Friday, June 15, 2007

June bloggers' bloom day

Bat-face cuphea and winecups

Once again it's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, sponsored by Carole at May Dreams Gardens, who invites gardeners everywhere to let us in on what's blooming in their gardens on the 15th of each month.

My garden has entered its jungle-like state early this year, spurred on by an extraordinarily rainy and cool spring, causing plants to sprawl this way and that, growing over their neighbors and defying all of my best-laid plans. I often overplant and it looks like this year is no exception. The great growing conditions combined with my inability to judge how much space new plants will eventually require or to remember how big plants that have died to the ground will get later in the season has made for a garden that looks more like a thicket than an intentional space. And then the heat set in and my enthusiasm for going out and making changes or even pruning waned in direct correlation to the temperature. And the heat has definitely set in. All that's left of our lovely cool spring is a faint memory and lot of overgrown plants.

Enough of the whining. Here's some of what's going on in one Central Texas garden in mid-June.

At least one of the workhorses of my summer garden has started blooming. The first intricate blooms of the Pride of Barbados opened yesterday (interestingly, the first flowers are on the POB that we transplanted from the front yard this spring; the much more established plant in the far back is covered in buds but not yet flowering; the ones in more shade in the front are just setting buds).

A close-up of a Pride of Barbados flower

The whole bloom stalk; I love the way the buds come out in that pyramid of little balls

The POB's faithful summer companions, the hamelia patens and the tecoma stans are not flowering, although the tecoma stans did have a few blooms a week or so ago. Behind those plants in the far back, the trumpet vine "Madame Galen" started blooming this week and has quite a few more buds about to open. And draping over the wall, the Mexican flame vine is adding more orange to the summer mix.

Trumpet vine "Madame Galen"

Mexican flame vine; check out the claw-like new buds

Another summer bloomer, the bat-face cuphea (that's it up at the top) is blooming wildly, mixing well with its neighbor the winecups, which are continuing to be covered in blooms on long vines that are crawling gracefully over everything around them. Behind the cuphea the cleomes are continuing to bloom, white and pink and purple.

The salvia guarantica "Black and Blue" that I transplanted into the ground next to the new porch from the pot where it had lived for four years or so is thriving, huge and covered in brilliant spires of cobalt blue. Next to it the zexmenia is also blanketed with yellow flowers.

Salvia guarantica "Black and Blue" with zexmenia behind

Several other salvias — greggii, roemariana, and nemarosa — are still blooming sporadically. The greggii and roemariana should probably be cut way back and would probably rebloom while the nemarosa just needs to be deadheaded more regularly.

Another reliable summer bloomer is the pavonia, which has cropped up in several places (it seeds out wildly). Its pink flowers open in the morning and close by late afternoon and I couldn't get a good shot of it weaving its way through the agave lopantha before the flowers closed today. Maybe tomorrow.

All four roses have continued to bloom although the heat is taking its toll. Since last month Climbing Pinkie put on a substantial second flush of blooms, now mostly faded, while Old Blush is just now putting out a second flush. Its new flowers are much smaller than the first round. The new Cecille Brunner in a pot is continuing to bloom as is Maggie.

Other things blooming here and there are the orange bulbine, a pot of mixed verbena, and the purple heart all over the place (a major source of my thicket problems!). The new heartleaf skullcap from Pam at Digging bloomed but is struggling to hold its own between the sprawling salvia guarantica and the columbine, which is still holding on to a few flowers.

And one of two mystery seedlings (the other turned out to be a Gulf Coast penstemon, lost from its brothers and sisters in the front yard) has made itself known as a coneflower. I used to have coneflowers in the long bed and I thought they were all gone. But there's this one left. Maybe I'll have more next year.


Carol said...

Your Texas garden is so pretty and different from my garden. That Pride of Barbados is certainly the pride of your garden.

I don't mind the whining. I'm whining here because IT WON'T RAIN like it is supposed to and the rabbit is eating my beans. Wah!

But I wouldn't give up gardening for anything!

Thanks for participating in Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

M Sinclair Stevens (Austin) said...

You could be describing my garden as well although some parts of it are quite bare because I haven't replaced the spring annuals with anything. Somehow that jungle feel you describe seems more stifling with the press of crowded plants.

Like you I've barely been outside in the garden this week. Once we got the A/C working again (late Tuesday afternoon) the contrast was too unbearable.

Dawn said...

Beautiful blooms! I've never seen a Pride of Barbados flower before. They are impressive. You're garden looks really lovely Susan. Have a relaxing summer.


Robin said...

Susan, how long does the winecup bloom? I love the Pride of Barbados, I've never seen that one before.

Susan said...

Robin — This is the first year I've had this variety of winecups (Callirhoe involucrata) in my garden and I just planted them in early April (there's another type that I've had before — I believe it's Callirhoe digitata — that holds the blooms up on erect stems rather on long viney stems). The ones I have now have been blooming since around the first of May and show no signs of stopping but the other kind only bloomed for about 6 or 8 weeks in the spring, from late April until early June. Also, our spring has been so wet and cool that these may be blooming longer than normal. But aren't the flowers wonderful?

The Pride of Barbados is Caesalpinia pulcherrima and it is a wonderful summer plant here in Central Texas. It blooms and blooms (more if deadheaded), from early June until September or October. Both the flowers and ferny foliage are amazing. And all that with almost no extra water, even in August! It does die to the ground here but, at least for me, comes back reliably.

— Susan

Yolanda Elizabet said...

What a lovely and very colourful contribution to Bloomsday. :-) Love that Salvia Black and blue, it's wonderful!

BTW I like a bit of a jungle in the garden. :-)

Green thumb said...

Your 'Thicket' seems very interesting with all these beautiful flowers in bloom. Pride of barbados and the mexican flame vine look gorgeous with rich yellow-orange color. Pride of barbados is very similar to the 'Gulmohar'(delonix regia).

Layanee said...

Love all that orange! And the black and blue salvia!

Susan said...

Green Thumb — Indeed, I googled Delonix regia and one site said a synonym was Caesalpinia regia. The Latin name for Pride of Barbados is Caesalpinia pulcherrima, so they are related.

Annie in Austin said...

Hello Susan,

You had quite a lovely sweep of color for bloom day - everytime I see your Pride of Barbados and Mexican Flame vine they look spectacular, but while my heart says yes, my brain thinks they'll croak in my garden like the Esperanzas did.

Jungle is the word up here, too - many plants that usually stand up well are so darned floppy this year! I've been clipping and weeding since I stepped off the plane.


Barbara said...

Your blog is so interesting, as your garden is different to mine (though mine also looks like a little jungle at the moment and this for the same reasons you mentioned!) concerning the plants you have. Your pride of Barbados (I never heard of this plant before) and your salvias are just beautiful. The last ones we cannot have in our gardens as they are not hardy enough (and we have too much slugs!). I'll come back to visit your garden again and I hope you don't mind. Greetings from Switzerland.

Susan said...

Barbara — I'm glad you stopped by and I'm glad to hear that my garden isn't the only one that looks like a jungle! We're traveling to southern Germany in a few weeks so maybe I'll see some gardens more like yours.

— Susan

Dawn said...

Hi Again Susan,

I'd like to invite you to participate in a meme.
See “7 Random Things…” on my blog
for more information.


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