There’s A First Time For Everything

Today, I was popped in the forehead by a popping Purple Ruellia. Literally….Popped in the head with a plant seed. The plant is acrually quite ingenious. The seed-pod pops open when wet, and POP!! Seeds fly out, popping into the foreheads of unsuspectijng gardeners.

I honestly have never been popped in the head by a plant before. I’ve been stung by scorpians, spiders, hornets, fire ants and large red ants. I’ve been swarmed by bees over three times. Each time, my husband was on the bees’ side. I’ve been way too close to four Rattlesnakes, chased mercilessly by a ridiculous, over-zealous rooster and have had to deal with a very angry badger inside my chicken coop….but never have I been accosted by a plant.

I’m not one to cry in my Wheaties. I usually enjoy the whole “getting even” thing in the garden. My gut reaction was to go over to the Ruellia, rip it out of the ground and show it who was boss….but the problem with that train of though is that the Popping Ruellia is one of the only drought hardy flowering purple plants that thrives in the Texas heat. I suppose it dsserves a little more respect than I was showing it.

Yes, it’s true…..I *did* happen to divide some of it this summer on a very hot day. Yes, it spent a few days moaning and wilting. Yes, it has a few yellow leaves from lack of water….so maybe I deserved the pop in the head. Maybe I’m not the boss of the garden after all.

Ruellia is a wonderful flower for the South. Ruellia, commonly known as a Mexican Petunia, is an old-time favorite heirloom flower. In fact, I got my starts from an older gardener who traded me some Ruellia for a few bulbs. I wasn’t sure I’d even like it (since it wasn’t a bulb. Ha!) After a few seasons, I have begun to LOVE my popping plant. Sometimes, I water it for fun just for the popping….just to tease it a bit. Come to think of it, this is probably why I was popped in the forehead. In any case, Ruellia flourishes in the worst of conditions. It doesn’t matter how hot it is or how little water it receives, Ruellia flourishes. Right now, I had a gorgeous purple flush next to the deep blood-red Oxblood Lilies and the bold, golden yellow of the Fall Crocus. The gardens are like a painter’s palette.

Come on down to Llano and I will share a start with you. Ofcourse, there are always heirloom bulbs that every southern garden needs. Southern bulbs are charming in every way. I’m happy to share flowers in the same spirit of garden days of old.

Happy Gardening, my friends!