Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Wildflower Wednesday July 2019: Texas Greeneyes!

Oh those green eyes!

I first spotted Texas Greeneyes while browsing the impressive native plant display gardens at Medina Garden Nursery and knew instantly Berlandiera betonicifolia or texana was a plant I had to have in my own garden.  I'm joining Gail at Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday on the fourth Wednesday of each month to highlight one of my favorite native summer blooming plants.

According to Sally Wasowski's book Native Texas Plants it's easy to grow in just about any soil and doesn't need much water.  The Wildflower database tells me Greeneyes are native to my Central Texas area.  Sounded like a sure thing for my garden, and they were just that.  They are perennials so plant them once and they'll be back in future years.

Unless you have armadillos.

My first attempt at growing these ended when an armadillo dug my one single plant up by the roots just before it set seeds.  Medina is over an hour and a half drive by back roads.  It's a beautiful drive in the country so I managed to get out there again the following spring and brought home several to plant in different conditions just to make sure.  This time I added cages and rocks to discourage animal digging.

And it worked.  They have now returned two years in a row.  And I still love having them bloom in my garden from Spring to Fall.

Blooms in May with more upright growth

Reading about the care of a plant and growing it yourself are often two different experiences.  No less the case with Greeneyes.  With several plants from my second trip to Medina I could experiment with a variety of planting locations.  Available information states they grow best in part shade which I have found to be true.  The same sites also state that they flop over in shade which they do.  So I planted some in full sun.  And they flop over in sun too!  Conclusion, it's a floppy plant.  Most of the photos in this post show them leaning sideways.  I still don't care because those green eyes surrounded by bright yellow petals are just so fun to see in the summer garden.  Every flowering stage from bright green eyes to petaled flower adds interest to the plant.

New flower eyes are green.  Stems are fuzzy and sticky like sunflowers.

Varying burgundy rings emerge in the eyes as flowers age.  I'm saving those seeds to continue lining the fence with them.

It's related to Chocolate Daisy and is said to have a similar chocolate fragrance though it's not as distinctly chocolate scented.

The Wildflower Center info recommends planting with native grasses.  I might try that to give them something to lean on.  Fading Beebalm works pretty well too.  I haven't seen many pollinators on these but I do have plenty of other nectar options nearby.

Sally Wasowski writes that she waters hers about once a month in the hot Texas summer.  These went about ten days without supplemental water before they looked in need of a drink so I'd say 2-3 times in the summer months.

Height 18" to 24", spring to fall blooming, grows in most soil types with dry to average moisture, sun to shade.  Native to the Central U.S. states and down to Mexico.  Perennial in my zone 8b garden.

This is a keeper.

Join Gail to learn more about growing native plants in the garden.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day!


Bluebonnets from the spring garden, Mr. Moy Rose, Lisianthus from a recent garden visit, Moy Grande Hibiscus, White Plumbago, and Gomphrena Strawberry Fields.

Plus fireworks!

Crinum bloomed just in time.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday: July 2019

I'm joining Tina at "My gardener says..." to share garden wildlife sightings for Wildlife Wednesday.  Rain and cloudy weather have meant butterflies are a bit scarce this year even while their favorite flowers are growing better than ever.  A somewhat rare, almost sunny moment for these unusually rainy past several weeks brings out a Queen butterfly to feast on Gregg's mistflower in the garden.

According to our weather forecast we have plenty of sunny, cloudless and hot days ahead so more butterflies should appear soon.  They are able to function more efficiently in the sun as their delicate wings convert sun rays into heat energy.

Across the garden at the same time a hummingbird is feasting on young Pride of Barbados flowers.  A surprise catch since last month I lazily staked out the feeder from a chair on the porch for a sure shot at getting photos.  Hummingbirds will nectar in light rain and cloudy weather so I have been seeing quite a few.  With so many cloudy days their favorite native plants have been slow to bloom.  Then there's always that choice between gardening or photographing in the garden.

We have not seen a Tarantula spider in the garden for years, yet Tarantula hawk wasps turn up regularly so there must be some around.  The wasps paralyze a Tarantula and lay eggs in its abdomen then the larva feeds on the spider for several weeks.  Meanwhile adult Tarantula hawk wasps nectar on milkweed flowers or seek moist soil as the one below is doing.  They are the state insect of New Mexico.

In the deer report, there is plenty to eat along the creek for this White-tailed doe. 

A buck with velvet antlers enjoys drinking from the saturated creek and reminds me that it will soon be time to protect susceptible plants from "antlering" as they seek to rub off the velvet and polish up those antlers for mating season.  Susceptible plants include just about every reachable sturdy plant in the garden except older trees with thick trunks or tough bark.  The list of target plants includes some of my prize agaves.

That's the wildlife sightings in my garden for the past month.  To enjoy more garden wildlife follow Tina at "My gardener says...." and be sure to check out the comments section in her blog today for more links.