Beautiful, But Deadly

Today we woke up to the ground covered with snow. It was a beautiful site.

The overnight temperatures dropped to 16 degrees.

For those of you in a northern climate, it is no big deal. But here on the Gulf Coast, it has been difficult to deal with. Our houses are not made to keep the heat in, it is just the opposite. We do not have equipment to clean our roads. And the people that provide our electricity were not prepared. Many have spent hours without heat or water. I have been lucky so far. We are facing another frigid night.

My plants have froze and are turning to mush.

I am pretty sure the ones I covered are not going to make it.

A majority of plants here stay green in the winter and also bloom.

Snow is beautiful, but deadly in a climate that is not prepared.

Bromeliad Update

This bromeliad was one of the plants I had in my Christmas post. I thought it was prefect for the holiday as the flowers of this first time bloomer were red and green. I was quite amazed when the flowers opened all the way and they were blue. The bromeliad was full of surprises this year.

A Wagon Load of Moses

My Moses-in-the-Bulrushes (Tradscantia spathacea), spent many years growing in pots as a houseplant. The plant and its offspring have been with me since the 70’s. It has never been so happy as it has been since moving to the South.

Moses drops its seeds that readily germinate and the plant will spread. I have never been one to throw out a living plant and as they grew too big for beds, I’ve had to pull them up and replant them anyplace I could find space. The Moses I just pulled from a small corner bed filled the entire wagon. My one little pot has probably multiplied to nearly one hundred.

*I wrote this a few weeks ago and the grass is not as green right now.

Christmas Miracles in the Garden

There has been a few small miracles in the garden. Nature somehow knew this was the year that something was needed to lift spirits. The bougainvillea has bloomed for the first time since it was brought home from the nursery many years ago. The plant didn’t put on much of a show, but it was enough to brighten the season with its reddish flowers.

This plant, which I believe is a Aechmea recurvata Bronze Age and if anyone can identify it please do, has taken a lot of abuse over the years. Rabbits have eaten it back and it had to endure flooding rains. But, this year the plant has finally decided to make some flowers.

The flowers are slow growing and I will update its progress.

Another small miracle, which is personal for me, was a flock of Robins that landed in the yard. The birds busily finished off the berries on the Yaupon Holly and headed to the lawn to look for bugs. Robins always remind me of my childhood up North. In the early evening when we were playing outside, the Robins were always hopping nearby looking for their last meal of the day.

I hope in this difficult year, you all have found a small miracle here and there to bring a bit of joy.

It’s All About Location

Location is everything, especially for plants. I have grown this Blanket Flower in another bed for years. The plant always makes a few blooms and is finished at the end of summer. I decided to throw some seeds into this small bed next to the driveway that is south facing and really heats up. The Blanket Flower loves it there and has been growing larger and blooming for months. It is so big now that it sets of the alarm on the car that lets you know when you are close to an object.

Location does make a difference.

Hyacinth Bean

The Hyacinth Bean, Lablab purpureus, has decided to bloom again. It has made stems of pretty little flowers.

The flowers are barely gone when it starts making seed pods.

I think the best part of this plant is its beautiful seedpods. This variety is called Ruby Moon which is a perfect name.

So Tiny

How nice would it be to spend the day on a yellow bloom? A tiny baby brown anole enjoyed the sunshine on Bartram’s Oenothera grandifloria.

Forsythia Sage

My Forsythia Sage has had a hard life. I brought it with me when we moved 20 years ago. I stuck it in a temporary bed while the landscaping was being finished and it has been there ever since. Unfortunately, it is not a great place and is probably too shady. The sage survived, but it is slowly moving south to get more sunlight. The Forsythia Sage must have hit a sweet spot this year and it finally bloomed.

Critters in the Garden

I always enjoy finding wildlife in the garden.  This has been the year of the  Copperhead.  They always seem to appear just where I want to work.

I found these Rosy Wolf snails intertwined on a flower stem.  I hope that means many more snails are on the way.

This Tree Frog blended in perfectly with a Moses leaf. I haven’t seen as many of those this year.

I almost stepped on the small turtle as it was trying to hide under leaves.

Another baby Copperhead ended up in my work space. Thankfully, I usually see them as I am reaching my hand into the bed. I wonder how many I miss. The Copperheads are pretty chill and will hang around to watch unlike the green garden snake I saw earlier that slithered away as soon as I came upon it.

OK…I thought I was done with this post and sure enough, I came across another Copperhead. I was dumping a load of gingers I had just cut down and there it was. As usual the snake was fine with a little photo shoot.

In Bloom

We have no colorful leaves yet, but as my fellow Texans have been posting, we do have colorful flowers blooming. Above is a Pink Flamingo Feather Celosia. It pops up all over the yard and grows up to five feet tall. The flowers can be dried.

I am not ever sure what this plant is. It planted itself in one of my beds and thrived. From what I researched it is some kind of a wild Mist Flower or wild ageratum. Eupatorium coelestinum grows in this area and that is my best guess. All the pollinators love it, so the plant will stay.

Swamp Sunflower is another plant that waits out the summer before setting its bloom. It is a prolific reseeder and I had to pull up many of them. I left enough to enjoy their sunny flowers in the fall.

The Shampoo ginger (Zingiber zerumbet) prefers to make its red cones in the autumn.

I can never let this time of year pass without photos of my beloved Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis). It starts white and turns to deep rose at the end of the day.

Last year I had to cut the gangling shrub severely and was concerned whether it would come back as robust this year. I am not disappointed. Yes, we do not have the glorious colored leaves of the northeast, but we can have flowers all year, including the luxury to grow winter annuals.