Ligularia for shade |Daphne Richards |Central Texas Gardener

Hi, I’m Daphne Richards. Our question this week came from lots of
different viewers. With the explosion of growth in gardens this spring, it seems like
everyone wanted to know why is this such a great year for Irises, Roses, Redbuds, wildflowers you name it! Everyone’s plants are bigger, beefier, taller, and more beautiful than
they’ve been in years. And as you might have guessed, the answer
comes down to whether. Our plans have struggled for years with
extreme heat and drought and the occasional hard winter as well.
No the drought is’nt over, but we did have a relatively brief
period a glorious rainfall and mild temperatures which gave are
landscaped just the environment they needed to rebound and come roaring back to life. When times are tough plants hunker down and conserve
resources, producing less growth, smaller and fewer flowers, or even none
all, and very few if any fruit. Our good soaking rains of late summer
and early fall last year continued all the way through winter,
exactly when our wildflowers sprout and grow in preparation for flowering in
producing the next generation of seeds. And with the lack of good conditions for
the past several years our wildflower seed bank quietly waited
and slowly built up exploding onto the scene and taking full
advantage of the situation when the climate improved. In our
gardens there was a similar pattern. Plants that have struggled for years
conserving resources and hoping for the climate to improve
finally got exactly what they needed to put on a little extra growth, or a lot actually, and produce flowers too. After a relatively mild, wet, and cloudy
winter we had some early spring warmth and
sunshine. Often are early spring warm-ups are followed by late spring frost or
freezes which kill of newly formed growth and flower buds, but not this year. Spring arrived early
and stayed giving us one of our best floral
displays in years. Among the many viewer pictures we received where these from
Lance and Dawn Ware of the gorgeous bluebonnets near Park Road 4 and Burnett. They celebrate their anniversary each
April by taking a trip to see the bluebonnets.
Dawn said that the hills and castle remind her of Germany where she and Lance met and married while in the military. We also receive lots a beautiful iris
photos, including this one from Winter Gali who
shared it our Facebook page along with a photo of her Judy Garland
rose. This beautiful red but photo comes from MJ. It wouldn’t be spring in Texas without
photos of children amongst the bluebonnets. these come from Mitzi VanSant. I hope to have some pictures of Oggie and Lulu
in the bluebonnets to show next year. Our plant this week is ligularia,
sometimes called leopard plant. Although the yellow orange flowers of this sunflower relative are pretty, ligularia is more valued in the landscape
for its foliar display. Large dark green heart-shaped leaves are tinged with purple including the
underside, vains, and margins giving this plant a truly striking
appearance. Ligularia is a large clumping perennial getting about two feet wide and 3 feet
tall. It does best in shady wet conditions so it’s perfect if you have high clay
soils and a dark bogey area that’s stays too wet for most
other plants. In fact if you don’t have an area full of shade
where the soil stays wet most the time, it would be best to avoid this plant because
it will not survive in a dry sunny spot in our extreme heat here in the deep south.
As with most perennials shear it back in late winter to
reinvigorate for new growth. For timely garden tasks and monthly to-do lists, and to send us your questions and
pictures from your garden, please check out our newly designed
website at We’d love to hear from you.

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