Thursday, September 15, 2011

Drought tolerant plants for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

I had pictures on Bloom Day (on the 15th!) and I had most of the post done, but then ... life happened. So, whether it's the 15th or the 23rd, I still want to write about my garden and share it with you. Besides, things are still the same - no water, that's for sure. But this morning it was a blissful 66, so hope is on the way.

We've had more than 86 days over 100 degrees here in Central Texas this summer. And we hit an all-time high of 112.

Our gardens are crispy and our arms are tired from dragging around hoses to hand water while we're under water restrictions.

Only allowed to use irrigation systems for 1 day a week, before 10 am and after 7 pm, gardening has been more of a challenge than usual.

I've spent a lot of my time hand watering all summer long, so I have more blooms than some gardeners. I feel lucky to have had the time to devote to it.

But we do still have blooms and we're learning more than we ever wanted to know about the true meaning of drought tolerant and xeric.

These Blackfoot Daisies are tough as nails and seem quite content in the heat.

Crape Myrtles are doing ok when they get a little water. Those with American Indian names are the most adapted to our climate.
This Katy Road/Carefree Beauty rose doesn't seem the least bit concerned about the heat - and she's providing some shade for the small cutting garden flowers around her.
Lord Baltimore hibiscus really came into his own this year with a profusion of blooms.
Mexican Oregano is thriving in this heat. In fact, I spent an hour cutting this one back as it completely outgrew its space and tried to take over the Sago and the nearby lavendar trailing Lantana.
Can't kill this Datura either. Tough as nails and out of control.
Another Mexican native, Esperanza (also known as Yellow Bells) is a strong bloomer all summer long. It is outshining the variegated shell ginger interplanted with it.
Well, these Homestead Verbenas are happy, but I have also lost many of them this summer. I planted some in 3 different places at 3 different times since the spring and 6 of them bit the dust. These are well-established and have been in the crushed granite path for at least 3 years. Guess that made all the difference.
Some of the Lantana looked drought tolerant this year and some doesn't. A few of them never really recovered from last winter's 19 degrees. They grew some foliage but then just stopped. No more growth and no blooms all summer. Not a one. This "Bandana Cherry Sunrise" is full of blooms.
My photography skills were challenged on this photo -- this is Pitcher Sage -- a native plant that I got two years ago at the annual Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center sale. It is a stunning shade of blue and blooming its head off! In the same bed as the Lantana shown above and the Liatris below, also from the Wildflower Center sale. They share the bed with two salvia greggii. All of these plants are natives, they are in a space where they get less water than most of my other beds, and look great. There's a lesson there -- hope I'm paying attention!

Hope you have lots of blooms in your garden on this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, hosted each month by Carol of May Dreams Gardens. Happy Bloom Day!


Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

You've earned your gardener Award of Valor for toiling under extreme circumstances. While many of your plants I expected, what surprised me is the Hibiscus. I always thought they needed moisture. I'm very impressed with your rose. I also have 'Carefree Beauty', but mine sulks in what passes for heat and drought here in Northern Illinois. Happy autumn!

Diana said...

Well, these plants do get water because I do it by hand, but they are getting much less than they normally do because I am just too darn tired of watering by now! I love the scent of Carefree Beauty - even more than the blooms.

Jean said...

Diana - I was worried about my lantana this year after a very slow start, which I also attributed to the hard winter. But for a change of pace I actually decided to fertilize it and then it did amazingly well! (I never remember to fertilize.) Maybe you just need to give yours a shot?? Still, things look pretty good considering!

Linda/patchwork said...

Your hard work looks like it's paying off.
We can't use irrigation systems here...which also means no hose-end sprinklers...No lawn watering at all. The lawn water ban doesn't bother me, except there are tree roots under that grass. I do worry about the trees.
Hope this drought and heat lets up soon.
Have a good weekend...stay safe...

Diana said...

Jean - good idea. I never fertilize the lantana either. I'll wait till this heat stress is a little past us and try that.

Linda - So sorry about your water. I shouldn't complain. And they say not much coming before February. This is one time I REALLY hope they are wrong!

Mary said...

Is your Esperanza a perennial? I'm thinking about getting one. Love the flowers.

LindaCTG said...

Hi, Diana! Your garden is really looking good. I am definitely adding pitcher sage to my Wildflower Center list!

greggo said...

greggi's hard to beat.

Diana said...

Mary - the Esperanza is perennial and they come back year after year. They are so drought tolerant and love the heat. I love 'em!

Linda-CTG - I'll be getting more Pitcher Sage on Friday at the Wildflower preview sale!

Greggo - Salvias are so hardy - I'm getting quite a collection of them. There are more than 200, so I have quite a ways to go!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for stopping by my humble blog ( so I popped over to say hi, and realized just a few photos in that I'd seen your garden featured on Central Texas Gardner- seeing the path to your greenhouse turned on the light-bulb; I like how densely you planted between the stones - hard to say if it's a path or a low planting bed with conveniently placed stones.
Enjoyed the tour on t.v. and am tickled to find our blog.

Serenity Gardens said...

Great blog. I like to stumble across garden lovers. You might like to check out our garden blog too. Krystal- Australia.

Layanee said...

Well, it is almost a month later and I am just checking out your bloom report. Will you have another in just a few days? Hope the heat has broken for you and that the fires are out.

getgrounded said...

Diana, my lantana did the same thing as yours. Started growing a bit, but never took off. Then suddenly some seeds from one in previous years sprouted in new spots and started growing and blooming! I guess we know which one is the hardier, yes? My BF Daisies are finally opening their little blooms all the way since we got our blessed rain. Your blooms are fantastic on everything; your hardworking efforts with great soil and handwatering are paying off.