It’s hot, hot, hot! That’s a common, though tiresome, refrain this time of year here in Austin, Texas as we’re all incessantly whining about summer’s heat.
Or maybe it’s just me who’s whining?
Handling the heat better than I are some heat-loving perennials, currently blooming, and instead of whining, they’re shining. The Firecracker plant, Russelia equisetiformis, scoffs at summer’s heat and humidity, putting on a red-hot bloom show–with no intermission–for months at a time. This one, which is situated in my shady front garden,
…softens a corner between a pathway and sitting area.
The red-orange tubular flowers attract tiny native metallic bees, though photos of such are hard to come by–the bees fly too fast and disappear into the floral tubes, rich in nectar and pollen.
You can catch a glimpse of purple-foliaged Purple heart augmenting the cheery red cascade of Firecrackers.
A different clump of Firecracker plant in my back garden adds to the tropical look around the pond.
Like the front garden Firecracker, this one has bloomed continuously since winter, because neither specimen froze to the ground due to the mild winter of 2015-16.
The pond Firecracker also enjoys a purple neighbor in the pond waterfall perennial called Ruby Red Runner.
Flame acanthus, Anisacanthus quadrifidus, a heat-loving native Texas shrub with petite, bright red-to-orange blooms, is in full bee and hummingbird attracting mode.
This single bloom plays peek-a-boo through the foliage of a companion Plains goldeneye, but you can see some of its flaming partners in the background.
Another garden buddy, Firebush, Hamelia patens, in keeping with the theme of red-hot beauties, is a real garden hot-shot.
Like the Firecracker plant, my Firebush never froze to the ground and has grown quite tall (almost 4 feet) because of this year’s non-winter. My parents planted one many years ago in their garden in Corpus Christi, Texas (along the Gulf of Mexico) which has a more tropical climate than Austin. It’s rarely been pruned and is–I kid you not–nearly two stories tall and easily 20 feet wide. My measly little shrub has a lot of growing to catch up with that!
The scarlet blooms with their yellow throat make this an attractive source for hummingbirds.
Another blazing beauty in bloom is a surprise Spider lily, Lycoris radiata.
Typically, these stunning bulbs push their flowers up and out, seemingly overnight, in late August or September. But this one decided to grace the garden a little early.
A flamboyant, red-hot late summer treat!
As this is posted, our triple-digit heat wave is broken. Rain is falling and is forecasted for the next few days. For Texans, rain in early August is a gift–and tremendously appreciated. Oh, it’ll toast up again, rest assured. But the long, dry Texas summer is being shown to the door and autumn’s second spring blooming cycle arrival is eagerly awaited.
I thank Carol at May Dreams Garden for hosting this monthly bloom bonanza known as Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Join in, share your garden pretties, then click over to her lovely blog to see and learn about blooms from many places.