Is this September or May?

After a lovely brunch at Olivia on S. Lamar, we took a drive through the wonderful SOCO and Bouldin Creek neighborhoods; yes the 78704 attitude is still Keeping Austin Weird in a wonderful way. The ancient plants in bloom were amazing to see, and the old gingerbread homes intermingled with the ultramodern redo’s  is intriguing to me.I know there is a lot of controversy in that ‘hood about the changes happening, but from this outsider’s point of view, the charm of the neighborhood is enhanced by the variety.

But this really blew me away; everywhere I went, I saw Pride of Barbados in full bloom! I can’t recall ever seeing it bloom prior to late August or early September before. Is it because they didn’t freeze back through our recent mild winter?

It’s one of my favorite plants, and I finally managed to clear a spot in my yard with enough sun for it to grow and planted a baby plant a few weeks ago. Perhaps I’ll get a few blooms at the end of summer, while I can enjoy others’ plants all summer long, hopefully. I mean, look at this!


Notice the flowering Mimosa tree behind the Pride of Barbados. A tree that I grew up with (my favorite climbing tree, with its smooth bark and low lying branches), that only blooms in the springtime. The soft pink blossoms clash with the intense orange of the Pride of Barbados, a color that can hold up to the extreme August/September  heat.  What’s up with that?


12 thoughts on “Is this September or May?

  1. Be still my heart! My favorite tropical plant. My two in the ground are finally sprouted out from cold winter and a few inches tall. Perhaps we need to look for sheltered places that get early morning sun, or evening sun, or something.

    I started some seedlings early this spring. The cat stepped on one and the dog turned over the other, of the two that sprouted. I think I’ll try again.

  2. It’s probably my favorite tropical as well, Nell. I love the contrast of the delicate flower with the intense orange color. It’s definitely an attention-getter.

  3. I’ve noticed buds on my Yellow Bird of Paradise too! Mine’s against the house and didn’t freeze back, but it was still a little disconcerting. I wonder if they’ll bloom again at the right time if I deadhead the blooms after flowering? I’ve never grown one before; the one I have now was planted in October.

  4. I suppose the temperature fluctuations and the lack of moisture just has all the plants confused, doesn’t it seem, Lori? What a year we’ve had!

  5. Robin — How funny! I JUST published my post and my lead photo is my blooming Pride of Barbados! That is an amazing one — I only have about 3 or 4 blooms on mine, nothing like that beauty you photographed. I’ll have to go through your GBBD post tomorrow — I have so much catching up to do.

  6. I already had my eye on that beautiful Mimosa! Some people don’t like them, but I love them, probably partly from having grown up with them. Weren’t they great for climbing, since the branches were so low? I can close my eyes and smell the sweet scent of those pink blooms, too!

  7. Oh, yes, the fragrance! I loved it in spring when I could climb up and read in the sweet spot that 3 low branches formed for me. Awesome that you have similar memories.

  8. Yes, there were many of those Pride of Barbados in full bloom in 78704, in quite an astonishing way. I can’t wait to see what you’ve posted.

  9. Brenda, Pride of Barbados is a native of Mexico, I believe. It normally freezes back to the ground every winter, then in early September, the city of Austin becomes vibrant with these brilliant orange blooms everywhere. Perhaps the University of Texas has some influence, with football season starting at the same time 🙂 ? At the same time of year, Esperanza, with its vibrant and intense yellow blooms, are also in full bloom. The combination is stunning and very desert tropical with its effect. It’s just very odd to see it now.

  10. I just commented on ESP’s blog about the PofB. Rather like the Copper canyon daisy which is blooming in my garden right now. I think I will have to cut it back so it has a chance to bloom in the fall.

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