Oxblood lily ribbon of red and ruellia reticence


The oxblood lilies (Rhodophiala bifida) atop the retaining wall in the back garden are in full, crimson bloom, and that red ribbon makes me so happy when I step out to view it in the warm afternoon light.


This cluster is growing amid the spiny arms of soap aloe (Aloe maculata). Hmm, these will be tricky to divide one day.


Actually most of these bulbs are growing alongside spiny, tough lovelies, like ‘Bright Edge’ yucca. I particularly like this pairing, with the yucca’s yellow stripes echoing the oxblood’s yellow eye.


Lots of lilies!


Though not native to Texas, they are Texas tough. This is one bulb every Southern garden should have. But just so you know, the deer love to eat the ones I’ve tried out front.


If only this praying mantis was big enough to catch a few deer. Hmm, but then it would be big enough to catch me. Nevermind! I’ll stick with the deer.

I have a question for you about the tall ruellia (Ruellia brittoniana) in which it’s hunting. I bought this plant last October and have it in a container on my shady front porch. It bloomed beautifully last fall, but this year, nada. Not one flower. It has pushed up plenty of new growth, so it seems happy enough, but I’m not. I’d love any suggestions you might have.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Bold leaves and light-catching grasses for Foliage Follow-Up


I’m giving Moby, my ‘Whale’s Tongue’ agave (A. ovatifolia), pride of place in today’s Foliage Follow-Up post. At nearly 7 feet across, he’s the star of the back garden in all seasons, but especially in late summer when the fall-blooming perennials haven’t really revved up yet. An assortment of smaller agaves, mangaves, and manfreda swim alongside him.


Out front in the island bed, Texas dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) is looking especially good now that I’ve cut back the spent heartleaf skullcap that blooms earlier in the year. Several fans of new leaves are standing tall, giving this bed a more tropical look.


And I can’t resist including a picture of bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa) and ‘Burgundy Ice’ dyckia aglow with late-afternoon light.

So what lovely leaves are making you happy in your September garden? Please join me for Foliage Follow-Up, giving foliage plants their due on the day after Bloom Day. Leave your link to your Foliage Follow-Up post in a comment. I really appreciate it if you’ll also include a link to this post in your own post (sharing link love!). If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Bee-autiful activity in the curbside garden


Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) in full bloom are like a flashing neon sign saying EATS to the local honeybees. Man, do they love it.


So do I. They brighten up the summer-tired border with their frothy white blooms.


Here’s a wider view of the curbside bed. The chives always end up lying down after a rain, but it’s a worthy trade from my perspective.


The softleaf yucca (Yucca recurvifolia) has decided to put up another bloom spike of creamy, bell-shaped flowers. This is its second bloom of the summer.


Between the yucca and the salvias, our resident garden spider continues to nosh on bees, grasshoppers, and any other bug she can catch. See her on the left? And at right, tucked amid the yucca’s leaves, notice there are now two egg sacs! I posted about one egg sac a week ago, but she’s been busy since then.


The top one was the first. Now her nursery contains two.


To the right of the garlic chives, I like the lavender echo between purple sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’) and Mexican oregano (Poliomintha longiflora). Both are supremely deer resistant thanks to fragrant foliage.


Datura (Datura wrightii) is going to seed in its dramatically spiky fashion. However, I hope to see more flowers this fall before it shuts down for the season.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.