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

Sunday, October 6, 2013

This week in the garden - #79

I'm a bit late with this post because a happy family gathering had claimed my time and attention, but the past week was a lovely one in many ways and it deserves some recognition.


Autumn has truly arrived here. We've had intermittent rain during the week - light rain, to be sure, but a real refresher for a tired and thirsty garden.

When Hubby and I go out for our early morning walk these days, we find a landscape shrouded in fog and mist with just a hint of coolness in the air. It's a refreshing change from our usual suffocating heat and humidity.

I love the look of the roadsides and meadows in autumn. Many different varieties of yellow wildflowers are in bloom at this time and they paint the countryside with sunshine.

In my own garden, of course, things are changing pretty rapidly now. Leaves are falling. Some plants are beginning to fade as they prepare for winter. Others, like the Cape honeysuckle that I showed you on Wednesday, are in their glory just now.

The honeysuckle has been claimed by a migrating Rufous Hummingbird, seen here sipping from one of the blossoms. He defends the plant against encroachment by any of the other hummingbirds that are presently stopping in my yard. It requires constant vigilance on his part, because these blossoms are a magnet to all the hummers. For the last two winters, I've had Rufous Hummingbirds that have spent their winters in my yard. I'm hoping that will be the case again.

He does deign to share "his" blossoms with passing butterflies, like this Cloudless Sulphur.

 Autumn, of course, is prime bloom-time for the angel trumpets. All the plants are full of fat buds right now, just ready to burst into bloom. This pink one has already opened a few of its blooms.

The oleanders have caught their second wind in the slightly cooler weather and are full of their pretty blossoms now.

Still more pink. This purslane blooms happily at the feet of a large split-leaf philodendron.

The almond verbena sends out its lovely scent that perfumes the backyard and draws all the bees from around the neighborhood. All day long the plant is alive with these pollinators.

The sprawling purple lantana, beloved by butterflies of all kinds but especially the little skippers, blooms next to the white beautyberry shrub. I'm surprised the beautyberries have lasted this long. They usually disappear down the berry-loving birds' gullets as soon as they ripen, but this year the birds seem to have homed in on the purple beautyberries first. They've pretty well stripped most of those, but the white berries are still waiting for them.

 With the advent of a few fall rains, mushrooms have sprung up around the garden. They are a happy sight.


When I first went outside this morning, the thermometer on the back porch read 58 degrees! We haven't seen temperatures in the 50s here since late April/early May. We are promised fairly cool temperatures for the next few days. Let us hope that is the start of a long trend.

I hope you and your garden are enjoying pleasant weather. Happy gardening!


  1. Thanks for the stroll around your autumn garden, how lovely to see the photo of the Angel trumpet, I wish I could grow it here but my garden is too cold in the winter and I really have no space for it either. I have bought several pink oleanders this autumn, decided to have a go at growing them even if they are a bit tender for the London winters we have had in recent years. I hope mine looks like yours in a couple of years!

    1. Oleanders are pretty tough plants and i'm betting yours will do well for you.

  2. Hasn't the weather been delightful! I have a potted Angel Trumpet and it was doing beautifully. Unfortunately I realized that the container was completely water logged during the week, so I tried to tip it over to drain it out. That's when I realized that roots had grown through the drainage holes (I had neglected to put a saucer/tray underneath it. I didn't think I had damaged the roots, but this morning, the whole thing was lying on its side and several large roots could be seen sticking out of the ground, but now broken. I decided surgery was necessary to get it out of it's current container and repot it in a larger container, with drainage holes an inch from the bottom on the sides, and a built in drainage dish. It looks horrible now, all the leaves are completely limp and I fear I've lost it, but I'm not giving up hope yet.

    1. That's a bummer. I would suggest to you that if the leaves don't perk up within a couple of days but the stem and roots still look healthy, you might try cutting it back severely to see if that might shock it into putting on more leaves. That won't give you blooms this year but it might save the plant, and if you can protect it from cold during the winter, it would give you a head start with a healthy plant for next spring.