Old Faithfuls

Black and Blue Salvia guaranitica.

Salvia coccinea

Black Eyed Susan

Butterfly Weed

Gulf Coast Penstemon

These plants are the backbone of my garden.  I can count on them every year. Many have been transplanted from my former house nearly 20 years ago and others are passalongs.  They have faithfully grown and multiplied for years and should continue to do so.

 


Foraging for Volunteers

The Automatic Garden is full of plants that multiply in one way or another. The offspring does not always land in a bed.  A Polka Dot plant came up in the cobble stones among leaves and Elm tree seedlings.

I love to forage around my yard looking for volunteers.  This Black-eyed Susan is growing happily between the patio and grass.

It is always amazing how little soil is needed for a plant to germinate. A Columbine and Hardy Gloxinia are growing on this moss rock.

The Oenothera grandiflora preferred to grow in the grass and managed to survive several mowings.

I find plants cannot resist germinating in cracks.  There are at least 3 different kinds plants started here.  Over the last few weeks, I have been popping them up and replanting them where they belong.


Summer Bloomers

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The summer heat is on and we are looking at 102f degrees (actual temperature) for the next few days.  Thankfully, some of my faithful flowers can take the heat.

The Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) greets me from my kitchen window each morning.  Yes, we do like to name as many things “Texas” as we can.  I recently found out that George Washington also grew this plant. He probably didn’t call it Texas Star.

The Black Eyed Susan is a reseeding annual and can pop up anywhere in the garden.  I never mind volunteers and just transplant them back in their beds.

The seeds for this Cleome are from my father, who always called them Spider Plants.

Many bloggers have shown photos of Purple Cone Flowers.  I just have one hanging on, as the deer and rabbits ate most of the flowers.

Butterfly Weed is ready and waiting for the Monarch Butterflies.

I was in total awe when I first saw a Shrimp Plant (Justicia brandegeana), I had never seen a plant like it.  Now, it happily fills my garden from a cutting given to me by my mother-in-law.

 

 

 


They’re Back and Blooming

After a year of record breaking rain and freezing temperatures down to the teens, I was worried about my plants returning.  But, they’re back and bigger than ever.  I have been growing these reseeding Black Eyed Susan for many years and have never seen the flowers this large.

A seed from a Blanket Flower made its way across the driveway to grow in this crack.

It seems very happy against the hot wall and drive.

Speaking of hot,  Hot Lips is back.  It is Salvia microphylla.

The Mexican Hat returned. Being in a raised bed might have helped it survive the rains as they prefer drier soil.

One of my all time favorites, Balsam Impatiens, germinated from the seeds they dropped last year. Surprisingly, the seeds were not washed away.

These plants were grown by our founding fathers.

The Tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata), managed to reseed a plant or two.

Even though the Butterfly Weed froze to the ground, the roots survived and it is ready for the Monarchs to visit.

A Five Lined Skink photo bombed the shoot.

Although most of the plants survived, there is always room for something new.  I added this Bat Faced Cuphea, but expected it to be red and dark purple, but it is pretty anyway.

Another new addition is this petunia that just showed up in a front yard bed.  I know I grew some several years ago.  Did the seed survive or blow in from a neighbor?  I will enjoy it while it’s here.

My winter anxiety has finally been relieved by seeing new blooms everyday. The Automatic Garden survived.

 


Currently Blooming

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I have been a bit worried about whether or not my perennials and reseeders would come back this year after all the harsh weather.  Butterflies and Hummingbirds are starting to arrive and there was not much for them to feed on as the freeze took most of the flowers.  I have been relieved the past week or so to see my plants returning. The following photos are of plants that have faithfully grown in the Automatic Garden for years.

I have a large collection of Amaryllis, but they have not bloomed over the last few years.  I was thrilled to find this one blooming.

This little Coreopsis has started to put out a few flowers.

Clematis do not enjoy our climate, but this one is in a pot on the shaded patio.  It really liked the cold spell and has put out several blooms.

The White Soldiers (Drimiopsis maculata)  have been a prolific and are planted throughout the gardens.  This patch sat in water for days.

Old faithful, my red Saliva  (Coccinea), was completely mowed down from the freeze and is just starting to come back.

This small shrub was started by seed. The original Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Brunfeisia) was accidentally cut down recently.

The red Canna was a passalong and I don’t think any amount of bad weather could kill it.

For nearly 20 years the Back Eyed Susan has been reseeding itself.

Bees and hummers are happy to see the Gulf Coast Penstemon flowers. This plant is also a passalong and does so well that it needs to be thinned every year.

The Columbine aquilegia has not done well lately, so it was good to see several plants blooming this year.

Speaking of faithful, the rabbits are back and appear when I am out in the yard to remind me to put some seed down for them.

Of course no good deed goes unpunished and the rabbits ate my new Coneflower down to the ground.

 

 


Gave It A Try

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Yes, this is a weed patch.  It was a bed of Black- Eyed Susans inundated with weeds.  Not wanting to use herbicide, I covered the bed with black lawn bags hoping to bake and smother the weeds and seeds.  After more than a month, the bags were removed and the soil looked great.  The Black-Eyed Susans’ seeds were replanted and soon tiny green leaves appeared.   But, a couple of weeks later the plants’ leaves were developed enough to clearly identify them.  All were weeds.

I guess I will have to do weed removal the old fashion way and pick every single one out by hand!  The bed is  about 5′ by 3′ which is much bigger than this close-up shot. Pick, pick, pick…


Automatic Gardening in the Fall

Fall is an important time of year to ensure the Automatic Garden will continue in the spring.  The following are some steps to take to keep the garden going.

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Take cuttings of tender plants before the temperatures dip.  These Coleus are from plants purchased several years ago.  They need to go inside for winter and replanted in the spring.  Once they start growing again, even more cuttings can be taken to fill the bed.

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This Red Hibiscus is treated the same as coleus.  Both plants need to be in a sunny window for winter.

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Allow plants to reseed on their own.  These Black Eyed Susans are from a plant started in the garden over 15 years ago.  It will show up in different parts of the yard with help from birds and wind.

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Wishbone or Torenia has been a wonderful reseeder.  Its tiny seeds may come up in various locations and cracks, but easily transplants to desired locations.

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It is always a good idea to collect some  seeds to ensure the garden continues.  Freezes, pests and animals can take their toll on seedlings.

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Start plants for spring in pots, especially those that need some extra care. On the Gulf Coast spring begins as early as February.

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Let seedlings start in beds.  One of the perks of Automatic Gardening is never needing to dig up beds and turn soil.  Plants are germinating and growing at all times.  It is important to be able to tell seedling from weeds!

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Many perennials begin to put out their new foliage as soon as the last flower turns to seed.  The dead stems can be removed.

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On the Gulf Coast, most flower seeds are planted during the fall.  It is a great time to make plans for next spring.