Category Archives: Favorite Plants

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 →

Shady Characters You Want in Your Garden

  “Nothing will grow under the trees in my front yard!” Sound familiar? Blessed with a climate and soils conducive to vigorous growth of trees, shade is a common factor for most East Texans. Rather than looking at shade as a liability, use it as an asset to enhance your landscape. Most shade complaints stem from the fact that grass will not grow well in dense shade. All turfgrasses perform best in full sun. St. Augustine is the most shade tolerant grass, while Centipede and Zoysia tolerate partial… Read More →

Salvias for Texas-Tough Summer Color

  One of the most diverse and useful groups of plants for summer color must be the sages – botanically known as the Salvias.  Native to many places in the world, including Texas, salvias have become a staple for garden designers creating long-lasting colorful beds.  Garden-worthy salvias range from Texas-tough perennials to tender annuals that have been extensively bred for the bedding plant industry.  Colors take on the rainbow, from purple to red, with blues, whites, and even yellow. Salvias are in the mint family, all of which… Read More →