Gardeners' Dirt
September 07, 2012

by Pat Plowman and Sandy Knief, Victoria County Master Gardener

Edited by
Charla Borchers Leon, Victoria County Master Gardener
While not a highlighted plant at Saturday's sale, look for a limited supply of the Chinese hat plant. Each unique half-inch hat-shaped bloom is made up of a narrow, blue-shaped flower ringed by a pink, circular calyx. These appear in dense terminal clusters throughout the summer into the fall on an upright 4-foot shrub or can grow into a small 8-10 foot tree.
White wing mussaenda blooms white sepals with small yellow flowers from spring to frost. This shrubby perennial also attracts hummingbirds and butterflies for its nectar.
Musical notes clerodendron produces heavy cycles of flower buds that shoot out of the top of the stem like a fountain of musical notes and then opens up to creamy white flowers. This small shrub prefers a bit of shade in the hot summer afternoons.
Mickey Mouse taro is a beautiful accent plant for shade gardens or the edge of a water garden. The tip of the 18-inch heart-shaped leaf forms a pinched pocket that holds water and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds to perch on the tip of the leaf and have a drink of water.
Scarlett powder puff vine blooms a riot of red 3-inch powder puff balls from late spring into the fall in sun or light shade. It is a show-stopper on any trellis, fence or arbor and attracts butterflies.
We've made it through the summer and it's time to select and plant fall plants. Finally, the wait is over.

Saturday we will hold our fabulous fall plant sale with a wonderful array of blooming plants, veggies, herbs and trees.

Hopefully, most of you plant lovers have had a chance to study the list in last week's article of just a few of the plants we have to offer.

This week we add to that list plants from area growers that we are really excited about. Along with new plants, there will be a few that are repeats of very popular varieties that sold out in previous sales.


The following highlighted plants are only a small portion of what we have to offer. Remember that while we intend to stock those mentioned, all plants are subject to availability.

Musical notes clerodendron
is a perennial shrub, about 2 feet tall. It prefers sun to afternoon shade, and has creamy white flowers resembling falling musical notes.

Crested leaf ligularia is a low mounding perennial evergreen that grows in the shade with large round, serrated leaves. This plant blooms in the fall with stalks of yellow daisy-like flowers.

Mickey Mouse taro
is a stunning taro with very large unique variegated leaves that are green, cream and white. This is a wonderful plant for shade gardens and edges of water gardens with an average height of 3-4 feet.

White wing mussaenda
is a striking root hardy shrubby perennial with white sepals and small yellow flowers which blooms from spring to frost. This is a hummingbird and butterfly nectar plant.

White dragon dancing lady ginger
is a small, delicate flowering ginger with pendulous 8-inch panicles of white bracts and tiny yellow flowers that seem to dance in the air. It grows 2 feet tall with long, lance shaped leaves on short stems. It will go dormant in the winter and reappear each spring. It grows best in shade to part shade in moist, well drained soil.

New and Interesting Shrubs

Rose creek abelia is a tidy summer-flowering shrub that grows 2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. Small, shiny, evergreen leaves become purplish green in cold weather. Loose clusters of white, dainty flowers appear at stem ends, and an occasional tip pruning encourages them to bloom until fall frost. This plant grows best in sun to partial shade.

Dwarf umbellata Indian hawthorn
is a compact evergreen shrub with dark green foliage mounding 4 feet high and 4 feet wide. Small white flowers are clustered at the end of the branches in early spring.

Purple pixie loropetalum
is a dwarf groundcover and has dark, intense purple foliage. It is a cascading plant from 1 to 2 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide making a beautiful carpet effect.

Scarlett powderpuff is a root hardy vine with glossy leaves and spectacular 3-inch fluffy red flowers. This vine blooms all summer long and is a butterfly magnet.

Why plant in the fall?

Fall is the best time to plant most of these plants because they have a chance to establish their root system over the cooler months and usually do not require as much watering. Some of these plants that are not winter hardy are best kept in the pot and planted in the spring when the danger of a freeze is past.

Master Gardeners on hand

As you look over these lists from the plant sale articles, we feel sure there is something - or several "somethings" - that will make a wonderful addition to your garden. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your questions and assist you with your selection.

We hope to see you bright and early Saturday morning. Be sure to take time to stroll through our beautiful garden adjacent to the sale to see and smell the mature versions of the plants you will have just purchased. our area.
Chinese Hat
Mexican Bauhinia
Yellow Firecracker
Salvia varieties, which attract butterflies and hummingbirds


WHEN: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday (or until sold out)
WHERE: Victoria Education Gardens Pavilion, Victoria Regional Airport, across from the control tower
Come early for best selection


Container gardening
Rainwater harvesting
Master Gardeners available to assist with selections, suggestions and questions
The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or vcmga@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.