Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Pleasing Perennial

Sometimes perennial bloomers are a disappointment in the garden:  it's true they live longer than one season, but they often have a short bloom season or require lots of maintenance to keep looking their best.  Not this one!

Pavonia is a perennial that performs.  This hardy little plant seems to bloom from late spring until frost, and never gets unruly.  George Miller, in his book Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas, writes that pavonia grows to 4 feet tall, with slender, spreading branches and dark green, heart-shaped leaves.  He suggests planting pavonia with silktassel, agarita and lantana, or perhaps Texas Mountain Laurel, Texas persimmon or evergreen sumac.  Though a short-lived perennial, it tends to reseed if left to its own devices.

This native Texan is suitable for planting in full sun, full shade and everything in between, although I think it blooms better with more sun.  It is cold hardy to 10-20 degrees.  Mine didn't return from last winter's hard freeze, but it was a few years old.  It is easy to propagate from fresh seeds or softwood cuttings. Pavonia is also known as rock rose, rose pavonia or rose mallow.  Look for it at your local independent garden center in the late spring and summer.

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