Friday, October 19, 2012

Celebrating Texas Native Plant Week in the garden

This week (October 14-20) is Texas Native Plant Week and I'm celebrating by highlighting native plants in my garden.

We learn over and over that "you can't fight Mother Nature".  Two years of drought and record heat here in San Antonio underscored the need to emphasize native plants in my gardens.  As you might expect, the Texas natives came through with flying colors while even many adapted plants gave up over the past couple years. 

Plants like Gregg's mistflower (Conoclinium greggii) have kept bees and butterflies busy all summer.

Stunning anchors in the backyard wheel garden are the "Mystery Muhly" grasses I wrote about in the spring.

 
It turns out the blooms are an exact match for the existing Lindheimer's Muhly shown here by the garage although the leaves are different.  They may be different versions of the same plant.


Either way their showy inflorescence is welcome and I'm glad I gave them a second chance.


The Pine Muhly (Muhlenbergia dubia) inspired by Plano Prairie Garden adds structure with its spiky inflorescence.  That's Gregg's mistflower in the front.


The gold in the background is Zexmenia which is native to the neighborhood and grows in untended spots all over the area.  The pink inflorescense is provided by the Gulf Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) and the mystery muhly is in the background.


 Another touch of gold is provided by this annual wildflower Helenium amarum.


A top performer in the heat has been this Dalea greggii in the foreground which is not the most photogenic plant but has continued to spread in full all-day sun with little supplemental water through the summer.


Texas Betony (Stacys coccinea) adds a shot of red in front of the Gregg's mistflower (Conoclinium greggii) which has spilled out of the bed in just one season.  Texas Betony needs afternoon shade in August.


Another favorite is this Liatris spicata which was shared with me this past spring by Michael at Plano Prairie Garden.


Out by the driveway these Gulf Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) surprised with blooms this first year.



I've written quite a bit about the driveway landscaping which is planted with Texas natives including Autumn sage (Salvia greggii), Silverado sage (Leucophyllum frutescens), Hesperaloe parviflora, Mexican Feather Grass (Nasella tenuissima) and a Four-nerve daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa) tucked in between the Color Guard yucca (Yucca filamentosa) which isn't native in this selection though forms of Yucca filamentosa are native to Texas.



Plants native to this area of Texas which I couldn't imagine this garden without are the Escarpment live oak (Quercus fusiformis).  The sculptural beauty of these trees are the basis of the landscape and additional plants are just icing on the cake.




Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) is another local native that I will always have in the garden.


With our range of weather extremes it's wonderful to have so many beautiful natives to work with.  And Mother Nature approves.

24 comments:

  1. WOW! Your garden looks so beautiful! The grasses really do shine this time of year. My mistflower is spilling out of its border. It is always buzzing with bees and butterflies.

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    1. It's such a good plant, I'm going to divide and distribute mistflower everywhere.

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  2. Wonderful post,Shirley, beautiful plants and pictures.

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    1. Thank you Randy, it's a great time of year in the garden.

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  3. Your natives really are scene-stealers. They are simply beautiful and your garden looks fabulous with all the great combinations you've chosen to plant. Such a fabulous range of natives to choose from.

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    1. Thank you Bernie, the native grasses are especially good for my garden.

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  4. Wow, the garden is going gangbusters! Looks very mature.

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    1. We've had a good summer, much better than the last two. Most of these plants have been in place less than a year.

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  5. Stunning. You should be proud. Those grasses really steal the show for me. Love it.

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    1. Thank you, the grasses add so much to gardens in our climate.

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  6. The combination of native grasses and wildflowers is stunning. I am inspired to try harder to my landscaping.

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    1. It's the best way to go in a tough climate.

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  7. Looks great. I especially like the photos of the low angle sun shining through the leaves and flowers of the grasses. I hope your Liatris flowers are more spiky next year.

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    1. This time of year the light is just right to show off those grasses. The liatris should just need another year in the garden, they get plenty of sun.

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  8. That is a nice palette of natives to work with - of course, the driveway area is my favorite, and you caught it in a perfect light. Natives you couldn't live without - I hear you, but I only wish more people in more places incorporated enough natives to show off their sense of place, etc. You do...I know I'm in SA.

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    1. The sense of place is important, I want to know I'm home in SA.

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  9. Your garden looks beautiful!

    I love the grasses. And, the deer don't. So, more grasses are planned for my garden.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. The deer ignore the grasses so they are quite deer proof once established. The grasses look good most of the year in our climate too.

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  10. Your garden is perfect. I do love natives.

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    1. Perfect, that's so nice of you Mary, there's also some editing involved.

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  11. Absolutely beautiful. I particularly like the mistflower, never heard of that one before.

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    1. Mistflower is a native plant wonder. It grows and blooms despite all the heat ant drought we can throw at it.

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  12. Shirley, you've done such a wonderful job on this site. I am a biologist/landscape consultant working with small acreage (DIY) property owners in the Hill Country. May I include a link to your site on my 'Inspirational Blog' page?

    Regards,

    Janie Bolger/Land With A Plan (Austin)

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    1. I would be honored to have my blog included on your page. Please let me know when your site is on line.

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