flowers

Sure, when we visit Colorado, we see those delicious looking columbines just hanging from rocks in the mountains. But if you have ever tried to grow most of those varieties here in Texas, you may have been met with failure. They just don’t like our heat. Period. An article published in Illinois Natural History Survey calls the columbine the “mountain goat of plants, seeking out cracks and crevices in rocks and often dangling precipitously from these high places like a tethered mountain climber.” The Colorado Blue Columbine is the state flower of Colorado.

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Just the name “Dahlia” suggests a thing of beauty, distinction and great meaning.  Their beauty makes them popular the world over at florists and in our landscapes.  

Look for this charmer in colors of red, pink, purple, white, blue and the black dahlia, which is actually a burgundy color tied to a warning of betrayal.  But be careful of the color that you choose, you may be sending an entirely different message than you intend.

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Fall flowers

“If you would be happy for a lifetime, grow Chrysanthemums.”

— Unknown Chinese philosopher

Just look at the wonderful surprise I saw at the Houston area Champions Golf Club. These lovely mums are a reminder of how hardy and long-lasting garden mums can be. And as you can see, they are just beautiful! I rounded the corner after attending a baby shower inside and on my way back to the car, there they were — a huge mass planting brightening everyone’s day.

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Yellow Roses of Texas

So, I know you are planning on going to the Rose Society Show in November, but what can we learn about roses before then? Where can we buy a good rose? What roses are good for Southeast Texas? Are they hard to take care of? These are the most common rose questions that I see asked. These rosarians can help with the answers, but let’s get started with a little information about roses today.

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We commonly say, “I love the morning glories on the back fence,” but did you know there are over 1,000 species of flowering plants in the world that are called “morning glory”? They are loosely held together in the family called Convolvulaceae and are revered for their beautiful blooms each morning.

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This beauty is a perfect addition to your yard. The shrimp plant has a rather sophisticated botanical name: Justicia brandegeeana. It was named after the American botanist Townsend Stith Brandegee (1843-1925) according to an interesting article titled “Reiman Gardens” in the Iowa State University blog. The species is indigenous to Mexico, where it was discovered. Brandegee is given credit for bringing many beautiful and hardy Mexican plants to the U.S. Your grandma may have called the shrimp plant “false hop” or “Mexican shrimp.”

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Yes, it is that wonderful time of the year again when those green leaves in the trees surprise us with how much they grow every day, and birds just everywhere with their antics. And we are getting very busy in the yard. It can even be overwhelming. Hopefully, you have clipped dead branches and prepared a little section of your yard for growing some new little seedlings, even if it is some pots with brand new potting soil.

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I can’t resist the temptation to buy those beautiful “about to flower” bulbs in the nurseries and big box stores this time of year. Can you? They tease us with such a variety of colors and flowers and fragrances that it is almost impossible to say no.

Most all of these bulbs have been “forced” to bloom, and are called “winter forced.” Some of them bloom indoors for us and nowhere else. But lately I’ve had some luck with transplanting those bulbs to an outdoor spot. What do you have to lose?

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Keeping your garden looking its best throughout the growing season and into fall is possible with the help of low maintenance bulbs planted in the spring. Plant them among other annuals or perennials and watch as these bulbs brighten the garden, adding new life to your late season gardens.

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Some plants are just plain pretty. The Persian shield (Strobilanthes) got its name from that sheen on the leaf that gives it a sort of metallic look. The leaves are so iridescent that it truly is as showy as a blooming flower. Gardeners in the North and South and all in between love this delightful tropical shrub. It has amazing purple foliage. It will also produce pale purple flowers. Put it in garden beds, borders or containers. Just think of this striking plant next to some purple Bordeaux “Supertunias.”

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