Foliage Follow-up, June 2014

As The Warm settles in for the duration here in Austin, Texas, interesting and lush foliage positions well alongside flowers in our early summer gardens.

Yes, summer in Texas is hot.  But here in Texas reside tough, tough plants that shrug off the heat and the dry and are magnificent to behold.  One such is the Retama, Parkinsonia aculeata.  Retama is a small, airy tree which grows along highways receiving no care and yet is stunning: in form, bloom and  foliage.

The leaves are tiny, delicate and bright green. They form on a long leaf stalk and are paired opposite one another.

The Retama is a Texas beauty.  I’m glad it graces my garden.

The pairing of a not-in-bloom Goldeneye, Viguiera dentata and Turk’s Cap, Malvaviscus arboreus, provides lots of lushness.

The Mexican Orchid TreeBauhinia mexicana, returned after our cold winter.  It hasn’t bloomed yet, but the leaves on this little tree have always reminded me of ungulate hooves.

Really, how often does one have an excuse to use that word??  Ungulate

The American Agave, Agave americana, in the container  provides a striking contrast with the Cast Iron Plant, Aspidistra elatior.

If you look closely at the photo, top right, you can see The Husband’s bicycle, wheel a whirl, as he pedals to work. That’s a brave man in Austin’s traffic.

The unfurling of new Agave growth.


The Mexican Feathergrass, Nassella tenuissima, is lovely with the YarrowAchillea millefolium, in the background.

Both plants have delicate-looking foliage, but are hardy choices for our challenging soil and climate.

Another look at the Yarrow,  a summertime favorite of mine.

I love this shot of the Sparkler SedgeCarex phyllocephala ‘Sparkler’, behind (and above!) the Uruguayan Firecracker Plant, Dicliptera suberecta.

The spiky, variegated ‘Sparkler’ looms over the soft, gray-green Firecracker Plant–they are opposite in  the foliage spectrum, but a nice combination.  The Firecracker doesn’t  bloom often, though it’s pretty when it happens.  I chose this plant primarily for its lovely foliage.  The ‘Sparkler’ is relatively new for me and so far, I love it.  It was evergreen during the winter and seems like a winner for summer as well.

Thanks to Pam at Digging for hosting this festival of June foliage!



8 thoughts on “Foliage Follow-up, June 2014

  1. Great pairings to consider. I wish I had space for a retama – I love their wispy yellow and green delicacy. I can’t wait for my yarrow starts to fill in and provide the arching grace to my garden spaces yours are providing, and I’m reminded to put more “turk’s cap” on my fall planting list. My orchid tree has had to come back after a hard pruning so no blooms for ours either so far. I’m simply glad it survived!


    • I bought my Retama on a whim and I’ve been so happy with it. It isn’t quite as pretty this year as last, but it’s still blooming. You’ll love the yarrow–it won’t take long and there’s more where that came from! I’ll bet that our little Mexican orchids will bloom later in the summer and fall, so we just have to wait a bit!


  2. I too bought a retama on a whim but had to give it to my mother when I realized I didn’t have a sunny spot for it. Now I get to enjoy it in her garden. Your yarrow always makes me think I should give it a try. I admire it in so many Austin gardens.


    • Retama is so pretty; mine isn’t as big as some, but I’ve sure enjoyed it. You should try yarrow–I always yank some out (it spreads), so let me know when you’d like some. It’s a winner.


  3. I always get an education on your blog, Tina. I had to look up ungulate, and now my vocabulary is the richer for it. 🙂

    I have been admiring Retamas on the roadsides, too–I’m amazed at the plants that thrive in the harshest conditions.

    I like that you have ‘Sparkler’ Sedge paired with Firecracker plant–an explosive combination, no doubt.

    Pretty foliage contrasts… it’s always a treat to ‘visit’ your garden.


    • Ha. I love that word. Ungulate. For the longest time, I couldn’t think what those leaves reminded me of, then it hit me–hooves of horses, etc. Retama is just so, so beautiful. I remember reading once that Sally and Andy Wasowski thought that every Texan should have a Possumhaw Holly–that’s how I feel about Retama–every Texan needs one!


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