After several days of above-average—and way too warm for this time of year—weather, a mild cold front came through last night and dropped temperatures ten degrees. The cooler air made gardening a pleasure again, so I got out and planted two new roses I bought at the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham last weekend: ‘The Fairy’ and ‘Marie Pavie.’ Below is a rose I bought earlier this spring, ‘Belinda’s Dream.’ I love the fat rosebuds and gorgeous, pink flowers.
The antique roses are much more drought-tolerant than traditional teas. I like planting them amid my xeric garden. They’re tough and require only a few additional hand-waterings during the summer. These types of roses lived on at abandoned homesteads long after the homesteaders and their watering cans moved on.
‘Belinda’s Dream’ rosebud and spineless prickly pear
A large garden spider waits in her web in the front garden
I spotted the garden spider pictured here behind the weeping yaupon in the front garden. The yaupon berries are bright red now, and the branches of the weeping yaupon droop as if laden with berries. Of course, they actually droop all year round.
Fall color, Austin-style: weeping yaupon, Mexican bush sage, skeleton leaf goldeneye, Lindheimer muhly grass
Mexican bush sage & orange lantana
My next-door neighbor complimented me on this combination of plants (which I can’t take credit for; they were in the only native-plant bed in the yard when I moved in) around Halloween, commenting that the lantana flowers looked like miniature pumpkins. They really do.
A dreaded cucumber beetle on a fuzzy, purple Mexican bush sage blossom
My garden was overrun with cucumber beetles this fall/winter. They ate the flowers, buds, and even leaves of many of my natives and the roses. I let them be, waiting and waiting for a freeze, and had just decided to spray an insecticide when a freeze finally arrived and knocked the population down. I hear that nematodes will eat the larvae of these destroyers, so I may try some.
A more welcome visitor, this friendly cat my daughter has named Ice Cream has made himself at home in the front garden. He’s probably out there hunting innocent songbirds and leaving “presents” in the mulch, but he is beautiful and very affectionate, and we’ve begun to look for him when we go outside.