Foliage Follow-Up, November 2014: The Non-Freeze

My gardens are slowing down in preparation for winter, but haven’t experience the frosty nip that was promised earlier in the week. Thank goodness!  I’m not quite ready to give in to the dark season.  Not Just Yet.

Focusing on mid-November foliage, I’m joining with Pam at Digging for Foliage Follow-Up.

In one corner of my garden with dappled light most of the day and some direct sun off and on, are a couple of favorite foliage vignettes.  One such is of Iris straps, Blue MistflowerConoclinium coelestinum,  and cobalt-blue containerized succulent Ghost Plant, Graptopetalum paraguayense.

Planted alongside that mix are several  Dianella or Variegated Flax Lily, Dianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’.

I love the wide, grass-like foliage of Dianella with its snazzy white stripes down the

When a freeze was predicted this week, I covered the Dianella, though my concerns were unwarranted.  Last winter, I covered all of my Dianella each time the temperature sank into the ’20s, especially for extended periods. They soldiered through winter like the garden champs they are and thrived in our long, hot summer. Dianella nicely combine with Iris and Soft-leaf Yucca straps,

…as well as with these snuggly Love-Critters.

Ghost Plant is unkillable:  it goes for months without water, isn’t fazed by freezes (or at least mine haven’t been), can re-grow if a stem is broken.

My kinda plant.

Maiden GrassMiscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’ is in its glory

The beautiful seed heads reflect the sun as it briefly peeked through our mostly cloudy week.

Toasty-seeded Inland Sea OatsChasmanthium latifolium and the green swath of Cast Iron Plant,  Aspidistra elatior are a striking pair.

Added to this scene is Purple HeartSetcreasea pallida, which dramatizes that story a bit.

Big MuhlyMuhlenbergia lindheimeri and Soft-leaf YuccaYucca recurvifolia  are cool weather

Graceful while also lending structure to the garden, these two are beautiful companions throughout the year, hot or cold.

I took this photo of  evergreen Yarrow, Achillea millefolium and Chile Pequin, Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum,  just before what was supposed to be a freezing night.  I figured the fruits wouldn’t survive the plunging temperatures and wanted to record them for

I’m happy to report that the fruits are still available for dining by interested birds.

I love the twisty-curvy foliage of Corkscrew RushJuncus effusus spiralis, silhouetted over a pair of Mexican FeathergrassNassella tenuissima.

Finally, the leaf change is beginning on my Red Oak, Quercus coccinea. Here in Central Texas, our tree foliage color change occurs later than that of our northern kin, but beautiful and appropriate for our climate and region. There will be more of this in the weeks to come.

Digging hosts Foliage Follow-Up–drop in for a look at November foliage fanfare.

Blue Mistflower(s)

This is Blue MistflowerConoclinium coelestinum.

This is also a blue mistflower,

…except that it’s Gregg’s MistflowerConoclinium greggii.  From the shared Latin name, Conoclinium, it’s obvious that these two lovelies are related.

Both Blue Mistflower and Gregg Mistflower are in the Asteraceae, or Aster, family of plants and both are native Texas groundcovers.  Blooming in August until the first light freeze, these mistflowers are desirable pollinator plants, easy to grow, and downright pretty.

I planted the Blue Mistflower many years ago in a different spot from this,

…and loved it.  About five years ago, as spring arrived, only about ten “sprigs” emerged from winter dormancy.  I was in major garden redo mode, so I pulled those few surviving sprigs up and replanted them. The leaves are dark green and slightly serrated, with fuzzy, rich blue-violet flowers atop the branches.

The color of the photos doesn’t translate well, but Blue Mistflower is quite striking in full bloom.

The Gregg’s Mistflower is a newer addition in my gardens, though it’s more commonly planted in Austin gardens than the Blue.

I’ve only grown the Gregg’s for about three years.  It’s an excellent attractor of pollinators–bees, butterflies, and moths are constantly working these flowers.

The flowers are similar to the Blue, though a lighter blue with a hint of lavender, …and the leaves bright green and deeply lobed.  Another common name for Gregg’s is Palmleaf Mistflower, because of this lobed characteristic.

These two mistflower species are members of the autumn cast of garden performers here in Texas.  They provide nectar for pollinators,

and visual pleasure for gardeners.