Monday, June 27, 2011


I have loved zinnias since I was a little girl. It is the first flower I ever grew from seed. Mother would let me pick all I wanted and create bouquets. those memories... And I have continued that summer tradition of planting zinnia seeds in anticipation of the summer show of color plus cutting some of the beautiful flowers for my kitchen.
This year I bought a seed packet of every type of zinnia I could find. They are all planted in the bed around the Chinese Pistache in back. Luckily for now, that tree is too young to produce much shade, so the zinnias get plenty of hot sun and lots of room to breathe. I tossed and raked them in this bed a couple of months ago. They are now starting to bloom, and I am being rewarded with so many different types and colors. Some are almost ruffled..
this one is a candy striped..
this is my favorite of the new--it has the colors of blanket flowers.
And can you see the large red standing proud and tall? Those came from seeds Cindy at
My Corner of Katy sent me last year. They are scattered through out the bed. I also have lots of what are called "cut and come again." Perfect for me! I have a bouquet in the kitchen, and I love to have several little vases with one flower in each on my breakfast room windowsill.
I have never tried planting seeds for profusion zinnias, but the plants I bought a few months ago are looking pretty happy in this old galvanized bucket.
Last year I was so afraid my zinnias were not going to grow, and they ended up doing beautifully. I hated the day I had to pull them up. You know what the problem was? ME! I simply could not wait for the flowers to grow and bloom. One of the hardest lessons for me to learn as a gardener is "patience." Zinnias are a good teacher!

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Types of zinnias I planted:
Giant Cactus Mixed; Giant Double Mixed; Starlight Mixed; Oklahoma Mixed; Giant Scarlet; Whirligig; Big Tetra; Candy Cane; Cut and Come again; Pass-along Large Red

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Love those Coneflowers....but....

You all know how I love cone-
I have them growing all around the pond now.
This is my newest one: Tomato Soup. It is just starting to bloom.
This is Hot Papaya. I know the original Purple Cone-
flowers are the best, but this hybrid was planted last year and look how beautiful it is this year!
I dug a few purple up last year and started them along the little pathway behind the patio..

..and I noticed they are starting to naturalize in this area now. Yea!! However, if you will remember last year I did a post on all my Coneflower woes. Since that time, several gardeners have commented on having similar problems. Basically here was the issue: the heads of the flowers got a tar-like look on one side; then the flowers just kind of fell apart, or did not continue to develop. Trying to find the cause, I discovered little worms in the seed heads. I had comments from people in Canada and Nebraska, all the way down here to Texas. Well--the same thing started to happen to mine earlier in spring. I decided to keep a careful watch on the flowers to see if I could determine the problem. As I watched, I began to see these bugs that looked like yellow lady bugs flying all over the coneflowers and coreopsis. After a while, I began to notice that tar looking head again, and after digging into it, I found the same greenish worm I found last year.
I never got a picture of the bug, but this is the closest thing on the Internet I could find. This is a "cucumber beetle." However, after reading about the larvae of this kind of beetle, I don't think this is it. (The larvae attack the roots) There is also a type of beetle called "asian beetle." I didn't think the description fit either. Then there was the "squash bug beetle." One picture looked like it might be the culprit...but again the description did not match my problem. So...folks I just don't have an answer for you. I did use insecticide soap on the flowers, and if I sprayed it heavily, it did seem to work. I also cut off the flowers that were damaged. Once the spring rains stopped, and the high temperatures hit--the problem seemed to go away. Looking back, I think that is exactly what I remember happening last year.
Wish I had better news for you coneflower lovers out there. The bees and butterflies love the flowers as much as I do, so I suppose I will just keep on researching and watching. But in the meantime...I am still in love with coneflowers!

Note: I did some research on aster yellows disease because it is one thing coneflowers are known to get. (It is spread by leafhoppers) However, I did not think it fit my situation. Here is a link to an article that gives good information and a picture that could be some help. Let us know if those of you with coneflower problems solve the mystery!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Texas Star Hibiscus - In the Pond!

Here is the plant I told you about in the last post. It is a Texas Star Hibiscus, and it is indeed in the pond! After doing our big pond clean out and getting rid of all the plants, I went to the pond store to buy a new water poppy and a lily. The guy helping me said "oh, you gotta get one of these-they are my favorites." I couldn't believe he wanted me to get a TS Hibiscus and put it in the pond. I kept thinking how drought tolerant I always thought hibiscus were--but when he told me about the flowers, he convinced me to give it a try. The buds start out large like this one..and stay in bud seemed like forever, but guess it was several weeks.

This weekend I noticed it had split and I could see the color---RED!

Yesterday it opened a bit more..

And this morning it was all the way open-big and gorgeous! Well worth the wait I think.

But of course, you know hibiscus--here today, gone tomorrow. Oh well...there are lots more flowers to come judging by all the buds I see!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

She's a Beauty!

This is my new water lily--isn't she pretty? Her name is "Mayle Rose Pink." About 2 months ago we did a big pond clean up. We scraped the bottom of the pond and got rid of all but 1 of our old plants. They had just about taken over the little pond and made it impossible to clean--or see the fish!
Because water lilies need so much sun I couldn't have them when we had the Bradford Pear trees, but now that the back is in full sun all day I decided to give them a more time. I have been thrilled with the results! When I bought this plant, it was small and...well, not very pretty. But once it warmed up a bit and the sun started hitting the pond again, I have been rewarded with bloom after bloom. The leaves are large as well. I couldn't be more pleased.
My picture doesn't really show the true pink color--but I can you it is yummy! I think it goes well with the yellow water poppy. The plant you can barely see to the left is a water "Texas Star Hibiscus." Cannot wait to tell you about that one!
Happy June everyone!