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.

Foliage Follow-up, September 2014

As with our blooms, the Central Texas foliage perks up with September rains, shorter days, and the suggestion of cooler temperature ahead.  I join with Pam at Digging to celebrate the end of summer, new beginnings for autumn, and all things leafy.

The pond garden is a riot of fascinating foliage.  Just take a look!

Lots of foliage action in this shot!  Clockwise from the bottom, the actual water plants include the lily pads of the two lilies I grow (Colorado and Claude Ikins), the Ruby Red Runner, and the showy leaves of the Pickerel RushPontederia cordata.   All three pond plants contribute to the biological filtration of my pond, though I also have a mechanical filter.

Continuing with the tour d’ foliage, the plants adjacent to the pond include tropical Yellow Bells, Tecoma stans, Soft-leaf Yucca, Yucca recurvifolia, Firecracker Plant, Russelia equisetiformis, Martha Gonzales Roses, Iris, Autumn Sage, Salvia greggii, and Mexican Feathergrass, Nassella tenuissima.  All of these perennials sport differing widths, textures, and colors of leaves.

Ruby Red Runner dies back in the winter, but by late summer into fall it’s full-on lovely and spreading.

It’s seeded out in several places around the pond. This plant, usually used as a waterfall biological filter and prized for its attractive foliage, produces teensy puff-ball flowers,

…which go to seed, thus, the spread.

Another view of the plants near the pond…

Not much blooming in those photos, but a variety of leaf beauty.

I particularly like these water shots with the creeping roots of the Ruby Red Runner, spreading its spidery fingers toward the lily pads,

…as if the roots are creeping outward to grab the pads.  Or maybe they’re just reaching out for a watery hug!

The soft, elegant foliage of Lindheimer’s Senna, Senna lindheimeriana,

lends structure to, but also softens the back of my garden.  Combined with the bright green leaves of the Yellow Bells and spiky, but matching-in-color American Century Plant, Agave americana,

…the Senna fits well in this spot.

The morning after a recent rain,  the foliage of the Purple Heart, Setcreasea pallida, retained droplets along its edges.

With “traditional” autumn coloring, (which doesn’t happen for Central Texas on a large-scale until late November/December), the plumes of the Maiden Grass, Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’, beautifully complement the flowers of Turk’s CapMalvaviscus arboreus, and the orange blossoms of Flame Acanthus, Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii.

Here’s a closer look at the inflorescence of the Maiden

Along with the orange-y and autumn-y color theme, this new ceramic container is planted with the ‘Color Guard’ YuccaYucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’, accompanied by Woolly Stemodia, Stemodia lanata.

The container sits amidst a nest of blooming and berrying Pigeonberry, Rivina humilis.

What interesting foliage is gracing your garden space now?  Celebrate foliage in your gardens and learn about other foliage by visiting Digging for September Foliage Follow-up.


Bloom Day, July 2014

The sun is blazing, everyday, all day.  It’s hot and it’ll be that way for a while. This gardener may be wilting, but her blooms are fresh and lovely.  Here is a quick view of a few heat-lovers in my garden this mid-summer in Austin, Texas.  Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for promoting this monthly bloom-palooza.

These daylilies that were  pass-alongs to me many years ago are reliable June-July bloomers.

Double-blooms with a shorter scape than some other daylilies, I like them because they flower well in part shade.

My pond plants flower well year-round, but are in full bloom-mode during the hot months of summer.  The native Pickerel Rush, Pontederia cordata, grows quickly  and produces lovely spikes of blue.

It’s a flower that dragonflies, butterflies and bees regularly visit.

The Colorado pond lily, Waterlily Nymphaea ‘Colorado’ is a gorgeous lily for the pond garden.

As is another pond lily, the ‘Claude Ikins’ lily.  It blooms in tandem with the ‘Colorado’ during the long growing season.

This particular specimen of Yellow Bells, Tecoma stans,  blossoms earlier in the growing season than any other of this species in my gardens.

All of the Yellow Bells froze this past winter, so blossoms started a bit late this year.

A beautiful native tree, Retama, Parkinsonia aculeata, flowers throughout summer.

Each bloom has four yellow petals, with one orange/red petal.  This is a very drought-tolerant small tree with few requirements from the gardener–except to enjoy.

Another great small native tree is the Desert Willow, Chilopsis linearis.  Related to the Retama, it has an open, airy form with lush, trumpet-shaped flowers.

The Pride of Barbados or Dwarf Poinciana (which is what I grew up calling it), Caesalpinia pulcherrima, blooms magnificently in the hottest spots of any garden.

I have two of these beauties, neither of which grows in full sun. Each one produces 2 or 3 stalks with attendant flower clusters,

but the show is muted in comparison to Poinciana which grow in blasting sun.  Those Poinciana develop multiple branches with masses of blossoms–like this one.

Wow!! That is an absolute showstopper!  My bit-part Poinciana are nothing compared to this diva. This one (and a partner Poinciana) star in the full-sun garden of some lovely neighbors who live down the street.


I have Poinciana envy.

My Globe Mallow, Spaeralcea ambigua, sports blossoms this summer, which is unusual, but what a treat!

Typically, this woody shrub blooms in spring and fall, taking a rest during the heat of the summer  months.  Flowers this July are likely due to our earlier summer rains.

What’s blooming in your July garden? Share your bloom-palooza by visiting May Dreams Gardens for Bloggers’ Bloom Day!