Sunday, May 7, 2017

National Wildflower Week on the road

It's National Wildflower Week and I'm celebrating with photos from a recent field trip with friends to Medina Garden Nursery along Hwy. 16 out in the Texas Hill Country.  Near Pipe Creek we pulled over to take a look at roadside flowers.  Those famous Texas Bluebonnets had given way to the warmer colors of late spring wildflowers.  There's still plenty to see if we take a closer look.

This year I'm paying closer attention to the mix of different types of plants in the wild.  Structural plants like Twist-leaf Yucca (Yucca rupicola) mix with taller native grasses while low growers like Four-nerve Daisy (Tetraneurus scaposa) and Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucantha) fill in the gaps.

White floral spikes of Lizard's Tail White Milkwort (Polygala alba) with Antelope Horn Milkweed (Asclepias asperula) and Square-bud Primrose (Calylophus berlandieri) distinguished by their dark centers.

Missouri Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa) with Blackfoot Daisy (Melanpodium leucantha) and Square-bud Primrose.

Distinctive seedheads on Missouri Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa) shows why it's also known as Big-fruit Evening Primrose.

Bright yellow Missouri Primrose flower with silvery Rabbit Tobacco filling in along the ground.

I often get questions and comments that Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) is hard to grow. It is tough enough to thrive in asphalt in its native range.  Good drainage and less watering will help it survive in our gardens.

Antelope Horn Milkweed (Asclepias asperula) and friends waiting for butterflies.

One of my personal favorites, the deep burgundy of Rayless Sunflower (Helianthus radula) stands out against the green and yellow of other native plants.  Small rays can be spotted at the base of the flower so they're not entirely rayless.  Blue Wright's Skullcap (Scutellaria wrightii) just peeking in the bottom right of the photo.  It's so much fun to see these plants in their native range.

After our wildflower road stop we headed on to Medina Garden Nursery where they've rebuilt the entry arbor with these amazing pieces of naturally curved native Ashe Juniper wood.

There's a lot of wildflower goodness behind that austere fence in the expansive gardens and meadows at Medina Garden Nursery.

Narrow-leaf Coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia) which is more tolerant of drought and poor soils than Echinacea purpurea.  It's one of the plants I purchased to try in my own garden.

White Winecups and Salvia greggii with a pink Anacacho Orchid as a centerpiece.  They didn't have the Anacacho Orchid in stock so I'll have to go back in the fall.

Penstemon, I think this was Hill Country Penstemon (Penstemon triflorus).

Purple Winecup (Callirhoe involucrata) which defies all attempts to establish in my garden.

Delicate Clematis pitcheri flowers attracting bees.  I purchased one of these as well.

Black Swallowtails were going nuts over the Indian Paintbrush blossoms.

Nolinas, Yuccas, and Texas Primrose in the dry garden.

Two happy guys doing what they love.  Service with a smile from Ysmael and Ernesto who always take their time to give tours and show us what's new in the nursery.

Plant shopping makes us hungry so we headed just 15 minutes away for a delicious lunch at beautiful, historic Camp Verde General Store.

What's with the Camel you might ask?  It's an interesting story about trying to introduce camels as working animals in Texas.  You can read all about the history of Camp Verde and the great Camel experiment here.

Back home with my haul of plants.  Three Muhlenbergia reverchonii ornamental grasses which stay low and produce deep pink inflorescence in the fall.  Pink Guara lindheimeri, a purple blooming salvia, two Texas Greeneyes (Berlandiera betonicifolia), Rudbeckia angustifolia, Roughstem rosinweed (Silphium radula), Texas Bluestar (Amsonia ciliata v. texana), Brownfoot (Acourtia wrightii) and Clematis pitcheri.

They're all in the ground and doing well and I'm ready for more road trips!


  1. Now that's the perfect road trip! Beautiful natural scenery, a wonderful nursery visit, and lunch! I thought it was interesting how well the Helianthus radula spaced itself in the wild. Good haul on your plant purchases and kudos for getting everything planted promptly.

    1. The spacing is something I'm spending more time on since I tend to crowd my plants too much. Now I know if I were to find a way to grow that one in my garden it would be happiest out in the open with just a few native plants around.

  2. Gah, so gorgeous! Wildflowers are going strong over here on the east side of the state, too. Lots going on over at Brazos Bend this weekend.

    I know where you were going with that 'lizards tail'---the actual name is escaping me at the moment---but the one you listed is a wetland plant! Ok, did some digging on Google...I think it is culver's root.

    1. You are correct that is a wetland plant, not possible on a dry south facing slope in Central Texas! I sent it to an expert who has ID'd it as White Milkwort, Polygala alba. Thanks for pointing it out to me.


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