Flowers at the Peaceful Habitations

Flowers in great profusion are a nearly year-round phenomena at the Peaceful Habitations. From early spring until late fall a succession of garden flowers and wildflowers fill the Peaceful Habitations with constantly changing colors and textures.

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In the early spring, the daffodils are the first to emerge, poking up through the gently warming soil and letting their cheerful bright yellow flowers dance in the breeze. 

We planted a semi-circle of daffodils around the half wagon wheel of red roses, and the display was spectacular and most welcome after the short Hill Country winter. We also planted scattered daffodil bulbs in the day lilly beds to give some early color among the emerging lilly foliage.

White Iris 
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My mother had collected a large number of iris at her house over the years, but the overshadowing oaks prevented them from blooming consistently. Recently we moved a number of clumps to the full sun along a fence  at the south side of the garden which receives uninterrupted sunlight all day long. With the addition of a little fertilizer, the iris simply exploded with blooms on tall stalks. 

Many of the iris turned out to be white and they were simply huge.  

Purple Iris 
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The iris beds are raised about 12" - 14" above the surrounding ground and are bordered with natural limestone. In one area there are many small iris that are a beautiful and exceptionally dark shade of purple. 
Aquatic Iris 
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A little later in the spring, the "water garden" takes center stage with a wonderful display of aquatic iris. Perhaps "water garden" is a small exaggeration, because it is actually a recycled concrete watering trough, but the effect is marvelous.

The aquatic iris are native to the swamps of Louisiana, but they seem to like their new home as long as we keep the water level up. The blooms only last a week or two but they are so beautiful that I find myself waiting for them with greater anticipation every year. 

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I planted some plumbago at our house in San Antonio nearly 30 years ago and it has bloomed profusely every year since that time without attention, fertilizer, or more than the most sporadic of watering. That is my kind of plant!.

Plumbago produces abundant quantities of sticky seeds, which are followed the next year by abundant "baby" plumbago plants. I periodically dig a few up and find them new homes, either at the Peaceful Habitations or at the homes of our friends. 

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Several years ago I decided to plant a few zinnias for added color in the vegetable garden area behind the cabins at the Peaceful Habitations. Unfortunately moderation is a character trait that has totally escaped me, and  I planted some 10 rows of zinnias, each of which was 100' to 150' in length. Needless to say, we had more flowers than we knew what to do with. But it was wonderful. 
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Since I used an old-fashioned hand-propelled planting machine for the zinnias, and the seed plate was actually designed for peas rather than zinnias, the resulting stand of flowers was really dense. It was so dense, in fact, that it was almost impossible to walk through the rows, even though they were spaced 3 feet apart. 

The whole experience was so wonderful and the flowers lasted so long that the "experiment" has been repeated, with some variations, every year. 

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During a trip through the Hill Country, we came upon a place called Wildseed Farms. It is a great place to visit because they grow wildflowers in enormous fields and harvest the seeds. We bought a small package of orange cosmos seeds and planted them in one of our raised beds. The seeds promptly sprouted and soon that end of the garden was filled with dancing golden-orange blooms.

In the late summer, the blooms faded and were followed by seeds, so I waded in and started collecting. But there were so many seeds that more than half of them wound up on the ground. Within a few weeks there was a whole new crop of cosmos sprouting and growing. So we had a second flush of flowers in the late summer and early fall.

Salvia Greggii 
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We planted several specimens of salvia greggii around the base of the "water garden" to hide the ugly concrete sides of the former watering trough. Since the "water garden" periodically overflows, the salvia thrived and grew upward and outward. 

Now we have a display of beautiful red flowers around the "water garden" all summer long and the humming birds thank us for our thoughtfulness nearly every day. 

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We planted a number of tiny chrysanthemums in the iris beds and during the fall we are treated to a wonderful splash of yellow and orange that lasts until frost.   

Last updated 03/23/2001