Seeing Red

April is typically portrayed as a month full of pink, lavender, and yellow.   This pastel pulchritude reflects traditional concepts of new and fresh, infant and innocent.  My garden currently provides this zeitgeist of spring hue, but what grabs my attention in mid-April are the vibrant hots in the garden.

I’m seeing red.

Many years ago, a German friend gifted to me a handful of poppy seeds. Since then,  these harbingers of spring and symbols of remembrance pop for a month or so, usually March to April.

The blooms keep honeybees busy,

…and sway in gentle breezes.

 

As the poppies are showing off in sunny spots, a native Texas woodland perennial, the Cedar sage, Salvia roemeriana, also rocks its red.  Cedar sage are happier nearer to the ground and they bloom in shady parts of the garden.

 

There’s some vertical hot rocket red, too. Climbing up a fence, is Coral honeysuckle vine, Lonicera sempervirens, decorated with clusters of tubular crimson, with a flair of yellow.  Native green metallic bees and my honeybees vie for nectar-slurping positions.  If there are hummingbirds who’ve already arrived from Mexico and Central America, they’ll also buzz for these yummy blooms.  But so far this spring, it’s just the insects that I’ve seen at the honeysuckle blooms.

 

April love is like a red, red rose–or, as it happens, many Martha Gonzales roses.    The two shrubs–side-by-side buddies–sparkle with red petals, rich with deep green foliage.  They welcome walkers to my garden.

Fragrant blooms, each with a dash of bright white, are dramatic foils to the more delicate spring blooms.

 

Okay, it’s a cheat, but this Texas Beargrass, Nolina texana, sits blooming in a red pot.  The bloom stalk is akin to the April pale pinks, but the pot is hot.

Soft and pastel, or loud and hot–blooms are boss and you can see more beautiful blooms by checking out May Dreams Gardens and her Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

Happy April blooms!

All Hat, No Petal

All hat, no cattle  is a contemporary phrase describing someone who’s showy, but lacking in substance. The saying is used to describe a person who talks big about a subject, but when pressed, can’t convey solid information or skills.   There’s some dispute about the origins of the axiom, with some suggesting that it’s an old Texas adage, and others mistakenly linking it to the 1978-1991 television program, Dallas.  The earliest verified notation of All hat, no cattle is in the March 1944 issue of Agricultural Leaders’ Digest 25, No. 3, with possible earlier references.

My twist on the pithy proverb is this:  all hat (sepal), no petal.  

The hat, in the form of the poppy’s sepals, is not quite doffed for the as-yet-unfurled petals.  It’s a flower, but a flower currently unable to deliver its goods–it’s a flower wanna be, with promises of produce, but lacking in freight.

 

Here, the sepals are gone, having drifted away with a puff of breeze or the pull of gravity; no doubt they rest nearby.

The petals are opening for business, the flower awaiting its pollinators.

 

But peering into the heart of this poppy, there is no phony, fake entity; pollen and nectar are in place, ready for action.

The insect work of pollination and resulting future bloom procreation, will continue.

Check out Anna’s Flutter and Hum and her wonderful Wednesday Vignette for garden, nature, and other musings.

Greens, Blues, Greys

I’m enjoying lovely leafiness which has come into its own in a bed adjacent to the  front entrance of my home.   Let’s take a wide view to get the bearings of this raised bed.

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I planted the Soft Leaf Yucca, Yucca recurvifolia and the Red YuccaHesperaloe parviflora as anchor plants in this bed because they are both evergreen and grow to respectable sizes.  Most of the other plants are smaller shrubs or groundcover-type perennials: some are evergreen, some are herbaceous perennials, and a couple are annuals.  There are also some other native perennials, a smaller yucca, and a native perennial grass, all located out of view of these photos.

Reminding me of tiny hands that are spread wide, I’m pleased with the deeply lobed foliage of this little annual/bi-annual thing, a native Wild Geranium, Geranium carolinianum.  It was a gift from birds, or maybe, the wind, but grows well with other pretty-leafed plants.

Tiny, dark green and fragrant leaves of Damianita, combine with soft, frilly poppy leaves, complement the ornate leaves of Wild Geranium.

Tiny, dark green and fragrant leaves of Damianita, combine with soft, frilly poppy leaves, complement the ornate leaves of Wild Geranium.

I noticed one Wild Geranium in the garden a few years ago, left it to seed, and each late winter, more return.  I like its sprawling nature, lacy foliage, and sweet, tiny blooms.  I’ll pull up all of the individuals soon because a few seeds left assure plants for next spring, but many seeds left guarantee too many future Wild Geraniums–much more weeding work–and who wants that?

The Wild Geranium foliage clamors for well-deserved attention underneath the Red Yucca,

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…while a seedling Mexican Feathergrass, Nassella tenuissima echoes the spray of the Red Yucca.

This extravagant set of leaves belongs to another spring annual, a member of the Papaver family, seeds of which were generously gifted to me last year by TexasDeb of the charming  Austin Agrodolce.

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Poppies popped in my spring garden for many years, seeds of which were given to me by a German friend long ago, but over time they’d declined and last year I had few poppies to ooh and aah over.  The new poppy seeds from Deb were a timely and quite welcomed gift.  With or without raindrops, I love the scalloped edges of poppy foliage, either alone,

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…or in concert with other interesting foliage.  This one poppy certainly holds its own alongside the petite grey leaves of  Germander Sage, Salvia chamaedryoides, the Wild Geranium, and blooming DamianitaChrysactinia mexicana–as well as the points of the Soft Leaf Yucca, bearing down on the rest.

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A wider look includes both newly planted Globe MallowSphaeralcea ambigua allowing for some silvery leaf action,

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…not to mention a couple of orange beauty blooms.

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The Germander Sage was an impulse purchase, but I like it–the blue flowers and grey-green leaves are hard to beat.  It’s hardy and easy to grow–a requirement in my garden–and it’s definitely a water-wise addition to this sunny, dry bed.

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The sunshiny blooms of the Damiantia almost steal the show from their foliage host and plant partners.

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Almost, but perhaps, not quite.

Tidy, smooth leaves of the not-in-bloom Rock Penstemon, Penstemon baccharifolius contrast in form and shape with matte, wavy poppy leaves.

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Spiky Twistleaf Yucca, Yucca rupicola appear to reach out from frilly poppy foliage, giving fair warning of their pointy ends as I lean into the garden to weed or photograph.

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I’m always poked–somewhere–by those ends. Always.

And from another angle,

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…blue-green Soft Leaf Yucca, minty-green poppy foliage, and vivid green Twistleaf Yucca are a verdant combination worthy of any celebration of green in the March garden.

This Green Anole certainly approves–of the straps of the Soft Leaf Yucca, if not of the photographer’s intrusion,

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…while his bigger buddy looks askance at me.  Does he know how well he reflects the colors of the Soft Leaf Yucca?  Or, is it the other way around?IMGP6271.new

In celebration of the foliage in the March garden, many thanks to Christina and her lovely Creating my own garden of the Hesperides.   Check out her Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day for a look at foliage in many gardens, from many places.