I have two huge rocks almost flush with the yard, and I'm trying to get them rolling with heat-hardy perennials. This is the one to the right of my driveway. At the upper back of the rock you can see a very nicely established Rock Rose which I planted my first summer here. It's survived and seems to be thriving this year. On the upper left is a little mound of Silver Germander, one of my favorite perennials which I also planted 2 years ago. All the other perennials I planted around this rock did not make it into the second summer, but they were mostly herbs and probably too tender for the raw heat with no shade and the continuous after dark baking afforded by a big hunk of stone in the ground. The Silver Germander was a pitiful little sprig through the year last year, but it seems to be happy, as it is finally blooming, and it seems to be expanding rather rapidly. Over the past two years, I've painstakingly picked back the grass and weeds as they tried to choke out this plant, and I think it's finally well-established.
I fell in love with Silver Germander when I frequented an organic gardening purveyor in McKinney Texas about 1996-2000. It was a lovely place and they specialized in organic gardening of the native perennials I prefer. At the Green House[sadly, defunct], there were several large silvery mounds of something with grand lavender colored flowers which struck my fancy mightily. The owner didn't have a specimen of this for sale, but he gave me cuttings which did not take. I have planted this in several gardens since and it never survived, so it's a big deal for me that this one is surviving and seems as though it will make it. He touted this as a local native that required no care-- he said he never watered it or anything-- and it just carried on. I like a self-motivated plant!
In Dallas on Saturday, I went to Redenta's at Oram and Skillman, which is where I frequently shopped for garden goods when I lived on Palo Pinto. They have a great selection, and it's a beautiful place just to visit and look at all the superb plant specimen. I controlled myself and only bought $50 worth, and that's saying something. There I pickedup the Sandpaper Verbena on the lower left (with the purple flowers). Then the red plant is a Penta Ruby Glow which should be a favorite with butterflies and hummingbirds. The last one to the right is a longtime favorite, Lavender Verbena (verbena bonariensis). I'll have some more from my shopping trip to Redenta's to show in the coming days. Hopefully these will all be the start of bigger and lusher growth in my plantings this year.
Anyway, I know it doesn't look like much, but I'm hopeful that in a month or two I'll be able to show you some dramatic growth. I have always said that gardening is a matter of finding the plants that thrive on your level of neglect. Some of these may not make it, but I hope they all do. I can see what a lovely mosaic they all will be together. :) I'm also quite particular to pick plants to lure butterflies and hummingbirds. Next time I'll show you the left rock garden.