Wow, what gorgeous weather we’ve been having: sunny, low humidity, and perfect for getting outside, whether to plant, doze in a chair, or just gaze at the garden as it moves into its second spring. The showiest plants in my garden this week are the oxblood lilies (Rhodophiala bifida) massed in the raised beds behind the house. They come up around the toothy, fleshy leaves of soap aloe (Aloe maculata).
Red against blue, with the early ripening red “berries” of native chile pequin (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum) behind. Echoing the shape of the sun person’s head…
…predatory wheel bugs were mating among the Philippine violet leaves yesterday. I’d never encountered a wheel bug in my garden before, so this was a cool sighting!
Another buggy update: Shelob, the bigger of the garden spiders in the lower garden, is doing well, her web highlighted by the setting sun.
But Aragog, the slightly smaller sister, is nowhere to be seen, and her web is in tatters. I wonder if she got eaten?
Moving on…the Mexican weeping bamboo (Otatea acuminata aztecorum) and bottle tree glow in late afternoon.
I planted Moby‘s replacement yesterday: another whale’s tongue agave (A. ovatifolia), a wavy-leaved cultivar called ‘Vanzie’, which was a gift from Nathan at Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery. Thanks, Nathan! ‘Vanzie’ looks tiny now (although it’s a bit bigger than Moby was when first planted), but it’ll grow quickly.
I’m filling in around it with silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea ‘Silver Falls’) — thanks for the suggestion, Bob Beyer — which may not make it through the winter if we have a sustained cold snap or two. But hopefully we’ll have another mild winter, and it’ll come back strong next spring.
Here’s another view of ‘Vanzie’ (in the background) but also the bloom spike of ‘Bloodspot’ mangave. I nearly cut the bloom spike down a few weeks ago, but I’m glad I left it because now bulbils (baby clones of the mother plant) are growing on it!
There are only three bulbils so far, but I’ll give it a few weeks to see if it makes more. And then I’ll harvest them as replacement plants for the mother plant, just as I did with Moby’s recently.
I was given a beautiful Mexican olive (Cordia boissieri) earlier this year from Betty Perez of McAllen, Texas. Betty and Colleen Hook of Quinta Mazatlan invited me to deliver the keynote presentation at Planta Nativa, McAllen’s native plant festival, this October. They were in Austin this spring and visited my garden, and that’s when Betty gifted me with this pretty little tree, native to South Texas, which she grew from seed at her ranch.
It recently suffered an unfortunate amputation of half its branches when my DH was trimming tree branches over the roof and one fell in just the wrong spot. It still looks pretty in a chartreuse plastic pot mulched with Mexican beach pebbles.
Thbbbbttt! That’s what’s happening in my garden this first true week of autumn. How about in yours?
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events
Austinites and native-plant shoppers, I’ll be at the member’s day Fall Plant Sale at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Friday, October 14, and I hope to see you there! I’ll be signing books from 1 to 3 pm in the Wild Ideas gift shop. If you’re not a member, of course you can still come on out and see the gardens and stop in at Wild Ideas. Hope to see you there!
South Texans, come see me at the 2nd annual Planta Nativa festival in McAllen, Texas, on Saturday, October 22. I’ll be delivering the keynote talk, “Local Heroes: Designing with Native Plants for Water-Saving Gardens,” that evening. Tickets are on sale at Quinta Mazatlan. I hope to see you there!
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