An affection for…

…my Tropical Breeze verbena. The cold snaps have finally forced it to halt blooming, but its foliage still remains green. I am impressed with this plant and hope to get some offspring from cuttings. According to its hybridizer, Ecke, this verbena is considered an annual, but I am thinking the warmer Texas climate might induce it to behave as a perennial. I look forward to the spring to see how well it survived winter in an above-ground planter exposed to full sun. 

…my dianthus chinensis. Even in the frigid December weather they are perhaps one of a handful of plants still blooming. The courtyard flower bed will hopefully fill out with the red and white dianthus bordering it. Meanwhile in the purple garden, some specimens of dianthus chinensis that survived the sweltering heat are now exposed (after I had cut back the overgrown gaura and salvia). Specimens of dianthus that were planted in the blue garden (picotee varieties) died off. An observation: they tend to bloom less and grow leafy in shady conditions.

…my foxtail ferns. These have been the most durable ferns in the garden so far. While the Japanese painted and Autumn ferns have died back continuously into the ground during the summer, these foxtails have continued growing and spreading. Now if I can only coax it to grow upright instead of toppling over when a new plume shoots out. Well, I suppose a comparison to traditional ferns is unfair, since these foxtails aren’t true ferns…are they?

…my violas. After their spectacular January-to-June performance last year, I’ve invested in 3 more trays of them for planting in the late fall. This season, I decided to go with the blues in the Sorbet series (purchased from Christina’s): Black Duet, Coconut Swirl, and Blue Heaven. Most of them are inhabiting the gardenia bed in the front yard and in the blue garden bed in the courtyard. I also invested in a half-dozen Penny series violas (from Strong’s Nursery), red and white, though I’m unsure if they will jump back after a week of neglect nearly killed them off.

It’s amazing what you’ll see if you stand in the garden long enough. This damp December morning I spotted an olive green bird, sparrow-sized, hopping about in the trees. My research determined it to be a pine warbler, female due to the dull coloring. While I didn’t hear any songs, it busied itself in the bare-branched myrtles, most likely foraging for seeds and/or bugs. Pretty!