Sunday, July 29, 2012


Wisteria sinensis or Chinese wisteria is a great vine for southern gardens.
Why give it a wink?
Wisteria are one of the most carefree plants in my garden. They requires no fertilizer,no special soils, and no extra watering. It grows very fast and is easy to prune.
Its flowers have a 'grape' scent and are very attractive to bumblebees.
The woody vines can be trained to grow into winding trees or can scamper up a trellis. Here's our 20 year old vine in the front yard during the summer.
It has hundreds of blooms each Spring.
Here are the lovely blooms falling upon one of my ginger plants.
I like that Wisteria often bloom a second time in the summer. Their fragrance catches me off guard.
I'm joining Lisa at Lisa's Chaos for another round of Macro Monday.
Thanks Lisa! 
An now for a story:
When we first moved into our home in 1985, the entire front lawn was empty except for a tiny sprig of Wisteria. I asked my wife if I should mow it down and she said yes.
Then she changed her mind!
I hoped and prayed the little sprig would grow back and of course, it did. It is now quite happy and about the size of a small tree. It grow wider each year and sprawls throughout the front flower beds. It is 10 feet wide and 6 feet tall with hundreds of blooms.
She's been happy ever since.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Why give it a wink?
Gazania rigens, native to South Africa, is drought tolerant, grows in poor soils, and can take full sun and lots of heat.
It's also very beautiful and the inner eyes are quite unusual
Gazania can also have silvery foliage or green foliage with silver hairs outlining the edges.
It's very low growing and would be great for a rock garden with lots of drainage.
For more great flowers, visit our host, Lisa, at Lisa's Chaos.
And now for a story:
When I was about 13, I learned from my English teacher that every plant had a scientific name. I was fascinated by this and set out to learn as many as possible. I enjoy the sounds of this botanical language very much. Gazania reminds me of some sort of Italian dessert, but of course it's not that at all. The flower is named after Theodore of Gaza from the 1300s. Rigens means rigid, perhaps due to the stiff outer ring surrounding the flower petals. These close up each night forcing the rest of the flower to close as well. I don't know of any other flower that does this each night.
You can see these rigid spikes ( or connate involucral bracts if you REALLY want to know) in the yellow background flowers in the photo below.

That's it for today.
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I'm joining Lisa at Lisa's Chaos for another round of Macro Monday.
Pentas are a fabulous flower for Gulf coast gardens. They come in some outstanding colors, have nice lance-shaped foliage and attract butterflies.
Downside: They do take more water than most flowers, but they are not picky about soil. They can grow in partial shade and even full sun.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

BAUHINIA FORFICATA ~ Brazilian White Orchid tree is a favorite

I'm joining Macro Monday with Lisa at Lisa's Chaos. :0)
All photos are from my tropical garden here in Houston.
Why give this one a wink?
Bauhinia forficata is a great little tree for the tropical garden. It has some of the most exotic blooms available for the U.S. Gulf Coast. Its trunk hardy down to 20F and stem hardy to 26F. Leaves are deciduous after a freeze. Steady bloomer all summer.
What I'm concerned about:
Just one thing; it would eventually like to take over your tropical garden. This is not always a bad thing when you like beautiful plants.
Anything else?
Okay, two things; every time you edge around this tree the cut root will sucker and give you a small tree. Since the root is already 'mature', the foot tall saplings will be in bloom. Again, if you don't mind beauty this is a good thing.
Anything else?
Yes, the branches contain small thorns. I hate plants with thorns, but this one is an exception. There are other species of Bauhinias that are thornless, but not this one.
B. forficata grows to a height of 20 feet (6-7 meters)
The young leaves are beautiful!
Hey Mr. Garden Wink, you promised a story for each
Okay, this one is quite interesting. This plant is never, NEVER, NEVER for sale. You have to find a friend who has one and make a plea to have a baby from their yard. I don't remember how I even got mine, but it was 12 years ago. 
However, I read a story in our newspaper about a lady in The Heights who gives away seeds of every variety of Bauhinia she grows. She leaves packages in a seed box on her fence. Why? She wants the Bauhinia to be the symbol for Houston and she wants these trees all over the city. I agree. We really do need more of these trees around, so I wish her the best of luck.
Bauhinia acuminata is also white, but has flowers with a roundish, thicker petal. 
Bauhinia mexicana is also white, but looks very different from B. forficata.
There are at least 5-10 different Bauhinias that thrive along the Gulf Coast and they ARE for sale.  Happy plant hunting!

Thanks for stopping by!  David/:0)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Why it gets a wink:
Dittany of Crete (Origanum dictamnus) is one of the most photogenic plants I've ever grown. It smells good, looks cute, feels soft and fuzzy, and sends out bizarre bloom tassles (that look like green and purple hemlock pine cones) that also surprise the gardener with tiny lavender flowers.

Any worries?
Yes, it's not supposed to grow here! It despises high humidity and wet soil, so grow it in a clay pot and bring it in if it rains many days in a row. It grows better in Austin and San Antonio.

 Anything else?
Yes, it is in the similar to Oregano and can be used in cooking. I've not tried to eat it since I usually don't eat my decorative plants! I just want to enjoy the show.
And speaking of shows, go take a look at Lisa's Chaos this week for more fine macros of flowers and bugs and everything else.
Thanks, Lisa.

flag of Crete
Thanks to all for stopping by!