Drummond’s a Cure for the Dog Days

During these August days, these hot days, these dog days of summer, I relish the relative cool of my garden.  Here in Texas, morning is best–quiet, fresh, uncooked. It’s been hot, more hot than what once passed for August hot.  Fortunately, my garden remains green and lush, with sprinklings of color–some warm, some cool–all welcome.

Drummond’s Ruellia, Ruellia drummondiana, is a star in the garden, especially at this time of year.

This native summer blooming wildflower which came from seeds collected some years ago, were let loose to live: they germinated and have produced many generations.  They’re happy wherever they set root, or wherever I transplant the emergent seedlings. Drummond’s bloom sporadically in late spring and early summer, but ramp up in July, reaching the zenith of their beauty just as our “real” heat kicks in and kicks ass.  Well, kicks my ass, anyhow.  The Drummond’s Ruellia?  They’re just fine and dandy: no wilting, no complaining.  The hotter it is, the better they bloom.

Visited by several kinds of native bees, honeybees, and some small skippers, the ruellias are hosts for pollination parties.  This ruellia is also the host plant for the Common buckeye, Junonia coenia, though that butterfly isn’t particularly common in my garden.  I grab my camera when I see one.

The plant produces flowers in pretty purple, each individual flute opening for just one day.  At the end of the bloom life, tissue-paper petals form, preparing for seeds and new blooms.

Drummond’s Ruellia is a great shade/part-shade plant and perfect for my shady place.  

Linking today with Anna at her lovely Flutter and Hum and Wednesday Vignette; pop on over to enjoy other garden stories. 

11 thoughts on “Drummond’s a Cure for the Dog Days

    • Yes, it’s a tough one. I fell in love with it when I worked in a public garden and was gone for two weeks, late July to mid-August. The sprinkler system stopped working while I was on vacation, but when I returned, the ruellia plants were the only things blooming and they were in full flowering mode. That’s the kind of plant that I want! A few seeds collected, the rest is history!

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  1. I’m not familiar with Drummond’s ruellia, even though it’s native here. Bill Carr says in his Travis County Plant List that it’s “uncommon in loamy soils and humus in mostly deciduous riparian woodlands and evergreen-deciduous woodlands in mesic limestone canyons.” Yours certainly looks healthy.

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    • Nobody knows about this great plant. I’m not sure why one of the local nurseries haven’t gathered a few seeds and gotten to work. It seeds out, but no more so than inland sea oats or most of the other ruellia species. I love it!

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  2. There was some sort of Ruellia blooming at Brazos Bend last Sunday. It was in shade, under trees, mixed with more Turk’s Cap than I’ve ever seen in one place. Both seemed to have simply taken root, as they weren’t in beds, but strewn out across the landscape. It was a pretty, colorful mix, and certainly testifies to the Ruellia’s hardy nature. I’ll also see them in full sunlight along Brazoria county roads. I suspect those are yet another species, but I’ll be darned if I can sort them out.

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