Viewer Garden Discoveries in Quarantine

We seem to be hitting a pattern the past few springs: lulled by rain and unusually cool temperatures, summer suddenly rings a loud wakeup call. To my surprise, test plant hydrangeas sent to me two years ago in a sweaty hot May take Central Texas in stride, as long as sheltered in shade with morning light.
Hydrangea Endless Summer shady patio
These are Endless Summer® ‘Summer Crush’, one of five in the compact-growth collection. I didn’t risk a ground test in my heavy soil, so I potted them in good well-draining soil.
Endless Summer Summer Crush hydrangea in container
Meagan Pike in Hutto reports success in the ground, shaded by a tree. Hers looks like Twist-n-Shout®, but I can’t confirm.
Hydrangea Endless Summer by Meagan Pike for Central Texas Gardener
So far, they’ve been cold hardy for us both, though they lose their leaves in winter. Since mine are in containers, I do bring them close to the house. After we both lightly trimmed in late February/March, they bounced back beautifully. Apparently they bloom on both old and new wood.
Hydrangea Summer Crush Endless Summer hydrangeas shady patio
This week, I pushed mine back farther into shade. I water deeply about once a week, though once we’re in the 100s, they get a second deep drench if needed. A pineapple guava backs this spot, separating it from the shady fence garden strip.

Another chance I took is with a plant I found at local nurseries a few years ago: Hardy white gloxinia (Sinningia tubiflora). This tuberous perennial from Argentina and Uruguay disappears in winter. Nearby, self-seeding native Geum canadense remains evergreen. And the floppy leaves are browning Byzantine gladiolus that I hadn’t cut back yet.
Hardy White Gloxinia Sinningia tubiflora for shade
In late spring, it pops back up, gracing a very dry part shade bed with fuzzy-leaved groundcover.
Hardy White Gloxinia Sinningia tubiflora leaves shady groundcover
This year it flowered for the first time! I hope that glorious tube attracted a hummingbird.
Hardy White Gloxinia Sinningia tubiflora flower shady Austin garden
It’s not even officially summer yet (June 20), but already I’m eager for fall. So are my beautyberries, also in part to dappled shade, including Mexican beautyberry (Callicarpa acuminata). Since they’re prepping fall fruits—from lavender to deep purple—I’m starting to give them weekly deep watering.
Mexican beautyberry flower buds small tree for part shade
This week, CTG presents a very special video! When viewers shuttered at home in March, they emailed their stories, pictures, and videos about how they find solace, wonder, and an emotional break in their gardens during Covid-19 quarantine. After I compiled late March to early April submissions, Daphne recorded the script on her back porch with Augie’s little “sister.” Behind her, star jasmine still flowers on its evergreen screen.
Daphne Richards and dachschund Lulu
I edited on my kitchen table improvised office, and believe me, we faced a few working at home challenges!
Linda Lehmusvirta editing CTG at kitchen table during quarantine
Still, this is truly heartwarming and I dearly thank everyone who shared their thoughts and discoveries. I’m already working on the next one. Take a look!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda