Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Are you Cereus?

My Night Blooming Cereus produced its first bloom of the season last night. The large flowers open after dark, usually around 11:00 PM, and are very fragrant. Unfortunately, the flowers do not last long. They are usually wilted within a few hours of sunrise the next morning.

This is one of my few potted tropical plants. It is very easy to care for. I keep it watered and shaded from the hot afternoon sun during the summer. During the winter, I bring it into the garage and forget it.

The Night Blooming Cereus will bloom off an on throughout the summer and fall. It often has several flowers blooming at one time. I have another plant that appears to be a different variety. It had its first bloom last year, but I did not notice it until it was wilted. I am looking forward to to seeing this plant bloom this year too.

The garden is looking reasonably well in late July. The temperature has been fairly moderate and it has rained a few times. Even with the rain, we are several inches below normal rainfall amounts and experiencing Stage 3 (sprinklers once every other week) watering restrictions. So far, I have not watered any plants other than those in pots, the vegetables and new transplants.

I was a little surprised when I received a call last week from a member of the Plano Garden Club. The group's garden tour committee wanted to come by to see my garden and talk to me about having it on their tour next April. I knew I would be hearing from the group at some point because another member of the group asked if I would consider it when she visited my garden during the Plano Water Wise Landscape tour last month.

I explained to the caller that my garden it was not looking all that great right now because my native plants were going dormant for the summer. (These photos make the colors look more vibrant than they really are.) I said I would have plants blooming again in September once the temperature begins to cool and we receive a little rain. She said she already drove by my house and thought the garden looked great.

She explained that it is necessary to line up gardens and prepare publicity well in advance of the tour date. So the committee of three came out two days later and saw my garden in a rather unkempt state.

I had not done much maintenance in the last month. The weekend before this photo was taken, I started removing some spent spring wildflowers and that left patches of bare soil. I still had several patches of wildflowers that were brown and were going to seed. I also have late summer blooming Eryngo (to the left of the pathway)that are growing taller than me. Even so, the committee was impressed and very interested in including my garden on their tour. Being susceptible to believable flattery, I agreed.

The next step? A photographer is coming out this week to take photos for a tour feature in a community magazine. I was thinking, "Are you serious? It is almost August! Can't it wait a couple of months? Can I submit my own photos?" Nope. But I am not quite as concerned about having the garden photographed at this time of years as I was. Most of my above photos turned out better than I expected so I am expecting a professional photographer can make the garden look even better. 


  1. I'm not surprised your beautiful garden is getting so popular on the tour circuit. Your garden does look nice and green, probably greener than the surrounding lawns so the photos should turn out well. April seems early for a garden tour, especially if the winter is like the last one. Ideas about what looks good have changed a lot with the watering restrictions so it's a good opportunity to show how well native plants pull through the drought compared to lawn.

    1. Surprisingly, the lawns around here don't look any less green than usual, even with every other week watering restrictions. I hope people are learning that their lawns can get by on less water than they are used to giving them.
      The tour is April 25 AND 26 (yes, two days and people will have to pay money for this tour). I should have a pretty good display of flowers by then. The bluebonnets should be blooming. They are sure to get a lot of attention.

    2. The bluebonnets will be a hit. I forgot they bloom a few weeks later than here so it should be a good show. Two days! That will be exhausting. We have a watersaver tour in October and I've volunteered to chair Heather's (Xericstyle) yard. We publish a plant list and have 3-4 volunteers on hand for each shift to help with questions.

  2. Wow, Michael! You are getting the recognition you well deserve. Bravo!

    1. I have not decided how I feel about this kind of recognition yet. They are saying this tour could bring three times the number of visitors than showed up for the waterwise tour. It is a little scary having that many people wander around my little yard.

  3. Congrats, Michael! Your garden is getting much deserved recognition.


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