Here in Austin, Texas, zone 8b, my late season garden is more about foliage and seed heads than petals and pistils. That’s especially true this year as we’re in a moderate to severe drought–we could use some rain! Even so, I’m fortunate to enjoy a few things in their last (?) blooms of the year.
This Mexican honeysuckle, Justicia spicigera, flowers-up as it feels like it: in spring, summer, autumn, and winter, this is a plant with a mind of its own! As long as we don’t have a hard freeze, this hardy shrub is truly a perennial bloomer.
The flowers appear, bloom for a time, followed by a rest period, and the cycle repeats. When bloom time is nigh–regardless of season–I eagerly await the cheerful orange blooms nestled in lush foliage. Especially now, with limited flowering plants, I’m glad that honeybees have these blooms available.
This particular Mexican honeysuckle bush is large and growing at one part of its base peeks out Purple heart, Tradescantia pallida. The tangled green, orange, and purple medley is nice.
In another spot of my garden, the Purple heart showcases charming three-petaled pink flowers. No bees here, but these dainties are popular with the bee and small butterfly crowd.
Rock rose, Pavonia lasiopetala, is past its blooming time, though three individual flowers remain in my garden, defying expectations,
…and providing for pollinators, like this Sleepy Orange, Abaeis nicippe, more hungry than sleepy, I think. It enjoyed a yummy nectar breakfast.
The small, year-old patch of Blue mistflower, Conoclinium coelestinum, growing at my garden’s edge has performed well this year. Without missing a beat in spread and bloom, it ignored heat from the Texas sun, aided by the human-made cement driveway and asphalt street which borders the plant. Blue mistflower is a tough and lovely groundcover.
This nymph Assasin bug, Zelus longipes, patiently waited for its meal. I imagine the hungry nymph moved in for the sip after I was out of the picture.
A consistently late-blooming perennial, Forsythia sage, Salvia madrensis, brings sunshine to a shady garden.
Each August, as the stalks of the lanky plant grow ever upwards, I promise myself that I’ll prune those tall things to half their size, ensuring that the blooms–when they come in late September–don’t weight down the stalks and branches. Some years I’m better about completing this chore, some years, I forget or succumb to August’s heat. Well, this year I didn’t prune by half, indolence as my main excuse, August’s heat as my backup excuse. Forsythia sage blooms beautifully, but the flower load is too much for floppy the stalks and they’re now lying near to the ground, draped dramatically on and over one another and other perennials. Nevertheless, the flowers are available for a nectar buffet, though photography is a bit trickier. Next year, I promise to keep this wayward thing in check.
Right. We’ll see about that!
There’s always something interesting in the garden and that’s something to cheer about. Today, we celebrate blooms with Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Pop on over and enjoy blooms from many lovely places.