Red Hot

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 acanthusAnisacanthus 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, FirebushHamelia 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.

30 thoughts on “Red Hot

  1. Your garden is doing very well with the heat. We made it down to the mid 90’s over here. What a relief! (joking) My Firecracker, which I call Fountain Plant, is doing really well. I have left them run amok and I measure them in yards. My Firebush, which we call Hummingbird Bush, grows like your parents’ and is very tall. It is humming with bees every morning. Both are very reliable growers here.


    • Nice!! I’ll bet both of those plants are gorgeous. When I would visit my folks’ home, we stay in an upstairs room and one window looks out on the Giant Hamelia. The number of pollinators around that “bush’ is so remarkable.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ohmygosh Thank goodness for the rain. The heat this year was absolutely draining. That spider lily! What is it trying to say to us I wonder. Love all these plants and appreciate their blooms just when things get unbearable.


    • The rain is lovely, but, typical me, I can’t help but see the downside–mosquitoes! I have plenty of neighbors who are irresponsible about their birdbaths, gutters, etc..


  3. How appropriate with all those red hot flowers in such a red hot place! I absolutely love the Russelia, and wonder if it would grow here. The Spider plant too, is fantastic! I planted my Anisacanthus on the lee side of the house, thinking it was only marginally hardy here, and now – two years later – it is still shining. Mind you, we had two back-to-back ridiculously mild winters…


  4. Tina preciosas flores en pleno bochorno de Agosto. La que más me ha impresionado ha sido la Lyceris radiata : una explosión de belleza en rojo, como el resto de sus flores. Ojalá que llueva y bajen las temperaturas. Gracias por mostrarnos su bello jardín. Saludos de Margarita.


    • Tina tiene mucha suerte de poder cultivar la Lycoris y ver su belleza todos los años. En el lugar de España en el que vivo moriría de frío a mediados de Septiembre. Pero he podido disfrutar de ella gracias a su post. Saludos de Margarita.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. All these gorgeous species (that I cannot grow here) seem indeed to enjoy the hot weather Tina!
    I particularly like the Russelia – it has a very nice overall appearance, besides the flowers.


    • The Russelia is lovely and such a long-term bloomer. Even in years where it dies to the ground, it’ll start blooming in early summer and never quits. It’s a very graceful plant.


  6. There’s something about those hot, sun-loving plants that makes me smile. They convey excitement and vitality, and I can see why they attract pollinators. I think if I lived in Austin I would need a pool. There’s hot, and then there’s HOT … like you have!


    • Red really seems to be a favorite of the little metallic sweat bees, I’ve noticed. As for a pool, I’ve never had much interest in one, most people I know that do have a pool, don’t seem to use it much, but you’re right: in August, when those hot days stretch? A pool seems like the best invention in the world!


  7. Hi Tina, we have those plants here too in the hot tropics, i am sure our Heat Index during our dry season is much uncomfortable than yours now. My Lycoris radiata, courtesy of a friend from the US flowered for me once, but didn’t again. Now only one plant remains. I wonder why it cannot acclimatize fully here, the bulbs rot.


    • We’ve had a wet year, so our heat indexes have been over 100 F most of July and August. I know that the Lycoris is naturalized throughout much of the the southern part of the U.S., but bulbs can certainly rot if they’re too wet, too often. I’m sure you have some equally lovely flowers to enjoy, though!


    • Thanks, Tracy! Yes, we’re also quite soaked!! Enough for now, but, like whining about the heat and dry, I suspect it won’t do too much good to whine about the wet! 🙂


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