I continue to be amazed by how much change just a week or two can bring in the springtime. The plants that went dormant for the winter are bursting with brand new growth, while the evergreen plants are growing fuller and lusher. It makes me wish that spring would last all year, especially considering how Central Texas heats up so quickly and moves from a short spring to a long, prolonged, dry and oppressing summer. We’ve already had a couple of ninety degree days and are forecast to reach that high again in just a few days. Oh, how I wish it would rain instead! We still have received no significant rain since last September. I sure hope the rain comes soon and sticks around for a week or two …
The salvia greggii (autumn sage) is blooming again, and – this year – is putting on a better show. I planted these two bushes last April, so they didn’t really get going until early summer. They are two to three times as large this season. The Indigo Spires salvia plants are really bushing up and out, but still have not sent up any flower stalks. I truly cannot wait for these plants to start blooming – they add a lot to that side of the bed.
Indigo Spires salvia
The Copper Canyon Daisies have really grown a lot the past two weeks. If you remember, my post on 3/19 showed just a few sprouts of green shooting up from their bases. Now they’re compact little bushes. I expect them to reach three feet wide this year, but they’re going to be a little cramped between the salvia greggii and rosemary hedge. They really were beautiful during their bloom period last fall.
Copper Canyon Daisies
I let the lavender get a little too leggy this season, but it still flowered. Once it is done blooming, I will prune it back quite a bit and hopefully it will do alright. I’ve had the bush now for a few years, so it may be time soon to make cuttings or buy another plant altogether. I still have dried lavender from last spring. In fact, just this past weekend, I put a handful in a pot on the stove and let it simmer half of the day. The house smelled wonderful!
The Whirling Butterfly gauras have started blooming and won’t stop until the first frost. They require very little care. I give them some compost tea a couple of times a year and prune back spent racemes, but that’s it. They are each at least three feet in diameter and now about a foot, maybe a foot and a half tall. These plants send up a multitude of flowering branches up to four feet tall that are covered in white blooms. The two plants together should be six feet wide by four foot tall this season.
Whirling Butterfly Gaura
The rose bush is four times larger than it was when I transplanted it last spring. I gave it a bit of bone meal a couple of weeks ago and it is covered with thirty to forty blooms right now. It really is a knock-out.
Double Knock-Out Rose
double the pleasure - more roses in bloom
The flare hibiscus has tripled its new growth in the past two weeks. It will reach about four feet tall and three feet wide and eventually will be covered in large fuschia-colored blooms. I can hardly wait … hibiscus always brings a beautiful, tropical feel to the garden.
Perennial Hibiscus - Flare variety (blooms fuschia)
You’ve already seen the amaryllis blooms in my previous post. You can’t see it from this photo, but another bloom has opened on the opposite side of this flower and two more will be open soon between them. It is a gorgeous flower.
The Mother-of-Thyme simply did not do well for me in between the flagstones. A few of them appeared to have died, so I dug them up and transplanted alyssum in its place and also sowed more seeds to fill in the gaps. I do have a couple of yellow thyme that came back and are filling in quite nicely again, however.
Sweet alyssum between pavers - yellow thyme in background
The truly wild flowers I have in the yard are limited to false garlic and primrose. I don’t mind the primrose too much, but could do without the false garlic.
primrose growing wild along the fence line
Along the fence where the wildflower bed was, I have several flowering plants going strong. The red verbena is just spectacular – literally covered all over with scarlet flowers. The euryops seem to struggle a bit when the temperatures reach above 85, and I’m hoping this won’t be a continued issue once they are well-established (I transplanted them just a few weeks ago). I come home in the evening and their foliage is wilted and unhappy, but by morning they look fine again. I hope they last the summer as I really enjoy their bright, yellow profusion of blooms. I lost a fern leaf lavender plant, but have a replacement getting acclimated. I’ll transplant it this weekend. I think I watered it too much. Too much love, I guess. 🙂
Verbena in scarlet - love this plant
Fern Leaf lavender established after transplant
Here’s a look at a couple of the beds. You can see that there is quite a bit of new growth already, but it’s still pretty bare looking. There is room for about seven or eight milkweed plants. I have twenty cuttings scheduled to arrive before the weekend, so those spaces will soon be filled up.
Corner of the yard - looks pretty bare as of yet
The purple prairie verbena just wasn’t going to come back, so I pulled it out. I wasn’t able to locate additional plants in the few nurseries I tried, so I went with something different. The homestead purple verbena is a lower profile, creeping variety. It still blooms like crazy from late spring through fall like the purple prairie, but it should be hardy in our area. I think it will look quite nice under and around the orange, yellow and red blooms of the milkweed as well the black-eyed susans. It has a reputation for being a “rampant” fast-growing plant, so I hope it will fill in quickly over the spring and into the summer.
Homestead purple verbena - replaced the purple prairie verbena
Can anyone identify this plant? I can’t remember anymore what it is, but it’s got cute little buttons of lavender flowers on it. The foliage is having a hard time because the pill bugs are constantly eating it (prompting me to use Jenny’s – of Rock Rose Garden – solution: empty grapefruit peels turned upside down as “traps”). Works quite well because I always have a ton of pillbugs under them, but the foliage eating continues…
I forget what this is, but the pillbugs have had a time with the leaves
The black-eyed susans are coming back strong, too. They form a triangle in this spot of the garden. I think they’ll be double the size this year and fill in the space nicely. You can also see the fall aster, which continues to spread out. It is at least four or five times the size that it was when I transplanted it last spring.
a triangle of Black-Eyed Susans
Fall aster continues to spread
The lantana is rebounding – the first plant has covered it’s woody base with new stems that already reach eight or nine inches. I even see the beginnings of flower clusters. The second plant is almost to the point where the other one was three weeks ago and will soon look just like this one.
Texas Lantana, plant one
Lantana, plant two, starting to come back
Turk’s cap is in the corner of the yard. It was mostly shaded due to an over hanging Texas Lilac tree in the neighbor’s yard. They cut their tree back a lot this spring, however, leaving the corner only slightly shaded. I hope the Turk’s cap does well despite the additional sun exposure. It has about six times as many leaves as it did just three weeks ago. Also in this small bed (where the mint used to be) are two Autumn Joy sedums.
No matter how much rosemary I use for cooking (which is quite a bit!), the Tuscan Blue rosemary continues to bush out considerably. It can get to six feet tall, but I won’t let it. I’ll be more aggressive about pruning it this year.
Tuscan Blue rosemary
Here’s a shot of the creeping lantana. Last year it created a ground cover that was four foot in diameter, spilling over the rock borders and into the yard and onto the path. I had to cut it back a few times, but it is an exceptionally fast grower that blooms to frost. I loved it so much that I bought two more for the bed along the fence line. The butterflies love it, too!
I keep forgetting to take pictures of the zexmenia, which is between the red and the white autumn sage bushes. It is already twice as large as it was this time last year. I think it may be okay in this spot for this year, but next spring I will have to transplant it. It just won’t be able to compete with the salvias any longer.
Last, but certainly not least, is a pic of the Four-Nerve daisies. It, too, is several times larger than last spring and continues to send up more and more and MORE flowers too beautiful not to include in this post!