July Blooms

It’s hot.  Really hot.  It’s the kind of hot where all you want to do is pull up a hammock and nap in the shade, not unlike this Horsefly-like Carpenter bee, Xylocopa tabaniformis.  I observed this sleepy-head as I worked in the garden, pruning a bit of spring’s overgrowth.  The bee chose a pretty-in-pink spot for its rest, curled up in the pinky petal of an open Rock Rose, Pavonia lasiopetala, bloom.   

I stopped by from time-to-time, taking a break from my hot work to check on the bee’s movement and there wasn’t any.  Who can blame the bee for wanting a snooze in the heat?  Here in Austin, zone 8b, record breaking heat–108°F on Monday–has rendered everyone somnambulant.  Well, it is July in Texas and even the bees need their afternoon siestas.  The flowers are still going strong, even if the rest of us need our rest.


This bee, another Horsefly-like carpenter bee, is as busy as can bee, working the heat-loving blooms of the Henry Duelberg sage, Salvia farinacia ‘Henry Duelberg’.  Bee and blooms are a productive pair.

As August approaches, I’ll prune the ‘Henry Duelberg’ salvia to the ground and let it rest.  When the early autumn rains arrive (fingers-crossed!) and the days shorten, the ‘Duelberg’ salvia will bloom up again, providing for pollinators throughout the fall months.

Grey Hairstreaks, Strymon melinus, enjoy nectar from many different blooms, but as with lots of other pollinators, the Purple ConeflowerEchinacea purpurea, is a fan favorite.  The little charmer crawled around the center of the flower, taking in what it needs, while adding beauty to the garden.

As summer drags on (and on…), the coneflowers will fade and seed out, assuring plenty more new coneflowers and blooms for next season.   Pollinators rub their wings together in satisfaction–and cheer!


A majestic Giant Swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes, regularly visits the stunning, intricate blooms on my Mexican Orchid treeBauhina mexicana.   The ice-white flowers appear on and off throughout the growing season, to the delight of the big pollinators and the tiny ones too.  Snowy blooms cover the small tree, visually cooling, if not in reality.  I look forward to temperatures following in suit–in October.


Nothing says SUMMER like sunflowers.  

Always cheery and comfy in the hottest of hot weather, these bright blooms are the perfect summer flower: easy to grow for the gardener with plenty to offer for wildlife.  Pollinators love the nectar and birds enjoy the eventual seeds.  It’s a wildlife garden win.

This Southern Carpenter bee, Xylocopa micans, nectar steals from my magenta gorgeous Big Red sage, Salvia penstemonoides.  It’s fascinating to watch the shiny, brilliant black bee buzz from bloom to bloom, searching each for the sweet stuff. The bee dips its proboscis in some blooms, remains for a time–sipping.  Other red receptacles are checked, then ignored, having already donated their goods to some passing pollinator.  

Originally, this stand of four individual plants grew in my back garden, but as that area has become increasingly shady, I transplanted the sage to the front garden, where it thrives, enjoying blasting west sun.  It’s a tough, Texas plant and a beautiful addition to my garden.  

Celebrating mid-summer blooms, I’m linking with May Dreams Garden’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and also with Flutter and Hum and Wednesday Vignette because blooms are the protagonists of garden stories.  Check out both lovely blogs for blooming stories.   


35 thoughts on “July Blooms

  1. Stunning photos – your flowers are holding up so well in the heat! They make an unspoken argument for the wisdom of using native plants not only for their utility but their lasting beauty.


    • Thanks, Deb! Well, the “real” heat has just begun. I suspect I’ll be doing some serious pruning in the next weeks. I actually watered over the weekend; I was pleased that it was mid-July before that needed to happen. That said, the natives know what they’re doing, if we just get out of their way!


  2. 108 degrees?… Oh dear, I’m so sorry. Mid-day napping for large and small makes perfect sense. I’d be camping out underground, in the basement. Forgot about Bloom Day, but I might add my post to the fray as well, so thanks for the reminder!


    • Hey, it’s only going to be 103 today! Cool front! Folks who’ve moved here in the last 3 decades or so, find it hard to believe that this isn’t normal, that our summers weren’t this hot, once–upon-a-time. Sigh. I get all my outdoor stuff done early–mornings are mostly still nice, relatively speaking, then it’s indoors until late evening.

      I forgot about GBBD too. I was working on the photos for your WV, when I realized it was the 15th and thought I’d add my voice.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha–I don’t disagree. When it’s that hot outside, it’s indoors for me! But for now, because of a moderately wet spring, the plants are happy.


  3. I was caught by your Bauhinia. It took me a while to sort it out from the Bauhinia lunarioides, or Anacacho orchid tree, that I found west of you. Both of them are lovely, indeed. I laughed at your sleepy bee. Anyone who suggests that people who indulge in an afternoon siesta in Texas summers are lazy — never have lived through a Texas summer!

    The good news is that the Duranta I passed on to a friend has cheered up in the sunshine and heat, and is putting on new foliage and buds galore. I think it’s going to be very happy there!


    • Yes, my Mexican orchid isn’t really native here, but much further south. When I volunteered at Zilker Botanical Garden years ago, I sometimes worked in the dinosaur garden where the orchid trees were planted. The head of staff gifted a tiny seedling (we were weeding). It was fall, but I planted it and it returned after a rather cold winter. The one in the photo is an offspring of my original one. It gets more sun and blooms more. They are lovely little trees and so easy to grow.

      I hope you get to visit your duranta, or at least, your friend will send you pics when the pollinators show up!


  4. What a nice collection of native wildflowers. They prove that the summer heat in Texas is no obstacle to species that have evolved here, both plants and insects.

    Though Eve and I aren’t gardeners, she planted a bit of rock rose years ago on one side of our house and plants have been coming up there ever since. Twice recently I photographed a few of the flowers.

    You mentioned, figuratively, that pollinators rub their wings together and cheer. You’ve probably noticed that hairstreaks slide their wings up and down a little to impart movement to the little projections at the lower rear and make them seem like antennae. That way a predator is more likely to chomp at them than at the true antennae and head, where a bite would be fatal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so right, they’re all up the the challenge of heat. That coneflower was one of the last to still be fresh as a daisy;they’re all in seed-making mode now. That’s fine, there are a bunch of Lesser Goldfinch in the garden now, munching away.

      It was the Hairstreaks I was thinking of when I mentioned the rubbing together of the wings, though I didn’t know why they do that. Makes sense though, I’m sure they’d be a nice morsel for some predator.


  5. I couldn’t cope with that kind of temperature at all. I stop moving once the thermometer gets to about 80F. Your flowers are looking marvellous and I love the selection of pollinators you’ve shown visiting each one. I’ve always wanted to see a hairstreak butterfly, so that one was particularly nice. Apparently there are green hairstreaks at Wimpole, but I’ve yet to see one.


    • You’d get use to it, but it is challenging this time of year, no doubt about it.

      I just love the little Grey Hairstreaks. There are several that are common in this area, but I mostly I see the grey in my garden. They’re so pretty in color and markings.


  6. Tina in the heat we are tied: here in Madrid we did not drop below 37ºC or 100 f and we have reached several days at 40ºC or 104 f. I love all your flowers and the bees eating on them. The photo of the sleeping carpenter bee nestled in a rock rose petal is unmatched, it is charming, I love it and I love it. The flowers of the wise Henry Duelberg with the carpenter bee eating, I love it. Echinacea purpurea is one of my favorite flowers. The swallowtail is a divine butterfly and I love your Mexican orchid. Sunflowers are the joy of Summer. I love Salvia Big Red with the shiny black woodpecker eating. Tina I’m sorry I was away so long, but the operation on my mother’s right eye did not go very well. The falls have been removed, it was easy. But malignant glaucoma has advanced too much since March 5 when my Mother signed the consent for the operation and because of Covid-19 they operated on it on July 6. With her eye she sees double, her eyes are double, her head is dizzy all day. I put drops in the eye every x hours. I hope he stops seeing double, because he has a very bad arrangement. Tina I hope that you and your husband are in very good health. Take good care of both of you. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita


    • I’m sorry about the delay with your mother’s surgery and I hope that, with some time and healing, her eyesight will improve. My mother also had glaucoma., though she only used the eye drops. I wish her well and hope she recovers soon. I wish you good health and rest.

      It is hot, but it’s summer and that’s normal. You take care of yourself!!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Tina thank you very much for your words of encouragement. I also hope that my Mother improves. Health and rest for you. And yes, the heat is normal in Summer! Take care. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

        Liked by 1 person

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