Ipomoea tricolor Flying Saucers
‘Flying Saucers’ morning glory. I’m trying these new this year. So far this is the only plant with the variegated flowers. The others are pure blue or pure white.

May 15th, 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)

California poppy Mikado
California poppy ‘Mikado’.

April 15th, 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)

rose Souvenir de la Malmaison
2009-03-15. Rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ is in full bloom this year as she was in 2008. But in 2007, she didn’t start blooming until March 17th.

March 15th, 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)

rose Souvenir de la Malmaison
2009-02-15. Austin, TX. Rose ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’. Although it has bloomed this early a couple of times before, typically it first blooms in March.

February 15th, 2009
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

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)

Narcissus tazetta v. italicus
Narcissus tazetta v. italicus. Austin TX. Jan 15, 2009

January 15th, 2009
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)

Crocus speciosus Zanthan Gardens

December 15th, 2008
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’.

Aster ericoides
wild fall aster

November 15th, 2008
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)

Zanthan Gardens
As my garden is currently a garden only in theory, I decided to post this abstract photo montage of my oxblood lilies created by Dreamlines.

August 15th, 2008
GBBD 200808: Aug 2008

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

August 15, 2008

I have often quoted Henry Mitchell on the idea that it is defiance that makes gardeners. The corollary being that those who give up aren’t true gardeners. With my defiance gone, I find myself among those winnowed out. I can barely muster the interest to walk around and inventory what’s blooming today. Well, I’ve always said that I was not a gardener who likes to write but a writer who likes to garden. Today, I’m a writer who would prefer to be doing something else.

New for August

There are no new plants blooming for August.

Between GBBDs

Two flowers bloomed between GBBDs and so didn’t show up in the inventory for either July or August: okra and datura. There was a small flower on the ‘New Dawn’ rose in the back which I have grown from a cutting.

Complete List for August

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

  • Antigonon leptopus (not as rampant as last year but dependable, even without supplemental water)
  • Cosmos sulphureus (a few flowers where the plants are near something getting watered)
  • Duranta erecta (small flowers but doing well; one bush covered with golden berries, too)
  • Echinacea purpurea (doing well all month)
  • Hesperaloe parviflora (mostly gone to seed)
  • Hibiscus syriacus (flowering well; a champ this summer)
  • Malvaviscus arboreus (flowering but the leaves look terrible)
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’ (a few flowers)
  • Polanisia dodecandra (doesn’t mind the heat and blooms with the slightest water but looks very weedy)
  • Plumbago auriculata (doing well with supplemental water)
  • Ruellia (all three types)
  • waterlily ‘Helvola’ (a few flowers every day since June GBBD)

Zanthan Gardens meadow

July 15th, 2008
GBBD 200807: July 2008

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

July 15, 2008

I seriously considered not participating in GBBD this month. Nothing to see here, folks. Just move along. Come back in the fall. Yesterday Austin temps hit 105F/40.5C and even the plants that had been holding tough against our 27 (who’s counting) days of triple-digit heat finally gave up. I have to remind myself that that’s no attitude to take. It’s GBBD, dammit. Something must be blooming and even death and decay have their own beauty, if we look for it.

New for July

Only one new flower opened in July, a perennial black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia fulgida. It’s not quite established yet and it’s had a few days when I wondered if it would make it. I don’t even like black-eyed Susans much. But since it’s the only thing growing, I have have to like it.
Rudbeckia fulgida

Between GBBDs

One flower bloomed between GBBDs and so didn’t show up in the inventory for either June or July. It was the last remaining bulb of some drumstick alliums–the little ornamental onion with the big name, Allium sphaerocephalon–that I planted years ago. It was a small pathetic flower and I might as well face the fact that they have bloomed themselves out. All that’s left are thousands of tiny bulblets.

Complete List for July

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

  • Antigonon leptopus
  • Canna ‘Bangkok Yellow’
  • Cosmos sulphureus
  • Duranta erecta
  • Echinacea purpurea (doing well all month)
  • Engelmannia peristenia/pinnatifida (one flower)
  • Erythrina herbacea (coral bean) rebloom
  • Gaura lindheimeri (doing very well in a pot)
  • Hesperaloe parviflora (mostly gone to seed)
  • Hibiscus syriacus (flowering well)
  • Lagerstroemia indica ‘Catawba’
  • Lantana montevidensis
  • Lavandula heterophylla ‘Goodwin Creek’ (a few tiny flowers)
  • Malvaviscus arboreus
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’ (one flower left, needs to be cut back)
  • Oxalis triangularis (purple)
  • Polanisia dodecandra
  • Plumbago auriculata (one flower)
  • Rudbeckia fulgida (two flowers)
  • Ruellia
  • Tradescantia pallida/setcreasea
  • Vitex (a couple of flowers
  • waterlily ‘Helvola’ (a few flowers every day since June GBBD)
  • Zephyranthes grandiflora (one flower where I watered the other day)

Nigella damascena
Devil in the bush, Nigella damascena seedpod. Brown summer has arrived.

June 15th, 2008
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.


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.
And a white butterfly gaura that I just repotted.

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)