Saturday, April 9, 2016

More Spring Colors in the Garden


Phlomis are perennial herbs or shrubby plants native to the Mediterranean areas. Jerusalem-sage (Phlomis fruticosa) is a shrubby plant. It can grow up to 4 feet and will take on a mounding or spreading appearance. They are rather coarse growers, suitable for a wild garden. The leaves are crinkled, green, and sage-like with white beneath and generally have a hairy texture that helps conserve water. The yellow flowers are whorled and hooded, with widely-spaced multiple blooms on a single stem. Sunset Magazine lists this as a favorite perennial. Jerusalem-sage is a member of the mint family making it rich in aromatic compounds.

Gulf Coast Pentstemon is a perennial herb of the Plantaginaceae Family (plantain family), mostly native to North America. Also called Beardtongue, they thrive in a well-drained soil and are good plants for a flower border. This Pentstemon produces flowers in the early spring, on 1-2 foot slender stems, at the same time the irises bloom. My pentstemon is planted along the upper edge of a retaining wall. It is at eye level so it's fragile pastel pink/lavender flowers won’t go unnoticed by anyone strolling through the garden. It throws seeds into the walkway and these propagate readily but are not invasive.   

This 'Forest Pansy' Redbud tree has a beautiful deep crimson leaf with green veins. I think the insect is a katydid nymph.

Along the edge of my herb garden and pea rock path, Pink evening primrose has found a place to propagate. I pull most of the new seedlings but leave a few to add some excitement in the spring. These grow at the base of several rotund fennel that over-winter, without damage, in a protected corner of the garden. I keep the fennel for swallowtail larva to feed on in the late spring.

Southern Pink Moth
Pyrausta inornatalis

Charles Henry Fernald (1838 – 1921) wrote about the moth in, A List of North American Lepidoptera and Key to the Literature of this order of insect. The larva are very small and feed on salvia. 

Leaving holes in the newly formed buds, the larva chew with such vigor, that the actual flowers seldom have a chance to break open. Is this why my Mexican salvia are struggling so much? Above, this pink moth has made it's home on a scabiosa or pincushion flower. The unassuming size and beautiful pink wings with white ruffled edges leave us with a false sense of admiration, when in fact, we should approach with hesitation this salvia munching pest.

This April garden post includes photographs from a visit to a garden nearby. I tried to find a "new to me plant" to learn about and share. Irises and roses are in full bloom. Join host, Carol, and others at May Dreams Garden for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.  Join in and share your April garden delights and visit with other gardeners throughout the world.

Grassroots Horticulture