November 11th was a good day to remember my father, because he was a veteran, and to remember my aunt, because November 11th was her birthday – the day was known as “Peace Day” back in the twenties when she was born. I talked to my mom earlier today and she thinks that the flowers in my aunt’s hand were Sweetpeas.
If my dad were alive and here at my house, and if my aunt were alive and came for a visit, we'd all be taking a garden walk together, because they were gardeners, too. I can’t take them on a November tour, but I can take you.
The leaves of the hardy white Hibiscus moscheutos ‘Blue River II’ are one of the few things in the garden that have changed to a yellow autumn color. The Salvia elegans/ Pineapple sage is at its reddest, and the Salvia guaranitica is at its bluest at this time of year.
If Blogger would be ever work right, there'd be a photo of Mexican Marigold/Tagetes lucida right here. Mexican Marigold doesn’t bloom until late fall, and the Rosemary is also blooming right now. Mexican mint marigold leaves can be used to give a tarragon flavor in cooking, helpful in Central Texas where tarragon is almost impossible to grow. Whether I cook with them or not, the color is just right for November.
The Snail Vine/Phaseolous caracalla has been a solid performer since spring.
It's been covered in flowers during summer, and is still making buds and blooms today, but in all those months, I’ve never seen a seed pod. This vine has completely engulfed the obelisk, needing frequent clipping – it's been two weeks since the last clean-up, and the vine is sending long tendrils in every direction, reaching out all over the bed, trying to strangle the Duranta erecta/Skyflower.
The rampant nature of the snail vine makes me think I’d rather put something else on the obelisk next spring. The vegetation is very densely packed, forming into a huge blob toward the top that casts too much shade on the other plants, as if it's trying to shade out whatever it hasn’t been able to choke to death. Snail vine is not supposed to be hardy, so I probably won’t have to evict it, just let winter edit this part of the garden. Perhaps I'll let the Moon Vine grow on this obelisk next year, so the flowers can rise higher that the fence, and will have four sides on which to flaunt those fragrant white flowers, instead of the flat, 6-foot fence.
There are signs of autumn here, but they’re quite different from the gold and red leaves of the North.
I know it’s fall when my Camellia japonica ‘Pius IX’ starts swelling round buds all over the branches.
There’s a Sasanqua camellia in the garden, too, but it didn’t like the weather last summer and is sulking this fall, without a single bud. The japonica has had full years and sparse years, but ever since I bought it in the autumn of 2001, each winter there have been flowers.
The other signal that autumn has arrived is a tree in bud, and I so wish my dad and aunt could have seen this one.
It’s the lovely Loquat tree, [Eriobotrya japonica] stretching out long panicles of flower buds, which will open in a few weeks, sending their fragrance all over the garden.