Category: Texas Proud

My favorite flowers for the sweltering Texas summer heat

I am one of those people who have favorite words. Plethora, for example, has always tickled my fancy. And sweltering. Living in Texas, I get to use those magnificent, king sized words quite often!

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But y’all, this is a bit much! We started out with heat indexes around 105° in late June, then had a little relief the first week of July (when I was gone), and it seems to be climbing since! This is the external temperature recorded in my minivan last Wednesday… while we were moving! (photo by my son in the passenger seat)

So what’s a Texas gardener to do?

Well, not much right now, if your garden is in full sun.

So I’ll back up to last month when our temperatures were only hovering around 100°. The heat baked or stunted most of my vegetables, but a few bloomers have risen to the top of my list for their high heat, low water tolerance, and beautiful display.

The Belle of this year’s garden has been the lovely zinnias.

I had some zinnias from seeds saved in previous years. They originally were given to me by a gardening friend. There used to be several colors, but over the years, only pink lasted. This year I added more seeds : Purple Prince (of course) and a mixed pouch.

The tiny red spider zinnias have reseeded themselves for about three years now. The heat did cause many blooms to be to be smaller this year, but these are always that tiny.

The next superstar has been my sunflowers.

In the past, I stuck to the Skyscraper sunflowers because I liked having the giant bloom. But that was so much growth and just one bloom per plant.

This year, I tried Lemon Queen and Giant Primrose, from Baker Creek, for multiple blooms and I found a new love!

And look how lovely they are together!

Of course, I also have one “weed” aka a native sunflower that is found in our pastures, that I allowed to grow in my garden space. Here’s why – when the temp is soaring well over 100, nothing phases this natural beauty!

Is big and gangly with many spent blossoms and beauties at the same time. And my bumbles love it.

What’s your favorite flower for summer?

 

Resources:

Heirloom Seeds – This is the first company I ever used for heirloom seed and they’ve always been excellent seed source!

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – This is the second year I’ve used Baker Creek.  I didn’t have much success with this year’s seeds, but that is probably largely due to the extreme weather we’ve had this year.

The beautiful hair clip my daughter is wearing in the big sunflower picture, is from the wonderful company I represent!

February is for Chicken Magic… and garden planning

In January and February I get the itch. The gardening itch. I begin thinking and planning in my head. On warm days, I go out and shovel wheelbarrows of goodness from the chicken coop and pile it up in the garden. I cut back the asparagus bed, and other twigs of last year’s garden that need to be cut back.

My chickens have had access to the garden since production ended. In January, I usually begin dumping our kitchen scraps into the garden area. The girls work hard in January & February, moving the mulch around, working in the piles from the coop, scratching where I’ve thrown the scraps, and pooping all over everything.

It’s like magic. Chicken magic.

Chicken garden magic.

But now it gets serious. February is here.

It’s time to kick things up a notch. Seed catalogs began to arrive in January, so the daydreaming intensifies. It will soon be be time to set out onions! I ordered my Baker Creek seeds a few days ago! I’ll start tomatoes indoors as soon as the seeds arrive!

I need to check my garden fence and chicken-proof it again, so I’ll be ready to put onions out. (And then I’ll probably need to clip wings until they get accustomed to the fence again.)

Here are the tools I’m using during this preparation time:

  • Clyde’s Garden Planner – This is a new tool to me, but it looks like it’s going to be a great help!
  • Texas Gardener Magazine – I hang onto my back issues because they’re full of great info!
  • Seed Catalogs from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Willhite Seed Inc (a Texas company), and any other catalogs that come in the mail! They don’t have a paper catalog but I’ve had great success with the seeds from Heirloom Seeds for years.
  • Premier 1 Poultry Solutions catalog – Great options for feeders & waterers, banding, portable electric net, and other chicken needs. I’ve got my eyes on their temperature sensitive outlet for next winter.
  • I promised myself I’m not buying any chicks this year, but if I did, I’d order them in February as well, from Ideal Poultry (another Texas company).
  • Triangle U-Pin in black nickel, as seen in the first photo, is an easy way to twist my hair up when I’m outside working.

My Lilla Rose Story

I was honored to be selected by Lilla Rose to be one the the Stylists on video feature at the 2016 Consultant Convention, to share a little bit of my Lilla Rose Story. My name is Sue Ellen Hale. I’m a wife, a mom, a homeschool teacher, a gardener, a farm girl, a Texan. And I’m a Lilla Rose.

Filmed May 2015.  Complete this form if you’d like more information about starting your own Lilla Rose Story!