Slowly but Surely ...

I'm getting some plants into the new bed areas out front. Today I planted most of my purchases from Sunday's trip to Enchanted Forest. They look like a drop in the proverbial bucket ... a grain of sand on the beach ... OK, maybe not that bad. How about a puddle in the middle of a street and a seashell lying alone on the sand?

This is Donalena Red Pepper Verbena. I've not had a lot of luck with red verbenas in my garden. I'm not sure why they aren't happy on my corner of Katy but I've had them and lost them in several different areas. I planted this one in one of the expanded front beds near the curb, where it will get sun most of the day. If we get one of our torrential downpours and the street floods, it could be underwater for an hour or longer. I'm taking the chance it can handle that. We shall see. NOTE: Please excuse the blurry quality of this picture and the next. I didn't realize the camera lens was clouded from the humidity.

I first became acquainted with Mussaenda luteola when I worked at a now defunct nursery on Fry Road in Katy. The grower called it Summer Poinsettia. I've also heard it referred to as White Wings. Mussaenda is a member of the Rubiaceae family, which includes coffee (no wonder I like it!). It should grow to about 24 inches tall and 14 inches wide ... it should -- in this climate, that means it might stay that size or it might exceed expectations. I've grown it before and it stayed at that size. That doesn't mean it will do it again. You can read a description of it from Top Tropicals here. They say it's evergreen but that has not been my experience.

Turnera alternifolia (which I mistakenly called T. alnifolia in a previous post) is a great reseeding perennial for central Texas gardeners. Heidi Sheesley at Treesearch Farms calls the white variety I bought T. alternifolia 'alba' (scroll down and you'll see the listing). Mike Shoup of Antique Rose Emporium called it by the common name of Fluttermills, which is really a great name, don't you think? Heidi says it's a mounding perennial up to 3 feet tall ... I don't remember it getting that big when I grew it before. I certainly hope it doesn't this time, either, considering that I put it near the front of the bed. Maybe I should move it back? Shoot! Well, whatever I decide to do with it, I know I'll smile each time I see the creamy white blooms with dark chocolate centers.


Oooh, I just bought some T. alternifolia 'alba' at Maas on Sunday. I have the yellow version, but I hadn't seen the white one. Can't wait to see how it does. My yellow one is finally coming back from seed.