I’ve planted plenty of butterfly & hummingbird plants, but they’ve been slow to bloom this year. If the rain stops and the sun heats up we may rapidly cross over that line from Spring to Summer this weekend. I’ve already cut back the once-blooming pink rose to under 6-feet and shortened the iris stalks to make the plants look neater. Another wave of flowers are budded and ready to take their turn.
Last winter’s cold and ice killed the Salvia guaranitica, the Pineapple Sage/Salvia elegans and the hybrid Salvia ‘Black & Blue’ to ground level here in NW Austin. All three Salvias were hummingbird favorites last summer, but the Pineapple sage is still struggling up from the ground, the Black & Blue has only buds, and the Salvia guaranitica in the photo above just started to open in the last few days.
The first Larkspur flowers showed color on Monday, weeks after they were blooming in South Austin gardens. Larkspur/Consolida ambigua self-seed each winter, and usually grow quickly in April. This cooler, wetter spring seemed to delay their growth at first, then allowed them to grow way too tall and top-heavy. Recent thunderstorms toppled some, and the heavy wet soil is making some plants rot at the base. Whenever we expand our planting areas I move a few seedlings to the new beds, leaving it up to the Larkspur if they want to grow there.
The first flowers opened on the double yellow, fragrant Oleander from Plant Delights. I bought the rooted cutting [Tony Avent thinks the variety may be 'Mathilde Ferrier'] in March 2001, and grew it on the deck at our last Austin house. It’s lived in a series of containers, with the most recent transplanting done in February 2006 by my friends the Divas of the Dirt.
This week brought the first flowers on the Achillea 'Moonshine', also called yarrow. Both yarrow and lambs ear look good now, but they're frequently a ratty mess by late summer. I just cut them back severely and hope for new fresh foliage. Those buds to the right of the yarrow belong to a lemony yellow reblooming daylily, ‘Happy Returns’.
This bright pink, tidy native is the Cherry Skullcap/ Scutellaria suffrutescens. The plant is generally evergreen here, although the tips were frozen back this winter. Skullcap grows slowly into a mounded sub-shrub that can take sun, heat and is drought resistant.
Okay, so it’s only a two inch ‘Juliet’ tomato, and it’s in a container not the ground, but it’s still a tomato!
We also have a “real” tomato almost ready to eat – an ‘Early Girl’. This is actually the second to turn orange - we lost the first to the critters, which is why we've given up on vine ripe tomatoes and I’m bringing this one inside. In another few hours, if the squirrels haven’t taken out a chunk out of it, some bird will have pecked a hole in it.
Where’s the satin pillow?