Windy Wednesday

It took a little doing but I managed to get a few good shots around the garden despite the wind here on MCOK. I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking so I can head back outside and see what kind of trouble I can cause.

The Coconut Lime Echinacea I bought at Lowe's last week will be planted when we get a cloudy day, or maybe just potted up into more moisture-retentive soil. Pam at Digging said in a recent post that she does her best not to plant anything after May 1st. That makes a lot of sense,
especially given the early onset of summer this year. I checked the historical weather data on the Houston Chronicle's website and learned that our temperatures this year are running 5 to 7 degrees higher than in 2006 and 2007. Those of us who have been whining about it's being hotter than usual were right!

I bought this blue Agave at Shoal Creek Nursery in Austin during the Garden Bloggers' Spring Fling. This is the mother plant: she had 2 pups, as well, much to my delight. I used to not be a big fan of agaves but Pam's Whale's Tongue agave is what really won me over.

Look at Stokesia 'Peachie's Pick', which I bought at Houston Bulb & Plant Mart last fall. I paid $11 for a
one gallon pot, which is a pretty steep price for that size plant here in Houston. I was seduced by the description of what an incredible performer it is, so I bit the bullet/took the plunge. This is one time I'm very happy I succumbed!
For comparison's sake, here's a picture of my garden variety Stokesia: it's only a few feet away in another bed and just a wee bit less floriferous (one bloom, count it, ONE). Those are Supertunia 'Mini Silver' on the left (found on the Lowe's clearance rack for 25 cents).

The Desert Willow tree (Chilopsis linearis):

These Crocosmia/Montbretia were passalong plants from Diane, a gardener from the West
University neighborhood in Houston, who was preparing to move to Wimberley. She had posted a message on Craigslist offering free plants for the digging. I am so glad I drove into town from the burbs and dug these because I'm deeply in love with these blooms. Carol at May Dreams Gardens talks about how few red flowers she has in her garden and it's been interesting to read other gardeners' comments on their color preferences. Before I started gardening in the front yard as well as the back, I did find reds, yellows and oranges a challenge to integrate into the garden. Now that I keep the hot colors in my front gardens where there's enough open space that they don't overwhelm the cooler colors, the plants and the head gardener are much happier!

I do break my own rules on occasion, however, as evidenced by this vignette in the back. These zinnias seeded themselves in the path at the end of a bed: they make me smile every time I see them.
I took this picture last week but it's worth sharing. This is Morning Glory Tree, Ipomoea fistulosa. Be prepared to give it some space if you plant it ... it's big and rangy but the blooms are just glorious (and you won't find yourself pulling up an infinite number of seedlings, unlike the vining varieties).

If anyone recognizes this pink rose, let me know! I have no idea who she is but she's been a very well mannered shrub thus far, maybe 2 feet high and 2-1/2 feet wide. I think this was a cutting I started from someone else but I just cannot remember. I should spend the summer making indelible labels!

I chastised this plant last week for taking so danged long to bloom ... it seemed like the buds took weeks to open. It's white Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus, I think?).I've dallied long enough ... time to go chase the squirrel off the bird feeder, put on my gloves and get busy!


Anonymous said…
I'm glad you're giving an agave a try, Cindy. Just give it plenty of space so as not to get poked, and you'll find it adds year-round structure and color to your garden. I wonder what kind of agave that is. It's not a 'Whale's Tongue' because WT does not offset pups. I love the blue color.

Your flowers, particularly that morning glory tree, are lovely too.
Cindy, MCOK said…
Pam, if this hot dry weather keeps up on MCOK, I'll be planting more agaves! The label just said "Agave" so for now it's the Blue Mystery Agave. Isn't the color luscious?
Gail said…

I don't think I have ever seen the Coconut Lime Coneflower before! A Hostess Snowball with wings. I am through planting this summer, not through purchasing purchasing but planting...I think I mentioned the holding bed! It is really a spot on the driveway where plants get watered and wait until they can be planted out in the fall. I have to get plants there will be sales all summer and this fall, too!

I have Stokesia Peachie's is starting to bloom right now! It is more floriferous then species stokesia.

The Texas Hibiscus is a good looking plant.

Cindy, MCOK said…
Gail, I love that description of the Echinacea, it captures the bloom perfectly! The plant may end up in one of the numerous holding areas around MCOK. If I could consolidate them, I'd probably lose fewer plants! If I don't plant it, it definitely needs to be potted up into a larger pot with richer soil. The peat-based growing media used by most growers can dry out in the blink of an eye here, and once it does you might as well kiss that plant goodbye.

I'm going to do my best to resist the siren call of plants being marked down this summer. The nursery down the street has already gone to 50% off!
Annie in Austin said…
I've got a similar-looking, similarly unnamed agave, bought at an Austin housewalk. At one of the houses the owners were selling stuff dug from their garden for $5 a pot. Pam's right about the pointy tips!

Cindy, your Crocosmia/Montbretia look great and a Hot Border is a useful idea in Texas!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose
herself said…
Wow I hadn't realized it was that much warmer this year! Perhaps we'll get a nice wet, cool summer to offset spring?

It was so windy today it blew over all my tomatoes, but they're about wrapping up this season anyhow.

I've a couple of agaves I planted this year too, they are very fast growers for a cactus.

I'm not yet sure whether or not I like them.
Cindy, MCOK said…
Annie, I love coming across sales like that! I keep meaning to have one myself: I hate throwing plants away. It pains me, truly.

Herself, I'm more drawn to the big-leafed agaves than the narrow-leafed ones. Now that I think about it, that's true of my succulent collection as well. Re the weather, from what I read in the paper this morning, the meteorologists are saying the chances of above normal and below normal temps are about the same. Wouldn't a cool, wet summer be fabulous? My heart beats faster at the thought!