Plant Answers  >  12 Months of Watersaver Landscape Color: March



March is the month when many showy xeriscape plants perform. The best is 'Texas Gold' columbine. Yellow blooms that resemble shooting stars rise above light-green foliage to decorate the area under deciduous trees or live oaks with high crowns. The foliage is very attractive itself and makes an attractive groundcover in the shade. 'Texas Gold' columbine is a perennial that reseeds new plants each year. Read more about this real winner at:

Own-rooted (growing on own rootsystem) Roses:

Belinda’s Dream Rose


Grandma’s Yellow Rose


Knockout Roses

Knockout is a modern rose described as being as tough as an antique rose. My plant has grown to four feet tall with flat half dollar sized carmine colored flowers. The plant is not as compact as the other roses described in this article. I believe it will be most useful as a shrub border or background plant. The carmine colored blooms are not large, but because of the bright color they are visible from long distances.

Antique Roses

Old fashioned or tough modern roses are important parts of many xeriscape landscapes. The plants will survive without supplemental irrigation, pesticides or fertilization. They bloom better, however, if they receive a deep watering every month and some lawn fertilizer every autumn and early spring. Mulch over the root system contributes greatly to rose performance. Among my favorite tough roses are Carefree Beauty, Martha Gonzales, and Mrs. Dudley Cross.

Carefree Beauty rose is a relatively modern rose (1970’s) that is as tough as any of the old-fashioned roses and is an outstanding performer in terms of bloom and landscape use. Some of us know this rose as Katy Road. For a while, Carefree Beauty was discovered and identified as an antique rose (Katy Road Pink). Genetic analysis revealed, however, that the rose was not old-fashioned after all. Watch for it under both names.

The blooms are pink and four inches across. The flowers are relatively flat with two or three layers of petals. The blooms appear on a rounded shrub about six feet tall and four feet around. The foliage is a medium green and arranged on the shrub in a relatively open form. One of the things I like best about Carefree Beauty is the rose hips. The hips are nickel size. The hips appear all through the season. The bloom cycles would probably be speeded up by deadheading the spent flowers, but then you would not have the hips. As it is, the cycles include about six weeks of bloom followed by six weeks without bloom. The bloom cycles occur from early spring (February in 2006) until December in the autumn.

Use Carefree Beauty as a specimen shrub rose or in a bed of 7 or 9 shrubs. I also like the variety as a source of cut flowers. It has a light pleasant fragrance.

Martha Gonzales is an old-fashioned rose that has outstanding characteristics that make it useful in the landscape. The plant grows to four and sometimes five feet tall, but it is often maintained at three feet tall as a traffic directing groundcover. It is especially valuable in landscapes where foot traffic has an inclination to cut across the planting beds. In downtown San Antonio the Public TV headquarters on Broadway uses Martha Gonzales roses in that manner. They are attractive plants with enough thorns to protect themselves, but not so much as to cause lawsuit stimulating wounds.

The flowers on Martha Gonzales are quarter size and blood red. The petals are arranged in five or six layers so it is a relatively complex little bloom. Expect the Martha Gonzales to bloom from March or April through December without break. The blooms are relatively thick on the shrub (every 3 – 4 inches). A major part of the attraction of this rose is the foliage. New foliage is red and mature foliage is shiny with a very noticeable red tint.

Mrs. Dudley Cross rose has been described as the San Antonio rose. It is a widely planted antique rose that grows to about six feet tall with well-shaped light peach colored blooms that make excellent cut flowers, especially in the bud stage. The flowers do not have any fragrance and the stems are free of thorns. Use Mrs. Dudley Cross as a specimen plant and source of cut flowers. The bloom season is long, from March through November.

Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora)



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