GBBD 200806: June 2008

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

June 15, 2008

Brown summer came early to Zanthan Gardens this year. With temperatures hovering around 100F degrees for the last four weeks, I decide to focus all my resources on the plants (like roses and fruit trees) that I want to keep. So out go any marginally attractive plants or plants that will never make it through the summer anyway.

We aren’t burnt entirely to a crisp yet. Here and there are some bright spots.

Nerium oleander Shari D

One plant continues to defy the heat and put out extravagant flower pom-poms that are beautiful both in daylight and moonlight; that is the oleander ‘Shari D.’ It overflows on the path, crowds out the duranta and flowers without a care.

The plumbago also always looks cool and crisp like a sophisticated woman in a linen dress. I’ve always loved its sky blue flowers. The leaves are a bright glossy green that don’t look droopy, wilted, or sunburnt.

Plumbago

New for June

Only four plants that began flowering since last GBBD and are still flowering today, June 15th.

Antigonon leptopus (Coral Vine)
Antigonon leptopus

The coral vine was here when I bought the house. Every year it freezes back to the ground. Every summer it shoots up through the nandina and starts smothering the fence. Last year, when it was so rainy, it climbed to the top of a 30 foot cedar elm. This year, the flowers are small but its blooming and growing. I never water it. I never feed it. I’ve learned to love the electric pink because at times like these, we have to learn to appreciate what we’re given and not pine after what we aren’t (like lilacs and peonies).

Canna ‘Bangkok Yellow’
Canna Bangkok Yellow

I reader told me that ‘Bangkok Yellow’ did well in a pond and when I finally got a pond it was one of the first things I planted in it. The canna in the pond are much happier than the ones in the ground at the moment. Unfortunately, they are tangled in the temporary netting we use to keep the raccoons out of the pond.

Lagerstroemia indica ‘Catawba’ (Crape Myrtle)
Antigonon leptopus

Summer in Austin means crape myrtles. I’m not a fan of a lot of crape myrtle colors but I liked this plummy red. They were looking better a couple of weeks ago but now the flowers are dry and shriveled. I’m going to cut them back and hope for another round.

Finally the desert willow, Chilopsis linearis, has a few flowers at the very top that I couldn’t get a photograph of. I didn’t even notice them until I went hunting for GBBD flowers. (One of the reasons I love GBBD is that it makes me really look into the nooks and crannies of the garden.) Desert willow is one of those small trees, like vitex, which bloom like crazy all over Austin except in my garden. Too much shade? Not enough water? Or just bad gardening?

Late Breaking Update

Two more plants flowered this afternoon. The waterlily that Pam/Digging gave me.
waterlily
And a white butterfly gaura that I just repotted.
gaura

Between GBBDs

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

  • LA lily
  • Ipomoea quamoclit, cypress vine
  • Lindheimer senna
  • Opuntia ficus-indica, spineless prickly pear cactus
  • nasturtium
  • pomegranite
  • Vitex agnus-castus, chaste tree

Complete List for June

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

  • Acanthus mollis
  • Antigonon leptopus
  • Canna ‘Bangkok Yellow’
  • Chilopsis linearis, desert willow
  • Commelina (common dayflower)
  • Cosmos sulphureus
  • Dianthus chinensis (1)
  • Duranta erecta
  • Echinacea purpurea
  • Engelmannia peristenia/pinnatifida
  • Erythrina herbacea (coral bean) rebloom
  • Eschscholzia californica ‘Mikado’ (on this year’s plants)
  • Gaura lindheimeri
  • Hesperaloe parviflora
  • Hibiscus syriacus
  • Lagerstroemia indica ‘Catawba’
  • Lavandula heterophylla ‘Goodwin Creek’ (a few tiny flowers)
  • Malvaviscus arboreus
  • Mirabilis jalapa (magenta only)
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’ (full bloom)
  • Polanisia dodecandra
  • Phlomis lanata
  • Plumbago auriculata
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette’
  • rose ‘Mermaid’ (a few flowers)
  • rose ‘New Dawn’
  • Rudbeckia hirta
  • Ruellia
  • waterlily ‘Helvola’ (first flower ever)

GBBD 200805: May 2008

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

May 15, 2008

Austin has two summers. May marks our first early summer, when temperatures are in the low 80s to mid 90s and the humidity is off the chart. This is our old southern summer. As the meadow flowers go to seed, the sweet scents of four o’clocks, Confederate jasmine, crinum lilies, and magnolia hang heavily on the air. The humidity is oppressive but it typically means rain (often from violent thunderstorms). Generally May is wonderfully green. (The second summer is our southwestern summer which starts around the 4th of July. Then we expect long days of drought, temperatures in the 100s, water-rationing, and general misery. The color of second summer is brown.)

In my garden, May has the feel of winding down. I yank out the wildflowers, save seeds, and top dress and mulch all the plants I hope to keep through summer. This year, I think I’ll rename May “Pam/Digging” month. She’s given me so many passalongs that are in bloom right now, finally finding sunlight as I pull the exuberant growth of the wildflowers off them: white mistflower, purple coneflower, society garlic, and zexmenia. Pam has helped me extend the flowering season at Zanthan Gardens and May is no long just the month of green.

New for May

Acanthus mollis

Acanthus mollis
This very tropical-looking plant with the imposing flower stalk is one of my favorites. Apparently it can’t be killed. People from the Pacific northwest frequently write to me to ask how to get rid of it. In Austin, it dies down when temperatures hit 92F–so it’s not a problem. In fact, its habit leaves a disappointing hole in the border during the summer.

Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’

Magnolia grandiflora
Bruised, battered, and blooming–my ‘Little Gem’ magnolia is the perfect emblem for this May’s bloom day after last night’s very destructive storm.

Rudbeckia hirta, Black-eyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta
I planted the annual black-eyed Susans the first summer I lived here and I’ve never been without them since. They self-sow, coming up the same time as the bluebonnets and the larkspur but not flowering until those spring wildflowers have died down. I don’t really love it but I’m always glad to see it because for years it was the only thing blooming in my garden at this time of year. Last year I bought the perennial Rudbeckia fulgida; they’re just coming up now.

Echinacea purpurea, purple coneflower

coneflower
One of the passalongs from Pam/Digging. This is the first time I’ve ever grown purple coneflower and these are the first flowers that bloomed.

And also new for May…

  • Borago officianalis
  • Cosmos sulphureus
  • Dolichos lablab
  • Hibiscus syriacus
  • Malvaviscus arboreus Turks cap
  • Nigella damascena ‘Mulberry Rose’ (3 miniscule flowers the size of a dime)
  • Papaver somniferum “Dorothy” selection
  • Plumbago auriculata
  • rose ‘New Dawn’ (back, north border)
  • Ruellia
  • summer squash
  • white mistflower
  • Zexmenia

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.

  • bearded iris ‘Champagne Elegance’
  • bearded iris ‘Silverado’
  • Nigella damascena ‘Mulberry Rose’ (3 miniscule flowers the size of a dime)
  • rose ‘Mermaid’
  • Tulbaghia violacea (society garlic)
  • Zephyranthes grandiflora (some bloomed yesterday, some will bloom tomorrow, but none are blooming today. Killjoys.)

Complete List for May

The garden is not as flowery as this list might make you believe. About half these flowers are going to seed and about to get composted.

  • Acanthus mollis
  • Borago officianalis
  • Centaurea cyanus Black Magic’
  • Commelinantia anomala (a couple that resist my stamping them down)
  • Consolida ambigua (a few in the shade)
  • Cosmos sulphureus
  • Dolichos lablab
  • Dianthus chinensis (reblooming now that the wildflowers have been cleared off)
  • Duranta erecta
  • Echinacea purpurea
  • Engelmannia peristenia/pinnatifida
  • Erythrina herbacea (coral bean)
  • Eschscholzia californica ‘Mikado’
  • Eupatorium wrightii
  • Hesperaloe parviflora
  • Hibiscus syriacus
  • Lantana montevidensis (a few tiny flowers)
  • Lantana x hybrida ‘New Gold’
  • Lathyrus odoratus ‘Perfume Delight’
  • Lavandula heterophylla ‘Goodwin Creek’ (a few tiny flowers)
  • Lupinus texensis (mostly going to seed; first plant now flowering since 12/15)
  • Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’
  • Malvaviscus arboreus
  • Mirabilis jalapa
  • Nandina domestica
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’
  • Nigella damascena ‘Persian Jewels’ mix
  • Oenothera speciosa
  • Oxalis crassipis (hot pink, full bloom)
  • Oxalis triangularis (only purple, not white)
  • Papaver somniferum “Dorothy” selection
  • Polanisia dodecandra
  • Phlomis lanata
  • Plumbago auriculata
  • Retama
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette (full bloom)
  • rose ‘Ducher’ (waning)
  • rose ‘New Dawn’
  • rose ‘Red Cascade’ (two small flowers)
  • rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ (one flower opened today)
  • Rudbeckia hirta
  • Ruellia
  • Sedum album
  • Setcresea (both purple and green)
  • Trachelospermum jasminoides (starting to fade)
  • Verbena canadensis (lavender wilding)
  • Viola cornuta ‘Sorbet Coconut Duet’
  • Zexmenia hispida

In addition to the flowers, the following fruits or vegetables are also blooming: strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, and squash.

GBBD 200804: Apr 2008

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

April 15, 2008

This period between last GBBD and this is generally the most perfect at Zanthan Gardens. This year the weather has played along. After scaring us with a couple of 90 degree days, (which caused the cilantro and baby blue eyes to go suddenly to seed), this week temperatures have fallen to gorgeous 70 degree days, the skies are clear, and the air is dry. Very dry. I’m having to water more than usual.

This period is either second spring or first summer. (For a part of the country reputed not to even have four seasons, I find that just four is not enough to describe the changes in the garden.) The trees have leafed out. What lawn is left is greening up. The early spring bulbs and flowering trees are finished. The over-wintering annuals are in full bloom. Self-sown summer annuals like clammy weed, cypress vine, Dolichos lablab, and cosmos are sprouting. They remind me that it’s past time for planting a few new summer seeds of my own.

New for April

Arguably Zanthan Garden’s most floriferous month, April is when the sheer mass of flowers overcomes interest in the individual specimen. I won’t even try to photograph all the new flowers for April. Here are a few.

Confederate jasmine
Trachelospermum jasminoides

I have a weakness for all those heavily-scented white, Southern flowers but my favorite is Confederate jasmine. The scent is very spicy and the vine always a glossy green even in our worst droughts. You can smell Confederate jasmine from quite a distance.

Crinums with Engelmann Daisy and Pink Evening Primrose
Crinum bubispermum

The milk and wine lilies in the meadow with the gray-green foliage bloom before the crinums with the bright green foliage. I don’t know what kind they are. All of them have different colored flowers, sickly sweet, and huge, the weight of which causes the stalks to fall over almost immediately as the flowers open. I gathered quite a few seeds from these last year which started easily but have been slow to grow.

Crinum bulbispermum

St Joseph’s Lily

Hippeastrum x johnsonii
The hardy amaryllis, Hippeastrum x johnsonii, has been blooming almost all month in my yard and all over my older Austin neighborhood. I’ve never liked any photo I’ve taken of St. Joseph’s lily but Rachel @ In Bloom got the color right when she visited during Spring Fling.

Jerusalem sage and California poppies
Phlomis lanata

The Jerusalem sage, Phlomis lanata, is dead easy to propagate. Just stick a semi hard-wood cutting into the ground, keep moist but not too wet, and it will root. I love the leaves but they get a bit wilty when temperatures top 90.

Red Yucca

Hesperaloe parviflora
Last winter I had a couple of invasive chinaberry trees removed. The red yucca, Hesperaloe parviflora, once again in sunlight, has thanked me by blooming this year. The individual flowers are insignficant. In Austin, red yucca is commonly massed and the flowers hover like a pale red cloud above the spiky plants.

Retama

Retama
Also known as Jerusalem thorn or palo verde, this lime green tree flowers bright yellow and is covered in thorns. Given my penchant for growing thorny plants, maybe I should have named my garden “Thornfield”.

White Stonecrop
Sedum album

Here’s a little flower that gets lost in April’s showiness. Getting down on my hands and knees I spot the small flowers of white stonecrop, Sedum album. I don’t have any idea when these started blooming.

And also new for April…

Between GBBDs

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

  • Hyacinthoides hispanica
  • Tulipa clusiana
  • Yaupon holly

Complete List for April

  • Allium neapolitanum
  • Aloe barbadensis
  • Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’
  • Centaurea cyanus ‘Black Magic’
  • Commelinantia anomala
  • Consolida ambigua
  • Crinum (various)
  • Duranta erecta
  • Engelmannia peristenia/pinnatifida
  • Eschscholzia californica ‘Mikado’ (going to seed)
  • iris (heirloom gold)
  • Hesperaloe parviflora
  • Hippeastrum x johnsonii
  • Lantana montevidensis
  • Lantana x hybrida ‘New Gold’
  • Lathyrus odoratus ‘Perfume Delight’
  • Lavandula heterophylla ‘Goodwin Creek’ (few flowers on old plants)
  • Lupinus texensis (mostly going to seed; first plant now flowering since 12/15)
  • Mirabilis jalapa
  • Nemophila insignis (going to seed)
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’
  • Nigella damascena
  • Oenothera speciosa
  • Oxalis crassipis (hot pink, full bloom)
  • Oxalis pes-caprae ‘Scotty’s Surprise’ (fading)
  • Oxalis triangularis (only purple, not white)
  • Polanisia dodecandra
  • Phlomis lanata
  • Retama
  • Rhaphiolepis indica (end of the season)
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette (full bloom)
  • rose ‘Ducher’ (waning)
  • rose ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’ (one flower)
  • rose ‘New Dawn’
  • rose ‘Prosperity’ (full bloom)
  • rose ‘Red Cascade’ (two small flowers)
  • rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ (one flower, between flushes)
  • Sedum album
  • Setcresea (both purple and green)
  • Trachelospermum jasminoides
  • Tradescantia (spiderwort, going to seed)
  • Verbena canadensis (lavender wilding)
  • Viola cornuta ‘Sorbet Coconut Duet’

GBBD 200803: Mar 2008

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

March 15, 2008

If, as Carol quotes Emerson, the “earth laughs in flowers”, then for this fleeting moment at Zanthan Gardens we are ROGL. March is typically the month that I have more types of different flowers blooming than any other. I’m not saying the garden is drenched in blossom here. Quite the opposite. In fact, a visitor just this week remarked that the most overwhelming color in the garden right now is spring green. But as early spring flowers give way to late spring flowers, March provides a greater variety of plants in flower than at any other time of the year. Often it is just a stem of this, or a couple of flowers of that. April will be the month of masses of flowers but with less variety.

New for March

Beginning in March, I can find something new blooming in the garden almost every day. The paperwhite narcissus have given way to the jonquils. My only large cup daffodil, ‘Ice Follies’ bloomed between GBBDs. After that came the yellow daffodils, ‘Trevithian’, ‘Hawera’, and then the Quail.

Trevithian
Narcissus jonquilla Trevithian

The jonquil ‘Trevithian’ began flowering on March 3rd and three flowers are still open. They always come back but they never flower vigorously in my garden.

Hawera
Narcissus triandrus Hawera

Three diminuitive triandrus ‘Hawera’ nod their heads. They are so small and delicate, I think they must be fairy flowers. They began flowering on March 10th.

Quail
Narcissus jonquilla Quail

One stem of the other jonquil ‘Quail’ opened on March 12th with three flowers. Notice the brown edges caused by the 95F/35C degree heatwave that hit Austin yesterday. I saw it lying flat on the ground yesterday. Luckily some cold water and cooler temperatures today perked it up in time for its GBBD photo.

Cilantro
Coriandrum sativum

The meadow is filling in. The cilantro, Coriandrum sativum, has been rampant this year. It looked very weedy for awhile but now that it is flowering all is forgiven.

False Dayflower
false

The cute little faces on the false dayflowers, Commelinantia anomala, always make me smile. I’ve spent ten years selecting the bicolor flowers and weeding out the solid dark blue ones.

Rose ‘Ducher’ and Bluebonnets
rose Ducher

My new ‘Ducher’ rose likes is much happier than the one I lost, probably because I put it on the opposite side of the yard where it could receive sun all winter. I’ve never seen ‘Ducher’ bloom like this. It looks like it’s on steroids, but it’s just Dillo Dirt. In my experience, ‘Ducher’ prefers cooler weather and blooms best for me in early spring.

More bluebonnets, Lupinus texensis are opening. Most of the flowers are still on the plants that oversummered, but a few fall-sprouted plants are beginning to flower, too (although not very profusely).

Baby Blue Eyes and Cilantro
Nemophila insignis

In stark contrast, the baby blue eyes, Nemophila insignis, seem to be on a quest to take over the garden.

Grape Hyacinth
Hyacinth
A few blue bottles, Muscari racemosum/neglectum just opened this week. I noticed them already flowering at Pam/Digging’s almost a month ago.

First Larkspur (Opened Today)
Consolida ambigua

The blooming of the larkspur, Consolida ambigua marks spring, part 2 at Zanthan Gardens.

Rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’
rose Souvenir de la Malmaison

The last two weeks, ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ has been putting on quite a show. She beat the shade and the little green worms. She is one of the roses I stripped in February.

Rose ‘Blush Noisette’

‘Blush Noisette’ has just emerged from the shade of the Texas Mountain laurels and put out a few flowers. I forgot to get a snapshot of them today though.

Anemone coronaria ‘The Bride’
Anemone coronaria The Bride

This was the first year that I’ve ever grown anemones. They were both more successful and less successful than I had expected. More, because they flowered at all, even after the raccoons kept digging them up. Less, because I should have planted them all together en masse to get a nice effect rather than dotting them here and there. I always make this mistake.

Bridal wreath spiraea
Bridal wreath spiraea

About six years ago this spiraea had huge white sprays like some giant floral fountain. Then I came very close to losing it. This year, a couple of stems are making a comeback.

California Poppies ‘Mikado’
Mikado

More California poppies are blooming.

This has been a pretty good year for the flowering trees, except for the Mexican plums. However, many plum seedlings are popping up. I think few fruit usually mature but because it was cool and rainy last summer a lot more did. The rainy summer of 2007 has had a dramatic effect on all the other small flowering trees. The cherry laurel, the Texas mountain laurel, and the redbuds are heavier with blossom than I’ve ever seen them.

Texas Mountain Laurel
Texas mountain laurel

The sickly sweet grape soda scented Texas mountain laurel, Sophora secundiflora is in full bloom right now. 2008 has been a spectacular year for Austin’s Texas mountain laurel. I think this was due to last summer’s extra rain. I don’t think mine have ever had this many flowers.

Texas mountain laurel

Cherry Laurel
Prunus caroliniana

The flowers of cherry laurel, Prunus caroliniana are not as showy or scented as Texas mountain laurel but the bees seem to like them just as much.

Viola
viola

Although the violas have been blooming since November, I’m putting in this shot of them because this yellow one popped up among the white and purple Sorbet ‘Coconut Duet’. It is the first hard evidence of violas self-sowing in my garden. I don’t know if this is from this year’s seed which reverted or from last year (when I had yellow violas).

There are diminuitive flowers on three other plants that I didn’t even bother to photograph: the lavender, Lavandula heterophylla ‘Goodwin Creek’, has one spray; in the oxblood lily nursery, I noticed the pretty pea-flowered common vetch, Vicia sativa; and the potato vine, Solanum jasminoides, is twining its way through the chain link fence.

Carol said we could count potted plants and two began flowering this month.

Meyer Lemon
Meyer lemon

I’m relieved that the Meyer lemon has staged a comeback. I was afraid that it would hold my neglect last year and subsequent rough treatment of it during repotting against me. When I repotted it on February 10th, I cut it back by two-thirds, hacked off a lot of potbound roots, and stripped all the leaves off it because they were covered in sooty mold. Now, a month later, it is putting out new buds and leaves like never before.

Butterfly Amaryllis
Hippeastrum papilio

Two flowers are now open on the butterfly amaryllis, Hippeastrum papilio. I realized that the close-up shots I took the other day don’t show how large the flowers are. These are by far the largest flowers in bloom today.

Still Flowering

The four types of oxalis that I grow bloom off and on all year. I don’t think I’ve photographed them for GBBD before, so here they are.

Two varieties of Oxalis triangularis
Oxalis
Oxalis

Oxalis crassipes
Oxalis

Oxalis pes-caprae ‘Scotty’s Surprise’
Oxalis

Also still flowering from previous months are viola, pinks, sweet alyssum, and the redbud tree.

Complete List for March

  • Anemone coronaria ‘The Bride’
  • Bridal wreath spiraea
  • Cercis canadensis
  • Citrus x meyeri (potted)
  • Commelinantia anomala
  • Consolida ambigua
  • Coriandrum sativum
  • Dianthus chinensis
  • Eschscholzia californica ‘Mikado’
  • henbit
  • Hippeastrum papilio
  • Lantana montevidensis
  • Lavandula heterophylla ‘Goodwin Creek’
  • Leucojum aestivum (summer snowflakes)
  • Lobularia maritima
  • Lupinus texensis (many plants now in flower; first plant now flowering since 12/15)
  • Muscari racemosum/neglectum
  • Narcissus jonquilla ‘Quail’
  • Narcissus triandrus ‘Hawera’
  • Nemophila insignis
  • Oxalis crassipis (hot pink)
  • Oxalis pes-caprae ‘Scotty’s Surprise’
  • Oxalis triangularis (both purple and white)
  • Prunus mexicana (Only a couple of flowers left.)
  • Prunus caroliniana (cherry laurel)
  • Rhaphiolepis indica (had a few very early flowers, then stopped blooming, now about to kick into high gear)
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette
  • rose ‘Ducher’ (full bloom)
  • rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ (full bloom)
  • rosemary (Very few flowers)
  • Solanum jasminoides (potato vine)
  • Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)
  • Tradescantia (spiderwort)
  • Viola cornuta ‘Sorbet Coconut Duet’
  • Vitia sativa (common vetch, a pretty weed)

GBBD 200802: Feb 2008

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

February 15, 2008

Just after January’s GBBD, Austin got a hard freeze which wiped out all the late hangers-on that I had written about. So everything new for February is new for the year. Austin’s spring is slowly unfurling, and like a new bride is dressed in white: paperwhite narcissus, summer snowflakes, and the Mexican plum blossom. However, the overriding color in the garden in February is the spring green of all the little overwintering annuals and spring bulbs, putting down their roots and gathering strength for their big show next month.

Narcissus Grand Primo
2008-02-15. Narcissus ‘Grand Primo’ blooming in the front, too.

The roses are about as dormant as they get any time of the year. None are blooming today and I had only two flowers since last GBBD, both on ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’. But all the roses are budding out. Unless we get a hard freeze, I think I’ll have roses before the next GBBD. The same is true of the Indian hawthorn, Rhaphiolepis indica. It had a few early flowers, isn’t blooming today, but is full of buds.

New for February

Leucojum aestivum
2008-02-15. One summer snowflake began blooming. I think it was dug up by a squirrel and replanted because it’s off by itself.

Paperwhite narcissus Grandiflora
2008-02-15. My only bought and named paperwhite, ‘Grandiflora’. The flowers are twice as large as the naturalized ones. (The tiny ones by the mailbox are still blooming, too.)

Prunus mexicana
2008-02-15. The largest of the three Mexican plum trees is just starting to open its flowers.

Still Blooming

Lantana montevidensis
2008-02-15. The lantana is still blooming even though it’s leaves are frost-bitten.

Lupinus texensis
2008-02-15. The amazing bluebonnet that began flowering on December 15, 2007 hasn’t quit yet. In fact, it’s just getting going. Quite a few other bluebonnets have buds now and will probably bloom within a week.

The List for February

  • Dianthus chinensis
  • Lantana montevidensis
  • Leucojum aestivum
  • Lobularia maritima
  • Lupinus texensis (another bloom on the plant that flowered in December)
  • Mahonia bealei
  • Narcissus papyraceus (small ones by mailbox)
  • Narcissus papyraceus ‘Grandiflora’
  • Narcissus tazetta italicus
  • Narcissus tazetta ‘Grand Primo’
  • Oxalis triangularis (purple only)
  • Prunus mexicana (The large one from Gardens
  • rosemary (Even more flowers than last month.)
  • Viola cornuta ‘Sorbet Coconut Duet’

GBBD 200801: Jan 2008

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

What! It’s GBBD again. I can’t believe it’s been a month since my December post. Carol’s put the pressure on us southern gardeners to come up with a lot of flowers for those of you buried under snow. When I looked out the window, I saw a lot of green in the garden but not many flowers. Although there’s always something blooming here, it’s not the perpetual bower of flowers some of you imagine.

rose New Dawn
I waited and waited for this ‘New Dawn’ bud to open. Then it froze.

It’s been a very dry winter so there seem to be fewer narcissus and roses blooming. Austin finally had a few nights this winter where the temperatures dropped to the high 20s, finally doing in the stragglers from last year–or so I thought. Wandering around with my camera set to macro, I found a few new flowers to share and some hangers on from last year.

New for January

The Narcissus tazetta italicus opened yesterday (1/14) almost exactly a month after the first paperwhite. This is about two weeks later than they usually open in my garden. There are some paperwhites still blooming but the Chinese sacred lilies have come and gone.

Another new flower for January is Mahonia bealei, leatherleaf mahonia. It opened it’s first flower on January 6th and only a few more have opened since. I can’t see them from my kitchen window, yet, like I can when it’s in full bloom. Mahonia bealei

Typical winter bloomers

The rosemary had one flower last month and now has three. Summer 2007 was very hard on rosemary bushes throughout Austin. It was so rainy that a lot of our xeriscape plants just rotted. My rosemary bush was about three times bigger than it is now. All but one stem died.
rosemary

The violas are in full bloom. They are so perky and persistant that I bought another flat of them. For the record, that’s 36 viola plants for $30. The other overwintering annuals, Dianthus chinensis and the sweet alyssum are also fulfilling their winter duties.

Surprise Hangers On

After some cold weather the first week of the year, the Dolichos lablab vine died back. When I began pulling it down to put in the mulch pile, I found section of vine still blooming in a protected corner.
Dolichos lablab

I had hoped that the Podranea ricasoliania had died back finally but there is a section just north of the garage that escaped the freeze and is still blooming. And I was further surprised that a flower opened on the Thai basil. The basil surely should be dead by now. I dug up the other basil plant and potted it up. We’ve been enjoying basil and pine nuts over Central Market’s handmade mozzarella this week.

Thai basil
Although some leaves are frost damaged, the Thai basil hangs on and has finally bolted.

Another survivor so far is the lantana. Actually the leaves, as you can see in the photo, are frost-nipped but it continues to put out flowers, some white, some purple. I have another lantana plant on the opposite side of the yard which died back to the ground on the first cold night.
Lantana montevidensis

I was expecting the duranta to die back to the ground. All three plants look green and don’t show any frost damage yet. They are all putting out miniscule flowers and golden seedpods at the same time. I love the contrast.
Duranta erecta

  • basil, Thai
  • Dianthus chinensis
  • Dolichos lablab
  • Duranta erecta (both flowers and berries)
  • Lantana montevidensis
  • Lobularia maritima
  • Lupinus texensis (another bloom on the plant that flowered in December)
  • Mahonia bealei
  • Narcissus papyraceus
  • Narcissus tazetta italicus
  • Oxalis triangularis (both purple and green)
  • Podranea ricasoliana
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette’
  • rose ‘Ducher’
  • rosemary
  • Viola cornuta ‘Sorbet Coconut Duet’

GBBD 200712: Dec 2007

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

This is the special southern edition for all you who are under snow this weekend. Actually GBBD came just in the nick of time here in Austin. Our high temperatures this week have gone from the 80s to the 40s to the 80s to the 40s, eventually ending the week with two average days in the 60s. Forecast for tonight, however, is our first freeze of the season before we resume highs in the 60s. I’m not too worried. Zanthan Gardens is very close to downtown Austin which forms a heat sink. We also got some rain last night; temperatures fluctuate less sharply when the ground is moist. (Remember, the ground never freezes in Austin). The temperatures might dip to freezing for a few hours but I suspect only the tenderest plants (like the basil) will be in any danger. I’ll bring the potted plants in and cover up the strawberries in any case.

rose Heritage
I had my doubts whether or not the David Austin rose, ‘Heritage’, would last until today. It did! It opened four days ago. ‘Heritage’ has the nasty habit of dropping its petals before the flower has faded. I’m glad this one stayed opened long enough to make it to GBBD. One of the great thing about winter roses in Austin is that the flowers last several days. In the summer they typically open and wilt in the heat in the space of a few hours. All over Austin roses have been in full bloom this month, especially the heirloom rose ‘Mutabalis’.

rose Ducher
Most of the roses have buds on them which might freeze. The rose that’s been in full bloom all month is the lovely white China rose, ‘Ducher’. This is my second instance of this rose. I lost one last year to rose dieback. This one is planted on the opposite side of the the yard against the north fence. In my experience, ‘Ducher’ has always bloomed best in the winter so I moved it against the north fence where it could get plenty of winter sun. ‘Ducher’s’ flowers have a lemony rose scent. I particularly like how twiggy and full the bush is. The new foliage always has a nice red tint to it which makes it pretty even when it’s not blooming.

Helianthus annuus Goldy Honey Bear
Also new for December are two sunflowers which I planted in September to provide some fall color. This yellow one is ‘Goldy Honey Bear’ which is supposed to be 4 to 6 feet tall but which has grown only to a height of 13 inches. Remembering that sunflowers often grow in waste spaces, I planted them to hide some of the garden house construction detritus. Apparently caliche and rock forms a poorer soil than even sunflowers can handle. The entire packet of seeds produced only two flowers which look more like dandelions than sunflowers.

Helianthus annuus Moulin Rouge
I had better success with ‘Moulin Rouge’ which was planted in long-established garden loam.

paperwhite
Making a bid for spring before winter has even started is the first paperwhite. I’ve been watching this bud all week and if it opens more fully in today’s sunlight I will post an update photo this evening.

viola
All the hardy annuals I planted last month–the sweet alyssum, pinks and violas–have established themselves nicely and continue to bloom. The paperwhites have sprouted up among the violas, as have a lot of larkspur seedlings. And the leaves are still falling off the trees. So this bed is a mix of seasons, which is appropriate for December in Austin.

  • Aster ericoides (fading and looking very weedy)
  • Cosmos sulphureus (some very short ones, only a foot tall)
  • Dianthus chinensis
  • Dolichos lablab (a few flowers among the ragged leaves)
  • Duranta erecta (both flowers and berries)
  • Helianthus annuus ‘Goldy Honey Bear’
  • Helianthus annuus ‘Moulin Rouge’
  • Lantana montevidensis
  • Malvaviscus arboreus
  • Lupinus texensis (first flower)
  • Lobularia maritima
  • Podranea ricasoliana (in full bloom all month, although I find the pink a bit jarring in autumn)
  • pepper, jalapeno
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette’ (fading)
  • rose ‘Ducher’ (full bloom)
  • rose ‘Heritage’ (one bloom)
  • rosemary (a few flowers now that the pecan leaves have fallen and it’s in sun again)
  • Rudbeckia fulgida (one flower)
  • Solanum jasminoides
  • Tradescantia pallida/Setcreasia (purple heart)
  • Tradescantia–unknown white
  • Viola cornuta ‘Sorbet Coconut Duet’

GBBD 200711: Nov 2007

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

A cold front blew in last night, dropping temperatures 20 degrees but not bringing any rain. Today is sunny and windy. It’s hard to take photos in the wind. Zanthan Gardens is looking like it’s ready for a new year. Leaves are dropping just enough to litter the lawn, paths, and beds and yet not enough to open up the yard to sunlight. The trees, perennials, and even grass looks tired and worn.

I’ve been planting out winter annuals these last couple of weeks and that’s where almost all the new flowers for this month come from.

Viola cornuta Sorbet Coconut Duet
The violas are one of my favorite flowers. I don’t really like their larger cousins, the pansies, maybe because pansies are ubiquitous in commercial plantings around Austin. I hate the way they are typically set out in as if they were floral color dots, all different colors and lined up in unnatural rows and columns. I prefer the diminutive violas. I like to plant them in winding drifts so that they look like they just sprung up on their own.

Lobularia maritima
I also like sweet alyssum, Lobulari maritima. I need to buy a lot more of it, though. In years past I’ve made containers out of rotted logs and the sweet alyssum looks very pretty draping down over the logs.

Dianthus chinensis
Pinks, Dianthus chinensis, are another common winter annual here in Austin. If the summer isn’t too hot, they will last and last. I managed to keep one group of so-called annuals growing for over 4 years. They finally died out so I decided that 2007 was a good year to plant out some more.

Jalapeno
Among the vegetables, the jalepeno pepper is still going strong.The summer squash continues flowering but I don’t have much hope left for it because the plants look so sickly and ragged. On the other hand, the bush beans have finally decided to grow and are flowering like mad.

I don’t have any roses in bloom at the moment. ‘Ducher’ had been in full bloom last week but all the flowers faded by today. ‘French Lace’, which has been struggling all year, finally died. ‘Blush Noisette’ has buds that look like they will open tomorrow or the day after.

  • Antigonon leptopus (only a few flowers left)
  • Asclepias curassavica (mostly gone to seed)
  • Cosmos sulphureus (some very short ones, only a foot tall)
  • Aster ericoides (in full bloom)
  • Commelina communis or C. erecta (weedy dayflower)
  • Curcubita pepo (straightneck summer squash)
  • Dianthus chinensis
  • Dolichos lablab (suddenly flowered again after going to seed)
  • Duranta erecta
  • Lantana montevidensis
  • Malvaviscus arboreus
  • Oxalis crassipies
  • Plumbago auriculata (still many flowers)
  • Lobularia maritima
  • Podranea ricasoliana (finally blooming all along the north fence)
  • Rudbeckia fulgida
  • Solanum jasminoides (new this month)
  • Tradescantia pallida/Setcreasia (purple heart)
  • Tradescantia–unknown white
  • Viola cornuta ‘Sorbet Coconut Duet’

GBBD 200710: Oct 2007

October 15, 2007

I don’t think it’s rained in Austin since the last Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. After our glorious summer, we are having a hot dry fall, with temperatures well above average. My lawn is getting crispy. Just this last week, the highs dropped out of the 90s and the lows reached into the 60s. Lots of plants, even heat lovers like tomatoes and peppers, won’t bloom if the low temperatures are above 70F. The drop in temperature encouraged four new plants to bloom.

The summer squash…
summer squash

White mistflower (a gift from Pam/Digging)
white mistflower

Aster ericoides, a tiny native aster.
Aster ericoides

And Callisia repens, which has a flower so small that I can barely see it without my camera eye.

Another new flower blooming since last month is the elegant, red spider lily, Lycoris radiata (known in its native Japan as higanbana, literally equinox flower).
Lycoris radiata

Being dry and dusty, the garden looks ragged. The trees are just now starting to drop a leaf or two; except the pecans which are swathed in webworms, dressed up for All Hallow’s Eve. A few oxblood lily stragglers march on. The summer flowers are past their prime and I haven’t put in the winter annuals yet. This is not how I wanted the garden to look for Margaret’s visit (which begins tomorrow). But I’m sure it will be fun hitting the nurseries together and buying some new plants to liven things up.

  • Abelia grandiflora (only a few flowers)
  • Antigonon leptopus (still going strong)
  • Asclepias curassavica (mostly gone to seed)
  • Cosmos sulphureus (some very short ones, only a foot tall)
  • Aster ericoides
  • Callisia repens
  • Curcubita pepo (straightneck summer squash)
  • Dolichos lablab
  • Duranta erecta
  • Eupatorium wrightii (white mistflower, Wright’s boneset)
  • Ipomoea quamoclit (cypress vine)
  • Lycoris radiata
  • Malvaviscus arboreus
  • Mirabilis jalapa pink
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’ — full, gorgeous bloom
  • Oxalis triangularis
  • Plumbago auriculata
  • Podranea ricasoliana
  • Rhodophiala bifida
  • rose ‘Ducher’ (happy now that it’s in the sun)
  • Ruellia (Mexican petunia)
  • Tradescantia pallida/Setcreasia (purple heart)

GBBD 200709: Sep 2007

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

2007

April and September are the two big months for bloom in my Austin garden. In September, hurricane rains alternating with cold fronts blowing down the plains states bring the garden back to life after summer, beginning with the oxblood lilies. If you missed the oxblood lily day here at Zanthan Gardens, look at yesterday’s post.

Rhodophiala bifida

This year we’ve had so much rain that the garden has been in high gear since March. The vines have been especially happy.

Antigonon leptopus
The coral vine has covered the fence and climbed over twenty feet into my neighbor’s cedar elm.

Four o'clock and cypress vine

Most of the four o’clocks died back in the heat of summer but the hot pink one is fighting it out with the cypress vine to see which is the most aggressive.

That honor goes to Podranea ricasoliana variously called the pink trumpet vine, Port St Johns Creeper, and desert willow vine, the latter because the flower looks similar to a the desert willow. This south African native is on the banned list in Australia. I think it should be in Texas, too. I see one flower about to open. I might have to wait until late afternoon to see if it will qualify for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day this September.

rose Properity

The rose ‘Prosperity’ looks almost ivory in the early morning autumn sunlight. This flower is barely an inch and a half (4cm) across. In the spring the flowers have more blush pink tones. I find that roses often have more intense colors in the spring when the highs are in the 60s and 70s than in the fall when they are in the 90s. She’s the only rose which got can dieback last year that I managed to save. She used to half a dozen arching canes and now is down to one scraggly one. But she’s been blooming for the last couple of weeks so I hope she’s making a comeback.

I’m disappointed that ‘Heritage’ isn’t blooming today; she looked so lovely at the beginning of the month. Most of the other roses are flowering or trying to.

Allium tuberosum

The garlic chives are still attracting wasps, bees, and moths. The orange cosmos are beckoning to the butterflies. As is the Duranta erecta.

Oleander
Nerium oleander ‘Shari D.’ in full bloom.

  • Abelia grandiflora
  • Allium tuberosum
  • Antigonon leptopus
  • Asclepias curassavica
  • asparagus fern
  • Canna–unknown red from seed
  • chili pequin–very few flowers but covered in fruit
  • Cosmos sulphureus
  • Dolichos lablab
  • Duranta erecta
  • Hibiscus syriacus
  • Ipomoea quamoclit (cypress vine)
  • Lagerstroemia indica–both the watermelon pink and the ‘Catawba’
  • Lantana ‘New Gold’
  • Lindheimer senna
  • Malvaviscus arboreus
  • Mirabilis jalapa pink
  • Oenothera speciosa (pink evening primrose)
  • Oxalis drummondii
  • Oxalis triangularis
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’ — full, gorgeous bloom
  • Plumbago auriculata
  • Podranea ricasoliana
  • Rhaphiolepis indica–Indian hawthorn
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette–smothered by the cypress vine
  • rose ‘Ducher’
  • rose ‘New Dawn’
  • rose ‘Red Cascade’
  • Rudbeckia hirta — fading
  • Ruellia (Mexican petunia)–dependable this time of year
  • Salvia farinacea–most rotted out this summer; one little sprout has a wan flower
  • Salvia leucantha (Mexican bush sage)–everyone in Austin has huge gorgeous displays; I have one sickly one trying to escape the clutches of the cypress vine
  • Tradescantia pallida/Setcreasia (purple heart)
  • Tulbaghia violacea (society garlic) Thanks, Pam!
  • widow’s tears
  • Zephyranthes grandiflora

Early Morning Updates

One flower on the Podranea ricasoliana DID open!
Podranea ricasoliana

One rainlily (Zephyranthes grandiflora) opened. Despite all the rain this year, 2007 has not been a good year for rainlilies at Zanthan Gardens. Either they need to dry out between rains or they are still suffering from last year’s drought.
Zephyranthes grandiflora

Most surprising of all is that the Indian hawthorn is blooming.
Indian hawthorn

Indian hawthorn is a spring blooming plant. I have never seen it bloom in the fall in my garden or anywhere else. Have you?