Bloom Day, December 2014

Celebrating blooming things with Carol of May Dreams Gardens on this last Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day of 2014, I’d like to share some currently flourishing flowers from my gardens.  It’s been mild here in Austin, Texas, though a few light frosts have come our way, none were significantly cold enough to dampen the blossoming spirit.

Wonderful native perennials continue strutting their blooming stuff late this growing season. Two native salvia species are providing nice nectar sources for passing bees and butterflies and a color show for the resident gardener.   The Tropical SageSalvia coccinea, …brightens the garden with its scarlet blooms, while Henry Duelberg salviaSalvia farinacea, ‘Henry Duelberg’ provides spikes of blue.


Planted near to those two perennials is a group of  Texas Craglily, Echeandia texensis. There are few blooms left, but many seed pods readying for future golden lily loveliness.

Some of my GoldeneyeViguiera dentata, still bloom.

I don’t really think I need to add anything to that!  These individuals face west and receive the warmth of the afternoon autumn sun.

A few Turk’s Cap, Malvaviscus arboreus, flowers grace the gardens as well. I don’t recall ever seeing this plant bloom so late before–I’m not complaining.

Native to areas west of Texas, but not specifically Austin, is the Globe Mallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua.

In my gardens it’s a reliable cool season bloomer–at least through the beginning of summer.  The one mature Globe Mallow in my gardens is beginning a nice bloom production and that’s likely to happen throughout winter.

There are always a few Purple Coneflowers, Echinacea purpurea, charming the gardens. This one is planted with an unknown variety of basil-in-bloom,

…which I’d know the name of if I’d bothered to keep the tag.  Ahem.

And here, Coneflower is partnered with the equally sweet Four-nerve Daisy or Hymenoxys, Tetraneuris scaposa.

I love native Texas plants.

As for the non-natives, well, they’re pretty cool, too.  The Firecracker or Coral PlantRusselia equisetiformis, requires a hard freeze to knock it back. Obviously that hasn’t happened yet.

I feel good about this plant–it has such a tropical look, but in reality it’s water-wise and tolerant of the cooler season.

Roses are responding in kind to our temperate December by blossoming again. Whoop!

Glorious in vibrant red are these blooms of the Old Gay Hill rose.

Finally, the Potato VineSolanum laxum, has entered its bloom time.  This vine twines up one side of my swing beam and blossoms primarily in the cool months here in Austin. It’s a timid vine in my garden, never growing too large.    I forget about it during our long, warm  growing season–it’s there, but unimpressive. Once the temperatures cool, its lovely clusters of dainty, creamy-bell flowers provide interest for my honeybees, still foraging on warm afternoons.

Enjoy whatever blooms you have–indoors or out.  Then check out the many bloom posts by visiting May Dreams Gardens.


19 thoughts on “Bloom Day, December 2014

    • Thanks for stopping by, Lea! It is wonderful to have blooms! There was an early frost (November) and I was dreading all the “dead stuff” but my fears proved unfounded–yay! Soon, though, there will be a truly killing frost and I think I’m ready now for that!


  1. Great post! Seeing your solanum vine reminds me of how much I miss mine. I’m not sure what happened, it was several seasons in, tolerating a fair amount of shade and yet blooming intermittently, but our last ultra cold winter a couple of years back ushered it out. It froze to the ground and sadly never reappeared.

    I bought a couple of firecracker plants back in my “that’s pretty – I want one!” days and I’ve never really regretted it. It doesn’t spread, it tolerates the occasional nibble from curious deer, and those blooms! It is a real winner in our climes and I’m happy to host them in my “mostly native” spaces.


    • Those firecrackers really are just great. Mine took a long time getting established, but once they were firmly ensconced, they’ve provided quite the show for me and my visiting pollinators.

      I’m surprised that the potato vine bloomed and in fact, didn’t even notice the blooms until this weekend. It’s a funny plant–great in deep shade, sometimes it just dies for no apparent reason. I’ve replace individual plants in the past, though this one reappeared without any care from me. No complaints though!


  2. So many things in your garden are still blooming! I think the chills we had so far knocked my plants out more than yours, but I guess that is because mine were planted only a few months ago and not quite as established. I still am trying to build up my beds and be better about constantly having multiple plants in bloom. The globe mallow is at the top of my wish list. I just had difficulties finding it this fall. Hopefully more nurseries will carry it this spring. Thanks for sharing!


    • I truly thought I was going to lose everything in those two early freezes. The only two plants that were zapped? The basil (that’s okay, I was sick of making pesto) and my Desert Willow. I even have a tomato plant with some ripe toms–weird.

      The Globe Mallow is hard to find. I think it must be a tough plant to propagate. I’ve moved them before and almost always lose them, though recently I transplanted one and I think it’s going to survive. Good luck in your search!


  3. Those Texas Craglilies are gorgeous! And they’re quite photogenic. I miss my Salvias during the winter! Do yours eventually go dormant, or do they bloom throughout the year? I had some Potato vines grown as annuals this year–the blooms looked like yours, but the foliage was chartreuse and variegated. I loved them, and they looked great planted with Fuchsias! I really enjoyed this post with all your beautiful blooms!


    • Thanks for dropping by, Beth! The Craglilies are beautiful, aren’t they? Only one nursery that I know of sells them–weird because they’re darling and hardy. My salivas might bloom if we have a very mild winter. There’s been a light freeze, but they weren’t bothered. The evergreen salvia species (like S. greggii) also can bloom in the winter, though I only have a smattering of blooms on those. I know the potato vine you’re referring to and it’s gorgeous–many folks here grow it, though I haven’t. I think it’s fairly tender, but you’re right that it looks really good paired with brightly colored plants.


  4. What beautiful December blooms you have. I wish I could grow that gorgeous Rusellia.
    I love the Solanum, I have a similar white one but the backs of the flowers are tinged with lilac. It is called Solanum laxum ‘ Creche du Pape’.
    So many of your lovely flowers are unkown here. It is a real learning curve to come and see them on your blog.


    • The potato vines/plants (solanum) grow well in so many places–and thank goodness for that, as they are so lovely. I’m glad you’re learning about new plants; the same happens with me when I visit your beautiful blog!


    • Hi Gayle, thanks for dropping by. The Globe Mallow can be tricky–it’s not going to want much water and humidity is definitely not its friend. I don’t know where you’re located, but maybe that description will help you.


  5. That potato vine is gorgeous. I didn’t know they could survive here. For some reason I assumed they were tender annuals. Is it sheltered from the cold? And .. how much sun does yours get? (sorry for the pesky questions)


    • The potato vine is great in shade–that one in the photo only gets some dappled light most of the year. It will die back in the winter, but I planted that particular one a number of years ago (I can’t remember when) and it returned after last year’s colder-than-it’s-been-in-recent-winters. In my gardens, it tends to bloom in late fall through spring, taking a rest in summer. I don’t water that one, either–so soaker hose, no watering except from the sky. I first saw this species at BSN-that’s where I bought it. Four inch pot, $1.69–good deal, I think!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s