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Good morning and welcome to Saturday Morning Garden Blogging!
Sierra Moonrise • Dalea lutea
What a rollercoaster ride the past several weeks have been here in Central Texas. In a very short period of time we went from extended heat waves with temperatures running well above normal for days on end without a single drop of rain to cloudy days, cooler than average temperatures, and lots and lots and lots and lots of rain. The area of the city where I live received over 20" or rain in October. That's 2/3 of our yearly total. Whoa!
I spent all summer dutifully hosing down the garden within the guidelines of the city's stage two watering restrictions in a desperate and often seemingly futile attempt to just keep the garden limping along and barely alive. I was hoping to achieve a minimal Fall bloom at best. But after the unexpectedly bountiful October rains nature has come alive again in Central Texas. The tenacity of plant life never ceases to amaze me and the past few weeks have proven again just how resilient plants can be with a little help from Mother Nature and her finally cooperative rain gods.
Fall is a gorgeous time in Central Texas. Because of our extended growing seasons many plants burst into glorious bloom again with the onset of shorter days, pleasant temperatures, and much cooler nights. Plants love the break from the grind of the summer heat and reward us with an amazing display of autumn color that is barely matched by that of Spring. It more than makes up for the lack of trees changing colors before dropping their leaves. So enough with the boring black and white letters forming flowery phrases and join me below the crushed orange Kosleaf for a brief glimpse of autumn in Austin...
The cosmos stayed normal sized this year unlike last year when they grew over eight feet tall and required major support just to stay up. They're also blooming much more prolifically this season.
Blue Mist Flower
Blue mist flowers are usually huge butterfly magnets but not so much this year as the fluttering beauties have been few and far between. This is the same patch of blue mist flowers where I took this video of butterflies feeding last fall.
Clock Vine and Pink Passion Vine
I bought the clock vine on a whim and planted it in the same pot as the sweet autumn clematis. It slowly grew all summer and only recently has managed to put out a few blooms. In a moment of inspiration I added a pink passion vine to the mix but it hasn't bloomed yet. I'm including a photo of one of the pink passion vines that I planted along the fence that has bloomed so you can get an idea of the combination I'm hoping for if everything survives the winter. There's no guarantee with these two as they're both tender perennials. The clematis still isn't blooming; it's way behind schedule.
I tried for years to get this delicate wildflower established. Finally the results of my efforts have seemingly paid off as I had a little stand of palafoxia pop up this spring and survive the summer. They bloom in the fall and are stunning en mass. I never noticed the intricate detail of the seed heads until I uploaded these pics.
Monterrey Blue Dalea
A rare gem that I snagged a few years ago. While the golden dalea at the top of the diary reseeds like crazy and is a major bee attractor the blue dalea is a bit more reserved. It loves the heat and dry conditions so I wish it would cut loose and reseed itself with uninhibited wild abandon.
Red Yucca Seed Pods
Red yuccas produce thousands of fine papery seeds every year. I collect as many as I can and have probably gathered and sown a few thousand so far. I have yet to see a seedling but that won't keep me from trying. And now they're available in yellow which means of course I had to get one!
Toothleaf goldeneye caught my attention years ago and I fell in love instantly. They grow wild along the roadsides and burst into spectacular bloom each fall so they're kind of hard to miss! Finally one year I decided they were the perfect choice to fill in large blank areas in the nearby meadows. I drove around the back roads and collected seeds, sowed them, and was wonderfully rewarded. Out of all the naturalizing I've done over the years the success of these flowers have garnered the most praise. People are simply awestruck when they see them in full glorious bloom and understandably so.
Another variety of dalea. Unlike the gold and blue dalea pictured above which form small shrubs black dalea behaves more as a groundcover. I love daleas because they're tough and scrubby plants that really thrive in the harsh conditions of Texas' summers and then explode into bloom come fall. Bees adore them and it's not unusual to see hundreds of bees buzzing on daleas when they're in bloom. But unfortunately just like the butterflies the bees have been all but non-existent this time around.
I could go on and on and on but I'll leave it there. I hope y'all enjoyed the quick trip through a small part of the fall garden in Austin and that it brought to you a little bit of the pleasure it brings to me. Visitors and stragglers are always welcome.