Garden fireworks!

July 5th, 2012 Posted in Insects, Summer plants, firewise gardens, garden design, garden designers, native plants, patio plants, trees, wildlife

To celebrate red, white and blue this week, my new blue gazing ball glows against firecracker red Turk’s cap!

blue gazing ball with turk's cap

White native Plumbago scandens droops over soft leaf yucca (Yucca recurvifolia).

Plumbago scandens with soft leaf yucca

Non-native blue plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) sparked some attention from this Snowberry Clearwing moth, too speedy for slow me to nab a super shot. From a distance, it resembled a hummingbird. Some people refer to it as the “bumblebee moth.”

Snowberry clearwing moth on blue plumbago

Snowberry clearwing moth on plumbago

The sparks really fly from this native hibiscus (Hibiscus martianus). Since it’s probably not cold hardy, we enjoy its flare from a patio container.

Hibiscus martianus

Okay, purple passion vine/passionflower isn’t exactly blue, but it sure is setting off fireworks for the frenzied butterflies mating and laying eggs on its leaves.

Purple passion vine

Mine is a hybrid with five-lobed leaves, not the native Passiflora incarnata with three-lobed leaves, but it’s definitely related.  It does spread like mad, and I need to pull it off some trees it’s shading. Still, I hate to pull one that has a happy caterpillar chomping away. I examine closely for tiny eggs, too.

Uruguayan Firecracker Plant is orange, but it’s name says it all.  It’s also called hummingbird bush (since it attracts them) and a bunch of other names.  I know it as Dicliptera suberecta, since it’s fun to say!

Dicliptera suberecta hummingbird bush, firecracker plant

Also called hummingbird bush is native Flame acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii), a perennial shrub that attracts butterflies, too.

Flame acanthus

A showy white with lots of different names is Datura (Datura wrightii). Commonly called Jimsonweed or Angel’s trumpet (not to be confused with Brugmansia, a related genus), Daphne makes it her Plant Pick this week.

Datura (c) Daphne Richards

Daphne explains how to grow this native annual (so well-known through Georgia O’Keefe paintings). It attracts night-pollinating moths and is deer resistant, but all plant parts are highly toxic to us.

Fireworks you don’t want to set off in your garden is a fire.  This week, Tom joins Patrick Allen from the Texas Forest Service for a few tips on garden firewise safety.

Tom Spencer, Patrick Allen Texas Forest Service

Texas Forest Service firewise zones

Check out Texas Forest Service for more about how to landscape safely. Click on the icon to download Firewise Landscaping for step-by-step instructions and plant information.

Firewise Communities includes fire safe plant lists for around the country. I’ve checked out many of the lists from other states, and many apply to Texas.

Whether for fire safety or to reduce our lawns, how close to our trees can we hardscape? Daphne answers this great question from Emily Keith, who wants to reduce lawn space but protect her trees.

hardscape around trees

Keeping gutters clean is one firewise safety tip. But, they’re also a breeding ground for mosquitoes with even a few drops of rain. John Dromgoole explains how to fend off mosquitoes in your gutters and in your garden, without harming the beneficials heading for your plants.

John Dromgoole mosquito control

On tour, visit designer Glee Ingram’s firewise native plant restoration on a rocky slope above a greenbelt.

Stay cool until next week! Linda

  1. 14 Responses to “Garden fireworks!”

  2. By Shirley Dehmer on Jul 5, 2012

    I have a tree or large shrub which came up free last year. The leaves are so unusual that I let it live at least until I find out if it is desirable or not. The leaves have five lobes. The central one is very long and wide at the end, the others are shaped like the long one but are midsized and then small at the leaf stem. Does hat make sense? Marijuana is five loabes, but this is in no way shaped the same. The lobes are not equally spaced nor are they equally shaped. Do you have any idea at all what I am describing? It is now as tall as the eves of the house and it is only a year old. I need to cut it down soon if it is not a keeper. Thanks a million.


    Linda reply on July 5th, 2012 4:24 pm:

    Hi, Shirley! Can you email me a picture at Could it be a mulberry? Or maybe a Texas star hibiscus?


  3. By Darrel Mayers on Jul 5, 2012

    Thank you so much Linda. I love Glee Ingram’s work!


    Linda reply on July 6th, 2012 2:50 pm:

    Thank YOU, Darrel! Yes, I just love Glee.


  4. By Cat on Jul 5, 2012

    I hope you had a great 4th Linda! Thanks for the firewise link. We’ve been trying to be more aware of the fire danger around us. There are several new homes that are almost ready to move into by friends who lost theirs in last years fires. Our neighborhood has really rallied to try and learn more about how to protect ourselves and our property.


    Linda reply on July 6th, 2012 2:50 pm:

    Thanks, Cat! I thought of you with this segment!


  5. By Katina on Jul 6, 2012

    Killer purple passionflower, Linda.


    Linda reply on July 6th, 2012 2:49 pm:

    Thanks, Katina!


  6. By Dee/reddirtramblings on Jul 10, 2012

    Your garden is full of fireworks! I’m off to listen to the show and watch it on YouTube. Have a wonderful week in TX. Did you get rain? I didn’t, but some of OK did.~~Dee


    Linda reply on July 10th, 2012 3:23 pm:

    Hi, Dee! Some people got rain. I think we need a rain exorcist for our house since it keeps missing us. But it’s thundering again, so fingers crossed!


  7. By Monica on Jul 27, 2012

    sorry for the typo – Here’s an edited version – I have something (that sounds similar to Shirley’s tree/weed) prop up in my flower bed this year. 5 lobes and it keeps growing… at first I thought it was a hibiscus (there is a hibiscus right next to it), but now, the way its growing indicates it’s something else. Are you able to id the plant for me if I send you a pic?



    Linda reply on July 27th, 2012 2:58 pm:

    Hi, Monica, I can try! Please send it to


  8. By Seth on Aug 17, 2012

    John Dromgoole summed up the gutter problem well! I own a landscaping company in Geneseo NY, and I’ve noticed that in the course of any given year, your gutters will fill with something. Whether it’s the neighbors leaves, pine needles, or anything else a heavy storm can throw your way, the gutters are a very important aspect of the structural integrity of your house, and need to be maintained, just like everything else you spend money and time on. Consider the implications of clogged gutters – in the worst possible case, it could erode the foundation of your home by allowing water to pool along the foundation, and work its way under the groundwork. Be aware.


    Linda reply on August 17th, 2012 2:54 pm:

    Hi, Seth! You are so right! And thanks for checking in. Howdy to everyone in Geneseo!


Post a Comment