Coronary heart eyes for heartleaf skullcap and extra

Could 26, 2021

A blue haze has settled over the driveway-island mattress, the silvery blue flowers of heartleaf skullcap (Scutellaria ovata). I discover myself stopping to admire them each time I step outdoors.

It fills in properly round a ‘Vanzie’ whale’s tongue agave (Agave ovatifolia), ‘Vertigo’ pennisetum grass, Mexican oregano (Poliomintha longiflora), and Texas dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor), all of which develop in shiny shade.

A sprinkling of native white rain lilies (Cooperia pedunculata) popped up after the rain, including their aromatic, starry blossoms to the scene. When the flowers fade and black seeds seem within the dried capsule, I flick them up onto the bermed mattress to make extra.

Heartleaf skullcap seems particularly fairly paired with contemporary green-and-white stripes — on this case, a variegated miscanthus grass. ‘Sparkler’ sedge and variegated flax lily additionally work nicely.

Heartleaf skullcap sticks round from winter (as a reasonably, blue-green groundcover) by Could, after which it goes dormant for summer time. Good plant. Turk’s cap fills a lot of the hole in summer time.

After taking successful within the February freeze, the backyard is now rising like mad. Little question a late-winter utility of compost — one thing I don’t do usually sufficient — helps. Even the silver Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis var. argentea), a plant I wasn’t positive would survive, is stretching larger with new fringy fronds.

Salvia guaranitica provides cobalt flower spikes to the combination.

The Texas sotol (Dasylirion texana) bloom spikes flopped waaaaay over through the current heavy rains. I minimize off the bottom one this morning, because it was laying within the neighbors’ driveway. The opposite two try to face again up. The bees beloved them once they first opened, however there’s much less motion now.

Purple skullcap’s tidy mound of foliage (Scutellaria wrightii) sprinkled with violet flowers seems nice and stands as much as innumerable canine lifting their legs on it. Quickly ‘Peter’s Purple’ monarda will likely be blooming right here too.

Bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa), the bright-green grass within the background, is coming again robust from its roots. A lethally spiky trio of replanted ‘Burgundy Ice’ dyckia occupies a steel-pipe throne.

On the opposite aspect of the driveway, this house is now formally a turquoise backyard. A grid of paleleaf yuccas (Y. pallida) coexist with a brand new powder-blue wheeler’s sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri), which changed a freeze-melted ‘Inexperienced Goblet’ agave. Filling again in as a groundcover is woolly stemodia (Stemodia lanata). Ceramic balls in shades of blue lead the attention to the turquoise entrance door.

Mullein passalongs (Verbascum spp.) from my buddy Jenny at Rock Rose weblog have began blooming.

And oh boy!, so has the Berkeley sedge (Carex divulsa) lawnette. It’s taller than ever and glowing with seedheads within the background of this picture. I confess it began trying weedy even to me. So I obtained out the battery-operated mower and made a few passes over it this week. It’s my once-a-year mow. Really it’s fairly satisfying to show the meadowy sedge right into a mown garden (however not for heavy foot visitors).

I don’t know what’s happening right here. An experiment, I assume! I had just a few further ‘Everillo’ sedges earlier than the massive freeze and plunked them into the curbside strip for a little bit of winter coloration. And now Mexican feathergrass has popped up subsequent to them, creating a wierd forest-meets-grasslands look. Properly, that’s OK. I’m enjoying with ‘Everillo’ to see how a lot Texas solar and dry soil it may tolerate. To date it’s been far more adaptable than I anticipated for such a Pacific Northwest-looking plant.

Salvia guaranitica, most likely the ‘Black and Blue’ cultivar, seems so fairly within the shady backyard.

The aspect backyard is blooming properly now that deer are leaving the UpTick coreopsis alone. Credit score deer repellant for that. Which jogs my memory, I ought to go spray once more after all of the rain.

Coreopsis x ‘Baluptgonz’ is the official title, however extra familiarly it’s UpTick Gold & Bronze coreopsis. I obtained it at one of many big-box shops earlier this spring.

Blazing saddles!

Within the again backyard, bulbine (changed after the freeze) is pumping out orange-and-yellow bloom spikes. I assume I ought to have changed the feathergrass too, which has a bit inexperienced on it however is generally brown. Or, I don’t know, possibly the tawny stems work with the orange flowers. Yellow-flowering pink yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) stands tall at left, however the two Yucca rostrata in again personal this stage.

I noticed this little man hanging out within the strappy yucca leaves yesterday.

A inexperienced anole — so cute!

I’ve modified up the raised beds a bit for the reason that freeze. ‘Alphonse Karr’ clumping bamboo grows the place a whale’s tongue agave (together with Moby) had all the time stood. A freeze-killed ‘Sparkler’ sedge within the huge blue pot made means for a steel — aka unkillable — agave. Take that, Subsequent Arctic Blast!

However in fact I nonetheless develop freeze-tender vegetation. As long-season annuals, tender mangaves like this new ‘Moonglow’ make nice focal factors. (In a gentle winter it would survive.) Its darkish, speckled coloring does remind me of moonlight dappling a nighttime backyard. ‘Everillo’ sedge provides a splash of daylight.

Trying the opposite means towards the shed

A ceramic saucer full of water makes a easy birdbath, an thought I stole from my buddy Cat’s backyard. A flower of recycled knives and spoons blooms subsequent to it.

Volunteer seedlings of tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis) flower subsequent to yellow-striped yuccas.

The daylilies are blooming too. That is ‘Wilson’s Yellow’, which I’ve had for 15 or 20 years and introduced over from my final backyard.

It pops in opposition to the dark-gray stain on the deck skirting.

The place a squid agave froze, within the low inventory tank at left, a striped ‘Espresso’ mangave now grows. I uprooted this huge specimen from a shady spot when the patio roof was going up, protected it in the home through the epic freeze, and now am making an attempt it in a great deal of solar. It appears fairly glad. By July I’ll know for positive. It got here from a pup given to me years in the past by designer and writer Scott Ogden.

Riffing on stripes, a trio of ‘Brilliant Edge’ yuccas anchors a mattress of come-and-go perennials, together with daylily, plumbago, oxalis, ‘Grapes’ gomphrena, and pink Turk’s cap.

‘Sterntaler’ coreopsis grows right here too. Is there any distinction between ‘Sterntaler’ and UpTick, which I’ve within the aspect backyard? I can’t inform them aside.

Extra ‘Sterntaler’

Yellow bloom spikes on the non-red yucca (Hesperaloe)

I used to be simply telling a buddy how I’ve battled for a decade to maintain this patch of purple coronary heart (Tradescantia pallida) in bounds. I like it, although, when it seems like this: a curving swath in a low mattress behind the pool, its steely leaves harmonizing with the dark-gray seat wall.

Within the Circle Backyard, a variegated whale’s tongue agave continues to be in restoration mode after the freeze, which practically froze its moonlight-yellow stripes clear off. I’m hopeful the attractive coloring will come again. Purple coneflowers stretch above it. Even larger, a ‘Sapphire Skies’ Yucca rostrata looms within the background.

Whale’s tongue agave with purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) grown from seed

A pollinator favourite and a local Texas plant

Yet one more

It’s pool season, however we haven’t been in it but due to all of the rain. With June upon us, although, it’s only a matter of days till this would be the place to be.

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Digging Deeper: Information and Upcoming Occasions

It’s pond tour time! Seize your solar hat and attend Austin’s twenty sixth annual Pond and Backyard Tour on June 5 and 6. Sponsored by the Austin Pond Society, the tour consists of 13 ponds over two days, with admission of $20 upfront (till 5/31) and $25 on the day of (on-line funds solely; no money).

Need to discover ways to develop greens in Central Texas? Attend a free webinar on June 15 hosted by the Travis County Grasp Gardeners Assoc. My buddy Sheryl Williams is educating it, and she or he says “We’ll cowl the entire course of from planning to harvesting, with loads of struggle tales from my very own backyard.” Enroll right here.

Be a part of the mailing record for Backyard Spark! Hungry to study backyard design from the specialists? I’m internet hosting a sequence of talks by inspiring backyard designers, panorama architects, and authors just a few occasions a 12 months in Austin. Talks will resume this fall. These are limited-attendance occasions that promote out shortly, so be a part of the Backyard Spark electronic mail record to be notified upfront. Merely click on this hyperlink and ask to be added.

All materials © 2021 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized copy prohibited.

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