Acer palmatum ‘Ryuse’, Aristolochia elegans, Aristolochia fimbriata, Aristolochia littoralis, Aristolochia watsonii, Dutchman's Pipe, Farfugium japonicum, Indigofera kirilowii, Leopard Plant 'Aureomaculata', Psychotria nervosa 'Little Psycho: wild coffee plant, Salmon Variegated Abutilon, Treesearch Farms, Zone 9 Tropicals
Venturing out after the rain to enjoy the beautiful shades of green on this lovely wet Sunday morning!This is on the south side of our house. Shaded by a row of tall Podocarpus macrophlla aka podocarpus, yew podocarpus, Japanese yew, Buddhist pine in the neighbors yard. Today is cooler only 79 degrees at noon, which is much cooler than last weeks 100 degree days. However it is 98% humidity and very steamy. The plants love days like this. As I wandered down the path first I noticed all the buds on the White Doves Camellias, Camellia sasanqua ‘White Doves’ (‘Mine-No-Yuki’).Next I checked in on our nearly hidden hydrangea. At the moment it has a blue flower head, a pink flower head and a green flower head. It was a gift that lived in a pot on the porch for years. Tucked it in here not expecting much but it is happy. Further down on the house side you see the rain chains we put in last spring. They don’t work in a heavy downpour because the water comes shooting off the V’s in the dormer roofs. They are pretty in a gentle rain. The tall plant is our Hydrangea quercifolia, Oakleaf hydrangea that has not been a fan of all the rain. Next to it is our Indigofera kirilowii which is very happy.
The Indigofera bloom off and on all spring and summer. Further on we come to one of my favorite places in our gardens. This old carved stone came from a shop that closed down on 19th street, Wind Water Gallery. It found a home here and we have been having fun finding plants to tuck in and around it. You can see a Leopard Plant ‘Aureomaculata’, Farfugium japonicum , a Stained Glass Plantain Lily, Hosta x ‘Stained Glass’ P.P.A.F. and the leaves from our Tulip tree. But my favorite are the Dutchman’s pipe. The flowers of Dutchman’s Pipe are a favorite of the Swallowtail butterfly. Their larvae love to eat the leaves usually hatching around midsummer. They haven’t discovered ours yet. I don’t know if it is the flowers or the leaves of Dutchman’s Pipes that attract me to this plant. Or the cool way they trap pollinators deep in there flowers, which have a faint smell of meat or rotting flesh. Here is a closer look at the Aristolochia fimbriata (White Veined Hardy Dutchman’s Pipe), it is finally rooting in and spreading out. In the foreground on the welded wire fence we have the largest leaf of our collection, Aristolochia littoralis, Aristolochia elegans. I got this one from Zone 9 Tropicals here in the Heights. They have a great mail order site also. We’ve only had a few flowers but I think the older they get the more they will flower. I saw a huge one in a pot in Washington D.C. that they put in a hot house each winter. Here they seem to do fine without protection but we haven’t had a long hard freeze since we put them in. Saving my favorite for last. This wee little Dutchman’s pipe captures my heart. This native is Aristolochia watsonii also known as Indianroot and Watson’s Dutchman’s Pipe. I first had it in my dry bed out front but the other plants kept over taking it. It is quite drought tolerant so I am hoping it isn’t suffering too much with all our rain this year. The flowers are so tiny and delicate; perfect for trapping little insects. It is native to the rocky mountain slopes of Arizona and New Mexico. Treesearch Farms is my source for these little treasures! Before turning back Shawn said to check out how much our Psychotria nervosa ‘Little Psycho: wild coffee plant is doing. It is tucked along the fence under the Vitex and behind one of our Abutilon. It has tiny white flowers in the spring and litte red berries in the fall. The Salmon Variegated Abutilon it is tucked behind is filling out nicely but not as variegated as it as in early spring. Having enough of the sauna I head back inside. You will see the bright green Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina (L.) Roth), they are native to the entire United States. I don’t think we planted these but I like the way they layered over the Mondo grass makes a nice contrast in color. The leaves on the left are from our Blue Sky Thumbergia and on the right is the Salvia Miniata. And just past the gate is one of our recent additions Acer palmatum ‘Ryuse’. He has been in the ground since January and we wondered how he would deal with the full sun of Houston in summer. As you can see it is barely phased and really filling out. For more about him check out our blog post about it. Happy Gardening!