Christmastime flowers and no freeze yet

Christmastime flowers and no freeze yet

December 24, 2023

Here it is Christmas, and Austin has so far escaped a nonflexible freeze. That plus summery temps and occasional rain showers ways flowers, flowers, flowers! Like Mexican flame vine (Senecio confusus) delivering punchy orange petals to the elevated deck.

Giant ligularia (Farfugium japonicum ‘Gigantea’) glows with yellow daisies whilom shiny, round leaves, and attracts pollinators of all kinds.

Forsythia sage (Salvia madrensis), how I venerate your graceful, butter-yellow flower spikes versus the turquoise shed doors…

…and versus the visionless cedar poles of the coyote fence. And here come the bees!


It’s made a thicket of yellow pennants, and I’m here for it.

‘Little Grapes’ gomphrena‘s tiny purple pom-poms are in the cheering section abreast the deck stairs. ‘Fiercely Fabulous’ mangave has sent up a viridity spike that juuuuuuust won’t unshut — considering temps are too cool, I seem — but the gomphrena is cheering it on: You can do it!

In the Circle Garden’s stock-tank planter, four-nerve daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa) is still flowering. (Does it overly stop?) ‘Bandana White’ lantana and a trio of ‘Color Guard’ yuccas add increasingly yellow.

Flower-shaped whale’s tongue agave (Agave ovatifolia) gets a mention, of course. The variegation on this one adds a splash of moonlight yellow.

Philippine violet (Barleria cristata) adds complementary purple.

White mistflower (Ageratina havanensis) has gone to seed, but its fluffy, tan seedheads squint pretty slantingly purple-freckled ‘Macho Mocha’ mangave.

‘Big Momma’ Turk’s cap (Malvaviscus x ‘Big Momma’) looks happier now than it did all summer.

I’ve gotta requite a shout-out to the lustrous, dark-purple berries of Mexican beautyberry (Callicarpa acuminata) too.

‘Amistad’ salvia and Mexican mint marigold (Tagetes lucida) make a pretty pair, backed by purple oxalis (Oxalis triangularis) in a turquoise pot and increasingly giant ligularia. ‘Moonglow’ mangave has moreover sent up a late viridity spike, and this one may unshut surpassing a freeze gets it. It’s trying!

All kinds of flying insects flock to the ligularia flowers at this time of year.

Texas had a rough summer, but Austin is enjoying a trappy early winter. Sure, we’ll get a wham of Arctic unprepossessed sometime soon (the unscratched money is unchangingly on late January to early February), but for now, what a welcome souvenir we’re stuff given.

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Digging Deeper

Hey, Austin-area gardeners, come learn well-nigh making a waterwise, Texas-hardy crevice garden! Register for my next Garden Spark talk with Coleson Bruce on January 18th. He’s created one of the most interesting and trappy xeriscape gardens I’ve seen in Austin. Learn all well-nigh it and hang out with fellow gardeners who are interested in good design. Hope to see you there!

Come learn well-nigh garden diamond from the experts at Garden Spark! I organize in-person talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance; simply click this link and ask to be added. The Season 7 lineup can be found here.

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