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.

 

Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day, May 2015

Joining with Christina and  Creating my own garden of the Hesperides, I’m pleased  to showcase fab foliage for May from my garden today.  We’re water-logged here in Central Texas and while I’m appreciative of the rain, I wish it would stop.  Or at the very least, slow down a bit.  My soil is heavy and wet, but my plants are happy.  What I grow in my garden  can take the extremes of Texas weather: from scorching hot, bone-dry summers to frog-drowning floods.  Texas gardeners live with anything and everything.

The late May star of my back garden is the Heartleaf Skullcap, Scutellaria  ovata ssp. bracteata,  a cool season perennial which does spread.IMGP7787_cropped_3259x3268..new

A lot.  But I love this groundcover.  The flowers are a stunning violet-blue, appreciated by pollinators, especially bees. Its foliage is soft and beautiful–to view and to feel.  An attractive gray-green, the leaves are thick, soft, and scalloped, while set opposite one another along a hairy stem.

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Heartleaf Skullcap foliage is nice to touch, but imparts a slightly sticky residue and this trait is (supposedly) what makes it unappealing to deer. The bit of icky-sticky left on my skin when I pull up the plants at the end of Skullcap’s growing season is its most objectionable quality to me.

Skullcap is a favorite of mine: it waves a fetching blue/gray throughout spring and early summer and combines beautifully with many other perennials, each with their own interesting foliage.

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Below, it contrasts with  Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, and its bright green foliage,

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…and here, it’s planted with tiny-leafed Pink Texas Skullcap, Scutellaria suffrutescens,IMGP8228.new

…and the maidengrassy Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’. Hiding underneath the Skullcap is a clump of Kelly green, aromatic, and fleshy Garlic ChivesAllium tuberosum.

A brighter, lacy green is found with Common YarrowAchillea millefolium.   IMGP8165.new

This stand provides a nice backdrop for the Protector-In-Chief.  Doesn’t he look happy and content?

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This fun grouping fills in the northern, shady border of a little back garden bed.IMGP8167.new

It’s a  mixed-bag of foliage characters, including white-stripey Dianella/Variegated Flax LilyDianella tasmanica ‘Variegata’, Katie’s Dwarf RuelliaRuellia ‘Katie’, and ColumbineAquilegia. This particular Columbine is one of the natural hybrids of my A. canadensis and A. chrysantha.  Photobombing on the far left is a containerized Yucca filamentosa, ‘Color Guard’ and some Iris straps, and spreading its succulence in the remainder of the bed is a creeping Sedum, probably Sedum diffusum ‘Potosinum’, though it’s a passalong to me from a friend, so I’m not positive of its identification.

And a bird’s-eye view….

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Isn’t Columbine foliage  pretty?  Especially so, when adorned with raindrops.

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This young Goldenball LeadtreeLeucaena retusa, glows in the late afternoon west sun.

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Its fragrant, powder-puff flowers are done for the year, but the foliage will flutter in the breeze until the first hard freeze.

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The happy pairing of the structural and evergreen Sparkler SedgeCarex phyllocephala ‘Sparkler’ and white-blooming, herbaceous Four O’Clock, Mirabilis jalapa, is garden serendipity. IMGP8226.new

The ‘Sparkler’ sports jazzy stripes in the razor-thin leaves and paired with the Four O’Clock’s lush, smooth leaves–it’s a handsome combination.

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There are many shapes, sizes, and colors of gorgeous leaves in gardens–mine and others. Take a look at the lovely Creating my own garden of the Hesperides and see interesting foliage from all over the world–and Happy Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day!

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