Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday: Texas Native Plant Week

Wildflower Wednesday hosted by Gail at Clay and Limestone on the fourth Wednesday of each month also happens to fall in the middle of Texas Native Plant Week.  This makes it fun to post about both at the same time by taking a tour of the Texas native wildflowers in my garden.

We'll start with Clammy Weed (Polanisia dodecandra).  These native annuals provide a succession of blooms through our hot summers.  As one group fades and goes to seed another takes its place.  They are prolific reseeders and I look forward to having them in the garden for years to come.

Gregg's Mistflower (Conclinium greggii) has flowered most of the summer after a slow start due to our cooler spring.

I cut it way back early in September as they faded and now the blooms have returned.  Gregg's mistflower is popular with bees....

....and butterflies.  Shown here mixed with the orange flowers of Aniscanthus quadrifidus wrightii or Flame Acanthus, a hummingbird magnet which is native only to Texas.

I also cut back the American Germander during early September and the blooms have returned for a second season.

Chromoleata odorata or Crucita is another butterfly magnet.  There were several Monarch butterflies on the flowers this week but they wouldn't sit still for a photo.  This is a Queen Butterfly and there were also quite a few bees working this plant.

Typically a spring bloomer I sometimes find Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida) blooming away in shady low spots around the garden during the fall months.

Fading Maxmillian Sunflowers (Helianthus maxmilliani) still make a bright addition and bring a taste of autumn to the garden.  It will be fun to bring a few of these into the house in a few years when they have reseeded enough to spare.

The spiky array of Pine Muhly (Muhlenbergia dubya) inflorescense adds texture to the circle garden.

Texas Sleepy Daisy (Xanthisma texanum) reveal their lemony sweetness when they open on sunny afternoons.

Nearby Helenium araum or Sneezeweed carries on the lemony theme.

Even though the small white flowers of this Fleabane are hard to spot they will make a good addition to the colorful salvia bed.  Fleabane is new to the garden this year having arrived from the nearby field.  I don't remember if I seeded this one or it grew on its own, but either way it is welcomed here.  I often pinch a few seeds when walking near undeveloped acreage around the neighborhood.

I think this is a type of Solidago or Goldenrod from a local native plant sale.  Next year it will probably be moved to the more natural area at the back of the garden.

The Zexmenia transplanted last spring have taken hold and promise to provide a line of easy care summer-long blooms across the yard next year.

Sporadic rain showers two weeks ago triggered bright lavender on silver blooms of Silverado Sage.

These and many more Texas natives in my garden are such an asset I could not imagine my garden without them.  In addition to blooming beautifully in our tough Texas weather and soil conditions, they attract a fascinating variety of wildlife.

For more on native wildflowers in the garden visit the links posted at Clay and Limestone.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Texas Native Plant Week: Madrone Nursery

It's Texas Native Plant Week and my posts this week will reflect that theme.  First up is a visit to Madrone Nursery which doesn't just specialize in Texas native plants--it's the only kind of plant they grow.

Madrone Nursery is located in San Marcos an hour's drive northeast of San Antonio and half way to Austin.  Founded by native plant expert Dan Hosage, it is open by appointment only.

Last March I joined a field trip with friends to Madrone Nursery and enjoyed a day of shopping for native plants.  The Texas Bluebonnets were just beginning to bloom around the sign along the road when we arrived.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Garden Tour with Reality Check

When I attended the San Antonio Watersaver Landscape Tour as both volunteer and tour goer last weekend it was with the idea in mind that my yard might be on the tour next year.  We've turned down requests the last two years and it does seem my gardens are getting closer to where I would feel comfortable opening them to the public.

The big challenge is the timing, the first Saturday in October makes it tough to prepare a garden for the tour.  San Antonio gardens are usually still recovering after hanging on through the August heat and September is often too hot for plants to do any serious blooming or for the gardener to get much done.  My garden is at its autumn best later in October or early November.  To see how things might look this time next year I took some photos around the tour date as a reality check.

The narrow driveway landscaping looks good even without the sage in bloom.  There are no guarantees on these blooms since they need rain to bloom and sometimes that doesn't happen for months.  Pink muhly grasses are just now sending up a few tentative plumes which will not blow open for a few more weeks.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October 9th 2014, Before and After

One of my first posts on this blog back in 2011 was a "before and after" look at my front yard.  The choice of October 9th is entirely due to the existence of previous year photos on the same day.  There are not as many photos taken prior to my blogging days as there are now.  The October 9th post has become a tradition now.  To see the starting points from October 2011 click here.

The front view taken this morning

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Three Years and Readers Like You

Today is the third anniversary of this blog.  Three years, 403 posts about my garden and gardening adventures and three hundred thousand pageviews from Readers Like You.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wildlife Wednesday October 2014: Bird Visitors

Wildlife Wednesday is an opportunity to share wildlife visitors to the garden and I'm linking to Tina's post at My Gardener Says... which appears on the first Wednesday of each month.  This month I'll focus on special bird visitors to the garden.

A big surprise in September was watching a pair of Baltimore Orioles trying to pry open the hummingbird feeder.