Thursday, July 19, 2018

The hot, hot days of July

We have just entered into the hottest part of the year.  For the next eight weeks, we will be counting the number of consecutive days over 100 degrees, and number of days without rain.  I can't even whisper to my little plants, "Hang on a little longer", because we still have a long way to go!

But, that being said, we were also very fortunate to get a nice wet, cool week right after July 4th, so the plants are entering this time of year strong and healthy.

Here are some beauties that are doing well despite the most recent hot spell.

This night blooming cactus is always a joy to see when I first walk out in the morning!

Esperanza is one of the summer's true work horses, dark leafy greens with brilliant yellow flowers.  My huge one in the back won't bloom until the fall, but most of the smaller ones will bloom all summer.

The Texas Sage spends most of the year as a nondescript silver-grey bush. But after a summer rain, it bursts out in the most gorgeous of color!!

This photo doesn't do justice to my Skyflower.  Come July, it seems to just drip in purple blooms.

And I love how the gaura drape over the edge of the stone wall. They bloom for a week or so, then go dormant, but in another month, they seem to be back to blooming again.  For some reason (probably water and a little shade from the rose bush behind it), these gaura do much better than the ones more to the center of my garden.

My Ruellia are my water gauge.  When the soil gets dry, the will lose their flowers and shrivel up their leaves.  Given them some afternoon water, and the quickly pop back up again.

The Morning Glory has become more of a weed, than an appreciated flower.  It seems only to grow where it shouldn't.  I have tried transplanting it to its own space many times, but it never roots.  But I can't seem to pull it up from around the garden and porch!

Thursday, July 5, 2018


I went to Lowe's today to pick up some PVC pipe to fix a pipe in our attic.  As always, I swung by the clearance rack to see if they had anything of interest.  I spotted one or two plants that looked like a deal.  As I was looking for a cart to carry them, a shopper whispered to me - "Special deal right now - $5 for a cart full".  The manager confirmed that she just wanted to get rid of the plants.

I grabbed a nearby cart, and started filling it with perennials.  

The first question both my husband and teenagers asked is, "How many of them will live?"  Probably not all.  Maybe not half, but hey, for $5 for 20 plants, or $0.25 per plant, what did I have to lose??

Now, I guess I will be spending all weekend figuring out where to put them and digging holes :o)

Here is what I gathered up - some of them, I didn't even know what they were. I had left my phone in the car, so I couldn't even google to see if these plants were Texas-tolerant. And it turns out over half of them probably won't make it through either the brutal summer or the mild winter.  But again... just a quarter lost.

Vitex Agnus-Castus
The one I am most excited about was the Vitex Agnus-Castus
- which I have been wanting to purchase, even at full price.  This is a huge (20 gallon?) plant and will take goodness knows how long to plant.  I am going to rope the boys in to helping me dig this one hole tomorrow morning -- early.  

Lagerstroemia "Pilag-V" Midnight magic Crepe Myrtles and Garnet King Crepe Myrtle I purchased three crepe myrtles.  Two 5 gallon Lagerstroemia "Pilag-V" Midnight magic Crepe Myrtles  and one gallon sized Garnet King Crepe Myrtle.

2 Gold Star Esperanza - again, I was just thinking that I wanted a few more Esperanza for my front garden. They are so durable, and so bright and cheerful.  I thought I needed a few more to balance out the one I already had.  Perfect!!

 - Dave and I were just having a conversation about how much I liked this bush, and how much he didn't like it. I think it works well for a back story plant in the shade.  I love the small flowers in the summer and the lovely berries in the fall.  I may plant this outside the fence, behind our yard, or I might plant it in the far left side of the garden, which currently doesn't have anything growing there

Now come the list of plants that I picked up to fill the rest of the cart.  Some I liked the look of, others I thought were an interesting variety of a plant I already knew.  In many cases, the plants are not adapted for Texas heat, so these plants will go in the ground last - and if even one of them lives, I will call it a win :o)

Salvia Greggi Balmirvio - Mirage Violet Autmn Sage. Salvia Greggi has been such a powerhouse plant for me.  I have multiples in all of my bed.  This one is an unusual (at least for me) violet colored flower, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Munstead Red Stonecrop  - Sedum Telephium - Just picked these up because I love the durability of Sedums and have started devoting a small part of my garden to some.  I know nothing about this plant, or if it will survive.

2 Sunflowers - Okay, these are not even perennials, but considering they are my all-time favorite flower, I thought I'd plant them in the wildflower bed for a little color this summer.

Callistemon Little John - Bottle Brush - I have one of these, and to be honest, it suffers greatly after a cold winter.  But this is a slightly different variety (more bushy and dense then my other).  I have seen this variety around town, and it seems to do better after a cold winter.  So i thought I'd give it a try - maybe in a more sheltered location.

Brilliant Hibiscus - Hibiscus Rosa - In looking this up, this will have to be a container plant for me, since it is not cold-hardy

Crassula spp - No idea even what this is.  it looks like it might be a house plant.

Donkey Ear - I really liked the look of this plant, it looks like it will be a container plant, but it sure looks like fun.

Anthony Waterer Spirea - Yeah, I had absolutely no idea what this was.  But I  picked up two of them - I hadn't realized I had two until I unpacked them.  It looks like these require more water, and may not do well here in Central Texas (now I am really wishing i had had my phone with me to research some of these plants!  oh well!)

Silver Princess Boxleaf Euonymus - loved the variegated foliage, but again, it looks like a water-needy plant. It might not even make it through the summer.

Early Amythest BeautyBerry - I was intrigued by this different variety of Beauty Berry.  But again, it looks like it needs a lot of water

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