December 16, 2022
What to my wondering eyes should appear: beneficial hover flies tucked into a snowy bed of pollen and nectar on my fragrant December-blooming Iceberg roses! (Their larvae will gift us free aphid and other pest control.)
Turk’s cap beckons butterflies to gather ‘round its family recipe they can’t resist. This red beauty is ‘Big Momma’ (Malvaviscus drummondii ‘Big Momma’), a hybrid created by horticulturist Greg Grant and named for his great grandmother. He crossed a large-flowering, but cold tender M. arboreus with our native M. drummondii for a winter-hardy plant that’s larger in size and produces much bigger flowers.
To achieve the pink-salmon flowers of ‘Pam’s Pink’—named for noted rosarian and historian Pam Puryear—he crossed a white-flowering drummondii with the red. We may lose our flowers with dips into the teens this week, but the roots are safe underground. I like to wait a few weeks to cut its browned branches to the ground.
Picturesque snowfall gives Central Texas holidays a miss, but we celebrate winter’s beauty with our version of snowflakes: equally magical dandelion seed heads from early flowers that served meals for tiny bees.
All of us at Central Texas Gardener thank you for growing with us in 2022! See you in the New Year!