Every year in late Autumn I become mindful of certain especially tough beauties in my garden spaces. Year in and year out they shrug off the ravages of heat and drought, taking advantage of Fall's kinder gentler nature for one last display of exuberant color. I am a rapt audience.
Predictably enough, many of these knockouts in my gardens are native varieties. A few are adaptable near neighbors, but they all are stellar performers in my microclimates. A few of them I bought, several of them I grew from hand gathered seed or passalong starts, and at least one of them was a gift, planted by wildlife.
|Giant Cosmos dominates the back of the garden beds|
This Giant Cosmos is a throwback. I never would have known what it was without this post from fellow local gardener and artist Bob Pool at Draco where he wrote about getting the seed from a local plant sale vendor. I'm not sure how it arrived in my beds, I don't believe you can buy seed for it (packets advertising "giant" refer to large blooms) but arrive it has. Now I recognize the giants when they start out, I allow it to reseed freely and simply remove the plants that crop up in spaces I don't want.
There you have it. No elite group at all but rather a more working-class collection of perennial performers in our demanding Central Texas climate. Some are old fashioned, several are held in current disdain, but left to their own devices these are all plants that require little to no assistance to thrive, much less survive. As I get older I've discovered I must carefully steward my available energies and heat tolerance for work in our garden spaces. I find I am more and more grateful for these plants that once introduced, will simply take care of themselves.