Not-Yet-Autumn-Greens

While today may be the autumnal equinox, it remains hot and humid here in Central Texas.  A wet and (for Texas) mild August lulled me into stupidly thinking that summer 2016 had breathed its last hot breath.  During this past week, summer returned with a fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk-it’s-so-hot reminder that summer is not done with us yet.  While it’s been toasty, some of my hot season blooming favorites are now showing off  their cooling foliage.

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This lush group of perennials soothes my perspiring brow.

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This group includes Garlic chives,  Allium tuberosum,  Branched foldwing, Dicliptera brachiata,   Drummond’s ruellia,  Ruellia drummondiana, Katie’s Dwarf Ruellia, Ruellia britttoniana ‘Katie’s Dwarf’, and Gulf penstemon,  Penstemon tenuis.           .

There are some blooms flowering on these perennials.

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Looking closely, you can see the small, lavender flowers of the Branched foldwing and the larger flower of Katie’s Dwarf Ruellia.

Except for the spring blooming/summer seeding Gulf penstemon, all of these plants flower prolifically in July and August, slowing, but not ending, flower production during September and October.

The green onion-like foliage of Garlic chives pairs nicely with the full-leafed Drummond’s ruellia,

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…and mixes it up well with the petite leaves of the Branched foldwing.

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This particular group of Garlic chives hasn’t bloomed this year, but I  appreciate their slender leaves mingling with other foliage nearby.

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Throughout the warm months, there are always Texas Crescent butterflies, Anthanassa texana flitting in my garden.  Host plants for this little cutey insect are those  in the Acanthus family, like this Drummond’s ruellia, whose leaf serves as a resting spot for this Texas Crescent.

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A wider view of the Drummond’s ruellia, sans butterfly.imgp9963-new

Cooler weather is on its way in the next few days–the first cool front of the season!

I’m thanking Christina and her lovely Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day.  Check out her blog for foliage from many gardens and from many places, and then share your own leafy loveliness.

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Wildflower Wednesday, June 2014

Summer is in full swing in Austin–heat, blooms, heat, blooms.  I tire of the heat and humidity, but beautiful native wildflowers thrive in our sticky summers and today is the day to show them off.  Thanks to Gail at clay and limestone for hosting and promoting the use of native plants and wildflowers in the home garden.

A few years ago at the Lady Bird Johnson  Wildflower Center’s fall native plant sale, I bought a Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta.

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It was a total impulse purchase and I’m glad for that particular lack of impulse control!  Each spring, this little annual (for me) pops up in a different place in my gardens.  This year?  It’s on the back patio, keeping the potted bougainvillaea company.  I’ll let it seed out this summer and who knows where it will appear next summer.

I must share a photo or two of my wonderful Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea.

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The quintessential summer perennial in my gardens, Coneflowers are tough, happy summer flowers.  They are great for pollinators and also are terrific as cut flowers indoors, if you’re so inclined.

The  Zexmenia, Wedelia texana, began blooming a little late this year, but is in full force now.

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Zexmenia is a lovely Texas flowering perennial and performs no matter how hot it is in Austin.

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I often pair Zexmenia with Rock Rose, Pavonia lasiopetala, in my gardens.

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From morning through mid-afternoon, the combination of the pink Rock Rose and the yellow  Zexmenia is pretty and fresh.  Both perennials require little water and are favorites of native pollinators. The hibiscus-like flowers of Rock Rose close with the heat mid-afternoon, leaving  the yellow Zexmenia to go it alone until the next sunrise.

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A few years ago, I collected seeds of Drummond’s Ruellia, Ruellia drummondiana. I caught the first bloom of the season recently.

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This ruellia, which isn’t commonly available, doesn’t usually begin blooming fully until mid-to-late summer.  I was tickled to see one open early in the growing season.  It looks like the ants are happy about that too!

The ‘Henry Duelberg’ Salvia, Salvia farinacea ‘Henry Duelberg’ still sports its pretty bloom spikes.

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It’ll bloom until it’s too hot, then the ‘Henry’ rests, renewing its bloom cycle again with cooler autumn temperatures.  I’ll prune the ‘Henry’ to keep it tidy until its fall bloom cycle.

Turk’s Cap, Malvaviscus arboreus, is an excellent summer bloomer and another favorite of mine.

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It’s a superb  wildlife plant as well:  hummingbirds, bees and butterflies love its bright red blossoms and the birds devour its fruits in the fall.  It grows as a thick shrub,  so many lizards, birds and insects shelter in it.

The cheerful Engelmann’s Daisy, Engelmannia peristenia, should bloom through mid-summer.

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One reason I chose this wildflower for my gardens is that I noticed how many bees visit it in other gardens.  That hasn’t been true for this daisy this year and I’m not sure why, but Engelmann’s Daisy is still a bright spot in the garden.

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Lastly, this is a nice conglomeration of summer beauties together:

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Two native Texas perennials I haven’t profiled today, Damianita, Chrysactinia mexicana, and Rock Penstemon, Penstemon baccharifolius, are blooming in this photo.  Usually, the Damianita takes a break in the summer after its profusion of spring blossoms.  Rock Penstemon is a hardy summer/fall bloomer.

What native wildflowers are in your garden?  For more wildflower goodness from many places, check out clay and limestone and its celebration of June wildflowers.