Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Do you know me? (With update)

Last Friday we drove over to the Kleb Woods Nature Preserve to walk through the woods and try to see some birds. The birds, as it turned out, were not cooperative, but I was also interested in the plants growing there.

The woods themselves are in pretty much their natural state except for the walking trails through them, but around the visitors' center, extensive planting has been done. They are mostly native plants, many of which I have in my own yard; things like almond verbena, Hamelia, firespike, lantana (of course!), various salvias, etc. The plantings are meant to attract birds, butterflies, and bees, just like my own garden, but on this day they weren't getting much action. I could have seen more birds and butterflies in my own yard!

Walking one of the trails, I found lots of chili pequin (bird pepper) plants full of their tiny red fruits, again, just like the one in my garden.

This is actually the one in my garden. It's still full of fruits now but as autumn and winter wear on, the birds will strip them. Mockingbirds and cardinals are especially fond of them.

Their goldenrods were in full bloom. Mine are still at the bud stage. They should be blooming later this week.

But the most interesting plant I found on our walk was at the old Kleb farmhouse. There was a beautiful hibiscus in the front yard and it was full of buds and blooms.

This is what the buds look like as they are just about to open. They are a dark pink, almost fuchsia.

But once fully open, they fade to a pretty pale pink.

Here is another view of an older blossom, showing its double form.

I didn't see a label anywhere, so I don't know if this is an old heirloom plant or if it was planted more recently. It was a big shrub, easily as tall as me and as wide as it was tall, and, as I think you can see, just full of buds!

I know many of you out there are big hibiscus fans. Does anyone recognize this one?

UPDATE: Okay, I'm an idiot! Obviously, the hibiscus above is Confederate rose, sometimes called "cotton rose," and properly called Hibiscus mutabilis, as sharp-eyed reader Usha pointed out. Also, I got it backwards in that the blossom opens pale and get redder as the day goes along, so those blossoms that I referred to as buds are actually old, expired blooms. The spent blooms sometimes stay on the plant for several days. Sometimes I experience total brain cramps which leave me incredibly stupid and that's what happened here in that I didn't recognize a plant that I've known my whole life! Learn more about this wonderful plant here.


  1. Confederate rose maybe...Hisbiscus Mutabilis.

    1. Ah! You may be right, Usha. I hadn't even considered that! I was just thinking "hibiscus." But that old-fashioned plant would certainly fit in these surroundings. I'll check some more pictures of the plant against Hibiscus mutablilis images, but I believe you have just removed the blinkers from my eyes - and mind! Thanks.