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Sunday, August 30, 2015

A tough time of year

This is a post for Mom, who thinks her verdant oasis looks bad in the summer heat...

The hot sun was contained behind clouds this morning, and in the cool shade, one begins to hope that cooler temperatures and hopefully rain is just around the corner.  Then the clouds clear, and the reality hits like a hairblower!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fall ideas for new plants

Half way through August, just a few weeks left in the 100 degree oven.  This is supposed to be a nice wet fall, so I am thinking about trying some early September plantings, to see if I can get them established by the winter.

Plants I'd like to purchase this fall

Calylophus
This is at the top of my list for things to buy this fall. A couple of neighbors have these growing (at least, I think they are calylophus) , and I just love the look of them.  They seem to bloom in early spring, which is nice.

Mexican Honeysuckle
Needs partial shade, so it would work well in the back corner, by the beauty berry and the turk's cap.  It may suffer freeze damage, so I'll need to be careful with it.


Jerusalem Sage
Last year, in the dark days of winter, I was craving a little green in the backyard. Saw a post about Jerusalem sage being evergreen.  

It is full sun, so I am thinking about maybe putting it in the left porch bed, since that bed is completely dead during the winter except for the salvia.

Coneflower and cosmos
I tried planting cosmos from seeds a few years back... I put them in the now defunct "wildflower" bed at the side of the house.  Only a few came up.  Even fewer the next year, and none now.  But I really like the loose look of these summer flowers, so I am thinking I might try again.  Either in the wildflower bed again or somewhere along the side bed.

Nabob abutilon
Mom is going to by one of these for my birthday.  She randomly picked them out as something she liked.  I am not sure that I should be growing anything that is difficult to grow, but I guess I'll give it a try!

Saw this mentioned in another Austin garden blog, and it looks really beautiful. It sounds like it blooms in late winter early spring, and has year round foliage. After the cold brown winter, I'd really like to add some greenery to my winter landscape.  The blogger said it grows well in dappled shade, so it might be perfect in the side bed near the beauty berry.  

I might even buy two and put one around the back corner of that bed and add an Indian Hawthorn.  That area is 100 percent shade, though,  I need to find something that looks good in all shade.


More reading indicates these may be hard to grow.  :o(


Datura Wightii
Opens at dusk, heat tolerant.  Only bad thing is that is is poisonous.  Maybe put somewhere out of the way.  Sun, part shade

New plants that were on my list last year (and are now in my beds)


Purple heart
Tried this - rabbits ate it to nubs until it finally died.  I still like this plant, but I don't know how to avoid ahving it eated by rabbits.

I want to add some winter color and some low lying ground cover to my side bed.  I have never paid much attention to what I think of the 'background' plants.... but I recently saw a picture of a winter bed with some purple heart, and it was really pretty.  So I am thinking about picking some up in a few weeks and planting it around some of the shrubs in the side bed. Maybe between the esperanza and the Salvia Farinacea Henry Duelberg.

Hymenoxys 
Put this in my front garden, and so far it has done well.  Interestingly enough, a few months after I planted this, I found some very similar plants growing native in the rock, just a few feet over.

Hymenoxys is a perennial that works well in many styles of  gardens, including sparse rock/succulent gardens and lush perennial beds.  Hymenoxys is a small plant, so it’s best placed in the front of a bed, rather than behind something that will tower or flop over it

Day Lillies
I moved my day lily closer to the front of the bed, and it has done well.  It hasn't bloomed, but it is alive -- which for me is doing good! I did divide out two smaller roots of the day lily, and I think those have died in the last few weeks of heat.  At least the smaller one has; I am not sure about the larger one.

I seriously don't know what I was thinking planting my little day lilly at the back of the bed.  Probably I was thinking it would die anyway ;o)  But my two Stell de Oro Day lillies have done very well, with very little attention.  

Okay, so I am always afraid to transplant stuff.  So little of what I grow lives, that moving it seems just too much like rolling the dice.  But, as I get a bit braver, I am thinking about putting both lillies together in one of the porch beds. 


Skyflower
Planted this in the front bed, and it is doing extremely well!  Success!  Now we'll see how it does in the winter.  My ptted plant dies back every year, but since this one is in the ground, maybe it will winter over?

I love the one in my planter (okay, I love anything is my yard that actually grows and blooms for more than one season before dying, let's be honest). The one I have is currently in a planter.  But I think anotherwould look really good somewhere else as well.  

Bamboo muhly
Planted one of these, and I still love it.  It has grown and done well in the front bed. We'll have to winter over, to call it a complete success.


I have been waiting for natural Gardener to get in the 5 gallon varieties of these, because they are expensive, and I'd love to have a few more.  But so far, no luck

I love the feathery green look of this plant, and it is supposedly evergreen (though parts might turn brown after a deep freeze). Again, I am trying to get some more greenery in the back yard.  I am not sure where but I love the fluffy green look .  Maybe somewhere along the left side of the house, but the fig tree and plum - up against the fence where there isn't much light?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqBwK8u6i1c



Mexican orchid tree for dappled shade (left fence?)
I have purchased three of these.  Two are in my back bed, and one in my front. They are really struggling in the dry heat.  They have not grown very much.  I didn't realize these were on my list last spring.  I picked one up at NG when I was shopping with Martha - and then liked it so much, I picked up two others at Home Depot a few weeks later.  If they can make it through the summer, I'd be thrilled.



"As winter and spring duke it out in late February, Chinese fringeflower (Loropetalum chinense) starts strutting its stuff, flashing hot-pink, strappy-petaled flowers amid its dusky-purple, evergreen leaves. Dark foliage is kind of rare in central Texas — our native and adapted plants tend to have gray-green and silver-blue leaves, an adaptation for surviving heat and drought — so the wine-colored leaves of this Asian shrub are a welcome addition to our gardens."


Partial to full sun
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