Bloom Day, October 2014

Summer has been reluctant to release its toasty grip on us in Texas, but the cool of autumn has mostly arrived. We’ve enjoyed a couple of refreshing cold fronts, dropping our temperatures into the ’50’s, with highs in the 70’s and ’80’s. The lingering warmth of September and early October didn’t damper blooms in my gardens, though. Joining Carol at May Dreams Gardens, I’m celebrating blooming stuff on this 15th of October.

There is no shortage of blooming native Texas plants in my gardens. Let’s take a tour, shall we?

Barbados Cherry, Malpighia glabra, has blossomed its dainty, pink clusters for a month or so now.

Soon, cherry red fruits will replace blooms, feeding a whole different crop of critters. Barbados Cherry is lovely in tandem with Turk’s CapMalvaviscus arboreus.

A cultivar of the native red Turk’s Cap, the Pam’s Pink Turk’s CapMalvaviscus ‘Pam Puryear’, blooms as heartily as the red,

…but with softer pink swirls perched atop the long branches.   In my gardens, the Pam’s Pink is planted with FrostweedVerbesina virginica,

….and it’s a successful pairing.   Frostweed is an excellent wildlife plant.   Attracting butterflies, like this migrating Monarch,

…and bees,

…and this guy, a Tachinid fly,

…who you can see again on Wildlife Wednesday, a fun little wildlife gardening meme I host.  The next Wildlife Wednesday is November 5th.  Frostweed a stalwart native perennial; it’s drought hardy and works well in either shade or sun.

The GoldeneyeViguiera dentata, is photogenic in the fall garden.

Another perennial which attracts its share of pollinators,

…these pretty yellow flowers evoke glorious autumn sunshine.

They work and play well with other natives in my gardens,

…like the Rock RosePavonia lasiopetala and Barbados Cherry. And who doesn’t love the tried and true combination of yellow and blue?

This Goldeneye’s companion is the non-native Blue Anise Sage, Salvia guaranitica.  

The roses in my gardens are awake again after the heat of summer. I grow only water–wise antique or cultivar roses in my gardens.  If a rose can’t shrug off the heat and dry of the Texas summer, it’s out!  The Martha Gonzales Rose is one such beast.

Named after a Navasota, Texas gardener, Martha Gonzales,

…this rose is beautiful, fragrant, and tough. Martha grows in USDA zones 7a to 10b so it it’s appropriate in a wide range of situations.  If you only grow one rose, make it the Martha!

The Belinda’s Dream Rose, which is appropriate for USDA zones 5a to 10b,

is the quintessential elegant pink rose. Fragrant and downright luscious, Belinda isn’t quite as hardy as the Martha, but still performs well for me.  Belinda gets a little peeky in summer, but picks up again with rain and softer temperatures.  Caldwell Pink Rose,

looks dainty, but it’s no wilting beauty.  This poor thing, I’ve moved it four times–I think I’ve finally found its forever home.

A migrating Monarch finds this Old Gay Hill Rose delightful,

…and so do I.  Similar to the Martha Gonzales, the shrub is larger and the petals slightly (but only slightly) more pink than the Martha’s fire engine red petals.

I’m not a grow-only-native purest and host a number of non-native perennials in my gardens, like these Four O’Clocks, Mirabilis jalapa.  Considered a staple of the Southern garden, these are new to my gardens and were gifted to me by a gardening friend, TexasDeb at austin agrodolce.

These lovely trumpets open late in the day, bloom all night, and close in the morning. Four O’clocks are fragrant and are such lovelies–I’m tickled to make room for them in my gardens.

Jewels of OparTalinum paniculatum, are another new-to-my-gardens perennial from TexasDeb.  Jewels are also an old-fashioned flower of the Southern garden.

I love the teesny flowers, the “jewels” seeds, and chartreuse foliage. Both Four O’Clocks and Jewels of Opar are potentially invasive, so I’ll keep them in check–ripping out uninvited extras who crash my garden party!

It’s now that my Coral Vine, Antigonon leptopus, shines,

…or is that a sparkle?  Whatever it is, the bees love this bloomer.

After each rain, the Almond Verbena, Aloysia virgata, flowers and its fragrance graces my garden.  Shown here in partnership with Turk’s Cap blooms, the Almond Verbena is favored by honeybees.

My Almond Verbena is the anchor plant in a group of native shrubs and perennials.

It fits quite well, I think.

Quoting another garden blogging buddy, Debra of Under the Pecan Trees,  we enjoy a “second spring” in Texas–a  lush blooming autumn gift, after the heat, when all, including gardeners, perk up anew.

What’s blooming in your gardens this October Bloom Day?  Check out May Dreams Gardens for blooms from everywhere.


18 thoughts on “Bloom Day, October 2014

    • The consistent heat is done for the year–yippee! There are monarchs (plural!) in my gardens each afternoon, greeting me as I come home. Well, not really, they tend to flit away, but I like to think they are here for me. 🙂 The Martha is a fabulous rose for us–I wish I had more space and sun for them.


  1. Everything looks wonderful in close-ups but you have such a steady hand when it comes to pairings and groupings. Those are the shots I especially admire (and frankly, hope to copy in my own way!). I’m happy the passalongs are doing so well though not surprised a whit. Four-o-clocks and Jewels are Southern standards for good reason. They perform quite admirably in our heat and drought and only ask to be admired in return. Happy flowers and Happy Bloom Day!


    • I’m so pleased with them–the four o’clocks and jewels. I think I mentioned to you that I transplanted two of the four o’clocks in July–JULY- and they didn’t miss a beat. Both are blooming. I love plants that don’t mind torture. Happy blooms to you! I fret about plant groupings and make lots of mistakes. Often, what’s in my head doesn’t translate well in the real world and then, it’s another year or so before I can fix the problem. Gardening is good for the development of thinking long-term, I guess. Happy blooms!


  2. So much to love here … not sure where to start. All the flowers are lovely. I have to ditto TexasDeb: you do have a great eye for pairings and I just might have to copy some of these groupings. Thanks for the bug id. I’ve been seeing quite a few of those flies around and wondered what they were. SO big and frankly well … I know it had a mother … but … ugly. =D


    • Thanks, Debra. I love thinking about plants–what can I plant that’s Texas-tough and what will it work well with. Throw in shade, a digging dog, and limited irrigations and, well, it can be challenging. But what’s life without a little challenge? That fly. I’ve never seen one and they (there are several usually, only at the frostweed) are daily visitors. From a distance, I first thought they were black bumblebees, but up close…nah, they’re not bumbles, are they? I welcome them though and they sure like the frostweed blooms.


      • I’ve seen a lot of those flies the past couple days. From a distance they look a bit like bees. Pretty ugly but we all have our bad hair days. Anything that isn’t an outright pest is welcome to linger over here. The more I see your frostweed the more I admire it. I know they are Texas natives but I haven’t seen any growing in my little travels. Are they fragrant?


      • Those flies, they aren’t particularly attractive, are they? I’ve never noticed them before and this isn’t the first year for my frostweed to bloom. The frostweed are not fragrant, but that’s the only thing this perennial seems to lack–as far as I’m concerned, they’ve got all the other bases covered. I do see frostweed in “natural” settings–here in Central Austin and West Austin greenbelt areas. The frostweed in nature don’t always achieve the height that mine have, but I do some supplemental watering–not really sure that I need to though.


  3. So many lovely blooming things to enjoy here. I love seeing what you have in your garden because so many of your plants are things we can’ t grow here. In fact I don’ t know many of your plants, which is galling for a ‘ know- all’ like me. For instance, the Barbados Cherry is stunning and I have never heard of it. The lovely Coral Vine is so pretty with its pink beads and I have seen that growing wild in Martinique..
    Lovely post.


    • That’s the fun thing about Bloom Day–we all get to see what other gardeners grow that we have no chance with in our gardens! The Barbados Cherry is native to South Texas and southward into Mexico. Mine completely died back last year, as we experienced our coldest winter in 20 years. But they’ve all returned and are doing just fine. That Coral Vine gets around, I guess. I just love it. It’s bee slow to bloom up this year, not sure why, but it’s blooming beautifully now.


  4. It is lovely what a wonderful garden! I think the flowers in fall are even more beautiful perhaps because they are contrasted the waning plants and leaves. Something about the light too! I love Barbados Cherry and I have just discovered Jewels of Opar, mine are variegated.


    • Thanks Laurin and I agree: the autumn light, it just renders the landscape so beautiful Of course, it helps to have lots blooming. It’s a nice time of year for us. I don’t really mind the heat, it just goes on, a little too long. I’m always glad to return to more temperate days.


  5. Hmm, looks like I’m going to have to add that Frostweed to my plant wishlist – looks like it is a perfect plant in my book – attracts wildlife, takes little water, and performs well in sun or shade. Thanks for sharing!


    • Yes, you need to add this lovely thing to your garden space. Pretty, hardy, and and excellent wildlife plant, what’s not to love about Frostweed. Go forth, Gardener, and plant Frostweed!


  6. You’ve made me glad I picked up a Frostweed plant at the recent Wildflower Center native plant sale! Happy to see your Monarch pictures, which are beautiful! You’ve created a great habitat for them.


    • Well, I’m glad you picked one up, too! You won’t be sorry. Frostweed is just such a great perennial–pretty, hardy and loved by critters! I’ve had a steady stream of monarchs this past week or so, one or two, every afternoon. Nice!


  7. How wonderful to have a second spring! And your winters are like our late autumns here in Wisconsin. I really enjoyed the Jewels of Opar and the Turk’s Cap plants–I’m not familiar with them, but they’re both fascinating and beautiful! I love the Goldeneye and the Frostweed, and you’ve shown the wildlife value of those two wonderful plants. Great Bloom Day post! Enjoy this beautiful time of year!


    • Thanks, Beth. I enjoy posting for Bloom Day–it gives me a chance to get out, really view what is blooming and appreciate my garden space. I am enjoying this October!


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