GBBD 201202: February 2012

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

February 15, 2012

Well. If winter is the only season left for Austinites to garden in (the rest of the year being too hot), I’m glad this winter has been wet and warm in contrast to last year’s horrible dry and cold winter. I only had four things blooming last February and one of them was henbit. Zanthan Gardens is overrun with henbit this year but a lot of other nicer things, too.

The plants are very confused, though. They went semi-dormant in 2011’s hot, dry summer and then started putting out growth the second it began raining. So, while this February had a very lacksluster showing of paperwhite narcissus and the daffodil, tulips, bluebells, and summer snowflakes have not yet appeared, it is filled with roses. Roses blooming and roses putting out new canes.

The first rose to bloom was the hot weather trooper, ‘Blush Noisette’.
rose Blush Noisette

Then ‘Mermaid’ started blooming. It usually is my last rose to flower. I think of it as a late May, early June rose. Mermaid has the biggest flowers, flat flowers the size of saucers. It’s also the thorniest rose I grow. ‘Mermaid’ is a monster of a rose and not one that’s easily tamed.
rose Mermaid

Typically my first rose of the year is my favorite ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’. I breathed a sigh of relief when it started putting out new canes. I was very close to losing it to cane dieback last fall. I cut back the bad canes and sprayed it with pruning paint. It did not look good. I’ve already lost half my roses to cane dieback so I was not optimistic. But it’s pulled through.
rose Souvenir de la Malmaison
‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ is one rose that doesn’t like wet weather. The flowers ball; that is, the outside petals of the blossoms stick together. I had about a dozen flowers that I had to peal the outside petals off of for them to open.
rose Souvenir de la Malmaison

The ‘New Dawn’ rose along the front fence is blooming. The one in the back yard is not yet. It is about the same color as ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ but with a much more modern flower shape.
rose New Dawn

Now for the flowers which are blooming in season. The Mexican plum started blooming last week and is just starting to fill out this week. In my mind, the Mexican plums are the first to bloom, followed by redbuds for Valentine’s day, and then Texas mountain laurels. The latter has been blooming all over my neighborhood and downtown for a week. I still haven’t spotted my first redbud for 2012.
Mexican Plum

Flowers in the tradescantia family will start blooming with any spring rain. I’ve had false dayflowers bloom in December but February and March is more usual. So far, I have only this one in flower but the yard is covered with plants about to bloom.
false dayflower
Ditto its perennial cousin, the spiderwort.
tradescantia

For some reason, the larkspur began blooming before the bluebonnets. Usually my bluebonnets are in full bloom by mid-March and the larkspur take over in mid April. Several larkspur are already blooming and a lot more are soon to follow. Not a single bluebonnet (and there are quite a few plants) has sent up a flower stalk yet.
larkspur

And then we have several flowers, like this salvia, that were blooming in fall, got some frost damage in December and died back slightly (but not all the way to the ground) and have made a comeback. Ruellia and lantana are also in this category.
Salvia madrensis

In the vegetable garden the English peas are in full bloom and we’ve been eating peas, too. We pick lettuce and swiss chard almost every day. And the carrots are producing baby carrots. I hope they get a little bigger. The rosemary is still full of flowers.

Henbit has been very invasive this year. It’s just beginning to fade but the chickweed and goosegrass is coming on strong in its place. I hate them all.

Complete List for February

The list of all plants flowering today, February 15th 2012, at Zanthan Gardens. If the flower was blooming in February in 2008 or 2009 I indicated that in parentheses. I don’t have a February list for 2010.

  • Commelinantia anomala
  • Consolida ambigua
  • Lantana montevidensis (2008, 2009)
  • Lonicera fragrantissima (2009, 2011)
  • Pisum sativum (2009)
  • Polanisia dodecandra, clammy weed (2009)
  • Prunus mexicana (2008, 2009)
  • potato vine
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette’
  • rose ‘Mermaid’
  • rose ‘New Dawn’
  • rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ (2009)
  • rosemary (2008, 2009, 2011)
  • Ruellia
  • Salvia madrensis
  • Setcreasea pallida (2009)
  • Sophora secundiflora
  • Tradescantia, spiderwort (2009)

GBBD 201111: Nov 2011

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

November 15, 2011

weather radar
At 8:34 AM we were holding our breath with anticipation. It looked like the storm might dissipate before it reached Austin.

One thought was on our minds in Central Texas today. Rain. We’d been told that there was a good chance that we were going to get some but as we tracked the storm on radar it seemed like it might veer or dissipate before it reached Austin. When the storm arrived, it seemed like it couldn’t work itself up to more than a paltry drizzle. In the end, we got a pretty decent rain–more than an inch (depending on where you are). The last good rain was in October 9th–June 22nd before that. The heaviest rain did fall to the south and east of us, but we as we head into the second year of exceptional drought, we appreciate every drop. Austin’s total rainfall is a little more than 12 inches for the year…about one-third of our yearly average.

weather radar
By 10:50 Austin had gotten some welcome rain but the heaviest downpours were south and east of us.

A Late Fall

Summer ends with the rain and this year Austin didn’t get any significant rainfall until October 9th. After that, the plants kicked into high gear. Wildflower seedlings began popping up. Unfortunately the same dry conditions that’s produced desert-like heat has also brought some clear, cold nights. Overnight temperatures dropped into the mid-30s on November 4th and 11th bringing freeze warning to some parts of the Hill Country. Daytime temperatures jump back quickly to the 80s. The cold temperatures brought out a deep russet leaf color of the one crape myrtle that still had leaves. (The other’s leaves had already turned brown and dropped off.) There’s some buttery yellow in the leaves of my neighbor’s chinese parasol tree, too. I even saw a hint of red in the red oak. Its leaves don’t usually drop until after Christmas.

Waiting on fall rains, the white mistflower (boneset) was very late to flower this year. Usually it’s covered with butterflies, too. I haven’t seen any this yet. Did they miss each other? Did the cold temperatures push the butterflies south before the mistflower could bloom?

Eupatorium wrightii
2011-11-15. White mistflower. The branches are weighed down with wet flowers after the storm.

Fall Pinks

Pink just doesn’t seem like a fall color to me. However, these two impossible-to-kill vines don’t care about fashion.

Pandorea ricasoliana
2011-11-15. Pandorea ricasoliana, Port St. John’s Creeper
Antigon leptopus
2011-11-15. Antigonon leptopus, coral vine

Some buds of the coral vine were wide open after the rain. I’ve never seen this happen before. Unfortunately it was so dark that all the photos I took of the fully open buds were out of focus. Looking around I see more pinks. At least the two roses, ‘New Dawn’ and ‘Blush Noisette’ sport a more delicate tint. The pigeonberry also has pale pink flower but then goes all out and clashes with bright red berries. The turks cap finishes off that part of the color spectrum.

Malvaviscus arboreus
2011-11-15. Malvaviscus arboreus, turks cap.

Fall Golds

The golden thryallis has pulled through summer and has been blooming well for more than a month. It would get all droopy in the heat but it always came back. As did the velvet leaf senna. The ‘New Gold’ lantana started blooming once the sun moved far enough south to shine on it again. I think that’s the oldest plant that I planted in my garden. The Salvia madrensis has been struggling but not giving up. It has very large leaves for a salvia and they droop piteously in the dry weather. But it keeps popping up new plants from the roots and today I saw some bud so close to opening that I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and count them.

After the October rain, I cut back the zexmenia hard and it’s come back beautifully with lots of bright new leaves. It’s put a few flowers. They all looked pretty soggy. Soggy but happy. That’s us Austinites, today.

Zexmenia hispida
2011-11-15. Zexmenia hispida

Complete List for November 15, 2011

The list of all plants flowering today, November 15th 2011, at Zanthan Gardens. Comparing today’s list to last November’s is depressing. And to 2009? Don’t go there. I don’t really have a garden anymore. So this list represents just the few hardy survivors.

  • Antigonon leptopus
  • Aster ericoides. These little white wild asters bloomed very late this year. Most of the plants are brown and dead. But a few hardy sprung back after October’s rain.
  • Datura inoxia
  • Eupatorium wrightii
  • Galphimia glauca. golden thryalis
  • Lantana montevidensis
  • Lantana ‘New Gold’
  • Malvaviscus arboreus
  • Pandorea ricasoliana. The plant that won’t die.
  • Salvia madrensis. Well, there’s a bud that’s about to open. The rain should bring it into full bloom. It’s struggled but it keeps coming back.
  • Senna lindheimeriana
  • Rivina humilis pigeonberry
  • Rose ‘Blush Noisette’. A couple of tiny, soggy blooms that probably shouldn’t count. I have to give her an A for effort.
  • Rose ‘New Dawn’
  • Rosmarinus officinalis
  • Setcreasea
  • Zexmenia hispida

GBBD 201109: Sep 2011

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

September 15, 2011

Due to the ongoing Texas drought and the record breaking heat, almost all the plants in my garden have died. Only four are flowering and all because they were near something being watered. The senna and datura are getting water from my neighbor who overwaters.

The City of Austin is on Stage 2 (mandatory) water restrictions now. That we went from voluntary to mandatory only on September 6th amazes me. If you would like to understand the seriousness of our situation down here in Texas, look at these photos: Texas drought and wildfires. Lakes have dried up. Livestock and wildlife are starving. Fires rage.

How can gardeners help? Not by giving up their gardens as I have. (My decision not to garden this year goes beyond the bad weather or a desire to conserve water.) Gardeners can help by providing a refuge for wildlife — food, water, and shrubbery to hide in. Many of us have observed an increase of wildlife into our gardens. Most of my fellow gardeners take an extra effort to provide for wildlife including birds, butterflies, and other pollinators. Gardens are important in the drought.

The City of Austin is also offering incentives encourage people to just let their lawns die and then replace them with more water efficient and wildlife friendly plantings.

Gardeners should also cut back their dead, dry plants. Unlike the true desert, Austin alternates wet years and in early 2010 many of our perennials tripled in size. If they have died since, our houses and fence lines are lined with masses of small, dry fuel that can ignite with a spark or a carelessly tossed cigarette.

Complete List for September 15, 2011

The list of all plants flowering today, September 15th 2011, at Zanthan Gardens. A single oxblood lily opened this morning after I watered the banana plants in the same bed last Sunday.

  • Datura inoxia
  • Lagerstroemia indica
  • Rhodophiala bifida
  • Senna lindheimeriana

GBBD 201104: Apr 2011

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

April 2011

The drought continues. The pink evening primrose and Engelmann daisy seem to prefer this drier weather and are the stars of the day. The dry weather hurries summer along. Many flowers that are usually in bloom in April have already finished. Others that don’t usually start blooming until later have already begun. Even semi-weedy plants like baby blue eyes are relatively sparse and the plants are tiny and shrivelled. Austin’s ubiquitous bluebonnets are short and faded.

Nigella damascena
Nigella damascena. Love-in-a-mist. Doubles. A passalong from Jenny.

Dianthus chinensis
Dianthus chinensis. Pinks

Phlox pilosa
Phlox pilosa. Prairie Phlox. A passalong from Julie.

Callirhoe involucrata
Callirhoe involucrata. Winecup

My larkspur plans have gone awry. I dug two beds along the front path several years ago. Larkspur was supposed to line the path and the lawn. The lawn died. I didn’t get the larkspur planted this year. The last two years it self sowed where the lawn was. This year I didn’t get my beds planted so the self-sown larkspur is all I have. Without water or thinning the resultant plants are only about one to two feet tall rather than three or four feet tall. The front yard now looks a bit like the back yard used to. The meadow in the back yard is almost completely devoid of larkspur. After ten years, what was once the meadow is almost completely in shade by the time the wildflowers want to bloom.

larkspur

Between GBBDs

Flowers that bloomed between March 15, 2011 and April 15, 2011 and so did not appear in either list.

  • Allium neapolitanum
    These use to flower in abundance in the meadow but creeping shade and this year’s drought resulted in only one bulb blooming.
  • Datura inoxia
    One flush of flowers already, just none open today.

Incomplete List for April, 2011

I always have to double-check some things but it’s 10PM. So there you are.

  • amaryllis ‘Dancing Queen’ (2010, 2011–last day)
  • Antirrhinum majus (2010, 2011–just barely)
  • Aristolochia fimbriata (2011)
  • Callirhoe involucrata (2011)
  • Centaurea cyanus Black Magic (2011)
  • Commelinantia anomala (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Consolida ambigua (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Coriandrum sativum (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Dianthus chinensis (2011)
  • Diospyros kaki ‘Eureka’ (Japanese persimmon) (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Echinacea purpurea (2011)
  • Engelmannia peristenia/pinnatifida (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Hesperaloe parviflora (2011)
  • Hippeastrum x johnsonii (St. Joseph’s lily) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Iris flavescens (?) yellow heirloom (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • iris ‘Full Eclipse’ (2011)
  • iris ‘Incantation’ (2010, 2011–last day)
  • Lonicera japonica (2011)
  • Lupinus texensis (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Nigella damascena (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Oenothera speciosa (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Oxalis crassipis (hot pink) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Oxalis stricta (yellow flowering weed) (2010, 2011)
  • Oxalis triangularis (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Papaver somniferum “Dorothy Cavanaugh” (2010, 2011)
  • Parkinsonia aculeata, retama (2009, 2011–first day)
  • Polanisia dodecandra (2011)
  • Phlomis lanata (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Phlox pilosa (2011)
  • Rhaphiolepis indica (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011–last day)
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette’ (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • rose ‘New Dawn’ (2011)
  • rose ‘Red Cascade’ (2011)
  • Ruellia (2011)
  • Sedum album (2011?)
  • Solanum jasminoides (potato vine) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011-fading)
  • Spiraea bridal wreath (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Trachelospermum jasminoides (2011)
  • Tradescantia (spiderwort) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Verbena canadensis (lavender wilding) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Vicia sativa (common vetch) (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Zexmenia hispida (2009, 2011)

GBBD 201103: March 2011

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

March 2011

The paperwhites and kin got frozen out in February but the other classes of narcissus have had a great year. I planted 100 new ‘Ice Follies’ bulbs and they did not disappoint. Even some old clumps of ‘Ice Follies’ that haven’t bloomed in the last few years threw out a few flowers.

This week the daffodils turned center stage over to the irises. Unfortunately I wasn’t home during daylight hours so I missed getting a photo when they were at their best. The grape hyacinths hit their stride and the cherry laurel is loaded with flowers. The Texas mountain laurel is a making a good show, especially on the east side of tree where visitors can be surprised by the scent of grape soda as they walk down to Auditorium Shores for SXSW concerts.

Because of the drought, this has not been a good year for bluebonnets (especially when one contrasts it to 2010, the best year ever). My experimental stand of pink bluebonnets is very healthy only because planted them early and kept them watered. Self-sown bluebonnets are small and few in my meadow this year. The cilantro and arugula were both barely up before they bolted. The roses haven’t started yet. I think ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ will open her first buds tomorrow.

All the trees decided to leaf out today: cedar elm, oak, and Texas persimmon. I’ll be thankful for the shade in July but as long as the temperatures remain in the 70s, I wish the yard was sunny and the flowers had a chance to show their stuff.

bridal wreath spiraea
2011-03-16. Bridal wreath spiraea. Austin, TX

Complete List for March 15, 2011

  • Bridal Wreath spirea
  • Commelinantia anomala
  • Coriandrum sativum
  • Dianthus chinensis (a single flower)
  • henbit
  • Eruca sativa (arugula already bolted but the flowers are yellow not white)
  • Iris (unnamed blue)
  • Iris albicans
  • Leucojum aestivum (fading)
  • Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’
  • Lupinus texensis (both pink and blue)
  • Muscari neglectum/racemosum (full bloom)
  • Narcissus ‘Ice Follies’ (one late flower)
  • Narcissus jonquilla ‘Trevithian’ (fading)
  • Narcissus triandrus ‘Hawera’ (one flower)
  • Nemophila insignis
  • Oxalis crassipes
  • Oxalis triangularis (purple)
  • Prunus caroliniana (Full Bloom)
  • Prunus mexicana (a handful of flowers on smallest tree)
  • rosemary
  • Solanum jasminoides (potato vine)
  • Sophora secundiflora (full bloom)
  • Tradescantia

GBBD 201102: Feb 2011

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

Feb 15, 2011

Valentine’s Day always marks the beginning of spring in Austin for me. The shocking pink of the redbuds seems appropriate to the holiday. Although it is in the 70s today, the previous two weeks Austin has experienced what is shockingly cold weather for us; two separate fronts brought night after night of temperatures in the low 20s. Very little has survived in my garden and cold damage reveals itself daily. So there are no redbuds for Valentine’s Day, no Mexican plums, no roses, or irises. Some early greens (henbit and chickweed) have survived as always but even they seem subdued.

Practically the only flowers in my garden are three ‘Ice Follies” daffodils. They started to shoot up before the freezes, froze solid in the bud, and opened on dwarfed stems.

The only other new flower in my garden this month is the winter honeysuckle. I didn’t notice when it started to flower in the rush of activity that accompanied my having the house painted. Then the first big freeze was upon us and as I was running around with a flashlight covering plants, I saw that it had burst into bloom. I was disappointed that it was going to freeze before I even got a chance to sniff at it. The freezes didn’t seem to bother it much.

winter honeysuckle2011-02-15. Lonicera fragrantissima (winter honeysuckle).

Between GBBDs

An early oversummering bluebonnet was flowering before the freeze. It’s not the earliest I’ve ever had bluebonnets flower but it was out of season. The flower froze but the plant is fine, as are all the bluebonnet plants whether large or just sprouting. Some false dayflowers had also opened in response to much needed rainfall in January before the freezes.

Feb 15, 2011

Complete List for February

The list of all plants flowering today, February 15th 2011, at Zanthan Gardens. The most meager February list ever! Compare February 2009 or February 2008.

  • henbit
  • Narcissus ‘Ice Follies’
  • Lonicera fragrantissima
  • rosemary

GBBD 201011: Nov 2010

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

November 15, 2010

The day began gray and gloomy, real November weather. Mid-afternoon it finally cleared a little but the chill remained. We built our first fire of the season tonight.

Lots of forward-thinking Austinites are scurrying around preparing for our first frost. One of the earliest freezes in recent years was on November 17, 2005. I’m hoping this will be the warm, dry winter forecast; I have a lot of tomatoes hanging in the balance. The ‘Gold Rush Currant’ tomatoes open scores of flowers every day even though I pinch them back daily.

The leaves of most of the trees are beginning to turn. They aren’t dropping off fast enough to suit me, though. I’m anxious for the leaves to drop, so I can clean up, and plant my meadow flowers out.

Almost everything flowering today is new for this month. The Pacific chrysanthemum and the butterfly weed started opening today.

Pacific Chrysanthemum
Pacific chrysanthemum, Ajania pacifica

Asclepias curassavicaScarlet milkweed, Asclepias curassavica

The ‘Elves Blend’ sunflowers are in full bloom now. So is one wild sunflower. I planted another variety for fall but it hasn’t bloomed yet. Last year, Austin got its first freeze before the sunflowers opened.
Helianthus annuus Elves Blend
Elves Blend sunflower, Helianthus annuus

I planted some other flowers for fall color but I forgot how bad the shade is still in November. The zinnias and cosmos were a complete failure.

The rest of today’s flowers were brought to me by other Austin garden bloggers. The white cat’s whiskers are a passalong from Robin at Getting Grounded.
Cats Whiskers
Cat’s whiskers, Orthosiphon stamineus

The stunning Salvia madrensis is a passalong from Renee at Renee’s Roots.
Salvia madrensis
Salvia madrensis

And now in its second year, the Mexican mint marigold is a passalong from Annie at The Transplantable Rose.
Tagetes lucida
Mexican mint marigold, Tagetes lucida

November 15, 2010

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

  • Abelia grandiflora (2010)
  • Ajania pacifica (2010)
  • Aloe ‘Grassy Lassie’ (2010)
  • Antigonon leptopus (2010) almost all gone to seed
  • Antirrhinum majus (2010) rebloom, survived summer
  • Asclepias curassavica (2010)
  • Dianthus ‘Fandango Crimson’ (2010)
  • Duranta erecta (2010)
  • Galphimia glauca (2010)
  • Helianthus annuus ‘Elves Blend’ (2010) wild
  • Helianthus annuus (2010) wild
  • Lantana montevidensis (2010)
  • Lantana ‘New Gold’ (2010)
  • Nerium oleander (2010)
  • Nierembergia gracilis ‘Starry Eyes’ (2010)
  • Orthosiphon stamineus (2010)
  • Pandorea ricasalonia (2010)
  • Parkinsonia aculeata, Retama (2010)
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette’ (2010)
  • rose ‘New Dawn’ (2010)
  • rose ‘Red Cascade’ (2010)
  • rosemary (2010)
  • Salvia madrensis (2010)
  • Setcresea (both purple and green) (2010)
  • Tagetes lucida (2010)
  • tomato (2010)

GBBD 201010: Oct 2010

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

October 15, 2010

Second fall is firmly entrenched in Austin. As September rolls into October, usually a front will come in from the north and banish the humid Gulf air for a month or six weeks. Then Austin gets a lovely October of intense blue skies, dry air, and temperature ranging from lows in the 50s to highs in the 80s. This has been one of those perfect Octobers; my only complaint is that we didn’t get the prelude of a good long rain. We’ve had a few sprinkles but the last really good rain came with Tropical Storm Hermine at the beginning of September. Hermine dumped six inches of rain all at once and some Austinites got twelve inches or more. It would be nice to spread these rain events out a bit. These are lovely October days but dry, dry, dry. And it’s so cool I become negligent in my watering.

The garden has some fitting golden yellows for October. However it is mostly a jarring clash of reds and pinks at the moment. It was even worse at the beginning of the month before the oxblood lilies and the red spider lilies died down. (And people wonder why I don’t paint my gray cement wall purple.)


Turks cap clashes with coral vine


Ipomoea quamoclit, cypress vine


Dianthus ‘Fandago Crimson’


Ipomoea nil ‘Chocolate’

The package art and description led me to believe that this ‘Chocolate’ morning glory would be a gentle mauve or dainty buff. Not.


Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Dancing Petticoats

I planted some cosmos in the empty larkspur beds thinking I’d get some nice fall color. I always forget that it is too dark for annuals until the pecan tree loses its leaves. This was the only tiny pathetic flower from the entire packet of seeds. All the seeds sprouted but the plants quickly got leggy and died when they were about a foot tall.

The two ‘New Dawn’ roses are covered with flowers. And so is ‘Blush Noisette’. You probably would never guess it from the rest of the garden, but I really prefer these dainty pastel pinks.


Rose ‘New Dawn’

October 15, 2010

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

  • Abelia grandiflora (2010) full bloom
  • Abutilon incanum (2010)
  • Antigonon leptopus (2010) full bloom
  • Antirrhinum majus (2010) rebloom, survived summer
  • Commelina communis (2010)
  • Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Dancing Petticoats’ (2010)
  • Datura inoxia (2010)
  • Dianthus ‘Fandango Crimson’ (2010)
  • Duranta erecta (2010)
  • Galphimia glauca (2010)
  • Helianthus annuus (2010) wild
  • Hibiscus syriacus (2010) fading
  • Ipomoea nil ‘Chocolate’ (2010)
  • Ipomoea quamoclit (2010)
  • Lantana ‘New Gold’ (2010)
  • Lycoris radiata (2010) last day
  • Malvaviscus arboreus (2010)
  • Nerium oleander (2010)
  • Nierembergia gracilis ‘Starry Eyes’ (2010)
  • Oxalis crassipes (2010)
  • Oxalis triangularis (2010)
  • Pandorea ricasalonia (2010)
  • Parkinsonia aculeata, Retama (2010)
  • Pavonia hastata (2010)
  • Plumbago (2010)
  • Polanisia dodecandra (2010) one flower left
  • Rivina humilis (pigionberry) (2010)
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette’ (2010)
  • rose ‘New Dawn’ (2010)
  • rose ‘Red Cascade’ (2010)
  • rosemary (2010)
  • Ruellia (all three) (2010)
  • Salvia madrensis (2010)
  • Senna lindheimeriana (2010) mostly gone to seed
  • Setcresea (both purple and green) (2010)
  • tomato (2010)
  • Verbena canadensis (lavender wilding) (2010)
  • Vitex agnus-castus (2010)
  • waterlily ‘Helvola’ (2010)
  • Zexmenia hispida (2010)

GBBD 201009: Sep 2010

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

September 15, 2010

First fall is firmly entrenched in Austin. Given that it’s hot and humid, how do I know summer has surrendered? When I go outside, it doesn’t feel like I’ve stepped into an oven. When I walk down the street, the heat no longer radiates off the sidewalks and buildings. If I’m unable to water the potted plants one day, they don’t immediately die. The plants don’t wilt after ten minutes of direct sunlight. I’m pretty confident if a plant has made it this far it’s survived summer. (I did lose a couple of things the week before the rain: my potted sweet bay and my second ‘Ducher’ rose.)

I’m surprised by people who can’t feel the 15-degree difference between 107° and 92. I’m not going to say it’s pleasant outside but it is bearable. The air is thick with humidity and mosquitoes the result of Tropical Storm Hermine. After an August with only a trace of rain, Hermine answered our prayers with a vengeance. Zanthan Gardens got about 6 inches of rain in one day; other places in Austin got twice that. Flooding ensued. Eight people died (not all in Central Texas).

The oxblood lilies had their day living up to one of their other common names, hurricane lilies. Their fleeting beauty is all but faded today. So the prize for most striking display for GBBD is a toss-up between the Datura inoxia and the Lindheirmer senna. Some of the latter is over six feet tall. I’ve never seen it so tall. It grew a lot during the wet early summer months.

Lindheimers senna
Lindheimers senna

Gardens everywhere in Austin are brimming with Pride of Barbados this year. I’m seduced by the clear orange/yellow combination. Usually I’m not a fan of orange–it has to be the right flower. I’m glad I bought one. I also managed to grow a Pride of Barbados from seed which I planted a couple of years ago. It died back to the ground during the January 2010 freeze but now it is almost as big as the one I bought. It still hasn’t flowered.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Pride of Barbados

Both the golden thryallis plants are flowering as is the ‘Bangkok Yellow” canna which I had to rescue from pond-trashing raccoons. September is a very yellow month at Zanthan Gardens.

Galphimia glauca
Golden thryallis

The garlic chives started flowering very early this year and are still flowering. I planted them to complement the oxblood lilies but they don’t always flower together.

Allium tuberosum
Garlic chives

The vitex, the retama, and the desert willow have all surprised me with flowers today. Even the ‘Catawba’ crape myrtle is reblooming. The coral vine is also pretty happy, sprawling over twenty feet into my neighbor’s cedar elms. A couple of four o’clocks opened, too. The ‘Starry Eyes’ nierembergia has been a winner throughout the summer. I definitely want more.

Nierembergia gracilis
Nierembergia gracilis ‘Starry Eyes’

After the rain the garden is really just a collection of moderately managed wildflowers. The ruellia (all three types) have taken over the back yard. It’s very obliging. I don’t water or feed it and it grows and grows and grows. Another native plant, scarlet spiderling has been very aggressive this year. I don’t mind it in small doses but this year the plants are huge. The flowers, although a very pretty color, are tiny.

Boerhavia coccinea
scarlet spiderling

Another native plant that I try not to let get out of control but which has this year is this mallow (maybe Indian mallow, Abutilon incanum). This isn’t a very good photo…it makes it look like horseherb. The flower of the mallow is much larger than that of horseherb; it’s about the size of a penny. It’s also a pretty pale, flat buttery yellow. The mallow is an upright bushy plant; the horseherb is a sprawling ground cover.

mallow
mallow

Eventually I’ll get the garden all under control again. Or maybe not.

GBBD 201007: July 2010

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

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

July 15, 2010

Although Austin’s heat index hit triple digit temperatures this week, our actual highs have remained in the 90s. The humidity is smothering. Being in the garden is miserable, even at dawn. If the humidity doesn’t drive me indoors, the mosquitoes do. However, looking at the garden from inside an air-conditioned house, I’m astonished at how green it still is, how lovely it appears from a distance.

I find it interesting to look back at previous years’ GBBD posts. Last July as we kept racking up our triple digit days on the way to 68 (not quite breaking the 1925 record of 69), I couldn’t bring myself to face the garden or to inventory my disappointment. Of course, now I wish I’d made the effort just to see what could bloom in a summer like last year’s. (And yes, a voice in my head told me as much at the time but for once the heart won out.) In July 2008 we were still at the beginning of the drought, suffering but still believing that fall rains would bring relief. The summer of 2007, however, was very similar to this summer.

The rain has encouraged the roses to bloom. All, except ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’*, have bloomed this month. ‘Red Cascade’ has been the real surprise. It sat there for years doing nothing and this year it’s hasn’t stopped blooming. It wants to be a ground rose though. Long canes snake out hugging the ground. They aren’t happy when I try to tie them up to the fence. The small fig tree I planted last year has doubled in size.

In the losses column another surprise: the gingko tree. It’s never been particularly vibrant but it held on through drought and freeze. It attempted to leaf out this spring, put out a few wan leaves, and then gave up. The rain also killed off my new sotol plant (planted in well draining soil amended with decomposed granite) and my thyme (potted in a deep herb pot).

Rain or drought certain flowers are dependable July bloomers at Zanthan Gardens: Antigonon leptopus, Hibiscus syriacus, Lagerstroemia indica, and Malvaviscus arboreus. Carefree self-sown flowers are Polanisia dodecandra, Ruellia (various), and Rudbeckia hirta. Perversely, given that I always have them, I don’t really want more of them. What I really want this year a Pride of Barbados. I’m almost content to enjoy my neighbor’s as I sit looking out the window from my desk. I could plant my own but when our low temperatures barely drop out of the 80s at night, I’m not highly motivated to work in the garden.

Noticeably absent from the list of dependable summer bloomers are the duranta and the plumbago. Neither has recovered yet from the Great Freeze of January 2010. The oleander is also slowing making its way back and has managed to put out a couple of flowers. I used to it being a huge wall of champagne-colored flowers.

New for July

I’ve tried growing crocosmia several times. This is my first success thanks to passalong plants from AnnieinAustin. They just began blooming yesterday.

Crocosmia
2010-07-15. Crocosmia. (Technically this won’t bloom until tomorrow.)

I first noticed the pigeonberry in Eleanor’s Garden of E on the 2009 Master Gardener’s tour. I liked it so much I bought a 4-inch pot of one on the spot. It died back to its roots during the January 2010 freeze and has remained quite small. It began blooming July 10th.

Rivina humilis pigeonberry
2010-07-15. Pigeonberry (Rivina humilis).

When I bought a Mexican buckeye tree a few years back, there were second small plant in the container. I planted it and it’s stayed about a foot tall, smothered under weeds. In late spring when I was cleaning up around the raspberries, I uncovered it. It appreciated either the attention or the rain and has tripled in size in a couple of months. Today I noticed it was flowering, something it’s supposed to do in early spring.

Ungnadia speciosa
2010-07-15. Mexican buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa).

Between GBBDs

Several flower bloomed and faded in my garden between GBBDs and so didn’t show up in the inventory for either June or July. Rainlilies: Zephyranthes grandiflora, Zephyranthes ‘Labuffarosea’ (another passalong from @AnnieinAustin), and the two different white ones. The Crinum bulbispermum rebloomed after the rain.

Update

* 2010-07-18. ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ produced one flower. That means every rose has produced at least one flower in July 2010…not all at the same time.

Complete List for July 2010

Zanthan Gardens

This is the list of all plants flowering today, July 15th 2010, at Zanthan Gardens. I’ve also noted if the plant was blooming on GBBD July 15th, 2007 or 2008. I have no notes for July 2009.

  • Abelia grandiflora (2007, 2010)
  • Antigonon leptopus (2007, 2008, 2010)
  • Antirrhinum majus (2010)
  • Aristolochia fimbriata (2010)
  • Asparagus densiflorus (2010)
  • Commelina communis/erecta (2007, 2010)
  • Crocosmia (2010)
  • Datura inoxia (2010)
  • Engelmannia peristenia/pinnatifida (2008, 2010)
  • Helianthus annuus (2010)
  • Hesperaloe parviflora (2008, 2010)
  • Hibiscus syriacus (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Lagerstroemia indica‘Catawba’ (2007, 2008, 2010)
  • Lantana ‘New Gold’ (2007, 2010)
  • Malvaviscus arboreus (2007, 2008, 2010)
  • Mondo grass (2007, 2010)
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’ (2007, 2008, 2010)
  • Nierembergia gracilis ‘Starry Eyes’ (2010)
  • Oenothera speciosa (2007, 2010)
  • Origanum vulgare (2010)
  • Oxalis triangularis (2007, 2008, 2010)
  • Parkinsonia aculeata (2010)
  • Pavonia hastata (2010)
  • Rivina humilis (2010)
  • Polanisia dodecandra (2007, 2008, 2010)
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette‘ (2007, 2010)
  • rose ‘Ducher’ (2010)
  • rose ‘New Dawn’ (2010)
  • rose ‘Red Cascade’ (2010)
  • rosemary (2007, 2010)
  • Rudbeckia hirta (2007, 2010)
  • Ruellia (2007, 2008, 2010)
  • Setcresea (both purple and green) (2007, 2008, 2010)
  • Thymophylla tenuiloba ‘Golden Fleece’ (2010)
  • Ungnadia speciosa (2010)
  • Verbena canadensis (2007, 2010)
  • waterlily ‘Helvola’ (2008, 2010)
  • Zexmenia hispida (2010)