May 15th, 2009
GBBD 200905: May 2009

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.

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)

by M Sinclair Stevens

15 Responses to post “GBBD 200905: May 2009”

  1. From Carol, May Dreams Gardens:

    Yes, there is no substitute for a lilac. Someone ought to try to breed one that tolerates Austin’s weather, just like they’ve bred a Crape Myrtle that tolerates Indiana’s weather. And I bought one, so you can laugh at me, with my little tiny shrub like Crape Myrtle.

    You make me want to plant morning glories now… I hope you get some May rains, and that this summer will be better than last summer.

    Thanks for joining in for bloom day!

    I saw your note about the crape myrtle. Congrats! They’re nice and flowery in the heat, but sadly no scent. Tough and they have nice bark. We’ve been very humid this last week so mine have succumbed to powdery mildew for the moment. — mss

  2. From our friend Ben in Pennsylvania:

    Ooh, love your gorgeous ‘Flying Saucers’ flower!!!

  3. From Gail:

    Summer also arrives sooner then we expect in Nashville. But this year we have been drowning in rain. The invasives are thriving. I r,emember well the first time I saw a Vitex…it was considered to tender for our then zone 6 climate…now we can grow it and we ought not to! The gladiola is beautiful and I may have to go ahead and give myself permission to grow Morning Glories. Flying Saucer is lovely and different. gail

  4. From Linda Lehmusvirta Austin Texas:

    Whoa, that morning glory is lovely! Is it on the sweet pea trellis?

    And love that LA lily. Must explore more on those. Mine have yet to bloom, but there is still a little foliage. It may be time to move ’em.

    I agree, the past few years May has turned into July. But even if you have just one bloom or so on all your plants, what an incredible list!

  5. From Jenny Austin:

    Wow, MSS that is quite a list of bloomers. Maybe your shade helps out. I’m sorry I missed your meadow when it was in full bloom. We pulled every bluebonnet out this week and I have a bag of weeds. The plants went up on the top of the lot to try to increase their numbers there. Originally there were only bbs up there but they are spreading like wildfire. Love your La Lily. Must consider more bulbs in the fall.

    Everything is going to seed more quickly than I can harvest it in this heat. However, most of my bluebonnets have been cut back. I only have a few plants in the front where near the tomatoes which I water and deadhead when I’m doing the watering in the front. The last big thing to cut back is the cilantro although it was the first to go to seed. — mss

  6. From Pam/Digging:

    I collected bluebonnet seeds and remembered to save the roots per your instructions. It does feel like summer out there. I thought we’d get rain today—I saw rain clouds north of here—but no. Sigh.

  7. From linda:

    Wish I could share some Chicago rain with you – we’ve had more than our share this spring. Wish the rain gods would save some of it for July.

    Your variety of blooms is amazing, whether there’s only one of each or dozens.

    That morning glory just might make me rethink my opinion of them. It’s stunning. That would be a morning glory I wouldn’t mind seeding itself around!

    I see massive displays of showy morning glories all around Austin. I decided to give them a try. This ‘Flying Saucers’ type looked unusual. But most of the vines have been either plain blue or plain white. Maybe if I save seeds from just the variegated ones over the years my percentages will go up. — mss

  8. From Mr. McGregor's Daughter:

    That’s a beautiful Morning Glory. I’ve never seen one like it. I agree with Carol about the Lilacs vs. Vitex, although I would grow the latter were it hardy around here. It should be valued on its own, not merely be compared with something else. I’m sorry it’s turning about to be a problem in Austin.

  9. From Susie, California:

    Lovely photos……but watch out for that beautiful morning glory. In souther California they can really take over.

  10. From Steve Mudge(Fort Worth):

    May was starting out to be a hot one up here in Fort Worth but we’ve had a reprieve of sorts with 80s with dry air and 50s at night–perfect! Our vegie garden is much happier than last May…well, except for the okra. Don’t know if the dry air made it south to Austin though…

  11. From Diana - Austin:

    MSS–That is a long list, and hey — a bloom is a bloom and qualifies as “blooming!” Your lily is lovely and I want to know more about the Brug you have blooming — where do you have it planted and how much sun does it get? Mine is about to go into the ground again.

    Right now it is in a pot. I need to find a spot for it but it seems unhappy with afternoon sun/heat. The leaves get all droopy even when I water regularly. However, my experience is if they don’t get enough sun they won’t bloom. So I don’t really know where to put it. The datura you gave me last year is also in partial shade. It goes through the same droopy leaves issue but always snaps back. — mss

  12. From Cheryl in Austin:

    Amazing collection!

  13. From Annie in Austin:

    Your experimental nature ensures that the lists be long, MSS! We have some plants in common but they are on different schedules. E.g., rather than fading, my tropical Asclepias just started opening flowers after regrowing from winter and the little vitex is just budding. A couple of old Easter lily bulbs decided to kick out white blooms, so we have that look in common.

    The idea of a Vitex substituting for a lilac is easy to laugh at, but using it that way is like sticking a band-aid over a deep wound, a pitiful attempt to assuage one’s grief at losing the tender beauty of a Northern spring. It’s much wiser to follow MMD’s advice and grow Vitex for itself, a big ol’ Mediterranean herb ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  14. From Margaret Roach:

    The other voice you hear laughing in a duet with Carol is me: Why is *everything* a lilac wannabe?

    When you have a moment, can you stop up here with your spreadsheets or clipboard and start the inventory? I am so impressed and jealous every time I see your careful records!

  15. From Elaine in Elgin:

    The Flying Saucers morning glory is beautiful! I had them when I was living in NE Texas, of course it rained more in the spring than it does here! They came back true for a couple of years and then went to blue. I hope you enjoy them!