Home GardeningGarden Diary Early summer garden scenes in Austin

Early summer garden scenes in Austin


June 17, 2024

On my walks around the neighborhood, I’m admiring Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima), the star of Austin’s summer gardens.

It’s so beautiful, both leaves and flowers. For whatever reason, I haven’t been able to get it established in my own garden, darn it.

It loves heat and sun, and deer don’t bother it in the least. It just needs room to get big.

My favorite pale-pink crape myrtle is also flowering at a neighbor’s house. They have a row of these stunning crapes, which you can see more of in this Instagram video I took. I’d love for you to follow me there, by the way, if you enjoy pics of Texas plants and gardens!

In my own garden, dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) is flowering. The tiny, ivory flowers appear on 10-foot-long stems bent like fishing poles.

After the flowers fade, black berry-like fruits appear on the stems.

Bees find the delicate flowers to their taste.

In the back garden, success! The bronze fennel I planted in the spring has attracted swallowtail caterpillars. You can see two in this photo. Someone asked me if I do anything to protect them from hungry birds, and the answer is no. It’s pretty much live and let live (or get eaten) in my garden. Birds gotta eat, like snakes and armadillos and everything else. But I do hope some of the caterpillars make it to the butterfly stage.

The circle garden has moved into its serene, silver-green/silver-blue phase, a cooling color scheme for a hot Texas summer.

In the central stock-tank planter, whale’s tongue agave (Agave ovatifolia) presides over woolly stemodia (Stemodia lanata), which is dominating the yellow four-nerve daisies (Tetraneuris scaposa) that were so prominent last year. Purple coneflower adds a dash of pink on one side.

Viewed from above, the big whale’s tongue — I’ve named her Ursula — shows off her moonlight-yellow variegation.

Combined with the bottle tree, blue shed doors, and silver mirror, it’s a cool view to get me through summer until fall.

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