May is my favorite month to plant annuals, especially Texas-tough perennials. I wrote a chapter in my book, “Texas Tough Gardening,” titled Bulletproof Perennials, and I’m going to share an excerpt or two below, including info about one perennial in particular: Angelonia!
If Angelonia isn’t your favorite, don’t worry. At the Arbor Gate’s garden party this Saturday (more info below), my book will be available, and you can pick one up to get my entire list of no-fuss Texas-tough perennials.
So, let's discuss the criteria for these no-brainers. First, they have to be truly low-maintenance. Once you plant them, forget about them. They can survive with little to no maintenance once established. And they do just fine in containers or raised beds. Katy ruellia is a perfect example.
Second, these perennials won't die from an insect attack. Insects can assault them, but even if left untreated, they probably won't expire. Purple verbena and lantana are great examples in that category.
Third, they have to be durable enough to withstand our intense summers or a freeze in the high-20s and low-30s. Now, I admit my Angelonias didn’t make it through the twin freezes in January. But, I still love them, and that’s why I planted a whole bunch this past Monday!
Here’s the excerpt from my book describing Angelonia:
Angelonia a.k.a. Summer Snapdragon – This tops my list because it’s my absolute favorite. It’s one of those true erect little perennials with distinctive toothed-margin leaves and pointed tips, but more importantly flowers that are a vibrant violet to blue. They also come in white. Those upright stems make the flowers absolutely just stand out on the 8- to 10-inch high stems. And the flowers bloom over a long period, from May to the first frost. And one more great attribute: if it doesn’t freeze too hard, they act like evergreens, bouncing back at the first sign of warmer temperatures.
I hope that gets you interested in planting gobs of perennials this weekend and beyond.
Art in the Garden Party at the Arbor Gate
The Arbor Gate, 15809 FM 2920 - where I’ll be stopping by for their Art in the Garden Party this Saturday - just happens to be the nursery that first introduced me to my beloved Angelonia.
Note that I’ll be there from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., but the party runs from 10 to 4.
If you have yet to figure out a Mother’s Day gift for your wife or mom, get to the Arbor Gate on Saturday. They've got you covered in their two gift shops with things that I promise Mom will love.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve visited the Arbor Gate during the Art in the Garden Party. I know one year I was in London, so I’m guessing I’ve been on hand for at least 15 out of 16! I have a blast every time, and I want you to enjoy the fun with me this year! They’ll have guest speakers like Felder Rushing, who specializes in pass-along plants and unique garden art pieces. We’ve come to appreciate his wine bottle trees at our property!
But listen … it’s the ART IN THE GARDEN party, so come by to check out the unique stuff they’ve scattered throughout the nursery … from welded-metal new-age wind art, to good old-fashioned iron and metal benches, fences and really big animals - like eagles!
Other colorful pieces range from ceramic mushrooms and animals, to sun-catchers and Mexican metal yard art. And so much more! They even sell bird houses (below) that are genuine works of art.
Years ago, when writing an article about the very first Art in the Garden Party I was to attend, I titled it “Beyond the Gazing Globe.” Two decades later, that sentiment still holds true. At one time, gazing globes, bird baths and water fountains were about all one could find for art in a garden. Come see what’s available to catch the eye these days.
And while you’re there, pick up a bunch of bulletproof perennials, including my beloved Angelonia! The Arbor Gate carries so many annuals and perennials, it’ll spin your head. And be sure to invest in the Arbor Gate’s Organic Soil Complete for any plants you buy to bring home. It’s the sexiest soil around and worth every penny. And here are a few more excuses for making it out on Saturday:
- I’ll be happy to answer your questions, so bring along samples of any disease or insect issues for me to examine. (In sealed bags please!)
- I’ve got lots of freebies to give away … Medina S.A., Nitro-Phos 4-pound jugs, Wet & Forget, and more!
- They have an incredibly knowledgeable staff to walk around and talk with you.
- You can pick up my book, “Texas Tough Gardening,” and get it autographed.
- They usually serve some kind of amazing frozen version of an “adult beverage.”
- They carry my fertilization schedule products.
- Mother’s Day gift ideas galore!