What's outside your window
May 29, 2016
By Jean Wofford/Victoria County Master Gardener
Edited by Charla Borchers Leon/Victoria County Master Gardener
PHOTO BY CHARLA BORCHERS LEON/VICTORIA COUNTY MASTER GARDENER
Salvia plants come in a variety of colors, sizes and foliages. They are drought-tolerant, attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and are almost pest- and disease-free. This Saucy Red variety is described as mentioned in this article as the brilliant red bloom that complements the blue and white bloom varieties in a patriotic setting.
PHOTO BY KATHY CHILEK/VICTORIA COUNTY MASTER GARDENER
The exotic bloom of passion flower vine looks fragile when, in fact, it is not. It can be found in purple, white, red and lime green with purple edges and is said to resemble a jellyfish with its tentacles. It does well in direct sun and heat and has a heavy fragrance. While very hardy when in blooming season, the vine needs protection from cold temperatures.
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY HENRY HARTMAN/CREATIVE IMAGES
The Rangoon Creeper vine is a heavy bloomer of small, tubular flowers ranging from almost white to pink and red. It is such a prolific bloomer that it can cascade and completely cover an arbor or fence. It dies back in cold weather but returns in the spring.
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY TEXASSUPERSTAR.COM
This Henry Duelberg native salvia is a Texas Superstar perennial plant whose name is derived from the name on a grave marker where it was located. It is heat- and drought-tolerant and blooms heavily in masses up to three feet tall and wide. It is mentioned as growing next to the brilliant red and white salvia blooms in the garden outside the window.
This holiday weekend is a time of reflection and repose for me, thinking back to the purpose of Memorial Day. In remembrance of so many who gave their lives while defending our country through various wars and conflicts, I often gaze out my office window in grateful solitude for the natural beauty in my life and yard.
The window in my office overlooks the side yard and gate. This area is a burst of color. Movement out that window caught my eye recently, so I just sat there watching, and there were several butterflies fluttering around. What was the fascination with that particular area? OK, let me see.
Jewel tones everywhere
I started just letting my sight wander. First, over the gate, there is an arbor built by a very good friend of ours. He built it about 18 years ago. On this arbor, there are some vines growing and blooming beautifully.
• Orange trumpet vine
There is an orange trumpet vine that seems to fascinate butterflies and hummingbirds love the blooms. The bright orange shows up vividly on the dark green leaves. In the soft breeze, the flowers look like they are dancing to a soft tune only they could hear.
I planted that trumpet vine years ago. A friend shared one of her vines in a small Styrofoam cup, and I just planted it in full sun, hoping this was what the vine needed. Here it is many years later, and I have shared this beauty with others.
• Purple passion vine
There is another beautiful vine growing, intertwined with the trumpet. It's a beautiful purple passion vine. The blooms are so exotic and tropical. They look very fragile, when in fact, they are not at all.
Looking at that lovely, jewel-toned bloom, I remembered where I got it. Another friend dug it up in her yard and shared with me. I brought it home and planted it close to the trumpet vine. Imagine my delight a short time later when it shot up like a weed.
It started to twine around the arbor. I watched it grow and spread like I wanted it to do. Then, it started blooming. What a beautiful and exotic bloom. It sort of reminds me of a jellyfish. It has a heavy fragrance, and if brought into the house, the fragrance can become overbearing. Outside in the open, however, the fragrance is delightful without being too strong.
• Rangoon Creeper
I also have a wonderful vine called Rangoon Creeper that is a heavy bloomer in my garden. It blooms in clusters of small, tubular-shaped flowers that range from almost white to pink, then flushes in red. It does die back in cold weather, but it comes back in the spring.
Pockets of color
As I gaze further around my yard outside my window, I see bright pockets of color.
• Pink with burgundy
There are some gladiolas that are a lovely pink with dark burgundy throat. I bought those in Houston at the Bulb Mart many years ago. There were more than I needed in their original planned location, so I just planted them in this bed. Just one more plant.
• Brilliant yellow
What else is there? I see a thryallis that had broken off, and I just stuck it into the bed to see if it would grow. Well, it did and is now a beautiful plant, blooming its brilliant, yellow flowers. Let me see, what else? There is also a mystery plant, and I know where that came from.
• Bright red
My eye catches a small bright red bloom - what is it? It is a red salvia, snuggled up to a clump of very pretty Henry Duelberg salvias. It is also near another salvia. It is called white, but it is actually a very soft, gray color. It makes a very nice contrast to all the beautiful colors surrounding it - and combined, they remind me of the colors of this patriotic weekend.
On the other side of the gate, I have some gingers that when in bloom, look like red pine cones.
I bought them many years ago in Houston. I planted them, and they easily grew and multiplied. The leaves are similar to the leaves growing on a corn plant. They are long, slender and grow to a point.
In the fall, the ginger plant will put up a sturdy stem, unlike the leaves. Within a month, it will start to turn red and will eventually turn a brilliant red. They grow very easily from a tuber and multiply.
So, what's in your garden outside your window? Pause and take a look this meaningful holiday. Make note of what you see.
The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• WHAT: Growing Healthy Kids Camp
• WHO: Boys and girls ages 6-12
• WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to noon Week of June 13-17
• WHERE: Victoria Educational Gardens
• FOR MORE INFO: Contact Master Gardener Linda Lees at 361-576-9870 or Victoria County Extension Office 361-575-4581.
• TO REGISTER: Go to http://vcmga.org/growing_healthy_kids_summer_camp. Cost is $25. Make check payable to VCMGA, P.O. Box 1723, Victoria, TX 77902. Deadline is June 6.
• Trumpet, passion and Rangoon Creeper vines are good bloomers.
• Salvias multiply and are easy to propagate.
• All plants above attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
• All plants in article receive no special treatment and have no pests.
• All plants in article provide interest outside the window.