Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday: Deja Vu All Over Again

I posted this for September's Wildflower Wednesday in 2010 and forgot all about it. I even stopped on the back road today to take pictures for September 2012. Then I got home and discovered this old post!  The plant I dug 2 years ago didn't make it but seeds were available from Prairie Moon Nursery.  I sowed a packet last year but only a couple of plants made it to bloom size.  I blame myself for that: I didn't sow them in the kind of conditions they require.  If I can find a spot that meets those criteria, though, I hope to see them blooming on my corner of Katy next fall!

Today is Wildflower Wednesday, Gail of Clay and Limestone's meme for native plant lovers. As I was driving to the Arbor Gate on Saturday, I saw stands of small pink flowers growing wild along the roadside. Being pressed for time, I told myself I would stop on the way back to investigate. But I came home a different way ... so I jotted myself a note, which has been lost in the clutter of the little red truck.

Much to my delight, as I was ferrying the Garden Terrierist to a grooming appointment, I spotted the same flowers growing along the back road that leads to the shopping center.  After dropping Annie off at the pretty parlor, I trundled down the road a bit and stopped to get a closer look at the blooms.  I didn't swoon but I came close ... I am entranced, I am enamored, I am enthused by the delicate beauty of this flower!

Agalinis heterophylla, known as Prairie False-Foxglove or Prairie Agalinis, is a member of the Scrophulariaceae family.  According to the information from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, it grows 1 to 3 feet tall and blooms from June through October.  That site lists it as needing part shade: while that was true of the site where I originally spotted it growing, it's in full sun where I saw it today.  It's possible that the plants receive some afternoon shade from taller vegetation nearby, though.  The long wiry stems have needlelike leaves, and not very many of those.  Since I was wearing sandals, I couldn't get far enough into its habitat to get a good look at the crown of the plant where it emerged from the soil.  I managed to gently wrest one plant from the ground with root intact and I'm hoping I can get it to grow or reseed in my gardens.  

Trundle yourself on over to Gail's blog and check out the other Wildflower Wednesday posts!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September Bloom Day: What's Blooming at The Arbor Gate

I did something a little different this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day* ... instead of taking pictures in my garden, I took a little trip out to The Arbor Gate in Tomball to spend some time with my blogging buddy Andrea of Grow Where You're Planted and attend the 2nd Annual Bulbs and Buddies Bash.  So I thought I'd share a bit of what's blooming at The Arbor Gate and maybe encourage a few of my local readers to make a visit there.  

Who Stopped The Music?  Cypress Vine/Cardinal Climber  (Ipomoea quamoclit)

Clitoria ternuata, Butterfly Pea Vine
Imagine yourself here!

Outside the herb area, there are colorful plantings AND colorful yard art.  That's true of the whole nursery, actually!

This is a Bauhinia but I'm not sure which one.

A closeup of the blooms

This bed near the seminar seating area is popular with
the butterflies and hummingbirds.

Pagoda flower (Clerodendrum paniculatum)

Potato vine

Salvia miniata in the shade house: if you have 
shade AND hummingbirds, you need this plant!

The new 'Black Diamond' series of Crape Myrtles
is available at The Arbor Gate.

You didn't overdo it on the wine, you ARE seeing a
pink elephant next to the compact Texas sage.

Love those blooms!

Cassia, Hamelia and Crown of Thorns

Cuphea llavea 'Flamenco': those blooms do look
like ruffled skirts!

This bed is in front of the sales office.
Salvia leucantha is putting on a show!

Thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.  If you haven't read her blog, you should!  Mosey on over there and see who else has posted about their blooms for September!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Surprises In & Out of The Garden

I walked outside to get the mail last week and was greeted by a naked lady ... also known as Surprise Lily.  I had no idea that Otahal had included Lycoris radiata amongst the plants he gave me last year ... thus far I've only been surprised once, so maybe he has no idea he did either.  The common name of Naked Lady stems from the plant's habit of blooming on a foliage-less stem.  The climate in my part of Texas is not conducive to growing Kniphofia but I hear tell that gardeners who can grow Red Hot Pokers find it amusing to do so in tandem with naked ladies. The Head Gardener is attempting to put on her poker face and pretend that she is not amused by such a juxtaposition.

During my travels to and from the Garden Bloggers' Fling in Asheville, North Carolina, I was fortunate to spend some time at Fairegarden in Tennessee.  Frances, Gail of Clay and Limestone and I took a little road trip over to Frances' favorite local nursery, Mouse Creek.  As usual, I was unable to resist temptation and came home with quite a few plants that were new to me.  I've grown Ironweed, Vernonia lettermannii, for several years now but a different variety caught my eye and then jumped on the cart.  It refused to be dissuaded from coming home with me and I am so delighted that it did!  It started blooming recently and I am just wild about it.  Now if only I could remember the species and/or cultivar.  

My Meyer Lemon tree is loaded with fat green lemons ... I've had to prune the Persian Vitex growing nearby so I can use that plant as a support for the branches of the lemon tree.  I have no clue why ONE lemon chose to ripen ahead of all the others.  It has now been harvested and juiced and I have only to decide what kind of cocktail I should make with it!

A box arrived at my gate last week ... knowing that I hadn't ordered anything recently, I suspected my sister was responsible for this delivery.  Yep, once again I have been blessed by the largesse of the inimitable Dr. Laura (not Schlessinger and for that I am truly thankful).  Chickens everywhere are doubtless crowing and clucking over this addition to the funk art gallery that adorns the driveway fence.

There was one unhappy surprise ... congestion in my head and a tickle in my chest turned into a nasty attack of sinusitis and bronchitis last weekend.  I battled it on my own for several days before conceding the need for medical intervention.  A visit to the urgent care center netted me a cortisone shot, antibiotics and an inhaler.    You know I'm really sick when a cool front arrives and I spend my days inside!  I'm recovering more slowly than I'd like but I expect to be in good shape by the time the next cool front arrives.