September Blooms

Come September, gardens and gardeners in Austin, Texas, zone 8b, breathe a sigh of *qualified* relief, thankful that we’re mostly through the long hot, the searing sun, and the toasty dry.   Come September, very welcome rain usually occurs and even a couple of lame cool fronts puff through, cooling things off (however briefly) and all but ending the truly hot and ushering in the merely warm.  It is still warm, downright hot many afternoons, but our second spring–a flush of autumn blooming–is just beginning.

Turk’s cap, Malvaviscus arboreus, blooms from early May until November, but peak in floriferousness (turns out, that’s a word!) during the last few months of their bloom cycle, just in time for migrating monarchs and ready-to-migrate hummingbirds.

Accompanying the Turk’s cap during the long growing season are potted bougainvillea, a Mexican feather grass, and an American agave–sun worshipers, all.

 

Rock rose, Pavonia lasiopetala, rests during July and August, gifting to the gardener only a stingy few shockingly pink delights during those hot months.  But add a little rain and the pink petals produce a pow-wow.

Late summer rain sets these lovelies up for a profusion of tiny flowers until the days are short and cool and their blooming cycle is complete for the year.

 

Mexican orchid tree, Bauhinia mexicana, have an on-and-off bloom cycle, except from late July and through hot August when this native of northern Mexico enjoys a bit of a siesta during the hottest time of the year.  As soon as the weather patterns gentle up the blooms bust out.

 

Busting out is also a good description of the masses of frothy pink bloom clusters that  Barbados cherry, Malpighia glabra, produce after some needed precipitation.

Most of the year, this large shrub lacks these floral decorations and is green, dense and provides good cover for birds, lizards, and other assorted critters.  But with spring and fall rains, blooms develop (to the cheers of the gardener) followed by luscious red fruits  (favored by many birds).  The dainty clusters attract all sorts of pollinators and fill the air with a fragrance reminiscent of baby powder.

A pretty plant which provides so much for so many.  Win!

I’m linking with Carol at May Dreams Gardens for her monthly bloom huzzah.  Check out her blog for more bloomin’ love!

 

32 thoughts on “September Blooms

  1. The Bauhina immediately attracted my attention as I grow a different species (Bauhinia x blakeana). I’ve never seen your lovely white-flowered species here in Southern California and, the fact that my Sunset Western Garden Book doesn’t even list the species probably isn’t a good sign. I’m looking forward to our second spring too but regrettably I expect that we won’t see that until late October or November.

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  2. Your rock rose is beautiful. I see it’s a mallow relative, and I love mallow flowers, even the weed ones! I said “your” rock rose, because to me rock roses are only the cistus ones.

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  3. Wow, your Barbados cherry is *huge*!! Is it really as tall as your house, or is that just the angle? I’m so thankful for the rains and cooler temperatures this year – it makes (gardening) life so much more pleasant!

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    • Maggie, it is the angle, at least in part. The B. cherry is about 7-8 feet tall and maybe 9-10 feet long. It fills the 6 foot space between my property and the neighbors’. It’s the neighbors’ house that you’re looking at.

      This “one” shrub started as 4 little shrubs 20 some-odd years ago. This shrub is the combination of two of them. B. cherry colonize out in that way, so they make great hedge plants. It is an amorphous giant–and I love it!

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  4. Lovely floral celebration of the autumnal relief! Yes, floriferous(ness) is a word I actually like to use. It says so much! Remembered Bloom Day, but didn’t have it in me to don the respirator and camera and head outside. Too much smoke. 😦

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    • Haha–I like floriferous and I use it, but had never attached the ‘ness’ before. It worked though and I couldn’t think of a simpler word.

      Oh, I’m so sorry it’s smoky there. I called my friend in Corvallis on Sunday and she said that after a week, they were clearing up. But I keep hearing that the whole area is still smoky, so maybe they just received a short reprieve. All Things Considered interviewed a news director from Eugene, which is the area I know best and where the impact has been huge. It’s so sad, listening to these stories. Wishing you some clear skies very soon, Anna.

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      • Thanks Tina – just checked our AQI (Air Quality Index). It’s currently at 307, so still hazardous to breathe. I need to go water a friend’s garden, but I can do it wearing a respirator. Hadn’t used it since last I took a sculpture class, but it works like a charm. Never thought I’d had to use it merely to go outside, though.

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  5. Along with the construction that has widened US 183 in east Austin we noticed that a bunch of rock roses have been planted on the east side of the highway. We saw plenty of flowers on them when we returned from Bastrop two weeks ago.

    The Austin weather forecast this afternoon predicted daily high temperatures only in the 80s for the next week. I guess that counts as fall.

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  6. I don’t hear much about Bauhinia much anymore. My colleague and I were just discussing the white cultivar of Bauhinia variegata (which is not exactly variegated in white) this morning. it is a small street tree on Burton Way in Beverly Hills (in Los Angeles County), but is not much to look at with so many grander trees about. It is one of those few flowers that I prefer in another color besides white. I think if we were to every plant them, we would plant the more common purplish pink sort, and on a narrower street.

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  7. I’ve tried and tried, and just can’t quite get with the rock rose. It’s a perfectly nice plant, and it’s never done anything to me! Maybe in time I’ll come to enjoy it more. My Kerrville friend has it roaming through her rock garden, and it grows beautifully for her — she sings its praises continually.

    Is it my imagination, or does the bloom of the Barbados cherry look a bit like crape myrtle flowers? It certainly is pretty. The huge Turk’s cap I see in the neighborhood finally is starting to fade a bit; it will be interesting to see if it revives after this rain.

    The big news here isn’t floral, but avian. I put up two hummingbird feeders, and it took them about twelve hours to find them. I’m not getting clouds of birds, but there are some, and they’re beginning to perch and feed as well as doing fly-bys. I’ve learned to recognize their sound, too. With this cooler weather and open windows, I know when they’re around, and can take a peek.

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    • Lol–you’re not alone. I find there are the Rock rose lovers, and those that aren’t–and that’s it! I just love their cheery pink faces and to watch the pollinators who agree. And that they’re tough-as-nails, well that’s a deal breaker for me!

      Yes, you’re exactly right that the Barbados cherry blooms are similar to crape myrtle; both are a bit ruffly and dainty. That’s another really excellent bloom for pollinators, plus when in full, glorious bloom, it has such a nice fragrance.

      Is there anything more fun than watching hummingbirds? I don’t bother with a feeder because they prefer the various plants in my garden. The downside for me is that I have to watch from a distance because they’re not coming up close to the house. Enjoy the show!

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