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.