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Hot Days, Hot Plants!

The latest kid on the block, Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima), grabs jaw-dropping adoration all over town these hot days.

Bees and butterflies are just as glad to see those nutritious flame-orange and golden flowers flaunting deep red stamens.

Now that it’s easier to find, many gardeners snap it up for sizzling summer color. Then they discover that it loves heat, full sun, and drought (do water to establish and in the super dog days). Its 5 to 8-foot stature makes a great screen, too, until winter when it can freeze back. Generally, it returns from the roots in Zone 8 and warmer, though in North or West Texas, consider it a fast-growing annual.

Alkaline or acidic soil is fine, as long as it’s well-drained. It does great in my Blackland Prairie neighborhood. You can even grow it in a container, as Doug Green does in this foundling stock tank, though he cut out the bottom so roots can go deep and ensure good drainage.

It’s easy to start from seeds once flowers form pods. Pick the pods once they’re brown and start in winter-protected containers.

Another Caesalpinia of the pea family (Fabaceae) is Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) that pops plump yellow flowers.


It’s easy to grow from seed, too. That’s how I got mine as a passalong.
Mexican Bird of Paradise seed pod Central Texas Gardener
Mine could stand more sun, but it flowers every year. It hasn’t frozen back since its first winter, a harsher one than usual.
Mexican Bird of Paradise habitat garden Central Texas Gardener
And then there’s Yellow Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii). Believe me, I get confused by all these names! This one sports smaller legume-like leaves. Cute giraffe optional.
Yellow Bird of Paradise Caesalpinia gilliesii and garden art Rasmey Mau Raymond Central Texas Gardener
Pollinators can’t resist its soft yellow flowers and red stamens. I don’t know if giraffes eat them, but apparently deer do not. Poll your deer.
Yellow Bird of Paradise Caesalpinia gillesii flowers Central Texas Gardener
Speaking of seeds: our rain lilies sprung up after recent rains and will do so again.
Rain lily Zepharanthes 'Labuffarosa' Central Texas Gardener
Now that they’re setting seeds, spread the wealth around. Nature will scatter the black, papery seeds for you if you’re as busy/lazy/forgetful that I am.
Rain lily seeds Central Texas Gardener
So, what about those hot hell strips? Here’s a fine example with pink skullcap, white gaura, silvery woolly stemodia, yellow damianita, and at the end blackfoot daisy. This area does get drip irrigation from rain water collection. Full disclosure (as people love to say), it’s not my yard.
Hot curb or hell strip pink skullcap Gaura Damianita Woolly stemodia Central Texas Gardener
Another yard that is not mine but I love all the same: this cute cattle panel front yard fence that reminds me of my grandmother’s garden in Iowa. Since this photo, the tomatoes tower over it.
Cattle panel and wood front yard fence for tomatoes Central Texas Gardener
And lucky us: when the gardener handed us a bag filled to the brim, we tucked into freshly-picked flavor without lifting one sweaty/stinkbug-swatting finger!
homegrown tomatoes Central Texas Gardener
NEW NURSERY! For over a year, I’ve been intrigued with Native Edge Landscape’s updates about the launch of their nursery Garden Seventeen, between Airport & Lamar (near Highland Mall ACC). Last Saturday, I masked up to attend the grand opening.
Garden Seventeen building Central Texas Gardener
It’s always exciting when a new local business launches, but this year it’s especially joyful. And it did me good to meet such enthusiastic, helpful, and positively elated Garden Seventeen team members.
Garden Seventeen Austin nursery plants Central Texas Gardener
Of course, they’re still gearing up with plants and finishing out the interior of this intriguing old building. I certainly applaud this recycle/repurpose architectural mission instead of knocking it all down. They’re delving into its history and I sure hope that someone comes forth with stories.
Garden Seventeen nursery interior Central Texas Gardener
Find them on Facebook and Instagram @gardenseventeen. Big congratulations all around!
Garden Seventeen nursery Central Texas Gardener
Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda

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