Flowers of middle spring in my Austin garden Leave a comment

April 14, 2024

After Texas mountain laurels and plums have dropped their fragrant blossoms, after bluebonnets and other early wildflowers have gone to messy seed, but before heat-loving salvias and skullcap and Turk’s cap get going, we enter what I call middle spring in Central Texas. It’s lush and flowery, still fresh and bright green, and abundant with roses, irises, and yucca flowers. Case in point, the ‘Peggy Martin’ climbing rose is awash in hot-pink blossoms dangling from the coyote fence along the back garden.

Fragrance may be lacking, but color and quantity are not. It’s a great rose to enjoy from across the garden — or from underneath, as I am wont to do.


Not to mention, this rose needs little from me but an occasional watering during the heat of summer and occasionally tying its long canes to the fence to keep it tidy and ensure lots of flowers next spring. Thankfully, ‘Peggy Martin’ is thornless and easy to manage.

‘Rooguchi’ clematis, which I bought from Plant Delights years ago, is twining its way up a potted squid agave and dangling purple flowers like ballerina skirts.

A hardy red amaryllis, a passalong from Austin gardener Tom Ellison, has opened fiery blossoms atop tall stems, blooming even in a good deal of shade.

Another happy middle-spring moment is when ‘Frazzle Dazzle’ dyckia lights up with golden flowers. Atop the gray moptop of foliage, quirky bloom spikes stand erect, lasting about a week or so.

I like their color echo with the ceramic table.

Below the deck, gold spuria irises are awash with flowers. I swear they have been moving themselves backward into more and more shade with each passing year. They’re nearly under a just-leafing-out American beautyberry, which grows beneath a large crape myrtle.

The golden irises are gorgeous with touches of cinnamon. Spurias resent being moved and divided, unlike bearded irises, so I just let them do their thing.

In a sunnier spot, a ‘Bright Edge’ yucca is sending up a tall bloom spike. Its striped leaves make a color echo for the irises.

One more admiring look before these fade away

Tall verbena — volunteers that have popped up here and there from my original plants — are attracting eager butterflies.

Red admirals were fluttering all over them a few days ago.

They let me get pretty close for photos.

Gray hairstreak butterflies joined in the nectaring too. I’m happy to see plenty of pollinators in my middle spring garden!

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Digging Deeper

May 4: Explore “brilliant backyards, perfect pools and pergolas, and outdoor rooms and gardens” on the ATX Outdoor Living Tour on 5/4, 10 am to 3 pm. Landscape architects, designers, and builders will be on hand to answer questions. Tickets are $33.85 for adults, $17.85 for kids age 10-17.

May 11: Tour four Austin gardens on 5/11, from 9 am to 3 pm, on the Inside Austin Gardens Tour. Each garden “is created and cared for by a Travis County Master Gardener and demonstrates realistic gardening practices that inform and inspire.” Tickets are $20 in advance, available through May 5, or $25 on the day of the tour. Children 12 and under get free admission.

May 11: Save the date for Austin Home’s Great Outdoors Tour on 5/11.

May 18: Pop up to Dallas for the 2024 DCMGA Garden Tour on 5/18 from 10 am to 5 pm. Tickets are $18 if purchased online prior to 6 pm on 5/17, or $22 after 6 pm on 5/17 or at the event. For a sneak peek, click here.

June 1-2: Take a self-guided, 2-day tour of ponds and gardens in and around Austin on the annual Austin Pond and Garden Tour, held 6/1 and 6/2, 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets are $20 to $25.

Come learn about gardening and design at Garden Spark! I organize in-person talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, authors, and gardeners 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. Season 8 kicks off in fall 2024. Stay tuned for more info!

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