Plants Of Interest During Early Spring At The TAMU Horticultural Gardens And Field Laboratory

By Dr. William C. Welch
Professor and Landscape Horticulturist
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Spring looked better than ever at the Horticultural Gardens in April.

Old Garden Roses such as the white-flowered 'Fortuniana', 'Old Blush', 'Cecile Brunner', 'Veilchenblau' rambler and 'Clothilde Soupert' were the first to put on a real display, along with locally "found" roses such as 'Martha Gonzales', ‘Hadacol’, and 'Del Rio'. 'Belinda’s Dream', a rose bred by retired Texas A&M Professor Robert Basye (who passed away at age 91 in February of this year), exhibited its usual vigor and beautiful blooms. It is fast being recognized as a first-rate rose for Texas conditions.

Petunias, dianthus, flowering tobacco, pansies, ornamental Swiss chard, Hinckley’s columbine, Hippeastrum Johnsonii, ox-eye daisy, snapdragons, Salvia Gregii cultivars, and California poppies are blooming well and proving their suitability for Central Texas conditions.

Larger masses of bloom were provided by the semi-tropical Golden Cestrum jasmine (Cestrum aurantiacum), honeysuckle (Lonicera americana), and Australian Bottle-Brush Tree (Callistemon citrinus).

In the water-garden area the Louisiana and Pseudacorus iris and crinums bloomed over an extended period. Plants more typical of drier regions which are still producing flowers are blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthemum), Four-nerve daisy, (Hymenoxys scaposa) and Calyophus. The Apache Plume and Desert Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gillesii) were well into flower, and the Hesperaloes began their bloom period. Bulbine (B. candescens) has put on flowers and increased in size throughout the winter months. This very tough perennial, which was introduced into Texas gardens relatively recently, has created much favorable comment.

Trial plantings presently include snapdragons and ground covers such as verbena ‘Homestead Purple', lyre leaf sage, wedelia, evolvulus and an interesting variegated Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon ‘Bermuda Ghost',) brought to us by Greg Grant.

A planting bed devoted to cut-flowers provided much floral material through the winter and spring. Small-flowered morning glories on short trellises grown in containers furnish moveable color until the weather gets too warm.

This article appeared in the May-June 2000 issue of Lawn and Garden Update, edited by Dr. Douglas F. Welsh, and produced by Extension Horticulture, Texas Agricultural Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System, College Station, Texas.