Bloom Day, December 2014

Celebrating blooming things with Carol of May Dreams Gardens on this last Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day of 2014, I’d like to share some currently flourishing flowers from my gardens.  It’s been mild here in Austin, Texas, though a few light frosts have come our way, none were significantly cold enough to dampen the blossoming spirit.

Wonderful native perennials continue strutting their blooming stuff late this growing season. Two native salvia species are providing nice nectar sources for passing bees and butterflies and a color show for the resident gardener.   The Tropical SageSalvia coccinea, …brightens the garden with its scarlet blooms, while Henry Duelberg salviaSalvia farinacea, ‘Henry Duelberg’ provides spikes of blue.


Planted near to those two perennials is a group of  Texas Craglily, Echeandia texensis. There are few blooms left, but many seed pods readying for future golden lily loveliness.

Some of my GoldeneyeViguiera dentata, still bloom.

I don’t really think I need to add anything to that!  These individuals face west and receive the warmth of the afternoon autumn sun.

A few Turk’s Cap, Malvaviscus arboreus, flowers grace the gardens as well. I don’t recall ever seeing this plant bloom so late before–I’m not complaining.

Native to areas west of Texas, but not specifically Austin, is the Globe Mallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua.

In my gardens it’s a reliable cool season bloomer–at least through the beginning of summer.  The one mature Globe Mallow in my gardens is beginning a nice bloom production and that’s likely to happen throughout winter.

There are always a few Purple Coneflowers, Echinacea purpurea, charming the gardens. This one is planted with an unknown variety of basil-in-bloom,

…which I’d know the name of if I’d bothered to keep the tag.  Ahem.

And here, Coneflower is partnered with the equally sweet Four-nerve Daisy or Hymenoxys, Tetraneuris scaposa.

I love native Texas plants.

As for the non-natives, well, they’re pretty cool, too.  The Firecracker or Coral PlantRusselia equisetiformis, requires a hard freeze to knock it back. Obviously that hasn’t happened yet.

I feel good about this plant–it has such a tropical look, but in reality it’s water-wise and tolerant of the cooler season.

Roses are responding in kind to our temperate December by blossoming again. Whoop!

Glorious in vibrant red are these blooms of the Old Gay Hill rose.

Finally, the Potato VineSolanum laxum, has entered its bloom time.  This vine twines up one side of my swing beam and blossoms primarily in the cool months here in Austin. It’s a timid vine in my garden, never growing too large.    I forget about it during our long, warm  growing season–it’s there, but unimpressive. Once the temperatures cool, its lovely clusters of dainty, creamy-bell flowers provide interest for my honeybees, still foraging on warm afternoons.

Enjoy whatever blooms you have–indoors or out.  Then check out the many bloom posts by visiting May Dreams Gardens.


Wildflower Wednesday, November 2014

As the  2014 growing season slows, it’s harder to showcase blooming things for the garden.  Berries?  Sure, lush in their ripeness.  Beautiful foliage?  Yep–in abundance in the trees and on the ground. Interesting seed pods?  All over the garden, the remains of spent blooms.  But blooming things are scarcer and scarcer, even in temperate Austin, Texas.  Today though, I’m joining with Gail at clay and limestone to mark another celebration of wildflowers on this fourth Wednesday of November.

Even after our first light frosts Tropical Sage, Salvia coccinea, blooms. Vibrant scarlet blooms brighten my garden  in these shorter days of autumn into winter.

Salvia species of all sorts flowered reluctantly in my gardens this year.  I’m not sure why, though I know that many salvia require lots of sun and that’s something my gardens see less and less of.  The Tropical Sage is an exception to that full-sun rule. These little herbaceous perennials bloom beautifully, in full sun,

…to mostly shade.

These red Tropical Sage begin flowering mid-to-late summer and have bloomed through the fall.   In my gardens, I grow more of the white bloomers  than the red.  The white Tropical Sage blooms late spring through early fall and during a mild winter, throughout. Generally, they’ll bloom in winter, until a hard freeze nips them, which I should add, is the norm.  (My property also is in central Austin, so my garden benefits from a heat-island effect and often doesn’t get as cold as outlying areas.) The red form blooms later for me–late summer into fall and also during winter if conditions allow. Drought hardy, prolific re-seeders, and deer resistant, Tropical Sage are also good nectar sources for pollinators.

Oh and they’re just darn pretty!

Tropical Sage are great to tuck into spots of the garden where there are limited choices, or where you want to fill in space.   I like to group several together in close proximity, like this bunch of almost finished white bloomers,

This gives a larger shrub effect, but without overpowering surrounding plants.

Tropical Sage are moderately fast growers.  I can plant seedlings like these in late fall or even winter,

…and as long as they’re well-mulched, they come back ready for action in late spring.  These are seedlings that I transplanted about a year ago.

Tropical Sage are native perennials to the southern coastal areas of the United States, including Texas and annuals in most other places.  A great perennial native wildflower–plant them now (in their native range)  or next year.  To celebrate wildflowers and native plants in the garden and to see what wildflowers other gardeners grow, take a turn from this busy holiday weekend and travel on over to clay and limestone.

Wildflowers work!



Bloom Day, November 2014–Dodged the Frozen Bullet

After a chilly week and our first real touch of winter, there are still blooms in my gardens. Lucky gardener!  Lucky pollinators!  I live in central Austin and those supposedly in the know predicted our temperature would fall to the high 20’s by early Friday morning.  Well there was no freeze for me and mine.  Outlying areas received their first freeze, but much of  Austin was spared–this time. To celebrate those lucky blooms, I’m joining with Carol at May Dreams Gardens for November Garden Blogger blooms.

The Coral Vine, Antigonon leptopus, bloomed its signature fuchsia necklace  rather late this year.

Now with colder temperatures and shorter days, the blossoms are fading on the

I think my honeybees will miss this favorite nectar source.

The native Texas CraglilyEcheandia texensis,  still blooms,

…though it’s going to seed. One patch blossoms in tandem with the blue Henry Duelberg SageSalvia farinacea,’Henry Duelberg’.

A freeze would have quickly ended that pretty pairing.

Rock RosePavonia lasiopetala, sports flowers this November and that’s unusual–they normally stop production by late

Heavy with seed, I’ll expect more of these lovelies in seedling form next year.  Any takers?

And GoldeneyeViguiera dentata?  It just won’t quit.  This most photogenic of flowers, has bloomed since September.

This is one of my two last blooming Goldeneye plants.

The Goldeneye plants in the back garden bloomed first, then set seed and were followed by others throughout my gardens, each individual plant taking turn at adding cheeriness and wildlife goodness to the world.  I’m glad these hardy natives have planted themselves all over my gardens.  Bees, butterflies, birds, as well as this gardener, enjoy and appreciate a long season with these pretties.

The last FrostweedVerbesina virginica, is in flowering mode.

While most of that species are setting seed.

A few Turk’s CapMalvaviscus arboreus, still bloom.

Yellow BellsTecoma stans, ‘Esperanza’, are available for passing bees and butterflies.

Blue MistflowerConoclinium coelestinum,

and Gregg’s MistflowerConoclinium greggii,

…are toward the end of their season.  A true freeze will force the blue blooms into a tawny fluff, ready for dormancy.

Red YuccaHesperaloe parviflora, blossoms on its long bloom spike until a hard freeze.

This hasn’t been a banner year for my salvia species.  They’ve bloomed, but not regularly nor as fully as usual.  But they aren’t quite ready to close up shop, so bloom they will until it’s just too chilly and dark.  Salvia like this red Tropical SageSalvia coccinea,

…and this Purple Sage, S. greggii x mycrophylla,

…and this red Autumn SageS. greggii,

…and another,

…and this coral Autumn Sage.

They’re determined, if not prolific.

The remains of Fall AsterSymphyotrichum oblongifolium, are tired of blooming and ready for seeding themselves.


When I thought there would be freezing temperatures, I cut the last of the fall blooms of Purple ConeflowerEchinacea purpurea and Tropical Sage and did this:

As well, I cut a few Goldeneye and basil and did this:

I’m not much for cut flowers in the house (I much prefer a garden full of blooms), but they are nice when it’s gloomy outside. I guess November in my garden and my house is not so barren after all!

Pop on over to May Dreams Garden and enjoy a show of November blooms from all over