Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Where Has Randy Been?

I've been terribly tardy with my posting. This time of year the days pass much quicker for me and I find myself more tired than usual. When the leaves start to fall so does my energy level and I have to work very hard to keep myself motivated. Some years are better than others. I sense the air becoming dry and dusty and the colors appear muted and all the brilliant hues disappear. With it, so goes my enthusiasm. Today we got rain, not really enough to amount to anything, but maybe enough to wash out what ever it is in the air that makes me feel so yucky, be it emotional baggage or just the pollen from the golden rod.

The garden is starting to show signs of weariness all over the place. I think I can safely say it has reached its peak. It could use a good haircut in some places, but I still see blooms and I just can’t bring myself to do it. My and Jamie’s lives have been so hectic we’ve been running around like mad men. Hopefully we can dedicate some time to the garden this coming weekend. We do however still have some blooms, so why don’t we take a looks at some of them?

All year I’ve been eagerly awaiting the Monarchs. The Scarlett Milkweed has been blooming its heart out and not a single Monarch. Last year Jamie and I photographed the entire transformation from start to finish. The birth of the butterflies was incredible.

Just when I had given up hope that they would find us this year, they descended on us in huge numbers. One day there were none and the next those three plants were filled with more Monarchs than it was possible to count. I know I probably should have left them alone, but I couldn’t resist the urge to walk out to the plants several times a day. My presence disturbed them so I would be instantly surrounded in a cloud of butterflies. Talk about magic! It was an incredible feeling. They stayed for about three days, several still remain.


Mr. Jamie has decided that he wants to collect Dahlias. ‘Kiss Me’ is the first in his collection and is one of the cultivar from the Happy Single collection. He also has ‘Party’ which isn’t in bloom yet. I love unusual and complicate blooms, but the simple ones also have a special place in my heart. They remind me of the flowers we all drew as children. These plants bloom from summer to frost and are cold hardy 20 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. They grow very fast and can reach heights of 28 inches and spread 18 inches wide. They are low maintenance and require just a little dead heading to keep them going. The foliage on the two we have so far is a deep purple to bronze color.

Kiss Me

Our ‘Aztec Lily’ is blooming right now. I was concerned that it may have been one of the plants that had been carried off by the bull dozer. I’m so glad it survived. It’s a member of the Amaryllis family and is a native of Mexico and Guatemala. It’s tropical in nature but can survive winters in zone 8 with some mulch to protect the bulb. Its blooms are brilliant red and can appear from spring to late summer. I’ve read that it tends to put on a better show of flowers when allowed to become a little crowded. It prefers full sun, but can do well in partial shade. Yes, that is a yellow mum it planted by, I know some of you are thinking red and yellow shouldn't be together. Maybe you should explain that to the Cleopatra Canna.


The jury is still out on the Morning Glory Tree. I can’t make of mind if I like it or not. It’s an awful lot of plant for the small amount of flowers that it puts out. My friend Carol and I were talking about it this past week and we wondered if we cut it back in its earlier stages of growth if it might become a little bushier and not so tall. Producing more limbs and more blooms, I guess it’s safe for another year and I’ll give you a report next summer.

Morning Glory Tree

Speaking of our friend Carol, one of her favorite plants is Thryallis. This is a fast growing shrub that stays in constant bloom spring through fall. If you love the color yellow and have room in your garden for another shrub, then this is a plant you might want to consider. The tag says it’s hardy to zone 9 but can stand temps to 20 degrees so I think it should survive here in zone 8 with no problems. Time will tell.



Phillip said...

Well, my Thryallis is looking quite dandy (if I recall, I got it at a great price :) )

Does Jamie know that dahlias are notoriously hard to grow? I'm wanting a red one called 'Bishop of Llandaff' so if you come across that one, let me know.

It is kind of sad when the garden starts to wind down, isn't it?

Cindy, MCOK said...

The butterfly slide show was awesome ... thanks, guys!

I hope you'll let us know how your morning glory tree responds to pruning. I dug mine up in exasperation after Hurricane Ike mangled some of its rangy branches. It bloomed profusely but it just took up too danged much space in the garden. It was immense.

I can't remember how I found y'all but I've enjoyed reading about your garden's transformation into your own Eden. It's quite lovely.

Jamie and Randy said...

I don't think Jamie knows that, but he's probably up to the challenge. :-)

I'm glad you enjoyed the side show. I hope the morning glory tree responds well to pruning. I'll certainly let every one know. I'm very glad you found us and I hope we'll see you again. :-)

Roses and Lilacs said...

That Aztec lily is a stunner. I've never seen one before.

Love the monarch photo. I envy you, I rarely see more than two at the same time.

Jamie and Randy said...

It was definitely one of those "Feel good" moments.

The Aztec Lily is a beautiful flower. I hope next year I will have more than one bloom. :-)

Cosmo said...

Hi, Randy--Great to hear from you. Our monarchs just arrvied as well--along with those little moths that look like monarchs (I'm 3000 miles away from my books right now and too lazy to look on the 'net). Anyway, I loved the slideshow and your photos. And who says red and yellow don't go together!

Jamie and Randy said...

Cosmo 3000 miles is a long way! I'm glad you enjoyed the slide show. :-) Yes, as hard as it is to believe there are those out there that think it is a garden "No No" to plant those colors together. For the life of me I have never understood why. Maybe someone will explain it to me. I don’t understand it any more than I understand why people don’t like Lantana.

Wayne said...

Some more great pics! I've allready been cutting back perennials. Up here, they are mostly done. So sad.....

Jamie and Randy said...

I hope that's what we'll be doing this weekend. The garden really needs som sprucing up!

Jan said...

I am so jealous that your Aztec lily is blooming. I have had some for years, and they only bloomed the first year I planted them. The foliage looks good but no flowers. After seeing your bloom, I think I am going to have to have a little talk with those bulbs.

Always Growing

Wicked Gardener said...

Ooooh . . . major plant lust over that Aztec Lily.

Jamie and Randy said...

My friend Carol said the same thing. The first year she had blooms and then nothing. We will see what the future holds next year. It may be the same for me.

It may take a little while, but if they do good and start to multiply I can send a bulb :-)


Annie in Austin said...

Hi Randy & Jamie,

My tropical milkweed is still waiting - no monarchs here. Lucky you!

Thryallis is showing up in our nurseries, too and has been recommended on local gardening shows, etc. I haven't tried it yet and will be interested to see how it survives your winter. My NW Austin garden gets colder than those of most of the other Austin bloggers.

Oh - the Aztec Lily is very cool! But you can keep that morning glory tree - even your photographic abilities can't make me like that one ;-]

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Jamie and Randy said...

I'm still very iffy about the morning glory tree myself. Me thinks this will be it's last year. :-)