currently in Austin


Wildflowers and garden dogs

Maybe it’s me, but it sure seems like everything is blooming with more intensity than usual when we hit this leg of the calendar. Colors are especially saturated and vibrant. I planted the Philippine violets for fall moments like this. It’s not a native, but it’s tough.

Philippine violet

Perhaps all the plants were so miserable that when they finally got some rain relief, they just had to party down!  The passion vine has gone nuts.

Passion vine flower

It reminds me of getting the flu. The only good thing about getting sick is that when you recover, you feel so glorious!  Both Barbados cherries (Malpighia glabra) are definitely feeling pretty darned good. This one is against the shed in the cat cove.

Barbados cherries (Malpighia glabra) Barbados cherries (Malpighia glabra) flowers

Since there are so many chores this time of year, it’s nice to work around such exuberance. Last weekend, one of my tasks was dividing daylilies. This group came from one single clump.

Daylily divide

They’re not drama queens about being dug up and divided. With some, you can gently pry apart with your fingers. Others require a little knife action.

For me, this week was really a big deal because finally, one of the baby Plumbago scandens bloomed!  It gets some sun, like this late afternoon shaft, but more shade than sun. I got them from the shady group at the Wildflower Center sale last year.  I wanted them for summer white that pops out in shade.

Plumbago scandens

Andrea DeLong-Amaya, horticulturist from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, assured me that by next year, these natives will really take off.  It happens to be one of her loves, too, one she includes on her list this week on CTG.

Since I’ve gotten a lot of questions about planting spring wildflower seeds, Tom and Andrea get together to explain how to do it, like for pink evening primrose.

Pink evening primrose

Then, Andrea wows us with an array of “wildflowers” throughout the year, from claret cup cactus to Havard’s agave (Agave havardiana), that work even in containers for gardeners with limited space.

I want them all, but especially the Texas bluebell (Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum). It’s hard to find this native in nurseries. Usually you’ll end up with one that doesn’t do so well for us.

You can pick up the plants on Andrea’s list and lots more at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Fall Plant Sale & Gardening Festival October 10 & 11 (Member preview Oct. 9).  Find out in advance what plants will be for sale!

If you want to clear out some of your plastic pots, take them along to drop off.  Maybe next year they’ll house a new plant for a fellow gardener.

Also this week, if your garden and dog aren’t exactly “getting along,” Trisha has helpful tips to keep everyone happy. And, see how she uses cow panel to deter digging in beds or under fences.

Until next week, Linda