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Flowers on January 1, 2019


One of the advantages of gardening in the Houston climate is of course the perseverance of many plants through the mild winters. So far this cold season, we had one moderate freeze (down to 26F or so) in November 2018, and a few lighter frosts following that. The freeze did in the most tender plants (exit basil, plumeria, and portlandia), but left most others either unscathed or just burnt at the most exposed edges. As a result, we still have lots going on in the garden as we enter 2019. The rest of this page is a (non-exhaustive) photo log of what's still flowering.

Without a doubt the most exuberantly flowering plant in the garden now is our Copper Canyon daisy. It didn't start flowering until mid-autumn, but is now at the height of its bright-yellow peak, with its foliage perfuming the air at the slightest brush.

Other daisies that are still sticking with it are the low-growing gerberas and gazanias, which were tender in our old garden in Pennsylvania but come through the winter just fine here; and the last flowers are still hanging on to the climbing aster, although its mass of flowers has mostly faded since its peak a month ago.


Gerbera - Transvaal daisy


Several salvias are continuing their all-season bloom into January as well. The flowers of S. coccinea are finally starting to peter out, but S. microphylla 'Hot Lips' and S. involucrata are still going strong.

Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips'

Salvia involucrata


Two neighbors in the back fence border: Thryallis (Galphimia glauca) has bloomed from late winter onward, but is no longer covered in yellow as it was through most of the season. On the other hand, our shrimp plant took its time to start producing flowers this year, but appears to be at its peak now that winter has arrived.

The fading flowers of our thryallis

Shrimp plant in full regalia


Among the taller border dwellers, the duranta keeps producing its wonderful purple-and-white flower chains (it was killed to the ground by last winter's hard freeze, but returned from the roots strongly; we hope that this winter will be kinder), while the Turk's cap (Malvaviscus 'Big Momma') has taken on a sparser guise but still produces its popping-red never-quite-open flowers.

Duranta, charming as ever

Turk's cap in glowing scarlet


From the ranks of the climbers and sprawlers, several specimens keep the show going. The star jasmine still throws out occasional pure white flowers, and the passionflower continues to pop open its amazing flowers every so often, but the stars here are the bleeding heart vine (Clerodendrum speciosum 'Red Wine'), which is somewhat hidden in a shady corner of the border, and Cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis), which lifts its bold orange-red flowers as high as it can, supported by the back fence.

Clerodendrum 'Red Wine', demurely pretty...

...unlike Tecomaria capensis, which proudly displays its bold blooms


And then there's all the others – from low-growing Oxalis regnellii sporting blooms on both its green and purple forms, to various roses, two species of Cuphea, Okinawan spinach, and cilantro, which has only recently started blooming. Oh, and the poinsettia we saved from last year's holiday season. Just a sampling below...

Oxalis never stopped blooming

Rosa 'Sunny Knockout' looks better now than it did all season

Cuphea 'Vermillionaire' keeps treating us to its cigar flowers

Cilantro/coriander lends a fresh fragrance besides its modest flowers


All of this color, plus the fact that many non-flowering plants are still sporting attractive foliage, makes daily traverses of the garden, pulling a weed here, snipping some deceased annuals there, a pleasant endeavor. Thoughts of gardening efforts in 2019 are already brewing...


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