From the producer: August 15, 2008

August 14th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

Surprise! When I got home one night, I saw something new and pink in the crepe bed. I wandered out for a closer look.

Periwinkle. I haven’t planted them in years. I guess a long dormant seed wanted to brighten my drought-weary soul. Periwinkles have lost favor these days, but they always remind me of the cheerful flowers my mom planted every summer along the patio. As a kid, their little “eye” fascinated me. Next year, by golly, I’m going to buck the trend and plant a bunch of these drought hardy annuals! The trick is not planting too early. Like caladiums, they want warm soil. And oh brother, we certainly have that.

This blast from the past joins the on-going pink parade. To my amazement, the coneflowers are still blooming (a first for me). I’m also astounded with the batface cuphea, which never worked for me before. I guess I finally found its happy place, enough sun but not too much.

When I moved this pavonia in spring, and cut it back almost to the ground, I didn’t have great hopes for it. It was such a woody, misshapen mess that I wasn’t terribly mournful about its possible demise. I fiddled with other ideas for that area, but when it recovered from its move into more sun, I couldn’t interfere with its determination to show me up.

And it did. A beautiful sight on a hot summer’s morning, better than the first cup of coffee.

This spring I added ‘Helen von Stein’ lambs ears, after a fellow gardener told me they would tolerate clay soil and shade. These get strong sun by the afternoon but shade before then, just not deep shade.

Since we haven’t had significant rain, they’re holding on nicely, just the soft gray I wanted against the pinks. I’ll keep you posted if and when we get serious rain again. We love lambs ears, but in a humid or wet summer, we tend to lose them. Here they are with my baby Agave celsii Tricolor and a self-seeded pavonia.

This isn’t the best photo, but I ran for the camera and knew I didn’t have time to mickey-mouse around. But this swallowtail (I think it’s a female Eastern black swallowtail but I welcome your input), certainly liked the purple umbrella plant, Trachellium ceerueleum.

A bee on the nearby Mexican oregano.

I got my first bloom on the Brazilian rock rose (Pavonia brazilienses) that I bought at a Master Gardener sale. Whenever I saw one in a garden, I’d drool a bit, and now I have my very own!

If you are sulking in the heat, as Pam Penick wrote last week (and I am too), I found a great antidote. I finally got around to reading Jeannie Ralston’s The Lavender Queen (in the kiddie pool). Her first summers in Texas, along with her struggles and insight about life and marriage, will make this book one I will read over and over again. I’m also thinking of re-reading Edna Ferber’s Giant or watching my DVD, though the book really brings it home about a newcomer (or tired-out native) about Texas in the summer.

Until next week, Cedric wishes you a cooler rooftop one of these days, Linda

  1. 7 Responses to “From the producer: August 15, 2008”

  2. By Pam/Digging on Aug 14, 2008

    I love lamb’s ears, but I’ve always killed them. I’ll have to give this variety a try. As for “cool” reading material, every summer I reread “Into Thin Air” about climbing Mt. Everest—chilly!


    Linda reply on August 15th, 2008 3:26 pm:

    Hi, Pam! That makes me feel better that I’m not the only one who has bad luck with lambs ears. I’m so desperate to find silvers/grays that work for me. I love your whale’s tongue, but just don’t know if I have a good spot for it.

    Thanks for Into Thin Air. Oh, I also like to watch the Bogart/Bacall Key Largo, partly for her great shoes, but mainly for the hurricane and rain.

    Recently I was logging video we shot as it was about to rain (months ago). I played some of it over and over just to hear the thunder!


  3. By Annie in Austin on Aug 15, 2008

    Rereading “Giant” is one of my summer traditions, too, Linda – it may be old but Edna Ferber’s insights into Texas psychology are worth reading.

    How do you and Pam have such lovely Rock roses? The leaves on mine are always mildewed in spite of sun and air. My Pavonia is planted with grey Artemesia and they both look like heck. Maybe I should copy you, cut them back severely and hope the new growth is better.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


    Linda reply on August 15th, 2008 3:24 pm:

    Hi, Annie! Yea for someone else who loves Giant!

    I’ll tell you, my pavonias looked so awful two months ago that I decided I’d dump them all this fall. Guess they heard me! The artemesia also can look really really bad. Mine are probably okay because they’re new plantings and I’ve tried to keep them pruned. But mainly, it’s been so dry. But indeed, on the pavonias, next February–if you’re brave–cut back the pavonias severely. It’s scary and I don’t know if this is really a good technique, but when I get fed up, I figure what the heck! It’s probably better not to do that and either give them Neem early on or get used to powdery mildew–they’re famous for it.


  4. By Robin at Getting Grounded on Aug 17, 2008

    Linda, I love reading what you are up to in your garden, and thanks for the pic of your kitty on the roof. My kitty does the same thing, and often supervises me from up above. He hasn’t done it in this heat, though. I love the “butter and eggs” plant – it’s one I’m not familiar with. What a sweet flower!
    It’s funny, too – I had a lot of wedelia that I actually ended pulling all of it out because it took over everything. One person’s trash is another’s treasure, right? Perhaps I should have reconsidered and moved it to a more appropriate area, but I waged war with it instead.
    thanks for the great posts. Robin


    Linda reply on August 18th, 2008 4:42 pm:


    Thanks for writing! I’m glad to know that someone else gets supervision “from above.”

    The butter and eggs is more invasive than wedelia, so beware! It’s interesting how your wedelia took over. I kind of wish mine would! It is so interesting to see what becomes a pest for one person and just controls itself for another. Thanks for that insight! Linda


  5. By Domenique Bellavia on Aug 21, 2008

    Periwinkles!? Those are the ones that I planted in May and then they died in July while I was on vacation. Look at yours – they are beautiful. Maybe I planted mine too early like you mentioned. Anyway, yours looks beautiful and healthy and I’m very envious :)


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