In the heat of the summer, as cool season bloomers are a distant memory, the gingers begin to hit their stride. Hedychium, Kaempferia, Curcuma and Globba erupt in impressive displays of form and color, making for prime photo opportunities for our guests. Pictured here is Hedychium coccineum ‘C. P. Raffill’ (common name, Hedychium) with its fantastic red-orange inflorescences and Curcuma elata (common name, Hidden Ginger) which flowers first as it returns from dormancy. Though impressive, this summer experience is quite easy to miss due to the short-lived nature of many ginger blooms and the fact that many are tucked away in shady nooks or heavily mulched beds.
John Fairey believed that silver and blue-green colors have a cooling effect as the plants shimmer in the wind. This is certainly true of many palms in the garden. Set high atop the Rain Lily Berm, the Sabal uresana probably have the most dramatic effect on visitors as they glimpse the deeply shadowed silvery blue-green leaves and hear the rustling of the fibrous leaves in the wind. The sound has been likened to the dull burbling and rippling of water in a stream. These palms didn’t escape our winter freeze totally unscathed but they are rebounding nicely. Set throughout the Garden, our Brahea moorei palms, collected in the montane forests of eastern Mexico, display dramatic golden inflorescences and leaves with silver underside. As visitors walk the winding paths through pine and oak, camellia and mahonia, evergreen palms with a tropical flair wave their silvery blue leaves. The Brahea moorei palms, likewise, were affected by the extreme low temperatures of this winter’s storm but they are slowly making a comeback.
A number of Texas wildflowers have been mainstays at The John Fairey Garden for many years. Spring visitors will have fond memories of the long-blooming Delphinium on the Rain Lily berm and the tiny complex iris, Herbertia lahue, or Prairie Nymph, that dots the meadow. By summer, attention turns to more dramatic displays. Pictured here is Ipomopsis rubra, (common name, Standing Cypress) a biennial which spends its first year as a small feathery bun, then during the second rockets into a bright red flower spike! Also pictured is Yucca rupicola, collected in the Hill Country, blooming in a bed of blanket Flower. Not visible in the photos are the many bees and other pollinators that are attracted to these wild flowers.