Showing posts from July, 2019

Meadow Pink Texas Star Sabatia campestris Sabatia angularis

Meadow Pink is a small, native, annual, pink-flowering plant found primarily in the southern US. Its other common names include Rose Gentian, Prairie Rose-gentian, Texas Star and Prairie sabatia. 

The five-petaled flowers are an inch or two across and the plants are one to two feet tall. Meadow Pinks spread by seed to form colonies. The challenge is to leave them alone during spring weeding since the new rosettes pop up where you least expect them and are easy to forget from year to year.

Sabatia prefers dry garden soils that have good drainage; a sandy place would be perfect.

Sabatia angularis, Rosepink, is available from seed companies (www.prairie It is also a Gentian, sometimes called Marshpink, Bitterbloom, Rosepink and Rose Gentian. Sabatia kennedyana, Bog Sabadia for wetlands, seeds are available from

Sabatias are biennials, They grow a rosette of leaves the first year, then have pink, gold and magenta flowers on multi-branched stems, followed…

Mother of Thyme for Garden and Kitchen

Thyme is valuable as a kitchen herb, feeds pollinators and makes a terrific ground cover. 

Creeping Thyme, Thymus serpyllum or Thymus praecox, also called Wild Thyme and Mother of Thyme, is a European native.  Cold hardy in zones 4-8, its wiry stems and woody trunk take most garden conditions. 

Thyme from the grocery store, is probably Thymus vulgaris, but I use Mother of Thyme for marinades, cooking and canning. 

The leaves are tiny, blue-green, opposite, and about 1/4th inch long. The stems that create the foliage mat, spread by rooting in soil or sand along their path.

The plants are covered with 4-to-6-inch tall stems of tubular flowers right now. Dozens of tiny bees and other insects cover them daily from now until fall. After the flowers are spent, the flower heads can be removed to re-shape the plants.

Mother of Thyme is easy to grow in dry to moist, well-drained soil, without fertilizer. We have it planted in four locations around the garden where the soil is dry or difficult and i…

Jewels of Opar Limon

Jewels of Opar, Talinum paniculata, is a native Central and North American edible plant similar to summer or Malabar spinach. The leaves of the Limon variety are bright green and the flowers form a spray of pink above them on long wiry stems, leading some to call them Pink Baby’s Breath. When the flowers fade, they are replaced by tiny, jewel-like fruits that resemble precious stones. 

Southern Seed Exposure first planted Jewels of Opar seeds in 2014 and much to their surprise, the tiny flowers fed pollinators and the edible leaves tasted “surprisingly” appealing (  

Jewels of Opar Limon is very easy to grow. We started with a single 4-inch pot 6 years ago and the seeds have made new plants every spring since then, with no effort on our part. They grow in full sun to part-shade and require minimal water. Almost any soil will do; rabbits, pests and diseases leave them alone except for a small nibble here or there.

Jewels of Opar is an old-fashioned garden plant. Ed…

Norfolk Island Pine Tree tabletop holiday decor

Captain Hook landed on Norfolk Island around 1772 and was impressed by the 100-foot tall evergreens that populated the coastline. When he sent specimens back to England, botanists gave them the Latin name of Araucaria excelsa heterophylla but their common name has always been Norfolk Island Pine.

The little Norfolk Island trees we grow as houseplants are actually slow-growing seedlings. They are not  pine trees but acquired the name because they resemble pines. In Camarillo CA where they can grow outside all year, one tree measures 109 feet tall with a 65-wide crown. In our zone 7 weather they are grown in containers and brought inside before freezing temperatures arrive in early winter.

We keep our Norfolk Island Pine on the back porch in the summer where it receives bright, filtered light, then it comes inside for the winter where it doubles as a holiday tree decorated with tiny angels.  It is an easy plant to take care of since it needs no pruning, but it does require bright light,…