Category Archives: Favorite Plants

Blooming Plants That Measure the Darkness

Some of the most beautiful blooming plants wait until the shorter days of fall to erupt with colorful flowers, a last glorious display before the first freeze of winter arrives to end it all. Flower color is always better, more vibrant during the cooler fall weather, too. The summer sun and heat often cause blooms to fade quickly, and colors seem to bleach under sunny Texas skies. But why do some plants wait until now to flower, while others bloom from spring through frost? The answer is fall… Read More →

Salvia ‘Amistad’

I got to know about a new salvia at the Garden Writers Association annual meeting in Tuscon last year, and right away knew I had to get some to try. Salvia ‘Amistad’  is a naturally occurring hybrid found in a garden in Argentina, believed to be a cross between S. guaranitica and S. gesnerifolia.  The “wow” factor are the blooms – rich purple flowers popping out of almost black calyces.  They were introduced in the Sunset Western Garden and Southern Living Plant Collection programs this year.  I got… Read More →

Turk’s Cap – A Texas Superstar and Hummingbird Favorite

Visiting the Heritage Rose Garden and IDEA Garden at the Tyler Rose Garden this week, I was struck by the shear abundance of blooms from many annuals and perennials. Not only is the floral display pleasing to the eye, but it is essential for so many insects and birds, as they prepare for winter in Northeast Texas, or fuel up for their long trip south on their migration to warmer climes. Monarch butterflies were swarming over Cleome ‘Senorita Rosalita’, a wonderful newer hybrid variety of an old fashioned… Read More →

A Few Late Bloomers

As summer gives way to fall, many garden plants we have been enjoying all summer begin to fade. Growth slows, leaves begin to tatter and summer annuals and perennials tend to look pretty raged as cooler weather sets in. But, not all plants are programmed for hot weather. Some wait patiently all year to put on a show in the fall, keeping our gardens pretty and interesting. Others may give a final burst of color, invigorated by milder and moister growing conditions. Here are a few favorites to… Read More →

Oxblood Lilies Mark Back to School and Hurricane Season

They are a flowering bulb with several names, including hurricane lily and schoolhouse lily. They are most commonly known as oxblood lilies, but the timing of their bloom season also coincides with the onset of hurricane season and back-to-school days. Schools in Tyler started Monday, and right on cue, there was a group blooming in the IDEA Garden in the Tyler Rose Garden the next day. Fortunately, there are no hurricanes in the Gulf currently threatening us. Note that hurricane lilies are also a name given to another… Read More →

Japanese Cedar – an Underappreciated Evergreen

I want to introduce you to a graceful evergreen conifer that you might not be familiar with, but deserves more use in our east Texas landscapes. Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) is a handsome evergreen tree, with short, dark to medium green needles clothing short shoots. The stems and branches are graceful, with a slight bending or drooping habit. Shortly after moving to Tyler, I ran across the only specimen I have seen here in a neighborhood on the south side of town. It was a large tree, obviously… Read More →

Hardy Palms for Northeast Texas

Are you looking for a touch of tropics for your yard? There are many gorgeous, flamboyant plants with brilliant flowers or foliage that adds a lush, tropical feel to a landscape. We often grow these kinds of plants as annuals, much like a pansy or petunia, only these summer-loving plants grow much larger and thrive in sunny, hot locations until the first freeze of winter terminates the show. Tropical or Chinese hibiscus with its large flowers offer an array of bold colors, and crotons with gaudy multi-colored leaves… Read More →

Horticulture Field Day at Texas A&M – Overton

If you enjoy learning about the latest new plants that are coming on the market, you need head over to Overton, Texas on Thursday, June 27, to the annual Horticulture Field Day at Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center to see up close what’s new in the ornamental plant industry. Dr. Brent Pemberton, Professor of Horticulture with A&M AgriLife Research, oversees a large plant trial, consisting of a wide range of annuals and an assortment of other plants. This is one of the biggest in the South,… Read More →