Sweet and Petite

Early Springs brings very sweet and petite flowers that are one time bloomers.  The Purple Oxalis has been joined by a white one that is sold here as Shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.

Violets bring back childhood memories of my siblings and me picking as many of them as we could from the yard before it was time to mow the grass.

This Ageratum doesn’t seem to mind the cold and has been growing new leaves and buds through the winter.

The Crocosmia took a rest last year and did not make any flowers.  This year a few are coming.

This darling little white flower is a bit of a mystery.  I must have gotten it at a plant exchange and was told it was a ground poppy.  I cannot find any information on it and maybe someone will recognize it.  The leaves emerge in late winter and the plant has multiplied, but seems to move all over the bed.  When the summer heats up, the plant disappears.  None the less, it is a welcome sign of Spring.

If anyone wants to try to identify this, here is a photo with the leaves.

Plants That Cannot Be Killed

Vitex Trees have beautiful purple flowers, but if left alone they grow out of control.  As it turns out, they are impossible to kill.  This one was chopped down to the ground (click on the first photo) and sure enough it has sent out multiple stems this spring.  The lesson has been learned to keep it trimmed and under control.

These are examples of spreading plants that can quickly get out of control.  The Peruvian Lily multiplies underground and each tuber must be dug up…if you can find them.  The Sedum was just one plant in a 4 inch pot.  It spreads like wildfire and if a piece of it is thrown on soil, it roots.  What can be said about Oxalis?  One becomes hundreds.

This Golden Dewdrop has been cut and poisoned.  It is still there and comes back year after year.


This Sword Fern was a passalong plant and just sat there with its two or three frons.  And then, it went into action, multiplying nonstop.  Every year, half of it is pulled up, but it doesn’t slow down.

Every gardener enjoys easy to grow plants.  There are certainly some that need to be kept in check before they get out of hand. Still working on that!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day


Our version of Shamrocks.  This is an Oxalis from the grocery store that was purchased 18 years ago.  It is very happy in the Automatic Garden and it has sent its offspring throughout the property.

Some Like It Cold

This past winter has been one of the coldest we have had on the Gulf Coast in awhile.  As it turns out, many plants enjoyed the cold and actually thrived and improved.  Of course, some did not make it through the freezes.DSC_0038

This White by the Gate camellia put on a spectacular show this spring.  It was just filled with blooms.  A couple of weeks later it bloomed again.  Not quite as full as the first cycle, but a nice surprise.  As spring continued with cool temperatures and low humidity, the camellia sporadically opened a few flowers each week.  It seems that the cold temperatures and lack of rain kept away the fungus that makes the buds drop, giving a beautiful full bloom cycle for the camellia.


This Black and Blue Salvia was on its last leg and did not even bloom last year.  Apparently, it liked being frozen to the ground.  It came back stronger than ever and is producing flowers.  Notice how black the buds look.  They will turn blue when they open.


Another benefit of  cold weather, is the lack of spider mites.  This Oxalis is usually lacking  its bright purple colors due to the mites sucking on it.  (There is still a little pine pollen on it.)


The Clematis had spectacular blooms.  Clematis is hard to grow in this climate and the cold temperatures really encouraged blooms.


The Hinckley’s Columbine has barely bloomed for the last two years, but this spring the flowers were so prolific the stems could not hold it them up.



Winter White


Paperwhite (Narcissus tazetta)     A reliable bloomer.


Snowdrops (galanthus)    These grow Texas tall at over 20 inches.


Pirate’s Pearl (Bidens humilis)    Sold as an annual, but it still keeps going.


Penta (Rubiaceae lanceolata)    This year’s winter was warm enough to keep it blooming.


Salvia     This variety has been in the garden for many years. It is root hardy and reseeds.


Oxalis    This was purchased in a grocery store 15 years ago and was sold as a “shamrock”.


Rose (Ducher)    An antique variety that likes to bloom in the winter.


The Automatic Garden has had many plants blooming during this mild winter, which have kept the Rufous Hummingbirds happy.  Quite a few of the white flowers are currently blooming.  All have been in the garden for many years with the exception of of the Pirate’s Pearl which was added late last summer and has exceeded expectations.