September 12, 2022
Rain Reigns Even in Waterwise Gardens!
My garden’s no water hog. Still, over 50 days without rainfall in temps topping 100° faded even my most stalwarts, especially the plants in sun. We’re no strangers to this, my garden and I, yet we sure were glad to get even the 1” that fell our way. I can’t say that this ‘Amistad’ salvia is very waterwise for me, though I know it is for others. In any case, it limped valiantly through summer to greet migratory hummingbirds flitting through (and bees, too).
Luckily for pollinators, plants don’t go along with “no white after Labor Day.” Soon, native frostweed and fragrant mistflower will chime in, but for now, we’ll go with native groundcover pigeonberry that absolutely leaped up with raindrops. As it sends up its flower spikes, it heightens up a bit, but generally sticks low to the ground in my part shade garden. Later, glossy little red berries will sparkle in gentle rays.
Native Plumbago scandens also appreciates part shade, along with just-coming-on native Gregg’s mistflower, soon to be covered in butterflies.
One morning, I stepped out into the moist air to whiff someone baking cookies!
Nope, not so lucky for me, but for very happy bees racing to the almond verbena (Aloysia virgata). Native to Argentina, this large shrub/small tree usually scents our summers, too. It’s a tropical, so expect to cut it back heavily in early spring—a good thing since it benefits from a little branch management!
I’ll admit that this summer I babied my Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia) in a large container, providing deep watering every 3-4 days.
I remember when it wasn’t that hard to keep them going until frost. I’m keen on that flamboyant deep orange, but their big attraction is the butterflies that usually hound them.
The well-timed rain brought an early surprise, the first of my oxblood lilies (Rhodophiala bifida) in late August. Typically, they show up throughout September, dubbing them the “schoolhouse lily.” Mine still aren’t as abundant as in years past, but there’s sure a lot more than last year’s dismal show. This one’s sharing the limelight with drought-tough purple heart (Tradescantia pallida).
White rain lilies abounded along our medians, and in our park, these native copper lilies (Habranthus tubispanthus) tidily encircled this tree, only a few straying beyond the clan.
Heads up on another fantastic Native Plant Society of Texas Fall Symposium, Sept. 22-25! This year’s another hybrid event with in-person events in Alpine along with virtual options. This year focuses on conserving native plants in the Trans-Pecos region, but as always, there is so much to learn from their diverse and knowledge speakers.
And coming up September 29 – October 2, check out The Texas Gourd Society’s annual Lone Star Gourd Festival at the Gillespie County Fairgrounds in Fredericksburg.
It’s so fun to meet the artisans and learn from them and to pick up absolutely gourd-geous gifts. I snagged this lovely winecup-colored apple gourd many years ago.
Thanks for stopping by, and as they say, “Stand By,” for new broadcast shows coming your way October 1. Linda