Successful Seeds: Good News Bad News

Bishop’s Flower (Ammi majus)

I have many plants that naturally reseed very well, but I do like to add others for a variety of blooms.

Classic butterfly on a Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

In this climate we plant most seeds in the fall, say a prayer and wait until spring.

I do this almost every year and most seeds do not grow to produce flowers.

Drummond Phlox (Phlox drummondii)

So, the good news is that many of the seeds I planted last fall grew and flowered.

The bad news is that I think I have figured out why the plants have not matured in the past. I have not seen a rabbit in my yard since early last spring and the rabbits are probably the reason that most of the seedlings never matured, as they are a tasty treat for rabbits. There is a virus killing rabbits in West Texas and I am concerned it has arrived here. Of course, I was never happy that rabbits ate so much of my garden, but I did make friends with several and they would come right up to me to be fed. It would be very sad if a virus was the reason for the lack of rabbits in my yard.


Oh My Goodness…

… teeny tiny caterpillars hatched. There was a lot of concern for the Monarchs making the trip from Mexico, because so much of Texas and its plants were hit by the February freeze. I cheated and bought some mature plants from the nursery, as all of my Butterfly Weed had frozen. I’m glad I did and it worked out well for the next generation.


Anole Lizards

It is heating up and the anole lizards are out enjoying the sun. I often find them on my Dancing Girl statute.

Y’all have heard of lounge lizards, well here are some garage lizards. I put my tropical plants into the garage for the winter and the lizards came along. The plants were watered all winter and of course here, we never run out of bugs inside or outside. The lizards have stayed in the garage and I’m not sure what they are doing for water. Maybe bugs are enough.

These two spotted a anole lizard on the outside of the window and got a little riled up.


Camellias

A reader asked for pictures of my camellias and I am a little late with posting, but here they are. Moving down here from the North, I find camellias to be amazing. They bloom from October through March providing flowers for all the cold months. I am at the edge of the Piney Woods and the camellias benefit from the acidic pine needles. Unfortunately, I don’t know the exact name of all of them.

The first to bloom, usually in mid October, is a sasanqua. They are a single form with a wonderful scent.

Shi-Shi camellia blooms late November through December. It is a low growing shrub that is covered in flowers.

The two sasanqua flowers above are from the same shrub. How can that be I wondered? I thought my memory was going because I was sure the plant had white flowers and the next year they were pink. The third year it was both pink and white. Someone made a grafting mistake.

This pink japonica has beautiful full flowers. It always does well and the branches become weighted down with heavy flowers.

The end of winter brings Professor Sargent with tight medium sized blooms.

White by the Gate blooms with large pure white flowers in February and March.

Finally, Royal Red Velvet shows off her huge stunning red flowers that have a yellow center. This camellia can grow up to 12′ high, which would be spectacular. I hope you enjoyed my winter camellias.


Southern Scents

There is nothing like a Southern Spring full of wonderful scents. The tiny flowers of the American Holly tree have such a strong scent that it draws me to it from across the yard.

The Little Gem Magnolia is loaded with buds and flowers this year. One flower will nicely scent a small room. The blooming trees have really benefited our pollinators that have been missing our usual spring flowers.


The Ginger Garden Before and After

This is my ginger garden after the freeze. The plants had turned to mush. The stalks were from last summer’s plants that I usually leave until they turn brown and the new growth starts.

I removed all the dead ginger stalks which took about two days. I have never seen this bed empty since we moved in.

The good news is that the tubers were far enough underground to survive the extreme cold. Now I can look forward to beautiful scented flowers this summer.


This and That

I am not very successful at starting seeds in pots, but Mother Nature does a good job wherever she can find some soil. These are Jewels of Opar growing in an old brick.

I found one of my ceramic bluebirds shattered. It has sat in this garden bed for years. The pair was inexpensive, but they always made me smile.

Moses-in-the-Bullrushes is my favorite plant because it was given to me by my grandparents over 45 years ago. The plant loves our Gulf Coast climate and has reproduced manyfold. I was surprised to see it sold for $15 a pot at the nursery. Hmm, I may want to have a plant sale.


Some Spring Blooms

Although this is not our usual spring due to a freezing February, a few Texas tough plants manged to bloom. The Gulf Coast Penstemon has put out its delicate flowers in three locations in the garden.

Cannas seem to be able to survive anything. This one had no problem coming back quickly and blooming.

Happily, the Hinckley’s Columbine had absolutely no issue with the freeze and just continued on its way.

The Passion Flowers are grown in pots so they rode out the cold in the garage. This has been an unusual spring with very few flowers, but everyday with the temperatures rising, humidity up and a few light showers more flowers will be coming along.


Staying Behind

We always have Goldfinches stopping by in the winter. This winter the area hosted many flocks of the little birds. When they are visiting here, the Goldfinches are a drab olive green. The large flock that was in my yard eating through many bags of expensive Nyjer seed are long gone.

For some reason this fellow has stayed behind. I have watched him change his feathers to the bright yellow summer color, which we never get to see here. I thought maybe there was a female around, but I haven’t seen that bird recently. It will be interesting to see how long the male Goldfinch stays here all alone.


Hooray for the Automatic Garden

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It has been a little more than two weeks since our epic freeze. The Automatic Garden is pulling through and plants are erupting. The first plants up are mostly from bulbs and rhizomes that could take the cold better.

The purple Oxalis were the first to recover.

Bluebonnets made it through the freeze unscathed.

Mealy Blue Sage also seemed unbothered by the cold.

The Drimiopsis maculata had some mushy bulbs, but enough survived.

I believe nothing can kill this passalong canna.

The plants I have been most worried about are my gingers and I have started to see some signs of life.

One Snowflake flower was able to bloom.

I will have a nice list of plants that can survive hurricanes, flooding rains, drought and record breaking freezes on the Gulf Coast.