June 15th, 2008
GBBD 200806: June 2008

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

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)

by M Sinclair Stevens

32 Responses to post “GBBD 200806: June 2008”

  1. From Sarah Laurence:

    MSS, that seed pod is so strange – I can see where it got it’s name. So sorry to hear about your heat wave. It’s so chilly here in England – I wish we could share. I’ll send you cool thoughts.

    Me, too! I’m looking forward to being in England again soon. — mss

  2. From Carol, May Dreams Gardens:

    The oleander is beautiful, as pretty as any lilac, and I’m guessing it blooms for a longer period of time than a lilac? When I first saw your picture I thought it might be a rose.

    Looking at your list of blooms, I see we have not a single bloom in common. My echinacea and black-eyed Susan’s have buds but no blooms, and I have just one scrawny rose, a white flower carpet type. That’s what makes comparing blooms so interesting. Every gardeners’ garden is different and one-of-a-kind.

    Thanks for sharing your garden with us today. It must have been hot out there when you were looking around and taking pictures.

    It dipped to 77F degrees for about 20 minutes around 6:30AM. So it was actually colder outside than in. The oleander started flowering on April 7th but it’s only been covered with flowers for about the last three weeks. I think it has another week left. If I dead-head it, I probably get another flush of flowers in the fall. — mss

  3. From Mr. McGregor's Daughter (Chicagoland):

    I’ve admired that Plumbago in person in Florida, where it is in bloom in February & March. It is such a wonderful plant. I like the electric pink of your vine, but then neon colors are so fun. My Echinacea are just starting to bud & the Ruellia are just fuzzy mounds still. And yes, it’s still raining here. I wish we could send some of it your way.

    I wish you could, too. When I read your post, I’m transported back a couple of months enjoying late spring and early summer–with completely different and intriguing flowers. — mss

  4. From Amy:

    In spite of the sizzling temps you’ve got some very lovely blossoms. Thanks for sharing your photos 🙂

    My pleasure. Hope everything works out with your knee. — mss

  5. From Annie in Austin:

    Hi MSS,

    We have plumbago in common, and there are a few flowers left on the double yellow oleander, but you’re more successful with cosmos, duranta, prickly-pear cactus, Hesperaloe, ruellia and roses… the plants are in my garden, too, but unlike yours, mine have no flowers – my cactus has never made one flower.

    John Dromgoole said the only day we’ll have rain will be the 4th of July – but I sure hope some comes sooner than that!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Having just seen it last Thursday I know your garden is a lush paradise filled with flowers. You have SO much in bloom right now that I had to change my opening sentence to read that “Brown summer has come to Zanthan Gardens.” rather than “Brown summer has come to Austin”. We do seem to live in almost different climates even though we live less than 20 miles apart. The cold hits you much harder in the winter, too. — mss

  6. From Cindy, Katy:

    Like Carol, at first glance, I thought the oleander was a rose. Because oleanders are so ubiquitous in the Houston area, I have none in my garden. That one makes me reconsider.

    Weather like this means we heat zone gardeners have to make some tough calls when it comes to our plants. It’s discouraging and disheartening to see even the drought tolerant plants struggling. My spirits are equally wilted and I know you can relate to that!

    It took me a long time to break down and by an oleander. But my resistance melted when I saw the buff colored flowers of this one, Shari D. I absolutely do relate to your wilting spirits. I read you on Twitter everyday and feel less alone. We seem to garden very much the same way. — mss

  7. From Kim in Maryland:

    Thank you for sharing your garden. Everything is lovely, but I especially love learning about and seeing things I’ve not seen before like the coral vine. I’m going to look into that one and the plumbago. Thank you!

    I feel the same way when I visit gardens in the east or up north–all these cool flowers, most that I don’t recognize and only a few that I’ve even heard of. What a richly diverse planet we inhabit! — mss

  8. From deb:

    That seed pod is very interesting.

    I like that nigella has a different common name depending on whether you’re looking at the flower or the seeds. — mss

  9. From Robin at Getting Grounded:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures. I also love my Plumbago plants, they are some of my favorites. I just planted a Coral Vine about a month ago, anticipating a couple months of growth time before summer set in. Hah! I’m wrong again…Austin is suffering this year. But I have to say I love the color in the Coral Vine, I didn’t have to talk myself into it. I love seeing yours in full bloom.
    Thanks! My bloom day pictures are here:

    Welcome to Austin garden blogging! You have a very tropical looking garden. It looks so lush despite the heat. — mss

  10. From Rose at Prairie Rose's Garden:

    For a “brown summer” you do have a lot blooming in your garden and looking very good, I might add.
    Oleander–that’s a plant you don’t see in the Midwest, but one I sure wish we could grow. Yours is beautiful.

    Oleander is frequently used as a highway planting in the southwest. I never liked it much growing up but I appreciate it now! — mss

  11. From kim judge fort worth texas:

    I love the coral vine. I wonder if it will grow up here in Fort Worth. Does it have any special requirements. Thanks for sharing today. Even though we are being scorched with the 100+ temps we are lucky to have some troopers in the garden for now. What will July bring….

    I think it might grow in Fort Worth as long as the ground doesn’t freeze…or if you could mulch it deeply. It’s root hardy here. I don’t know how to divide it though. I’ve never really been able to tell where the plant shoots up from. Drive around the old poor neighborhoods. If you can grow it in Fort Worth, you’ll see it covering fences there. — mss

  12. From Carol, May Dreams Gardens:

    Beautiful waterlily. My tiger lily also bloomed today, but I haven’t gotten a picture, first it was too bright and sunny now it is dark and stormy and rainy.

    Grrr. Not more rain. — mss

  13. From Leslie:

    You still have a lot going on despite your heat! Does the crape myrtle have mildew problems there? We have “dry heat” (that’s supposed to make us not mind the 100 degree weeks!) but I know people who have a difficult time with mildew. We have a few plants in common but you’ve got a few I don’t even have buds on yet. I love the nigella seed pod!

    Yes, we have problem with mildew on crape myrtles, especially if it is a wet year. ‘Catawba’ is supposed to be a mildew-resistant variety but it still got a bit in May before all this August-like heat set in. — mss

  14. From Bob Pool:

    Your Plumbago photo was absolutely stunning, and a good dark Plumbago it is. You know some are a washed out color blue like a cloudy day. I just kept going back to that photo.

    Thanks but I think it’s just the usual color of plumbago. The camera might lie. I took the photo in early morning light, in the shade, and that might make it look more dark blue than it would in the bright sunlight or even to the naked eye. — mss

  15. From cindee:

    I love all your flowers but especially the water lily. Mine are not blooming yet. Its been warm here but not to bad.

    I’m pretty thrilled with the water lily, too. This is the first time I’ve ever had one. I wouldn’t be enjoying it at all if not for the kindness of Pam/Digging…or the purple coneflowers, either. — mss

  16. From Pam/Digging (Austin):

    I love the coral vine, and I know it grows wild—and yet I managed to kill two that I’ve planted. Your picture makes me want to try again.

    I also admire oleander, and yours looks gorgeous, but it is susceptible to fatal leaf scorch (http://agfacts.tamu.edu/D10/Travis/AG/HomeHort/F1/noleander.htm) here in Austin. I’m reluctant to use it for that reason, and also because of how very poisonous it is. Still, it’s a gorgeous, tough plant, and deer-resistant too.

    The canna looks like it would play well off the color of the water lily.

    If I could figure out how to divide the coral vine, I’d happily share it. As for the oleander, well at least it’s not dead yet. I’ve had it for about ten years now and it’s always been trouble-free although it kept freezing back when it was small and the winters were harsher. — mss

  17. From Lori:

    That oleander looks fabulous, and I can only imagine how much that white glows in the evening.

    You’re not the only one who has a desert willow that won’t bloom. I have two, one in full sun and one with a little light shade, and there’s been nary a bloom from either. Maybe next year?

    Plumbago, on the other hand, is a plant I love, but for the life of me, I’ve killed every single one I’ve tried. Maybe it’s time to try one in a gallon pot instead of a bunch of those little $1.99 pots? I’m just about ready to give up on it, but I see it growing in complete neglect around the neighborhood. Arrrgh!

    P.S. Thanks for sending me that picture from Tom Spencer’s garden!

    The oleander really does glow especially since my neighbor installed a bright security light. I always buy small plants too, and like you I’m beginning to think it might be false economy. — mss

  18. From Samantha in East Texas:

    Despite the heat it sounds like a lot is still blooming in your garden. The white butterfly gaura bloom is very pretty and delicate looking.

    I’ve admired the butterfly gaura for years. I’m looking forward to fall so that I can plant this one in the garden. I’m hoping it will be bigger by then. — mss

  19. From Annie in Austin:

    Yay for the newly added yellow water lily! Pam will be so happy ;-]


  20. From Iris, Austin, Texas:

    Like you, I’m a big plumbago fan and LOVE your metaphor! Your oleander is so pretty: I’ve been scared of it because it’s poisonous, right? My cat is indoor/outdoor, but maybe cats aren’t interested in it? Hmmm…

    Yes. The oleander is very poisonous. Actually a lot of plants I grow are. I wonder if I’m developing a theme. — mss

  21. From Nan Ondra, PA:

    With heat like that, it’s amazing that you have *anything* to share for Bloom Day. We’re lucky to get just a few flowers on our container-grown oleanders and plumbagos. I hope you get some rain and more moderate temperatures soon.

    Thanks. Until we do, we’ll just admire the beauty of your northern gardens. Thanks for sharing. — mss

  22. From Linda Lehmusvirta Austin Texas:

    Absolutely lovely! And new ideas for me. Great pictures and great plants.

    Thanks for stopping by. — mss

  23. From Tara Austin:

    Love the photos, thanks for sharing! I always seem to forget to post my blooms on the 15th. I’ve got a few new things blooming, but many more new brown things! The waterlily photo is stunning!

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I’ve been enjoying your new blog. — mss

  24. From Diana Kirby - Austin:

    The canna’s amazing! And you have lovely colors throughout your garden. I know what you mean about the brown, though. I see it all around me. I’m avoiding a lot of it, but I don’t know if we can hold out for 3 more months of this. Ugh! Thanks for posting pretty pictures for us to see.

    I’m scared because we haven’t even gotten to our “bad” months yet. What new hell will July and August bring? — mss

  25. From emma townshend, London England:

    Well I can see you have some meteorological issues going on there, but my goodness, it doesn’t show! Gorgeous, gorgeous plants I would love to grow. Greetings from entirely temperate, green and sunny London, where the three plants I have flowering which are also flowering for you are:
    Rose New Dawn
    Gaura lindheimeri
    Funny to think of these three being the best cross-continental travellers…

    Although the grass always seems to be greener across the pond, I assure you that it really is browner here. I’ll have to post some more illustrative photos. — mss

  26. From Dee/reddirtramblings:

    It couldn’t be bad gardening, my friend. Probably the shade. Your flowers are lovely in spite of the murderous heat.~~Dee

    At least the lovely “roses” you sent me are still looking gorgeous. — mss

  27. From aiyana:

    Love the Nigella damascena seedpod photo, and all the rest are lovey! I planted my Queen’s Wreath last year and I’m still waiting for it to smother my fence like you say yours does. It’s apparently havging a hard time getting established. In Arizona it has to have supplemental water a couple of times a week in the summer. It’s one of my all-time favorites vines.

  28. From KAT:

    I love thinking of the plumbago as a sophisticated lady in a linen dress. Maybe you see more of those in Texas than we do around here…ah, linen.

  29. From Angelina:

    My very favorite is the nigella seed pod. I want some nigella too but haven’t looked into the proper time to scatter seeds for it yet. It might be fall.

    My next favorite is the water lily. A neighbor of mine has a gorgeous one too and now I feel I must have lilies for the dinky pond. Yours is lovely!

  30. From kate:

    The Coral Vine is lovely – I’d like to have that growing about my garden. The Nigella seedpods are great – I’ve always left them in my garden because they look stunning, even after they are hit by frost. Then I cut them off and bring them inside to enjoy over winter.

    I love the colour of your Crape Myrtle. It is beautiful – very exotic to me.

    The Canna looks as if it wants to escape from the netting. Mischievous raccoons!

  31. From Blackswampgirl Kim:

    I love those seedpods on the nigella–and the yellow Bengal tiger canna lily, too. I’m with you on most of the crepe myrtles (you know how I don’t care for pink much) but that plummy color is delicious. And the bright pink of the coral vine–along with the bright white of the oleander–really “hides” the fact that you’re in your “brown summer.” They look so lush and full.

  32. From Tina Cheyenne, Wy:

    You’re gaura is gorgeous. I had one in Texas and was told they do well in Wyoming. We have a cat now that loves to garden with me, do you know if they are toxic to cats?

    I don’t know. — mss