Bloom Day, September 2014

September heralds a change from the blisteringly hot to the merely hot in Austin, Texas. This gardener welcomes that subtle, but fundamental change:  the shorter days, the approaching autumn cool and if we’re lucky, some rainy days ahead.  Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this lovely blogging meme celebrating all that flower.

It’s somewhat about the Ruellia this time of year in my gardens.  I grow both a native, Drummond’s Wild PetuniaRuellia drummondiana, like these cuties peeking out through foliage,

…and these that aren’t  quite so shy.

I also grow a well-behaved cultivar, the Katie’s Dwarf Ruellia, Ruellia brittoniana, ‘Katie’s Dwarf’,  blossoming beautifully during the late summer and autumn months.

Additionally, a less mannerly variety, the Chi-Chi Ruellia, Ruellia brittoniana ‘Chi-Chi’, makes its home in my gardens.  Here is it nicely co-mingling with the blooming and berrying PigeonberryRivina humilis,

…and flowering alone.

I love the first two Ruellia species and have a complicated relationship with the third.

The various Salvia in my gardens, like this red Autumn SageSalvia greggii,

…really strut their stuff in the fall. Flowers that appear on and off during our hot summer, the blossoms on these woody, native shrubs will consistently impress both pollinators and gardeners throughout our productive autumn months.

A different salvia, the white Tropical SageSalvia coccinea, was knocked back this past winter with our  late freezes,

…but are lush with snowy, bee-friendly blooms now and will bee that way until there is a killing frost.

Rock RosePavonia lasiopetala, opens its Barbie Doll Pink blooms each morning, remaining open longer as the days get shorter.

Another perennial with pretty-in-pink blossoms, is the Purple Heart, Setcreasea pallida ‘Purple Heart’.

I grew up with Purple Heart rampant in my mother’s garden–I have warm memories of playing near stands of this naturalized ground cover with its dramatic purple foliage and charming blossoms.

Sweet Basil produces tiny flowers for pollinators,

… and the native, wildlife perennial, Lindheimer’s Senna, Senna lindheimeriana, blooms from August into September for the pollinators, then sets seeds for the birds later in fall.


I always forget that I planted these Red Spider Lily bulbs,  Lycoris radiata,


…. until they pop up, overnight it seems.

These are such gorgeous flowers! I don’t know why I can’t remember that the bulbs are in the ground, waiting for the first of the September rains, to grace the gardens with their exotic beauty. The strappy foliage (which emerges after blooming) disappears in the late winter/early spring.  The memory of those exquisite blossoms should stay with me, but I’m always surprised to welcome them again, each September.

Finally, a Monarch butterfly is now visiting my gardens, sipping on his preferred blooms of the Tropical MilkweedAsclepias curassavica.

My heart lifted to see this North American beauty after all I’ve read about the very serious decline in the monarch butterfly population.

Go Monarchs!

Here in Austin we enjoy a second, spectacular blooming season, beginning just about now.  Fall blooms abound and there’s more to come!  For today though, check out blooms from everywhere at May Dreams Gardens.

10 thoughts on “Bloom Day, September 2014

  1. This is definitely ruellia’s time of year, isn’t it? I have some aggressive stands that I work to dig out each year and swear I’ll get them all out once it cools off a bit and then the remainders bloom and….I just can’t find it in my heart to dig them all out. So lovely! Then they spread again and I curse myself and we start all over the next year.

    I almost bought some lycoris bulbs my last trip to the nursery…and now I’m sorry I hesitated. They are striking and I love that deep red! How long do those blooms last? Maybe there’s time for me to head back to the nursery and correct my oversight!?


    • Run back to the nursery, now, and get some of the lycoris. You’ll be glad you did!!! Plant them in your backyard though, I bet the deer find them yummy. Mine have been in full bloom mode for about a week. I recall reading somewhere that they take two years to bloom from planting, so, patience will be required. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll forget. I’ve found they really do better in part shade/shade–the one I have in full sun always looks a little ill.

      Maybe there’s a support group for those of use who have the misbehaving ruellia? I don’t have the tall purple, but I do have the pink–I think it’s slightly less obnoxious. Even if you pull it out, what I’ve discovered is that one little bit of root that’s left, becomes more plant. I just work to keep mine in check. The bees like them, so who am I to complain?


  2. I had no idea there were so many different varieties of Ruellia. I’ve been admiring the dwarf varieties around my neighborhood lately, which seem to relish the hot, sunny spots near the curb where my neighbors have planted them.

    The spiderlilies are quite striking, too. I just ordered some bulbs for the first time, so I’m excited to get them in the ground, and will eagerly await their appearance next summer… or the summer after that, if they take longer.

    I bet the bees are thrilled when they find your garden!

    Happy GBBD!


  3. I don’ t know Ruellia, how pretty. Your Lycoris are stunning, they are quite similar to my Nerine sarniensis but more spidery. I am so jealous of your beautiful Monarch butterfly
    A lovely post. Thank you Tina.


    • Thank you, Chloris! The ruellia are lovely and very tough plants. Some can be invasive, but they’re good performers and pollinator plants for gardens. I agree that the Nerine sarniensis looks like the Lycoris–both are so beautiful!


  4. I sometimes wonder why so many garden blogs seem to be written by people living either in Austin or in Portland, Oregon. I love both types of blogs because the plants are usually so different from what I am growing here in upstate New York. Immediately fell in love with your red spider lilies – which, I see, are not hardy in my zone 5b climate. Oh well! Happy GBBD.


    • Well Alana, I know why there are so many Portland garden bloggers–they can grow anything! Darn them! As to Austinites? We’re a little weird and we like to keep it that way. Except for that small business of crazy, extreme weather–long, hot summers, floods when it finally rains, mild winters, with occasional blasts of polar air, I’m a lucky gardener–no deer, decent soil. You upstate New Yorkers can grow some pretties–I’ve seen plenty of lovely photos of gardens in your neck of the woods. Happy GBBD to you, too!


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