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!

Foliage Follow-up, March 2014

As my gardens awake for spring and with a long growing season ahead, everyday unfolds more color and texture.  All winter I’ve enjoyed the arresting combination of the soft, graceful Mexican Feathergrass (Nasella tenuissima) paired with the upright, sharp foliage of Iris (unknown variety).

The foliage of the Engelmann’s Daisy (Engelmannia peristenia), sports the deeply lobed habit which gives this plant another common name, Cutleaf Daisy.

I just love this combination of Mexican Feathergrass (front), Daylilies (just behind), Yarrow (Achillea, sp.)( top right), and Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha) (back left).

The hue of the foliage isn’t  greatly varied, but I like the mix of Yarrow’s  lacy foliage paired with the delicate, curling foliage of Daylilies, as they emerge from winter’s sleep, in advance of summer blooms. The slight blue tint and undulating form of the Columbine’s foliage contrasts with the fine, silvery foliage of the Mexican feathergrass.

The scalloped leaves of native-to-Texas Cedar Sage (Salvia roemariana)  reminds me of the Geranium foliage.

Cedar Sage also blooms red, later in the spring.

Coral Honeysuckle vine (Lonicera sempervirens) foliage are mauve to burgundy when they first emerge,

and the colorful, ovate leaves hold the developing buds aloft.

I grow Bronze Fennel and Dill primarily host plants for the Black Swallowtail butterfly (it lays its eggs on the plant and the caterpillars eat, eat, eat the plants down).

I’m not above pinching some for my own salad interests, but since there are no butterflies yet, the Fennel and Dill have been beautiful and growing all winter.

Thanks to Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-up for March.


Et Tu, Salvia Roemeriana?

At the Green Garden in Zilker Botanical Gardens this past week, I was leading a group from Keep Austin Beautiful and as we were touring the gardens, I noticed a blooming Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana).

There are only one or two boom spikes on these Cedar Sage at Zilker, but in spring, this plant is full of brilliant red blooms.

As with the Columbine of my last post, this plant is a spring/early summer bloomer.  Personally, I’ve only had Cedar Sage bloom from March into June–I’ve never seen it bloom this late in the growing season.  According to the NPIN:Plant Database page on Cedar Sage, the plant blooms during the spring and summer.

This is what my Cedar Sage looks like, accompanied by acorns and prematurely fallen oak leaves.  Not quite as exciting…

The Cedar Sage in the Zilker Gardens receives regular water and maybe that, coupled with the deluge of two weeks ago, spurred the bloom cycle.   My Cedar Sage only get water when I remember. Still, for there to be any blooms on Cedar Sage in October is not something I’ve seen before.

Pam from Digging and Jenny from Rock Rose commented after my Columbine post that they’ve seen other spring bloomers currently in bloom around Austin.

After the hot and dry summer of 2009 (not as bad as summer 2011), I observed an Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides) loaded with gorgeous blooms. The page from the NPIN: Plant Database about Anacacho Orchids states that this plant blooms in spring and “sometimes after heavy summer/fall rains.”

Perhaps the extremity of our current weather patterns, (warm/dry springs, very hot/very dry summers and limited rain in the fall), cause more occurrences of the formerly “rare” blooming cycles of early season bloomers during the fall months.

In any case, it’s a treat to enjoy these lovely blooms again this year.