Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wildflower Wednesday April 2015: Wildflower Walk in the Park

It's Wildflower Wednesday when bloggers are invited by Gail at Clay and Limestone to post on wildflowers in our gardens.  I'm pushing the rules a bit this month with flowers from a local park.  On Monday I joined members of the Gardening Volunteers of South Texas for a wildflower walk in Phil Hardberger Park led by Wendy Leonard, park naturalist for the City of San Antonio.

While the masses of wildflowers lining Texas roadways in the spring are legendary, Wendy focused on the smaller flowers growing in restoration areas of the park.

One crowd favorite was the Pincushion Daisy (Gaillardia suavis).  It's a (mostly) petal-less flower with a wonderfully spicy fragrance that lends it another common name of Perfumeballs.

According to, it's native to Texas and Oklahoma.  Grows well in dry shade and different soils, including calcereous.  A good choice for meadows and prairies.  Seed is available and I've made a note to order it for fall planting.  In the background is Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida).

Purple milkweed vine (Matelea biflora) looks similar to the Pearl milkweed vine featured in a previous post with tiny starfish-shaped flowers.

Purple milkweed vine is native to Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico and apparently quite common in Central Texas woodlands.  It's one I'll look for on my walks along our creek.

Annual Texas Baby Blue-eyes (Nemophila phacelioides) is striking in mass plantings.  Especially beneficial to native bees.  Another one I should try to establish in my garden.

The small yellow flowers in the background belong to Straggler Daisy or Horseherb (Calyptocarpus vialis) a former weed now sold in nurseries as a native ground cover.  It grows naturally in my yard and is much easier to maintain than turf grass.

Hop Tree/Wafer Ash (Ptelea trifoliata) forms a pretty shrub with delicate blooms.  It's native or naturalized in much of North America and would make a nice substitute for many of those non-native shrubs commonly planted.

False gromwell (Onosmodium bejariense) is a great silvery textured plant.  The blooms match the leaf shape and I'd like to have this one in my garden.  It grows commonly throughout most of the U.S. and the flowers turn to a white fruit which remains on the plant through the winter.

Some of the smaller flowers proved tough to photograph on a group walk so I will return to the park when I can take my time with the camera and capture a few more in bloom.  Wendy (below) also discussed native plant restoration projects underway at the former dairy farm.  Her enthusiasm is contagious and I look forward to attending future native plant walks in the park.

Spring rains and cooler than average temperatures have brought plenty of wildflowers to my own garden for April.  The Texas Bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis), yellow-flowered Greenthread (Thelesperma), and Prairie verbena (Verbena bipinnatifida) have taken over the crevice garden.

All are annuals and will be encouraged to relocate up the hill next year.

For more on growing wildflowers in the garden head on over to Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday.


  1. Sounds like a great outing. I need to take advantage of our local wildflower walks here. I always learn so much! I just found out last year that Hop Tree is a larval host to Giant and Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, and it's native here, too. So I think I'll take your advice and replace some of our non-natives with Hop Tree. Thanks for the idea!

    1. Thanks I tried to find information on pollinators or wildlife attracted to the Hop Tree. While every Monarch is special in my garden I am partial to the Swallowtails, especially the Tiger. This is so good to know.

  2. This is a small treasure trove of information, Shirley. I can't imagine anyone taking issue with your highlighting of native beauty this way. First I have to admit how much I enjoy the names of these great plants. Wafer Ash, False gromwell...just wonderful to contemplate. I appreciate you bringing attention to them all and will certainly investigate bringing more of them into our spaces here just west of Austin.

    Also? I love how you put it - "and will be encouraged to relocate up the hill"... To my mind you've perfectly described so much of what we gardeners working with reseeding natives are doing...encouraging. Certainly not controlling, not even so much managing. Nope. Encouraging. You hit the nail on the head!

    1. It sounded better than "I'm going to rip them out and throw their little seedheads up the hill"! Those are great plant names. We need more native plant sales with these plants in them.

  3. Shirley thanks for sharing those delicate blue eyes...and that milkweed vine is so exotic...I just love your wildflowers.


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