First up is Barleria obtusa, a cousin to Barleria cristata, a plant I've long admired in the posts of Texas gardeners. B. obtusa is shorter than its cousin but the flowers have the same vivid color and shape. I picked up two of these plants last year at my local botanic garden's fall plant sale. The evergreen plants hadn't done much of anything since last fall but they suddenly burst into bloom a week ago.
|Barleria obtusa, photobombed by Eustoma grandiflorum 'Echo Blue', which is returning for another round of bloom as the nighttime temperatures cool down|
Echium fastuosum 'Star of Madeira' is also on my favorites list this month. I acquired it by mail order late last year and mistreated it badly before finally planting it in my front garden in December. It hasn't bloomed yet but it's grown steadily, albeit slowly, forming a round mound of attractive variegated foliage. The flowers almost seem beside the point, although I'm sure I'll celebrate when it blooms.
|Placement seems to be key for this plant - another specimen planted in my drier, south side garden remains a fraction of the size of this one even though it was planted just a few months later|
Since I cut back the flower stalks, my Euphorbia characias 'Black Pearl' is producing new growth. I've been so impressed with this Euphorbia that I put in six more plants elsewhere in the front garden.
|The original plants have produced some seedlings I'm hoping to use in the backyard when it's ready to plant|
I added three Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy' to my garden early this year. While all have survived, only the one receiving the most sun and water has thrived. It has a very loose shape and it's difficult to photograph but I love its tiny violet-purple flowers.
|Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy' mingling with other plants in the front border|
Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream' also deserves a shout-out. It's managed to flower just outside the regular Bloom Day cycle for the last few months and it still isn't blooming as heavily as either G. 'Superb' or G. 'Ned Kelly' but its flowers are bigger and always fabulous. My largest specimen in the front garden happens to be blooming right now.
|I replaced the Argyranthemum that formerly crowded this Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream' with lower-growing Carex oshimensis 'Evergold' and I think it likes the improved breathing space|
Last but certainly not least is Hypoestes aristata (aka ribbon bush). I grew this shrub in my former garden and it's the one plant I most regret having left behind, even though it only shines in the fall. I finally found it on-line and planted three specimens in different areas of the garden in mid-February. Two of the plants remain very short and relatively unimpressive thus far; however, they have survived the heat and drought and one is flowering well.
|The plant on the left sits in the backyard border in an area that has killed numerous other plants. The plant on the right sits in a similarly unfavorable area in the front garden.|
In contrast, the last of the three has taken off and is already more than twice the size of the other two. I suspect the difference is the amount of water it enjoys.
|I almost missed the Hypoestes aristata here as it has cosied up to Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink' but as the Hypoestes grows taller it should hold its own with the other shrub|
Oh, I almost forgot Senna bicapsularis! I recognized it earlier this week in my "In a Vase on Monday" post but it certainly deserves recognition here too. It's a beautiful plant that literally lights up my dry garden this time of year.
|In addition to being gorgeous, Senna bicapsularis is a host plant for sulphur butterflies.|
Visit Loree at danger garden to see what plants have found favor with her and other gardeners this month.
All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party