’ were smaller seeds and smaller plants. They got leggy in the shade before I could get them transplanted. They didn’t survive my trip to San Francisco in the last week of May.


Carol at May Dreams Gardens sent me a packet of white marigolds, ‘Kilimanjaro’. All of the seeds sprouted but half of them damped off. A dozen survived for me to transplant then half of those were felled by pillbugs. I have five plants left and I’m still waiting anxiously for them to flower.


I also tried out Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Psyche White’ and ‘Rose Bon Bon’. I planted both in the meadow where they were smothered by the spring plants and didn’t get enough water when they were young. I’m going to have to seed these earlier and transplant them, or start them in their own bed. Or try growing them in the fall. Ditto the Nigella hispanica ‘Bridal Veil’. Actually I planted those in the seed bed in February and they didn’t do much. Same with the Amaranthus caudatus planted in March and the Thunbergia alata which never sprouted at all. The Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ are struggling and haven’t flowered yet.


My favorite summer perennial is plumbago because of it’s cool pale blue flowers. I came close to losing a plant I’ve had since the mid-1990s but, with some extra attention, it seems to be making a comeback and began blooming around the first of June.


I’ve been shearing back the shrubby plants; the coral bean and the Zexmenia are responding with new growth and flowers. I’ve also pruned and fed the roses, the crape myrtles, the vitex, the white mistflower, and the butterfly bush.

Going Strong

Some plants do take the heat and don’t require a lot of water. The oleander is still covered in flowers. The purple coneflowers that Pam/Digging passed along to me are doing much better this second year than last. The coral vine (Antigonon leptopus) is a carefree plant that loves this weather and the bees love it.

Finally there’s this little beauty, which Annie in Austin has tentatively identified as a South African foxglove.
	Proboscidea louisianica

The leaves are gray-blue, furry (like a datura), and the flowers have spots (rather than stripes). Does anyone else have a thought?

Just Let Me Die

The list below might look long but there are a lot of hangers on from spring. The merciful thing to do would be just pull them out. I deadheaded and watered a bluebonnet just to see if I could get it to bloom until today, which it did. It looks pitiful. The few remaining larkspur are just dried flowers in the landscape. I’ve been cutting back the Jerusalem sage which is flopping and wilts every day in the heat. So do the datura and brugmansia. The latter, which Annie in Austin gave me, is blooming but the flowers blast…they don’t have the strength to unfurl. The sweet alyssum, which I sheared back, makes a nice little clump but it’s just barely flowering. I was amazed to see some covered with flowers at The Natural Gardener. Not only do they have drip hoses, excellent soil, and lots of mulch, but someone was watering them with a spray wand. Someone else told me that they water every day and foliar feed the plants once a week.

If that’s what you have to do to get flowers to bloom profusely in 100° heat, well, count me out.

Complete List for June 2009

The list of all plants flowering today, June 15th 2009, at Zanthan Gardens.

  • Abelia grandiflora (2009)
  • Antigonon leptopus (2009)
  • Asclepias curassavica (fading) (2009)
  • Brugmansia (from Annie in Austin, 2 flowers both blasting) (2009)
  • Consolida ambigua (2009)
  • Cosmos sulphureus (2009)
  • Crinum bulbispermum (2009)
  • Duranta erecta (overwintered) (2009)
  • Echinacea purpurea (from Pam/Digging) (2008, 2009)
  • Erythrina herbacea (2009)
  • Helianthus annuus ‘Van Gogh’ (2009)
  • Hesperaloe parviflora (2009)
  • Hibiscus syriacus (2009)
  • Ipomoea tricolor’Flying Saucers’ (2009)
  • Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands) (2009)
  • Lagerstroemia indica ‘Catawba’ (2009)
  • Lantana montevidensis (2009)
  • Lavandula heterophyla ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’ (2009)
  • Lobularia maritima (2009) ‘Tiny Tim’
  • Lupinus texensis (fading) (2009)
  • Malvaviscus arboreus (2009)
  • Meyer lemon (rebloom) (2009)
  • Mirabilis jalapa pink (fading) (2009)
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’ (2009)
  • Nierembergia gracilis ‘Starry Eyes’ (2009)
  • Phlomis lanata (fading) (2009)
  • Plumbago auriculata (2009)
  • Proboscidea louisianica (2009)
  • Retama (2009)
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette’ (2009)
  • rose ‘Ducher’ (2009)
  • rose ‘New Dawn’ (2009)
  • rosemary (2009)
  • Rudbeckia hirta (2009)
  • Ruellia (overwintered) (2009)
  • Ruellia wild woody type (2009)
  • Sedum album (2009)
  • Setcresea (both purple and green) (2009)
  • Zephyranthes grandiflora (2009)
  • Zephyranthes (white) (2009)
  • Zexmenia hispida (from Pam/Digging) (2009)
  • Zinnia elegans ‘Peppermint Stick’ (2009)

GBBD 200905: May 2009

Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites us to tell her what’s blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month.

May 15, 2009

Lupinus texensis
Fading bluebonnets. I’m not going to take photos of all the other dried and withered flowers that are “blooming” today.

Farewell, enchanted April. Hello, withering May. I used to think of May as the calm, deep green month. The meadow flowers had gone to seed but the lawns and more tropical plants burst forth in restful shades of leafy green. May used to be one of Austin’s rainiest months. In the last few years, we keep getting late July weather in early May. My pleasure in the garden has evaporated like the sweat on my brow. I’m already into countdown mode, wondering how many days until the fall rains. (The last two years we haven’t had much in the way of fall rains either.) As the drought continues into it’s third summer, each year finds me threatening to pack my bags and move into a high-rise downtown condo earlier an earlier in the season.

Still there are some pleasures. Two old favorites opened a flower today.

The ever-faithful (and only remaining) LA lily.
LA lily

A gladiolus that I bought many years ago which stopped flowering until today.

And the vitex, which has never bloomed well because of the shade is putting on its earliest and best show ever.
LA lily
Vitex castus-agnus.
The vitex is now out of favor in Austin and considered an invasive plant. Not ten years ago it was being pushed as a wonderful small flowering drought tolerant tree and marketed as “the southern lilac”. (Carol, you can start laughing now.) I guess the marketing ploy demonstrates how desperately northerners miss their lilacs–and with good reason, I understand–but you’d have to really stretch your imagination to consider a vitex any kind of substitute.

There are some other new flowers for May but really this end of the season in my garden. All my focus is on collecting seed and clearing out the meadow annuals and on trying to keep the squirrels off the vegetables. Tomatoes, tomatillos, and yellow wax beans are producing right now. The herb garden is doing well, too. I have the quartet: parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Also French and Spanish lavenders, French tarragon and Mexican mint marigold. However, there’s nothing there to share on GBBD.

Speaking of marigolds. I’m still anxiously awaiting the day that the white marigolds Carol sent me will bloom. Five plants remain from the 24 I started from seed. I’m hoping to see at least one flower.

Between GBBDs

Several flower bloomed and faded in my garden between GBBDs and so didn’t show up in the inventory for either April or May: the bearded iris ‘Incantation’, Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Rose Bon Bon’ (the C. bipinnatus did not do well at all but some C. sulphureus has self-sown), Nigella damascena ‘Mulberry Rose’, and Dutchman’s pipe vine.

There are several flowers that are still blooming but didn’t have flowers today. The rose ‘Mermaid’ opened a flower yesterday and has buds for tomorrow, but none for today. The white mistflower has gone to seed but will bloom again if I cut it back. Ditto for the datura.

Complete List for May

The list of all plants flowering today, May 15th 2009, at Zanthan Gardens. I’ve also noted if the plant was blooming on GBBD May 15th, 2007 or 2008. The list looks long but is misleading. Most plants only have one or a few flowers left.

  • Abelia grandiflora (2009)
  • Antigonon leptopus (2009)
  • Asclepias curassavica (fading) (2007, 2009)
  • Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’ (2009)
  • Boerhavia coccinea (2009)
  • Brugmansia (from Annie in Austin) (2009)
  • Centaurea cyanus ‘Black Magic’ (one faded flower) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Commelinantia anomala (one flower) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Commelina communis (2009)
  • Consolida ambigua (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Coriandrum sativum (2007, 2009)
  • Cosmos sulphureus (2008, 2009)
  • Crinum bulbispermum (2007, 2009)
  • Dahlberg daisy ‘Golden Fleece’ (2009)
  • Duranta erecta (overwintered) (2008, 2009)
  • Echinacea purpurea (from Pam/Digging) (2008, 2009)
  • Engelmannia peristenia/pinnatifida (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Eschscholzia californica ‘Mikado’ (fading) (2008, 2009)
  • Hesperaloe parviflora (2008, 2009)
  • Hibiscus syriacus (full bloom) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Ipomoea tricolor ‘Flying Saucers’ (2009)
  • jalapeno (2009)
  • Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands) (2009)
  • Lagerstroemia indica ‘Catawba’ (2009)
  • Lantana x hybrida ‘New Gold’ (2008, 2009)
  • Lavandula heterophyla ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’ (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Lilium LA Hybrid ‘Spirit’ (one flower) (2007, 2009)
  • Lobularia maritima (2009) ‘Tiny Tim’
  • Lonicera japonica (2009)
  • Lupinus texensis (fading) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Malvaviscus arboreus (2008, 2009)
  • Meyer lemon (rebloom) (2007, 2009)
  • Mirabilis jalapa pink (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Nandina domestica (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’ (2008, 2009)
  • Nierembergia gracilis ‘Starry Eyes’ (2009)
  • Oenothera speciosa (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Opuntia ficus-indica (2009)
  • Orchid (from Dawn) (2009)
  • Oxalis crassipis (hot pink) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Phaseolus vulgaris ‘Pencil Pod’ (2009)
  • Phlomis lanata (2008, 2009)
  • Polanisia dodecandra (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Proboscidea louisianica (2009)
  • Retama (2008, 2009)
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette’ (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • rose ‘Ducher’ (2008, 2009)
  • rose ‘New Dawn’ (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • rose ‘Red Cascade’ (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Ruellia (overwintered) (2008, 2009)
  • Sedum album (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Setcresea (both purple and green) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • tomatillo (2009)
  • tomato (2007, 2009)
  • Trachelospermum jasminoides (fading) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Tulbaghia violacea (society garlic) (2009)
  • Verbena canadensis (lavender wilding) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Vitex agnus-castus (2009)
  • Zexmenia hispida (from Pam) (2008, 2009)

GBBD 200904: April 2009

Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites us to tell her what’s blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month.

April 15, 2009

Carol may dream of May, but at Zanthan Gardens the month worth waiting and working for is April. More flowers are blooming right now than any other time of year. Austin had a little rain in March and that brought our drought-stricken garden to life. I can’t begin to photograph everything that’s blooming right now or even all that’s new from last month. So I just took a few photos of my favorites and put the complete list at the end.

I like small and airy flowers, “fairy flowers” Dawn called them. We went shopping at The Great Outdoors together last week and I couldn’t resist this Dahlberg Daisy, Thymophylla tenuiloba. I much prefer it to the larger, coarse-leafed Engelmann daisy. I also bought Spanish lavender, Lavandula stoechas which has huge showy bracts.
Dahlberg Daisy
Dahlberg Daisy ‘Golden Fleece’.

The duranta has been flowering non-stop since last year. Our winter was so mild that it didn’t freeze down to the ground as it typically does. I took this photo primarily so you could see the mass of larkspur behind it. I really like jewel-toned purples and violets.
Duranta erecta
Duranta erecta in front of larkspur.

I can’t resist a blue flower either. The bluebonnets and the baby blue eyes had it rough this year and are fading fast. The Spanish bluebells sent up only two flowers. The promising news is that La Niña weather pattern might finally be at an end. Maybe Austin will have a normal summer–you know, where we have only 13 100° days, not 50+. The yellow bearded iris is an heirloom iris that came with my yard. It’s very common in Austin and if you know what it is, tell me.
Iris flavascens
Unidentified bearded iris (maybe Iris flavascens) in front of bluebonnets on the left and baby blue eyes on the right.

I recently featured ‘Strictly Ballroom’ but I couldn’t resist a final photo. I think this is the last flower. I’m glad it made it to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.
iris Strictly Ballroom
bearded iris, Strictly Ballroom.

Is it cheating if you buy flowers on GBBD? After a trip to the periodontist this morning I stopped by Barton Springs Nursery and bought this Louisiana iris and a Nierembergia gracilis ‘Starry Eyes’. AJM has wanted Louisana irises since he saw them at an Austin iris show even before we had a pond.
Louisiana iris, Full Eclipse
Louisiana iris, Full Eclipse.

I try different sweet peas every year. This year it is ‘Knee-hi Mix’ a variety for containers. After planting a container I had some seeds left over so I planted them next to a trellis by the front door. The ones in the ground are now as tall as I am and have been blooming since March 6th. The ones in the pot finally started blooming last week. I prefer scented sweet peas and these aren’t very…except for this one with the broken color. I’m trying to save seeds but today also marked the appearance of the inch worms and, of course, they decided to nibble on the only flower I was interested in saving seeds from.
Lathyrus odoratus Knee-hi mix
Lathyrus odoratus ‘Knee-hi Mix’.

Love-in-the-mist is one of the plants (like cilantro or baby blue eyes) that I let self-sow to use as filler in the meadow. This year, I’m glad to see the white ones making a comeback.Nigella damascena

Every rose except ‘Red Cascade’ is blooming today and even it has buds. ‘Mermaid’ is a vicious climber with huge flowers that glow in the moonlight. After years of growing in the shade it found the sunlight and is now doing its best to climb up and strangle a rose of Sharon tree. I love it so much I can’t help but indulge it.
rose Mermaid
rose ‘Mermaid’.

Although my original ‘New Dawn’ rose died last fall, I did manage to strike a rose from it several years ago and it is in full bloom this week.
rose New Dawn
rose ‘New Dawn’.

I did a close-up shot of Confederate jasmine last year so this year I wanted to show it how I usually see it–a huge mass of white. Confederate jasmine is an evergreen perennial vine which can handle Austin’s heat. The main reason to grow it, is its intoxicating scent. I never get tired of it. When it’s blooming, I always wish I’d planted more.
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Confederate jasmine.

St Joseph’s lily is another heirloom bulb that you see all over old Austin neighborhoods. It looks like a giant amaryllis and is in the same family. St. Joseph’s Day is March 19th but it didn’t start blooming in my garden until April 3rd.
Hippeastrum x Johnsonii
St. Joseph’s lily. Related to amaryllis rather than a true lily.

April 15, 2009

Complete List for April

The list of all plants flowering today, April 15th 2009, at Zanthan Gardens. I’ve also noted if the plant was blooming on GBBD April 15th, 2007 or 2008.

  • Allium neapolitanum (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Aloe barbadensis (2008, 2009)
  • Asclepias curassavica (overwintered) (2009)
  • Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’ (2008, 2009)
  • Brugmansia (from Annie in Austin) (2009)
  • Centaurea cyanus ‘Black Magic’ (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Commelinantia anomala (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Consolida ambigua (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Coriandrum sativum (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Crinum bulbispermum (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Dahlberg daisy ‘Golden Fleece’ (2009)
  • Datura (from Diana which overwintered) (2009)
  • Diospyros kaki ‘Eureka’ (Japanese persimmon) (2007, 2009)
  • Duranta erecta (overwintered) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Engelmannia peristenia/pinnatifida (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Eschscholzia californica ‘Mikado’ (2008, 2009)
  • Eupatorium wrightii (from Pam) (2009)
  • Hesperaloe parviflora (2008, 2009)
  • Hippeastrum x johnsonii (St. Joseph’s lily) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • iris bearded ‘Strictly Ballroom (2009)
  • Iris flavescens (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Iris x fulvala ‘Full Eclipse’ (2009)
  • jalapeno (2009)
  • Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands) (2009)
  • Lantana montevidensis (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Lantana x hybrida ‘New Gold’ (2008, 2009)
  • Lathyrus odoratus (2007, 2008, 2009) ‘Knee-Hi Mix’
  • Lavandula heterophyla ‘Goodwin Creek Grey‘ (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Lavandula stoechas (2009)
  • Lobularia maritima (2008, 2009)
  • Lonicera japonica (2009)
  • Lupinus texensis (fading) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Malvaviscus arboreus (2009)
  • Mirabilis jalapa (2008, 2009)
  • Nemophila insignis (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’ (2008, 2009)
  • Nierembergia gracilis ‘Starry Eyes’ (2009)
  • Nigella damascena (2008, 2009)
  • Oenothera speciosa (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Orchid (from Dawn) (2009)
  • Oxalis crassipis (hot pink) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Oxalis pes-caprae ‘Scotty’s Surprise’ (fading) (2008, 2009)
  • Oxalis triangularis (both purple and white) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Phlomis lanata (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Polanisia dodecandra (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Retama (2008, 2009)
  • Rhaphiolepis indica (end of the season) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette‘ (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • rose ‘Ducher’ (waning) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • rose ‘French Lace’ (2007, 2009)
  • rose white Lady Banksia (my neighbor’s but droops over the fence) (2009)
  • rose ‘Madame Alfred Carriere‘ (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • rose ‘Mermaid’ (2009)
  • rose ‘New Dawn’ (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • rose ‘Prosperity’ (full bloom) (2008, 2009)
  • rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • ruellia (overwintered) (2009)
  • Sedum album (2008, 2009)
  • Setcreasea pallida, both colors
  • Solanum jasminoides (potato vine) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Spiraea bridal wreath (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • tomatillo (2009)
  • tomato (2007, 2009)
  • Trachelospermum jasminoides (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Tradescantia (spiderwort) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Verbena canadensis (lavender wilding) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Viola cornuta (2007, 2008, 2009) ‘Sorbet Coconut Duet’
  • Vitia sativa (common vetch, a pretty weed) (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • yaupon holly (2007, 2009)
  • Zexmenia hispida (from Pam) (2009)

GBBD 200903: Mar 2009

Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites us to tell her what’s blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month.

March 15, 2009

I wrote a great deal about March (Zanthan Gardens most floriferous month) in my GBBD post for March 2008. Rather than repeat myself, I find it more interesting to look at the differences between this year and previous years. I began participating in GBBD in its second month, March 2007. So this is the third March, I have GBBD records for.

Austin is now in its 18th month of drought. The week before this GBBD, we had a week of temperatures in the 80s (15 degrees above normal–more like late May than mid-March). Then earlier this week (3/11), temperatures fell 40 degrees and stayed in the 40s for 5 days. And it rained–cumulatively about 3 inches of rain which is more than we’ve had in single storm system since 2007.

I’m encouraged by how many flowers are dependable in March despite Austin’s crazy extremes of weather, especially this time of year.

Lupinus texensis
2009-03-15. Bluebonnet, Lupinus texensis
Some bluebonnets always manage to bloom. Austin has far fewer of our beloved state flower this year and the plants are much smaller. Some of the bluebonnets in my yard are but a single small stem right now. Pill bugs (or something) mow them down. And the stressed and weakened plants have been attacked by spider mites. But this year I’ve had some unusual variations: 2 pink bluebonnets and 3 white ones.

bridal wreath spiraea
2009-03-15. Bridal wreath spiraea
The bridal wreath spiraea struggled for a few years but finally seems to be making a comeback–probably because I started pruning, feeding, and watering it after I almost lost it. Some plants just demand attention.

Aloe barbadensis
2009-03-15. Aloe barbadensis

Aloe barbadensis
2009-03-15. Aloe barbadensis
This is the second year the aloe vera bloomed. For years I kept it in pots which I moved indoors during the winter. A contractor broke a pot and I decided to put the largest plants in the ground. They’ve survived two winters now (although the leaves get some cold damage) and surprised me by flowering.

Meyer lemon
2009-03-15. Citrus x meyeri, Meyer lemon
The lemon tree finally got to big for its pot, too and was looking unhappy. The current pot was almost too big for us to manage bringing it in so I decided to plant it in a protected spot. It began putting out an abundant quantity of new leaves and flowers almost immediately.

Consolida ambigua
2009-03-15. Larkspur, Consolida ambigua

Quite a few flowers (that are blooming this year that weren’t blooming this time last year) overwintered. Typically, many perennials freeze to the ground in Austin but are root hardy. This year these flowers never froze back: asclepias, datura, duranta, ruellia, podranea.

Blooming in 2008 but faded during 2009’s week of 80 degree days: Cercis canadensis, Leucojum aestivum.

Blooming in 2008 but not started blooming yet in 2009: California poppy ‘Mikado’.

Complete List for March

The list of all plants flowering today, March 15th 2009, at Zanthan Gardens. I’ve also noted if the plant was blooming on GBBD March 15th, 2007 or 2008.

  • Aloe barbadensis
  • Asclepias curassavica (overwintered)
  • Bridal wreath spiraea (2008)
  • Citrus x meyeri (2008)
  • Commelinantia anomala (2007, 2008)
  • Consolida ambigua (2007, 2008)
  • Coriander sativum (2007, 2008)
  • Datura (from Diana which overwintered)
  • Duranta erecta (overwintered)
  • henbit (2007, 2008)
  • iris albicans (2007)
  • jalapeno
  • Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands)
  • Lantana montevidensis (2007, 2008)
  • Lathyrus odoratus ‘Knee-Hi Mix’ (2007)
  • Lavandula heterophylla ‘Goodwin Creek’ (2008)
  • Lobularia maritima (2008)
  • Lupinus texensis (blue, pink, and white) (2007, 2008)
  • Muscari neglectum/racemosum (2007, 2008)
  • Narcissus triandrus ‘Trevithian’ (2007)
  • Nemophila insignis (2008)
  • Oxalis crassipis (hot pink) (2007, 2008)
  • Oxalis pes-caprae ‘Scotty’s Surprise’ (2008)
  • Oxalis triangularis (both purple and white) (2007, 2008)
  • Phlomis lanata
  • Prunus caroliniana (cherry laurel) (2007, 2008)
  • Rhaphiolepis indica (2007, 2008)
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette’ (2008)
  • rose ‘Ducher’ (full bloom) (2007, 2008)
  • rose white Lady Banksia (my neighbor’s but droops over the fence)
  • rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ (full bloom) (2008)
  • rosemary (very few flowers) (2007, 2008)
  • ruellia (overwintered)
  • Solanum jasminoides (potato vine) (2007,2008)
  • Sophora secundiflora (far fewer flowers than 2008) (2007, 2008)
  • tomatillo
  • tomato ‘Cherokee Purple’
  • Tulip ‘Angelique’
  • Tradescantia (spiderwort) (2007, 2008)
  • Ungnadia speciosa, Mexican buckeye
  • Viola cornuta ‘Sorbet Coconut Duet’ (2007, 2008)
  • Vitia sativa (common vetch, a pretty weed) (2007, 2008)

GBBD 200902: Feb 2009

Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites us to tell her what’s blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month.

Feb 15, 2009

Austin is now in its 18th month of drought. We are currently the most drought-stricken area of the country. However earlier this week we got almost an inch of rain over two days and the plants (including the weeds) have responded like young children on Christmas morning. They’re running wild.

Austin’s had quite a few days this last month with high temperatures in the 70s and even the 80s. Sometimes it would freeze overnight and then shoot up to the mid-70s by afternoon. Although other Austinites have had killing freezes hit, Zanthan Gardens is close enough to the heat sink of downtown Austin that it has flirted with freezes but not succumbed. Several flowers have cold damaged leaves but continue to bloom: the butterfly weed, the lantana, and the Mexican petunia.

ruellia Mexican petunia
The leaves of the Mexican petunia are bronzed with cold-damage but the plants keep flowering.

Also the big vines, duranta and Port St. John’s creeper continue to bloom from last summer. In a more typical Austin winter these freeze down to the ground but are root hardy. On the one hand it’s nice to have continuous flowers; on the other, the plants look shabby with last year’s ratty growth. I’d sort of prefer to have a fresh spring look. At least I feel more tolerant of the bright pink flowers of the Port St. John’s creeper in the spring; they seem so wrong to me in the fall.

New for February

I know Kathy @ Cold Climate Gardening finds it interesting that not only do we Austinites grow paperwhite narcissus outside in the ground but that sometimes they bloom at the same time as the roses. Here’s an example.

Narcissus papyraceus Grandiflora
Paperwhite narcissus ‘Grandiflora’.

If it weren’t for Carol @ May Dreams Gardens and her Garden Blogger Bloom Day, I would never have taken a closeup of an arugula flower or noticed its incredible markings. I can’t see them with the naked eye.


Jerusalem sage has been very dependable throughout the drought. I haven’t lost any plants and I also find it easy to propagate by sticking cuttings in the ground. This year it’s blooming more than a month earlier than it did in 2007 or 2008.

Phlomis lanata Jerusalem sage

Mexican plums are the first trees to flower in my garden. I think I have two different varieties because one I bought from Gardens always blooms two weeks before the other two I bought from Barton Springs Nursery.

Prunus mexicana

Spiderwort used to be one of my favorite wildflowers. It’s very aggressive, though, so now I try to restrict it to the more “woodsy” parts of the yard.

Tradescantia spiderwort

A relative of spiderwort is setcreasea (aka purple heart or wandering Jew). In the north, people grow it as a house plant (I think) but in Austin we grow it outdoors. It will freeze back. I usually pile leaves on it before a freeze. I haven’t done that this year and it looks a bit ratty but it’s keeps growing and blooming. I have the purple one with a bright pink flower and also this green one with a pale pink flower.


The leatherleaf mahonia and redbuds started blooming since the last GBBD, but I didn’t manage to get photos today. The rose ‘Ducher’ (which often blooms in December or January) put out a couple of blooms but neither was very photogenic.

Between GBBDs

Several flower bloomed and faded in my garden between GBBDs and so didn’t show up in the inventory for either January or February.

  • Crinum bulbispermum (milk and wine crinum in meadow)
  • Amaryllis ‘Black Pearl’ (in pot)

Complete List for February 2009

The list of all plants flowering today, February 15th 2009, at Zanthan Gardens. I’ve added the date that each started blooming if I knew it. I’ve also noted if the plant was blooming on GBBD February 15th, 2008.

  • 20080404 Duranta erecta
  • 20080902 Asclepias curassavica
  • 20080902 Podranea ricasoliana
  • 20081219 Lobularia maritima ‘Tiny Tim’, sweet alyssum (2008)
  • 20090107 Lonicera fragrantissima
  • 20090113 Narcissus tazetta x italicus (2008)
  • 20090205 Prunus mexicana (the large one from Gardens) (2008)
  • 20090206 Narcissus papyraceus ‘Grandiflora’ (2008)
  • 20090206 rose ‘Ducher’
  • 20090206 Mahonia bealei (2008)
  • 20090208 Narcissus tazetta ‘Grand Primo’ (2008)
  • 20090209 Leucojum aestivum, summer snowflake (2008)
  • 20090209 Cercis canadensis, redbud
  • 20090209 Lantana montevidensis (2008)
  • 20090211 Coriandrum sativum, cilantro
  • 20090212 Eruca sativa (arugula)
  • 20090213 rose Souvenir de la Malmaison
  • 20090213 Phlomis lanata, Jerusalem sage
  • 20090215 Tradescantia, spiderwort
  • Lavandula heterophylla ‘Goodwin Creek’
  • henbit (2008)
  • Pisum sativum ‘Green Arrow’ (English peas)
  • Polanisia dodecandra, clammy weed
  • Setcreasea pallida
  • rosemary (2008)

GBBD 200901: Jan 2009

Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites us to tell her what’s blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month. Visit her to see what is blooming all over the world today and be inspired to add your own list.

Also thanks again to Renee Studebaker who featured Garden Bloggers Bloom Day in last week’s Austin American-Statesman.

January 15, 2009

January wouldn’t feel right if the Narcissus tazetta v italicus weren’t blooming. I think of them as my New Year’s Day flowers, although they began blooming a bit late this year (Jan 13th). Their leaves are strappier than paperwhites and a darker green. They have yellow cups and, I think, smell better than paperwhites–although I’m sure others will disagree.

Another faithful January flower is winter honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima. This year it began blooming on Jan 7th. You might infer from its botanical name that winter honeysuckle is more a flower to be smelled than seen. I like the The Gardener of Good and Evil‘s description of the scent: rather like lemon Pledge.

Lonicera fragrantissima

The big surprise today was finding some teeny tiny clammy weed, Polanisia dodecandra flowers. Clammy weed (a relative of cleome) is definitely a summer flower in my mind, usually blooming after the bluebonnets and larkspur have died down. But during the drought, clammy weed has tried to bloom with every hint of rain. The almost half inch we got last week brought up these tiny plants and they’ve decided they better flower and set seed regardless of season. Talk about a will to survive. To get a sense of scale, look at these flowers next the larkspur seedling coming up on the left. Clammy weed is usually knee-high at Zanthan Gardens.

Polanisia dodecandra

For GBBD I try to be a stickler for the rules, including only flowers blooming specifically on the 15th. Another rule that I invented for myself was to post photos only for those flowers that weren’t blooming in the previous GBBD. However, knowing that so many of you are under piles of snow and shivering in temperatures I can’t even imagine surviving, I thought I’d throw in as many flowers as I could find.

I know you like to dream that we’re down here in Texas soaking up the sun, sipping our margaritas, and lying about in a field of flowers. True. True. But January can have its bleak moments even in Austin, not because we have your endless days of dark, cold dreariness but precisely because we don’t. When it’s in the 80s one week and in the 20s the next, this is what happens:

Pandorea ricasoliana
Frost damage to Port St. John’s creeper from hard freeze on Jan 13, 2009

I know I’m not eliciting any sympathy here from the snowbound. Indeed, I rather wish a hard freeze would kill the Port St. John’s creeper to the ground and more. My point is that when it’s summer one day and winter the next and then summer the next, chances for flowers are rather hit or miss.

rose Red Cascade
One dime-sized freeze-dried flower on the rose ‘Red Cascade’.

On the bright side, the rosemary (which had just started blooming last GBBD) is now in full sunlight and full flower. And since it wasn’t windy this morning, I got a better photo of it than I did last month. Northerners are always surprised to see “tender” rosemary planted in roadside borders and medians around Austin. The biggest danger to rosemary down here is a wet year (and what are the chances of that?) Well, in the weirdly wet summer of 2007, lots of people lost rosemary. This one died back by two-thirds.


Another plant happier with the New Year is the ‘Green Arrow’ English peas. I had a few flowers last GBBD but since the solstice, the vines have exploded with flowers and pods. They haven’t filled out enough to eat yet but I think they’ll be ready within the week.

English pea Green Arrow

As long as we’re in the vegetable garden, does this brocolli head count as a flower for GBBD? Or would I have to let it bolt?

broccoli Premium Crop

I had to hustle to get my potted plants indoors a couple of nights ago. I can’t figure out if this plant is going to bloom or not. Annie in Austin grows it. Annie, if you’re reading, would you leave a link to your post about this plant because I forgot what it is.. Thanks for letting me know that it’s “Mother-of-Thousands”. I hope mine blooms as beautifully as yours did last January.

mystery plant

January 15th, 2009

The list of all plants flowering today, January 15th 2009, at Zanthan Gardens.

  • Asclepias curassavica
  • Duranta erecta (small flowers but doing well; two bushes covered with golden berries, too)
  • Labularia maritima procumbens ‘Tiny Tim’
  • Lavandula heterophylla ‘Goodwin Creek’
  • Lonicera fragrantissima
  • Narcissus tazetta italicus
  • Pisum sativum ‘Green Arrow’ (English peas)
  • Podranea ricasoliana (half blooming, half frozen)
  • Polanisia dodecandra
  • Rose ‘Blush Noisette‘ (a couple of flowers)
  • Rose ‘New Dawn’ (one bud that may or may not freeze before opening)
  • Rose ‘Red Cascade’
  • rosemary (full bloom)

GBBD 200812: Dec 2008

Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites us to tell her what’s blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month.

Paperwhites and roses. Crocuses and coneflowers. English peas and summer squash. To you gardeners with more distinct seasons, you probably think Austin gardens are a bit dysfunctional. And so we are. Last week we tied a record high of 81°F; the same night it snowed.

Asclepias Zanthan Gardens

Our ground doesn’t freeze but neither do our plants go dormant. Yesterday we basked in the enviable 70s; tonight we face our first hard freeze of the winter–down to the mid-20s. Oh, I know that’s nothing compared to the onslaught of ice you northern gardeners are struggling with. Did I mention, our plants don’t go dormant?

Tonight Austin gardeners are racing around to bring in potted plants and cover everything tender with old sheets and blankets. Friday it will be in the 70s again. The hope and heartbreak of December are in every bud. Like the crocus above, most flowers decided to hunch their shoulders against the cold today, and huddle petals closed.


The coral vine, Antigonon leptopus, hasn’t frozen back to the ground yet, but it’s flowers refuse to come out and play.
Antigonon leptopus Zanthan Gardens

I had hoped my most recent amaryllis acquisition would flower in time for GBBD but it is just as likely to freeze tonight without ever opening.
Amaryllis Zanthan Gardens

Last week the ‘New Dawn’ rose along the front fence was flowering nicely. This ‘New Dawn’ in the back yard was just about to open. I cut it after this photo and brought it in…
rose New Dawn Zanthan Gardens

…along with this ‘Blush Noisette’ bud which has already opened in the vase.
rose Blush Noisette Zanthan Gardens

Most of the rest of the roses look like this ‘Blush Noisette’–browned by recent light frosts and a bit windblown and worn.
rose Blush Noisette Zanthan Gardens

Summer’s Decay

I rather like this faded coneflower and it’s valiant attempt to keep blooming despite summer’s passing.
purple coneflower Zanthan Gardens

I don’t care at all for the Port St. Johns creeper but it is the only thing in the garden that is blooming with abandon and I have to admire that. Perhaps by morning it will be frozen and I can hack it back and uncover the rose it’s smothering.
purple coneflower Zanthan Gardens


My attempt to grow summer squash in the fall failed. I only got one small squash off of eight plants.
summer squash Zanthan Gardens

The English peas just started blooming last week. No peas yet. I think, with the row cover on, they might survive tonight’s low temperatures.
English pea Zanthan Gardens


The lavender just started blooming this week.
Lavandula Zanthan Gardens

The rosemary has been blooming all month. It was too gloomy and windy for the camera to focus.
rosemary  Zanthan Gardens


Let’s end this bloom day with December’s own flower…the only thing blooming “in season”–the paperwhite narcissus.
paperwhite narcissus Zanthan Gardens


Not pictured but flowering, the duranta and some very faded roses on ‘Ducher’.

GBBD 200811: Nov 2008

Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites us to tell her what’s blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month.

Second fall has finally come to Austin. Temperatures were in the 80s yesterday and will be in the 30s tonight. We’ve had a few cool spells this month and the leaves are finally beginning to turn color. The Japanese persimmon is a deep gold, the crape myrtles a dull red, and under cover of a bright green canopy the red oaks are are changing. That surprised me because they are usually the last to color and lose their leaves, often not until the New Years. But the pecans remain stubbornly green and leafy still shading my winter garden. (This is an improvement on last year when they were shrouded in webworms.) The cedar elms remain green, too, but at least they are finally dropping leaves. The leaves on the bananas are looking ragged and yellow.

By the way, first fall is when the hurricane rains break the summer heat. We had a chance of that happening on September 13th when Hurricane Ike was forecast to dump six inches of rain on Austin. It veered to the east and north and we got zero. We had one rain in mid-October. Since then, no rain has fallen on Zanthan Gardens. Although some lucky Austinites benefitted from scattered showers earlier this week, we did not. So the garden is left high and dry. I don’t so much reap what I sow but reap what I water and that, the last six months, has been very little.

The only obvious flowers in the garden at the moment are the two rabid pink vines, the coral vine and the Port St Johns creeper. Everything else you have to hunt for. There is also a stand of wild white asters along the front fence.

The St Joseph’s Lily is blooming out of season. It sent up a stalk after that October rain, began blooming on sometime in November (did I Tweet it?) and the last flower is just fading today. I’m glad it lasted long enough to get count for GBBD.

November 15th, 2008

The list of all plants flowering today, November 15th 2008, at Zanthan Gardens.

  • Abelia grandiflora (can’t see it because it’s under the coral vine)
  • Asclepias curassavica
  • Antigonon leptopus (still rampant over the chain link fence)
  • Cosmos sulphureus (one plant in flower)
  • Curcubita pepo (straightneck summer squash–has been flowering but really put on a show today)
  • Duranta erecta (small flowers but doing well; one bush covered with golden berries, too)
  • Hippeastrum x johnsonii
  • Malvaviscus arboreus (flowering but the leaves look terrible)
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’ (a few flowers)
  • Oxalis crassipes
  • Oxalis drummondii
  • Oxalis triangularis
  • Podranea ricasoliana
  • Plumbago auriculata
  • Rose ‘Blush Noisette‘ (a couple of flowers)
  • rosemary (just starting to bloom)
  • Ruellia
  • Setcreasea pallida (quite a few flowers)