garden gate

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? One of the homes we lived in had a small water pond that I knew absolutely nothing about when we first moved in. But without any attention from me these lilies bloomed and floated on the surface of the water with unbelievable colors and a certain ‘mystique.’ The podiatrist who had owned the home for years and his yardman had done a wonderful job with the backyard, including installing the pond. It wasn’t long until I discovered that there was some maintenance involved, but not an overwhelming amount.

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Rose of Sharon is such a heat-loving beauty that I can’t help but admire her this time of year.  She not only gives you beautiful flowers but flowers with height.  Another plus for Rose of Sharon is that she blooms later in the summer than some other summer standbys, which have long since given up flowering because of the heat.

The official name of our hardy bloomer in the U.S. is “Hibiscus syriacus.”  Most Americans can easily find this deciduous shrub in whites, pinks and lavenders.

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No, the name is not the newest dental disorder.  On the contrary Pericallis is one of the most vibrantly colored and long-lasting flowers around. I spotted this beauty in the plant area of a nearby box store last March and some of them went home with me.  They have recently called it a day because of the extreme heat but lasted for months with no problem.  

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Joette Reger

I’ve always thought that the fuchsia flower was one of the most beautiful things that gardeners could put into a hanging basket but then I learned that they have a history too. A most interesting English article at www.fuchsiaflower.co.uk opened my eyes to the background of this plant.

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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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A recent trip to a for the beautiful wedding of Monet, the gorgeous daughter of a friend of mine, Norma Motiee, will find me always remembering a few things: the lovely church and service, the chic looking guests from Beaumont and all corners of the world, the festive 15-minute walk down the cobblestone streets led by a mariachi band to the after-party, the views in all directions of this UNESCO protected city, and the lovely fields of lavender we could smell all over town. The lavender aroma permeated the air and scented the parks.

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Mistletoe

I’ve always wondered about that lore of kissing under the mistletoe, and after countless movies on the Hallmark channel, I thought it might be fun to investigate just where this all started. How could a parasite become something so mystical?

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Joette Reger of Garden Gate

It is such a thrill each year to see the little buds come out on my Christmas cactus plants. Seems like they tease me for about three weeks before the buds turn into gorgeous blooms. What a seasonal decoration! Between blooming seasons, I keep them along with “expired” orchids on the tile floor under a piano. That way, it is hard to forget to give them watering every week or so until they surprise me with blooms again.

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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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