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Category Archives: Perennials

Iris Blooms In Our Dallas Garden

Too bad I didn’t get to attend last week’s Dallas County Master Gardener meeting.

I would have learned all about Iris from the speaker, Bonnie Nichols, and could have given you alot of information about them.  One thing I know for sure: it was worth it to divide our iris last August.  Look at them now!  This is a variety called Queen’s Circle.                       .

Iris Growing At The Demonstration Garden on Joe Field Road, Dallas, Texas

Queen’s Circle is a  Tall Bearded Iris, ruffled, with standards that are pure white and falls that are white with purple along the edges with a yellow beard.

Iris, Larkspur, and Verbena

We have 8 more Iris varieties about to bloom in another garden called our Rose Trellis Garden. We borrowed the classic pink, blue, and grey color scheme . Our Iris, Larkspur,  and the early blooming, can’t live without;  Salvia, ‘May Night’  provide the blue.


Pictures by Starla

Plant Your WildLife Habitat

The flowers that are blooming in our WildLife Habitat right now were selected with a purpose.  We wanted to provide food for all kinds of creatures and yes, they are flying in to feast on our plants and eat our berries.   Monarch, Gulf Fritillary, and Giant Swallowtail butterflies have been identified. Skippers, bees, dragonflies, and birds are in residence.

Consider these Suggestions from landscapers around the USA of  The National Wildlife Federation for Your Backyard Habitat:

In every landscape I design and with the volunteer consultations that I do there is one plant that I always suggest: Asclepias (milkweed). I try to use native varieties, and A. incarnata (swamp), A. speciosa (showy) and A. verticillata (whorled) milkweeds are my gold medal winners—the wildlife garden equivalents to Shaun White. I like them not just for their importance in habitats—they are host plants for the monarch butterfly—but because of their educational value for children. My kids love to go out into our flower garden and check to see if there are any new monarch eggs, larvae or chrysalides, and they love watching the butterflies fly in to feed on the nectar.”—Mat Paulson of Moorhead, Minnesota.

 At the Earth-Kind® Water Wise Demonstration Garden we have planted Asclepias currassavica, tropical milkweed. (Love the super star reference made to Shaun White-Olympic snowboarding Gold medalist.)

Tropical ButterFly Weed In The Wildlife Habitat

 “The purple flowers of aromatic aster (Aster oblongifolius) provide color in the late summer and fall and attract swarms of pollinators. The plant’s short, shrublike appearance makes it a good candidate for more formal landscaping applications. The silvery checkerspot butterfly, pearl crescent butterfly, and asteroid moth utilize this plant as a host. Tolerance to poor soil conditions has allowed me to add it to my own suburban residential lot. This aster is naturally found in the eastern and north-central United States.”—Perry Eckhardt of St. Charles, Missouri

Aster Growing At The Demonstration Garden Wildlife Habitat

“Purple coneflower (Echinachea purpurea) is a great nectar plant in any butterfly garden and is used by many other insects as well. I think it’s like candy to them. Purple coneflower is also a favorite of American goldfinches and sparrows, who love the seeds. Plant big clumps for the best effect.”—

Purple Coneflower In A Dallas Garden

“One of my favorite native beauties, which is also a hit with the birds, is the American beautyberry. This large shrub makes a wonderful understory plant, perfect for shady areas in your yard or along riparian areas in need of restoration. This beautyberry takes care of itself in the maintenance department, requiring little effort on the part of the caretaker. The open branching structure, brilliant green leaves, and fuchsia-colored berries of this plant make it a lovely addition to any habitat garden. The birds will thank you by devouring the tasty berries, and the butterflies will come calling to taste the sweet nectar of the dainty whitish pink flowers.”—Alice Nance of Austin, Texas

Butterfly Weed, Aster, Coneflower, and Beauty Berry are a benefit to our Demonstration Garden and we thought you might like to include them in yours!


Texas Style Fall Color

Fall Gardens in Dallas trump summer gardens!   Remember this instead of  falling into discouragement in our 100° plus days with hardly a drop of rain. The Dallas County Master Gardeners who garden at the Demonstration Garden on Joe Field Road all agree we  love our version of fall color!

Bottle Tree Framing a view of Maximillian Sunflower, Desert Sage, Lantana, and Salvia Blue Spires

This area of the garden is relatively carefree after amending the soil, careful plant selection, and mulch, mulch, mulch!

Rosy Creek Abelia, Salvia Blue Spires, Muhly Grass, Papyrus On The Right In Our Pond

We do have an agonizing  bind weed issue that keeps us humble, but we will save that part of the story for another time. 

 Enjoy the mellow quality of Autumn in Texas. Temperatures are less and color is more!


Fall At The Demonstration Garden

This fall we have been busy preparing new garden areas.  Aadil Khambati built this arbor as part of his Eagle Scout project.  Our Master Gardeners are planting ornamental grasses to rim the walk circling The Color Wheel. We love working in the cooler fall weather and our plants  thank us for giving them a better start before summer’s high temperatures hit!

New Arbor Leading Into The Raincatcher's Garden, Susan, Jan, Abbe, Hans

As you walk through the new arbor, you will see The Color Wheel  blooming  riotously. This was planted in late spring to give gardener’s ideas for color contrasts and harmonies in their own gardens.  Don’t we all wish for the “eye of an artist” in our gardens?  Start here at our garden and learn the principles of the color wheel.

The Blues Of The Color Wheel, Salvia leucantha, Salvia farinacea, Purple Heart Next Door

Examine the reds of our color wheel. Are you pulled towards exciting, warm colors?  Lisa has planted several red Salvias, Lantana, and even Mexican Poinsettia with splashes of an orangey red on green leaves. 

Dallas Red Lantana, Salvia, Canna, Rosemary In The Background

At the Earth-Kind® WaterWise Demonstration Garden on Joe Field Road we are making the most of Fall Gardening in Texas!

Fall-What’s Not To Love?

What’s my favorite season? Easy peasy. FALL. Jacket wearing, college football cheering, leaf rustling, turkey roasting, Halloween mini-Snickers sneaking—Fall!

This lovely autumnal season is so much more than pulling up summer-scorched annuals and popping in mums for a few weeks.  At a time when northern gardeners are closing up shop for the winter, Texas gardeners have realized that the fall months may very well be the best time of the year to plant.

Think about it.  A Sweet Innocent Perennial you might plant in the spring is just being lined up for the furnace blast of summer from late May through August.  It’s hard to even survive—much less thrive–in temperatures in the 100s, no rainfall, and nighttime lows that hover in the 80s.  But if you’re a savvy gardener and plant that same Sweet Innocent in the fall, you’ve tucked it in when the future holds cooling temperatures and more frequent rain.  Voila.  Plant Success.

Most plants will put on a fall flush of growth and bloom in fall weather conditions.  Roses can be spectacular in the fall, often with blooms more vibrant than spring or summer.  Trim roses back now, fertilize, and give a deep soaking to promote bloom.

Raised Bed with carrots, radish seeds and trowel

If you’re planting a fall school garden with kids, it’s time to get busy.  If you want a warm season garden, plant bush beans and pinto beans by seed until September 15.  Be sure to baby your seeds; they need to be kept moist until they sprout and are established. 

Dallas County Master Gardeners Busy With Fall Gardening

Fall is Prime Time for cool season crops, those vegetables that love a nip in the air in November and December.  Plant beets, spinach, lettuce, and carrots by seed now through October 15.  Kids love transplants; they’re veggies in miniature.  Plant broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower transplants now through late-November.  Mustard greens, Swiss chard, spinach, parsley, leeks and kale transplants can be tucked in the garden from September 15 through the winter.  (Harvest your warmer season crops in late October, then plant cole transplants for a continued harvest.)

Spring flowering bulbs can be a fun thing to plant with kids.  Purchase your bulbs now when nurseries start stocking bulbs, but wait on planting them until soil temperatures cool significantly, for us in mid- to late-November.  Daffodils are probably your best bet with kids.  They are dependable, don’t require pre-chilling (like tulips), and some will naturalize.  The Southern Bulb Co. in Golden, Texas  is known for propagating old varieties of bulbs, often found in deserted homesteads. 

The best reason to garden in the fall is to enjoy it.  Your garden is filled with new blooms and growth.  Pests have taken a vacation with the cool temperatures.  So nibble a bit of early Halloween candy and enjoy the season.


August Blooms In Dallas

The Earth-Kind® WaterWise Demonstration Garden is blooming even through August.

Fourteen out of twenty days in August have been over 100°.  To maximize our water usage, we have set up drip irrigation in all our beds and we water this garden and others  with rainwater harvested from our large shed with 5,000 square feet of metal roofing.  Usually we don’t get enough rain for our drip system in the latter part of summer and have to revert to city water, but last week we had about 4 inches of rain at the garden!  What didn’t go into our two 2500 gallon cisterns swished into our rain garden for more capture. 

Most of these pictures were taken from our newly planted Color Wheel garden.  Link back to the * July Bloom report so that you also know what was blooming in August in the rest of our gardens. Combine these plant lists to keep your garden flourishing through the summer.

Read the list of blooms clockwise from the  large, top left picture.

Flowers Blooming in August Dallas Gardens

1. Pink Gomphrena and Cuphea 2. Gomphrena Fireworks, Gomphrena globosa ‘Fireworks’ 3. Periwinkle-Cora Vinca blackberry, Catharanthus roseus 4. Hot Pink Moss Rose Portulaca olerancea ‘Samba Hot Pink’  5. Jewels of Opar, Talinum paniculatum 6. Moss Rose, Portulaca olerancea 7. Trailing Lantana, Lantana montevidensis 8. Yellow Zinnia

Flowers Blooming In Dallas August Gardens

1. White Lantana and white coneflower 2. Orange Zinnia 3. Mexican Petunia-Lavendar, Ruellia brittonia 4. Lafter, Buck Rose 5. Mexican Bush Sage, Salvia leucantha 6. Orange Lantana, Lantana horrida (camara) 7. Bell Flower,  Campanula rotundifolia  8. Gregg’s Mist Flower, Eupatorium greggii

Flowers For Dallas Summer Gardens

1. Salvia coccineas with  Cora Vinca 2. Pink gomphrena, Gomphreana globosa 3.                       4. Red Gomphrena, Gomphrena aageana ‘Strawberry Fields’ 5. Summer Poinsettia or Mexican Fire Plant, Euphorbia cyathophora 7. Sunflower, Helianthus annus

Flowers Blooming In August In Dallas

1. Mexican Honeysuckle, Justica spicigera 2. Pearlie Mae, Buck Rose 3. Onion Chives 4. Maggie 5. Althea, Hibiscus syriacus ‘Helene’ 6. Esperanza or Yellow Bells, Tecoma stans 7. Canna-dwarf-Tropical Series 8. Quietness, Buck Rose

*Refer to the July Blooms report . Only  Phlox #11,Autumn Sage #16, and Salvia guaranatica#21 are taking a break and not blooming in August.  All the rest on the July list are giving us that last bit of summer pleasure.


Dividing Iris At The Demonstration Garden

There are many paradoxes in gardening: bury something so it will live, divide to multiply, prune to bear more fruit.

We have a trove of blue Iris at the Demonstration Garden and it is time to divide them. Watch this video to learn the art of  satisfactory Iris division: 

 Our Iris  were purchased from the Iris Society of Dallas Public Sale. This year it is scheduled for September 15, 2012, from 9am to 1pm or until sold out at Northhaven Gardens.

Dig further into Iris information via the Dallas Morning News here.


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