Friday, April 15, 2011

No April Showers Make for Unhappy Flowers

While I have lots of blooms on my corner of Katy, they're a motley crew due to recent weather conditions.  We're under a fire weather warning ... that's how little rain we've had in recent weeks ... nay, months.  We've also had temperatures in the high 80s and into the 90s.  I doubt I need to tell you how the Head Gardener and I feel about all this.

Seen up close and personal, the flowers are indeed a bit bedraggled but thankfully, the overall views are still lovely enough to make my heart sing.  Above you see the view through the garden gate.  My neighbor's redtip photinias have matured to a nice shade of green, with only a hint of red, a change which makes the HG and me sigh in relief.  We are unanimous in our hatred of the screaming red color of the new growth, which clashes with the mostly pastel shades of the blooms in the back gardens.  We're also not too thrilled that the root systems of these large shrubs suck moisture from the bed along the south fence.  We hate hate hate loathe despise and hate redtip photinias.


This small island bed is long and narrow and has been quite the showoff recently, possibly because it's easier to water than larger beds.  Blooms include Verbenas, Laura Bush petunias, Blackfoot Daisy, Mexican Feather Grass, Louisiana iris, Heartleaf Skullcap, Violas, Alyssum, Phlox, Salvia 'Otahal', Byzantine Gladiolus, Larkspur, Linaria and Gulf Coast Penstemon.


When I went in for a closeup of this Louisiana iris (don't ask me which one, I've long since lost track)(can you hear the HG tsking?), I had to put my camera down to remove a baby snail, doubtless the culprit responsible for the chewed up edge at the bottom.  Like Elvis, said snail has left the building.

Gail of Clay and Limestone will recognize this plant!  Last year I took divisions of her beloved Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and planted them in another bed.  It's doing so well in both locations that I plan to take more divisions this year and plant them in the rest of the back garden beds.


I love the faded mauve of this 'Earl Grey' larkspur. I think I first planted it in 2008 ... or 2009 (I asked the HG, but she can't remember either). The seeds came from Renee's Garden, one of my favorite sources. I need to remember to save some seeds from this plant so I can sow some near the Verbascum 'Southern Charm', whose blooms are similarly muted shades of palest yellow and mauve.

I've always said that "Friends don't let friends plant spiderwort."  But every year, when they begin to bloom, I fall in like with them again.  Once the blooms fade and they start reseeding everywhere, I'll be cursing them for their prolific nature.  (This could be one reason the HG calls me 'fickle'.)


Another anonymous Louisiana iris ... since I can't grow bearded iris, I plant Louisianas instead.  The Executive Producer here at Wit's End is New Orleans born and bred, so it seems appropriate.  Not that he has any interest in them, mind you.  He is not of a horticultural bent.

The bottlebrush is in full and glorious bloom but I haven't spotted any hummingbirds around the garden yet. I hate that they're not here to enjoy the nectar.  I love this small tree but I wish I'd chosen to plant it elsewhere.  I find the color jarring when viewed from east to west.  The small tree next to it is a Mexican bauhinia, which I adore.  I need to find something that will grow between them that will soften the effect of the bottlebrush.

The Indian Pinks survived their move from the rain garden last fall to a bed with less sun.  As long as I remember to water them regularly, they are quite happy in their new spot.

I am head over heels in love with these blooms. 


Out front along the dry stream, I'm delighted with this combination: Copper iris (I. fulva) and Texas Betony (Stachys coccinea).  The copper iris came from a small native plant grower in Virginia and was purchased at a garden fair in Little Washington back in 1998.  Every time I see it, it brings back fond memories of that trip.  That original plant has been divided and planted in other spots around the garden. 

Wouldn't this native Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) look great with the copper iris and Texas betony?  I must make that happen!

It's not such a great photograph of the Dyckia blooms but I wanted y'all to see them.  I had no idea that Dyckias bloomed and I'm tickled yellow-orange that they do!  The foliage is way cool, too.

Any day now the bloom spike will open on this Mangave 'Macho Mocha'.  I can't wait to see it!


I've started pulling up Toadflax (Linaria maroccana) but this stand is being allowed to stay for a while because it's blooming so profusely.

OK, that's it for April's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, just one of the many creative ideas from my friend Carol at May Dreams Gardens.   Mosey on over there and you'll see a list of posts from other avid gardeners around the world. 

19 comments:

RBell said...

Ain't Dyckias cool! Sadly, most of mine got spanked by this winter's extreme cold. Glad to see yours are doing so well.

Gail said...

I wish I could send you a bit of the rain we've had~In the meantime, your garden does look lovely~ I am crazy about your Aesculus pavia. It looks perfect along the privacy fence. I so agree with you about the ~Red Tip Photinia; it's not a favorite of mine either. I am so glad that Phlox pilosa is happy in your garden~It ought to make plenty of offspring for you to move all over the place. Thank you for the linklove. xxoogail

Kathy said...

That native columbine grows here as well. I think it blooms in June here. I could probably grow the Indian pink and Gail's phlox. I hope you get some rain soon, Cindy.

Fairegarden said...

Dear Cindy, I am so sorry for your lack of rain and high temps, but your garden is beautiful in spite of that. Love the Dykia bloom! That copper iris has been added to my wish list, love the color. For your color dilemma, I have found white to be the tie that binds them together. :-)
Frances

HolleyGarden said...

Your garden looks great despite our terrible weather. I laughed at your discontent of your neighbor's photinias - I hate them, too. Your bottlebrush looks fabulous! I can't believe the hummers haven't found them yet.

Camille said...

We haven't had rain here SW of Houston either. My water bill will be high next month!
Thanks for showing pic of spiderwort. Didn't know what the name of this flower was.

CommonWeeder said...

The photos don't make news of the drought sound plausible. Have you chosen these to be drought tolerant?

Leslie said...

Wait...the Head Gardener is back? Bet because all those wonderful blooms were too much to miss!

ConsciousGardener said...

No rain here either...but your flowers are still lovely!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

So, how do you really feel about photinias? ;^) Since when did Othal get a plant named after him? That is really cool. Everything look great, especially considering how dry it's been. I love the Indian pinks! They have such neat looking flowers.

getgrounded said...

I would have had some Red Tip Photinia to swap to you, Cindy, but my last one was felled by our high winds this winter (thank goodness, it saved me some money to remove it). I love those Indian Pinks, I've never heard of them. And your Columbine are beautiful. Sadly, we are in the same drought as you. After so many years of this, perhaps this is our new climate? I hope not!

sweetbay said...

Your garden does look lovely! In spite of heat and drought. I love the combination of Stipa and Larkspur. They look wonderful together.

David said...

It all looks so nice and such a wonderful variety.
Well Cindy, I'm looking at the calendar and I see April 20th and still hardly an April shower.
Do you think this is going to end soon? I'm imagining I'm gardening in El Paso with all the water hoses I'm dragging around.
David/

Rebecca said...

I agree totally about the Red Tip but I might have to disagree about the bottle brush..It's blooms are so short lived that I can forgive the harlot red (I share your view of red in my garden where I prefer soft buttery yellows, pinks and blues). And since my only hummingbird was spotted gorging itself on the bottlebrush I am saying it is a keeper and can be the star for the time being, however shameless she is...

Mac_fromAustralia said...

Very pretty. I love the Indian Pinks (never heard of them before).

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I can sure see why you adore those Indian pinks blooms. As for the other pretties, they look pretty darn good considering you've had no rain. We don't have rain either, and my skin and flowers feel it. Hopefully, we'll get some this weekend.~~Dee

Jeannie B. said...

I have enjoyed looking around in your garden. It is a beautiful place to be!

LindaCTG said...

Oh my gosh, it's all so lovely, despite our drought. And everything is so big!

I love your paths and artful combinations. It's interesting that you can't grow bearded iris: here, it's tough for the LA ones.

Cindy, MCOK said...

Thanks, y'all, for your comments! To all who love the Indian Pinks, the botanical name is Spigelia marilandica; they're native to many parts of the U.S. You remind me I need to go check on them and make sure they haven't dried out too much. They do like moist conditions.

Gail, the Mexican Buckeye is actually Ugnadia speciosa. We call the Aesculus pavia Texas Buckeye here.

Pat, yes, I do try to plant things that can take our extremes of drought and deluge ... although I forget what the latter feels like.