Nighttime O’clock

As we drift decidedly toward the end of summer, with shorter days and longer nights, my garden remains enveloped–in what I hope will be–the last warm, humid breath of summer.  Prior to the formal advent of autumn, Harvey rains prompted a flowering boon throughout the garden. Blossoms abound for gardener appreciation and insect pollination, including flowers and their pollinators rarely seen.

Four O’clocksMirabilis jalapa,  are passalong plants common in southern gardens. Not native to Texas, they’re believed to have been cultivated by the Aztecs in Mexico before the Europeans arrived in the New World.  Linnaeus recognized this plant by 1753 and over the centuries, these pretty and hardy bloomers have become popular garden additions everywhere.

Mine were gifted to me by a gardening friend and as with so many gardeners and their beloved passalong plants, she didn’t know the exact name of either the pink,

The pinks appear to enjoy being paired with a blooming buddy,

 

…or white individuals that now call my garden home.

…while the whites demonstrate their individualistic streak.

 

No matter, as I gratefully accepted the gifts and value their blooming beauty briefly each spring and then again, in greater glory, during late summer and fall.

While I didn’t observe any moths proboscises-deep in the blooms as I shot these photos, these nighttime lovelies are open for those who prefer the cover of darkness for feeding pleasure and pollinating duty.

Not to be outdone in the dark, this preparing-to-blossom Yellow bellsTacoma stans, begged for attention while overhanging a Four O-clock.

These clusters of sunshine will have to wait for morning’s light to provide for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

Bloom Day, June 2015

Thanking Carol at May Dreams Gardens for the opportunity to share blooms, I’m joining in with a few of my own June picks and pics!  May was a wet month in my garden–17 inches wet–and many of my plants have enjoyed foliage growth, but are lagging behind in flower production.

Additionally, this week of June 15–21 is Pollinator Week, which is promoted by Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to the advocation and protection of pollinators.  Pollinators of all sorts–bees, butterflies, moths, bats and birds–are required for much of our food production and are vital to a healthy ecosystem. Of course home gardeners know this and those of us who honor blooms are keenly aware of the synchronicity of those blooms and their pollinators.

This Horsefly-like Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa tabaniformis,  is a common visitor to my gardens.

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Here, she contentedly works the bloom of a Engelmann or Cutleaf DaisyEngelmannia peristenia.  Most of the blooms in my gardens attract something in the pollinator category–whether I get it in photo form, or not.

Heartleaf SkullcapScutellaria ovata, a great friend to the above bee species, maintains its grey-blue garden invasion, though it’s past its blooming peak for this year.

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It combines well with other blooming perennials, including Turk’s CapMalvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii.

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Turk’s Cap has grown tall and the foliage is lush.  The flowers are finally appearing in great numbers–tardy for this long-flowering native shrub.

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I’m so glad it’s blooming and I’m sure the hummingbirds are too.

Coral Honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens, are gracing the garden with a second flush of tubular beauty on this hardy vine.

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With lots of rose action for this June Bloom Day, the Knock-Out rose delivers its usual stellar standards of bloom quality.

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Subtler blooms open on the old Jackson and Perkins pretty-in-pink, Simplicity rose.

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There are two Simplicity shrubs remaining from the seven planted before I moved into this house in 1985.  Tough and beautiful roses, I thank the former owners for their choice.  While I’ve never observed native bees at either of these two rose plants, honeybees, butterflies, and moths are frequent visitors.

Continuing the pink parade are the blooms of the Red YuccaHesperaloe parviflora, flower stalkswhich are not red at all,

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… and Rock Rose, Pavonia lasiopetala,

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… and WinecupCallirhoe involucrata,

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…and Four O’ClocksMirabilis jalapa,

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…and the pink-to-my eyes, Purple ConeflowerEchinacea purpurea.

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Coneflowers are convivial and play nicely with everyone in the garden.  They are constantly friended by a variety of butterflies, like this skipper.

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…and make good garden buddies to many other plants, like lavender.

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I wish I could remember the name of the lavender variety.  It’s a wise gardener who keeps plant labels. Alas, I’m not always a wise gardener and sometimes lose my labels to  the jumble of my supply and equipment shelves–or to the compost pile. The lavender variety that grows in my garden accepts the twists-n-turns of Central Texas’ extremes of drought-n-flood.

Shaking up the pink and adding some orange crush to the garden is the unknown passalong variety of daylily blooms that are now unfurling their glory each morning.

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Welcome to summer!

What gorgeous flowers do you have in the garden this June?  Please share and then pop over to May Dreams Gardens for a look at blooms from around the world.  And if you don’t have flowers that attract a variety of pollinators, check out your local nursery and purchase some plants or seeds–herbicide and pesticide free–to give pollinators a place to thrive.

 

Bloom Day, October 2014

Summer has been reluctant to release its toasty grip on us in Texas, but the cool of autumn has mostly arrived. We’ve enjoyed a couple of refreshing cold fronts, dropping our temperatures into the ’50’s, with highs in the 70’s and ’80’s. The lingering warmth of September and early October didn’t damper blooms in my gardens, though. Joining Carol at May Dreams Gardens, I’m celebrating blooming stuff on this 15th of October.

There is no shortage of blooming native Texas plants in my gardens. Let’s take a tour, shall we?

Barbados Cherry, Malpighia glabra, has blossomed its dainty, pink clusters for a month or so now.

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Soon, cherry red fruits will replace blooms, feeding a whole different crop of critters. Barbados Cherry is lovely in tandem with Turk’s CapMalvaviscus arboreus.

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A cultivar of the native red Turk’s Cap, the Pam’s Pink Turk’s CapMalvaviscus ‘Pam Puryear’, blooms as heartily as the red,

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…but with softer pink swirls perched atop the long branches.   In my gardens, the Pam’s Pink is planted with FrostweedVerbesina virginica,

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….and it’s a successful pairing.   Frostweed is an excellent wildlife plant.   Attracting butterflies, like this migrating Monarch,

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…and bees,

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…and this guy, a Tachinid fly,

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…who you can see again on Wildlife Wednesday, a fun little wildlife gardening meme I host.  The next Wildlife Wednesday is November 5th.  Frostweed a stalwart native perennial; it’s drought hardy and works well in either shade or sun.

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The GoldeneyeViguiera dentata, is photogenic in the fall garden.

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Another perennial which attracts its share of pollinators,

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…these pretty yellow flowers evoke glorious autumn sunshine.

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They work and play well with other natives in my gardens,

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…like the Rock RosePavonia lasiopetala and Barbados Cherry. And who doesn’t love the tried and true combination of yellow and blue?

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This Goldeneye’s companion is the non-native Blue Anise Sage, Salvia guaranitica.  

The roses in my gardens are awake again after the heat of summer. I grow only water–wise antique or cultivar roses in my gardens.  If a rose can’t shrug off the heat and dry of the Texas summer, it’s out!  The Martha Gonzales Rose is one such beast.

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Named after a Navasota, Texas gardener, Martha Gonzales,

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…this rose is beautiful, fragrant, and tough. Martha grows in USDA zones 7a to 10b so it it’s appropriate in a wide range of situations.  If you only grow one rose, make it the Martha!

The Belinda’s Dream Rose, which is appropriate for USDA zones 5a to 10b,

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is the quintessential elegant pink rose. Fragrant and downright luscious, Belinda isn’t quite as hardy as the Martha, but still performs well for me.  Belinda gets a little peeky in summer, but picks up again with rain and softer temperatures.  Caldwell Pink Rose,

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looks dainty, but it’s no wilting beauty.  This poor thing, I’ve moved it four times–I think I’ve finally found its forever home.

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A migrating Monarch finds this Old Gay Hill Rose delightful,

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…and so do I.  Similar to the Martha Gonzales, the shrub is larger and the petals slightly (but only slightly) more pink than the Martha’s fire engine red petals.

I’m not a grow-only-native purest and host a number of non-native perennials in my gardens, like these Four O’Clocks, Mirabilis jalapa.  Considered a staple of the Southern garden, these are new to my gardens and were gifted to me by a gardening friend, TexasDeb at austin agrodolce.

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These lovely trumpets open late in the day, bloom all night, and close in the morning. Four O’clocks are fragrant and are such lovelies–I’m tickled to make room for them in my gardens.

Jewels of OparTalinum paniculatum, are another new-to-my-gardens perennial from TexasDeb.  Jewels are also an old-fashioned flower of the Southern garden.

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I love the teesny flowers, the “jewels” seeds, and chartreuse foliage. Both Four O’Clocks and Jewels of Opar are potentially invasive, so I’ll keep them in check–ripping out uninvited extras who crash my garden party!

It’s now that my Coral Vine, Antigonon leptopus, shines,

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…or is that a sparkle?  Whatever it is, the bees love this bloomer.

After each rain, the Almond Verbena, Aloysia virgata, flowers and its fragrance graces my garden.  Shown here in partnership with Turk’s Cap blooms, the Almond Verbena is favored by honeybees.

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My Almond Verbena is the anchor plant in a group of native shrubs and perennials.

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It fits quite well, I think.

Quoting another garden blogging buddy, Debra of Under the Pecan Trees,  we enjoy a “second spring” in Texas–a  lush blooming autumn gift, after the heat, when all, including gardeners, perk up anew.

What’s blooming in your gardens this October Bloom Day?  Check out May Dreams Gardens for blooms from everywhere.