Increasing the Light

In the darkest time of the year, these,

…are a gift of flowering light from the garden. All of my roses withheld  their blooming (rather selfishly I thought) during October and early November, which is typically a showy time for roses here in Central Texas, USDA  gardening zone 8b. Along came Thanksgiving with some damp and chilly weather and the roses burst forth in glory, of both the bloom and foliage type.

This Knockout Rose, (Rosa ‘Radrazz’) opened its petals and let not only the sunshine in, but busy bees as well.

There’s more to come from this tough-as-nails rose,

…which also displays luscious burgundy-infused foliage.    The decorative coloration at the toothy leaf margins and along the stems, petioles, and veins of the compound rose leaves,

…augment the blooms and set the stage for cheer in the December Texas garden.  A nod to fall foliage color change (it’s not winter yet!), many rose shrubs present dual-colored foliage, especially when newly flushed-out.

Competing with the Knockout, but strutting their own style of rosy gorgeousness, are my Martha Gonzales roses.

Their diminutive leaves,

…sport a similar color scheme as the Knockout foliage, with perhaps a smidge more bronzy blush.  With their maroon-tinged leaves, the Martha Gonzales suggest a purple-haze in the garden, even  as other plants fade with winter approaching.

And those flowers!

Bright red and ready for a kiss from whatever pollinators happen by,

…these blooms are joy in flower form.

A similar plant, the Old Gay Hill Red China rose,  produces slightly larger, fuchsia-red flowers and more robust leaves.  The mature green leaves are outlined in carmine,

…but new leaves blush with burgundy wine.

Old Gay Hill China rose pairs elegantly with the Martha Gonzales roses all year round.

Not to be outdone one bit by their flaming cousins, these pretty pink Jackson and Perkins, ‘Simplicity’ roses, are not slowing down, even if the gardening season is.

A classic rose bud,

…’Simplicity’ opens to this,

…and finally, this.

Lush evergreen foliage with few blemishes, there is a touch-of-the-red to spice things up a bit.

Nine ‘Simplicity’ rose shrubs were in my garden when I took up residence in 1985.  Two original shrubs remain and I must say, they’re the most steadfast and hardy bloomers of any rose type I’ve ever grown.  While  roses tend to wimpiness during our dry, toasty summers and our come-n-go droughts, these ‘Simplicity’ bloom.


Take that, Texas climate!

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting her celebration of blooms for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day  and also to Pam at Digging for profiling the beauty of foliage with Foliage Follow-up.  Please visit each lovely blog to see blooms-n-foliage in gardens from many places.


Bloom Day, November 2015

The warmth of October leaked into November, but finally, FINALLY, Central Texas feels like autumn.  From ground-cracking dry to frog-drowning rain, we’ve seen it all this past month or so.  Blooming continues though and will until our first hard freeze, which will be…whenever it will be.   Today I join with Carol at May Dreams Gardens in honor of blooms in gardens–let’s take a quick and colorful tour, shall we?

Opening with the autumn white of the  White Mistflower,  Ageratina havanensis,

…which is on the downside of its flowering cycle, though still providing for pollinators and with puffs of soft breeze, blanketing the back garden in sweet fragrance.

Flame Acanthas shrub, Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii, sport tubular scarlet blooms and remain perky and present for whomever happens by–insect or gardener.


Texas CraglilyEcheandia texensis,  is a native lily dressed in autumn-glow yellow.


The Salvia species in my gardens really strut their flowering stuff during the fall months, those  like this Autumn Sage, Salvia greggii.

Also, the red Tropical Sage,

…and its kissin’ cousin-hybrid, the white Tropical Sage,

…both of which are Salvia coccinea

The West Texas native, Shrubby Blue SageSalvia ballotiflora, was a  spontaneous purchase when I saw it covered in honeybees at a local nursery about a year ago.

This beauty is finally attracting my honeybees to its sky-blue blooms.

There are always some Purple ConeflowersEchinacea purpurea, which perform in fall, though with shorter stature and duration than during the spring show. This year there are fewer than usual, owing to our very dry September and early October.

But what is blooming is autumn eye candy.

The above are some of the native Texas bloomers active at the moment, but there are also some lovely and hardy non-native fantastic florals, too.  This Forsythia SageSalvia madrensis,  is new to my gardens this year.

A gardening buddy gifted to me two sprigs with healthy roots last spring. I planted them and then mostly ignored them, but they’ve rewarded my gardening irresponsibility by coming into their blooming glory in recent weeks.  A native to the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains of Mexico, this is a fabulous, shade-tolerant herbaceous perennial here in Austin.  I look forward to more of the same.

The never-stopped-blooming-even-for-a-short-time, Firecracker Fern, Russelia equisetiformis, decorates my autumn garden.

And it decorated my spring and summer gardens too.  Don’t you just love ridiculously long-blooming plants??

A big November surprise is the most recent and probably last set of blooms appearing on my Mexican Orchid TreeBauhina mexicana.

It’s a beautiful little tree, even without its creamy floral gifts which appear on and off during our long growing season.  I’m amazed and tickled to enjoy one more round of the gorgeous orchid flowers for  this year.

Thanks to May Dreams Gardens for hosting; please pop over to view blooms from all over the world.  Better yet, share your blooms in celebration of November Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.


Bloom Day, October 2015

For the past few months, I’ve been remiss in participating in Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.  October seems a good time to break newly formed bad habits and join in again with this celebration of all things blooming.

I’m enjoying plenty  of Autumn blooms in my garden and so are various pollinators as they ramp up for winter dormancy.  Frostweed, Verbesina virginica, is loaded with bloom clusters,

…and hosts a remarkable variety of grateful and busy pollinating buddies, like this honeybee and Grey Hairstreak butterfly, Strymon melinus.

The Gregg’s Mistflower, Conoclinium coelestinum,  is also a favorite amongst the winged and antennaed crowd.

But it doesn’t mind going it alone, either.

Pairing beautifully with Gregg’s Mistflower is the Texas CraglilyEcheandia texensis.  This lovely and uncommon Texas fall bloomer is open for business as well, though the native bees have been too quick for me to capture any photographs of their hard work.

Goldeneye,  Viguiera dentata, is flush with bright, sunshine blooms

…and alive with constantly attending honeybees.

What’s blooming where you live?   Show off your blooms, then hop over to May Dreams Garden for October’s blooming bonanza.