rose Mermaid
2012-02-15. Rose ‘Mermaid. Close up.

February 15th, 2012
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)

Salvia madrensis
Salvia madrensis.

November 19th, 2010
Salvia madrensis

I notice Salvia madrensis (Forsythia sage) for the first time last fall when some Austin garden bloggers make a field trip to the San Antonio Botanical garden. I was surprised to see a yellow salvia. I fell in love on the spot. It was blooming in dappled shade so I thought maybe I could grow it. When Renee (Renee’s Roots) heard I wanted one, she shared a plant from her garden.

I plant it in a new bed by the driveway with another acquisition from that trip, an Italian stone pine from Dan Hosage’s Madrone Nursery.

Salvia madrensis
2009-11-19. Plant the passalong from Renee.

I protect it during freezes and it survives even Austin’s big freeze in January 2010. After that, however, I get careless and forget to cover it in a later milder freeze. It responds by freezing to the ground. I fear I’ve lost it. During the spring that bed was a mass of Nigella damascena from Lancashire Rose. When the Nigella dies down and I clear it out, I’m happy to see three salvia plants coming up from the roots.

Salvia madrensis
2010-07-12. Three plant sprout from the roots.

Salvia madrensis struggled a bit in our very dry August 2010. Every day its large leaves wilt. I was relieved it was getting only morning light. I baby it with water more than most plants that month.

Now that it’s blooming, I know that it was worth the little extra effort.

Salvia madrensis
2010-11-17. Almost a year later, looking fantastic and producing new sprouts.

Salvia madrensis is said to grow in part to full shade. Just this week, the tree it was growing under was cut back severely resulting in much more sunlight in this spot. In order to help it survive next summer, I’m going to transplant the offsets in another part of the garden. It’s great to find a flower that I like that is happy in shade.

Salvia madrensis

Updates

Dateline: 2011-02-20.
I was afraid I’d lost the Salvia madrensis because (despite being covered) all the fresh new growth that had sprouted after I’d cut down the fading flower stems froze to the ground. Today, scores of little sprouts are coming back from the roots.

Dateline: 2017-07-17
They freeze back in a hard winter and die back in the heat of summer, but they have come back reliably every spring and fall.

Aloe Grassy Lassie
Hybrid aloe ‘Grassy Lassie’.

November 15th, 2010
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)