Foliage Follow-Up in Zilker’s Japanese Garden


It’s a little early for fall color, such as we get here in Austin. But this Japanese maple at Zilker Botanical Garden is getting a jump on the season.


Red leaves mingle with green


Shades of green still predominate in the Taniguchi Japanese Garden.


I’ve always liked this octopus-limbed pittosporum that clings to a cliff’s edge. It must be really old.


This tiny fern growing out of a hole in a rock has a tenacious power of its own, doesn’t it?

This is my November post for Foliage Follow-Up. Fellow bloggers, what leafy loveliness is going on in your garden, or one you’ve visited, this month? Please join me in giving foliage its due on the day after Bloom Day. Leave a link to your post in a comment below. I really appreciate it if you’ll also link to my post in your own — sharing link love! If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it. I look forward to seeing your foliage faves.

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Fall flowery goodness at Zilker Botanical Garden


For your Bloom Day viewing pleasure, how about a return visit to Zilker Botanical Garden? Colorful subtropical perennials surround the parking lot, giving visitors a nice blast of color as they walk in. Here’s ever-popular yellow bells (Tecoma stans), with the purple blooms of fall aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) below, a beautiful fall combo for full sun.


A closer look, with what appears to be copper canyon daisy (Tagetes lemmonii) cosmos next to the fall aster.


Masses of red firecracker fern (Russelia rotundifolia) caught my eye, especially as framed by dramatic, tropical-looking leaves. Lush, water-loving plants are not my area of expertise, but maybe someone reading will know what those leaves are? Update: It’s Alocasia macrorhiza. (Thanks, Peter!)


I bet the local hummingbirds love the firecracker fern.


A small lily pond at the edge of the parking lot contains this Japanese lantern, which looks especially pretty with the yellow bells glowing behind it and pond-loving dwarf papyrus (Cyperus haspens) in front.


In the butterfly garden, toothleaf goldeneye (Viguiera dentata) mingles with a pale-flowered aster.


I grew skeleton-leaf goldeneye (Viguiera stenoloba) in my former garden but have never tried the toothleaf (V. dentata), sometimes called sunflower goldeneye. I suspect it may do OK in part shade, since I’ve seen it thriving in Tait Moring’s woodland garden. I should give it a try. Anyone know where I can find it for sale?


Pollinators like it too!

I’m joining Garden Bloggers Bloom Day with this post. For more Bloom Day posts from gardens around the world, visit May Dreams Gardens and check out the links in the comments.

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Plant This: Flipping for Philippine violet


Autumn is a boom time for most Austin gardens, with a spring-like explosion of flowering perennials like salvia, lantana, mistflower, and native daisies. Add Philippine violet (Barleria cristata) to the mix, and enjoy weeks of tubular purple flowers clustered on upright stems of glossy, green leaves.


Native to southeast Asia — but neither a violet nor of Philippine origin, according to online sources — Philippine violet is root hardy here in Austin’s zone 8b, meaning it dies back to the ground in winter but comes back in spring. It’s one of those somewhat cold-tender plants that I’d wait to plant until late spring in order to give its roots a whole growing season to establish before winter. It appreciates morning sun or bright shade in my garden.


I’ve heard that deer find it tasty, so mine are planted in the fenced back garden. It grows 2 to 2-1/2 feet tall and about 1-1/2 feet wide, but I suspect it’d grow larger if given more water. Mine are watered once a week in summer.


I resisted trying Philippine violet for a long time, thinking it too tropical (i.e., thirsty) for my garden. But now I look forward to its fall show and am impressed by its toughness and long bloom period — typically, from mid-October through mid-November. And those glossy green leaves are handsome all spring and summer, even when it’s not in bloom.

So try Philippine violet, fellow mild-winter gardeners. I predict you’ll flip for it.

Note: My Plant This posts are written primarily for gardeners in central Texas. The plants I recommend are ones I’ve grown myself and have direct experience with. I wish I could provide more information about how these plants might perform in other parts of the country, but gardening knowledge is local. Consider checking your local online gardening forums to see if a particular plant might work in your region.

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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