Bloom Day, February 2015

Welcome to Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens where we celebrate flowers that may have been given to a Valentine’s crush. Whether planted in the garden or gracing a vase after Valentine’s Day,  flowers of all sorts are always worth gushing ‘n crushing about.

It’s been a mild winter in Austin, Texas–a very April-esque  February, in fact. However, winter is apparently on her way back, reminding us that it’s not quite spring yet, folks. There are blooming lovelies though, ramping up with the longer and warmer days.

Coral Honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens, a beautiful native-to-Texas vine is showing off the first of its pendant-like bloom clusters,

…there will be more to come in the next months.

By March, this vine will be loaded with glorious, tubular goodness and hummingbirds (hopefully), as well as other assorted pollinators will be all over it.

Honeybees are still working the Leatherleaf MahoniaMahonia bealei, on warm days.

The blooms will fade soon and that’s when the bees will move on to other nectar/pollen sources. The resulting fruits are just beginning, …and will fully develop in the next few weeks.  Birds will swoop in–primarily Blue Jays and Mockingbirds in my garden. They love juicy Mahonia fruit.

 Four-nerve Daisy or HymenoxysTetraneuris scaposa, has blossomed all winter. There are definitely more dancing daisies as the days lengthen,

…and visitors are stopping by for a sip of nectar or bit of pollen.

This lone bloom heralds the start of Purple ConeflowerEchinacea purpurea, blooming season.

Yippy!  I can hardly wait!

Valentine’s Day is behind us and spring (or fall, depending upon where you live), is almost upon us.   May Dreams Gardens showcases plenty of blooms from around the world on this February bloom bouquet–check it out.


Foliage Day, January 2015

It went from this: …to this,

…to this,

…and finally, this.

The Shumard Oak leaves responded to the shorter and cooler days, but are no longer much in play on this Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day.  It’s winter, such that it is, here in Austin, Texas.  Our winters are generally mild and quite pleasant, though occasionally  blasted by cold snaps that send our temperatures from mild 50s-70s into the low 30s, or 20s, and even into the teens (Fahrenheit!)–sometimes within hours.

A stout and flexible gardening heart is a requirement for Central Texas gardeners.

The first part of January saw cold and cloudy days, one after another, with no peek-a-boo play from the sun.  I just returned from a short trip to Oregon and enjoyed more sunshine there than I’d seen in Austin in those first weeks of January.  Additionally, it wasn’t as cold as it’s been in Austin.  How weird is that?  To travel to the Pacific Northwest, in January, to experience more sun and warmer temperatures?

Austin revelled in sunshine while I was away and everyone was happier for it.  I’m back in Austin and so is the gloom and drizzle and chill. No whining allowed though, I’m enjoying and appreciating the foliage of winter-worthy shrubs and perennials and thanking Christina of Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for hosting this monthly look at foliage in the garden.

The Columbines, Aquilegia hinckleyanand  Aquilegia canadensis,

… are lush and generous evergreens during winter.   Equally delicate-looking,  Bronze Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare,

…and Green Fennel, too,

…add daintiness and feathery beauty, but remain green-n-growing during winter’s chill.  I like them as winter interest plants, but I grow fennel for the spring, summer, and autumn butterflies, or more accurately, their larvae.

Of sturdier structure is the Leatherleaf MahoniaMahonia bealei, which fades into the background during most of the growing season, but lends both floral and foliage interest throughout the winter months.


Soft-leaf YuccaYucca recurvifolia, makes a statement with its bold straps,

…as does the American Century PlantAgave americana.

Variegated Flax Lily or Dianella, Dianella tasmanica, ‘Variegata’, is snazzy year-round.  I grow several groups and they are the only plants I routinely cover during the coldest freezes.

When covered, Dianella retain their stripy charm and they march through our hot summers with aplomb.  All of my Dianella are several years old.

Red Yucca, Hesperaloe parviflora, is an evergreen, native Texas member of the Agavaceae family. The Red Yucca foliage is attractive in the winter garden,

…though it would be more so if I would prune its dormant bloom stalks,

…and clean out the fallen and trapped tree leaves from its basal leaves.


More leaf removal is on the gardening agenda for this week  I have a long list of garden chores after that, so I’d better get off the computer and get to gardening!

Pop on over and check out Creating my own garden of the Hesperides to view beautiful January foliage from many places around the world.


Bloom Day, January 2015

My garden in Austin, Texas finally received its first hard freeze of this winter, so there’s not much in the way of fanciful flora to share for this first of 2015 Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.  Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Garden for hosting this blogosphere bonanza for blooms, even if some of us in the Northern Hemisphere are a bit bloom deficient.

Four-nerve DaisyTetraneuris scaposa, requires more cold than what it’s seen to render the dancing daisies dormant for winter. This little group of hardy and pretty Texans still bloom and the flowers are available for pollinators who might stop by for a sip.

The Mutabilis Rose, Rosa ‘Mutabilis’, flowers during the cooler seasons here in Austin. Some of the open flowers, damaged by the freeze, …hang on and there are others, awaiting their time to open.

Leatherleaf Mahonia, Mahonia bealei, is a slow-growing evergreen shrub with racemes of bright yellow flowers during the winter months, which are followed by denim-blue fruits in early spring, gobbled up almost immediately by hungry birds. Tagged as an invasive species in other parts of North America, it’s not considered an invasive here in Texas. I planted my three shrubs many years ago (they’re very slow-growing).  I wish I’d planted the native Agarita, Mahonia trifoliolata, at that time, but didn’t.  I do have one Agarita, but it’s tiny and not ready for blooming, berrying, or any extolling of its virtues. I always forget that these blooms appear in the shorter and darker days of January and February–but the bees remember.

When the sun is out, so are the honeybees, working these blooms for nectar and pollen for their hives.   Unfortunately, the sun seems to be on sabbatical in recent weeks, so the bees remain warm and cozy, consuming their winter stores of honey and not visiting these blossoms.

And that’s about it for my garden!!  It’s time for the garden to rest and the gardener to prune, mulch, and prepare for the long blooming season ahead.

Please check out May Dreams Gardens for January blooms from all over the world.