May Flowers

Early spring blooms are a thing of the past, and summer, with its accompanying hot-tempered blooms, is knocking at the door.  May brings rains–typically our wettest month here in Central Texas, zone 8b–but also the warm breath of summer breezes.  With added humidity, summer’s sauna is about to begin.  Even so, the days are pleasant and blooms that love the heat will soon be stars of the garden.

Purple coneflowerEchinacea purpurea, are in their prime and open for pollinators to sip from and gardeners to delight in.  I spotted this Crab Spider waiting for a meal on an open coneflower bloom.  The honeybees are fond of coneflowers, but I imagine it was a fly, syrphid fly, or small native bee that the crab was hoping for.  Honeybees are a tad big for this little thing, though crab spiders are successful predators.

It skedaddled as I was shooting the photo.  Notice the bit of webbing attached to the central disk of the flower:  no doubt, some meal will become ensnared in that.

Sun shines in the sky, coneflowers sparkle in the garden.  

Little coneflowers, all in a row, though it’s not the straightest of rows.

 

Another late spring/early summer native that has hit its stride, is the perennial Heartleaf skullcapScuttelaria ovata.  The small, violet blue blooms are borne along flower spikes.  They complement the grey-green, fuzzy foliage.  

A step back reveals a contrast between the bright green foliage of a neighbor plant, Drummond’s ruellia, Ruellia drummondiana, and the subdued tinge of the Heartleaf’s foliage. The tiny blooms are charming accents.

In late autumn, Heartleaf skullcap emerges in drifts in my garden, filling spaces and buddying up to other perennials and evergreen plants.  It acts as an evergreen during winter, keeping the garden full and lush.  Once blooming commences in April, the summer perennials are up and running, preparing to take over the garden show.  Heartleaf skullcap pairs well with all the plants in my garden.

Heartleaf foliage is fetching and in a wide shot of the garden, they’re the primary attraction of the plant.  But the flowers are visible–dots of lavender blue setting off the foliage–and the bees, native and honey, take notice.  The blooms are popular among that crowd.

 

White flowers are refreshing and none more than those of YarrowAchillea millefolium. Feathery foliage pairs with these flat-topped clusters of tiny florets, just right for the smaller pollinators to work around.  On this day, at this time, a fly works the blooms.

I transplanted this group of yarrow last autumn from a different part of my garden.  They adjusted well and haven’t missed a beat in their blooming!

 

Red yuccaHesperaloe parviflora, a member of the Agave family, sends up graceful stalks in spring, loaded with salmon-n-butter blooms, to the delight of of hummingbirds, native bees, and butterflies. 

Oh yeah, this gardener loves Red yuccas, too!

The stalks grow 4-5 feet tall, seemingly overnight, emerging in March/early April from an evergreen base of succulent-like leaves.  The flowers that blossom along the stalk strut their blooming stuff all summer and through autumn, making this plant a must-have for gardeners, especially those who plant for pollinators.

Do you see the webbing toward the top of this bloom stalk?  Looks like our friend the crab spider (or one of its friends) set up shop for a go-to meal.   I prefer not to witness an entangle bee or butterfly, but that’s part of a balanced garden life.

On another, shorter bloom stalk of a different individual Red yucca, the stalk divided itself into three distinct sections, each allowing for the open blooms to face a different direction.

Soon, I expect that the hummingbirds will find these luscious blooms.  I’ll enjoy observing their meals and the territorial battles that will ensue. 

 

May blooms: no longer quite spring, but also, not yet summer.   May is a nice bridge of blooming from cool season flowers to hot Texas summer blooms.

Joining with Carol in celebration of all things blooming, please pop over to her May Dreams Garden to see blooms from many places for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. 

34 thoughts on “May Flowers

  1. Looking gorgeous over there in central Texas! We’re slowly getting into blooms here in SE Texas! My echinacea (in a deer fence in the edible garden, the only way I can grow them) are putting out stalks. So, soon, blooms!

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    • Thanks, Misti. Good luck with the cones. I just love them, they never disappoint. So sorry that your deer have a taste for them; fortunately, I don’t have that bit of annoyance.

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  2. Yours is the second blog with red yucca so far today. Absolutely gorgeous flowers! I hope my coneflowers are as lovely as yours. My plants grew from a seed mix last year, and are nice big plants forming buds right now. I did have an earwig battle last week, babies were down in the new growth. A little diatomaceous earth down in there did the trick, hopefully for good!

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    • I need to pop back over to GBBD and check things out. The red yucca are such great plants. I barely have enough sun for mine. In fact, I will need to pull my original one out from my back garden and gift it to someone who has the right conditions; it’s just too shady there, now.

      Good luck with your coneflowers this season–darned earwigs!

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  3. Sauna is one of those words that makes me feel relaxed and anticipatory when referencing a sauna, and yet it is such a dreaded, albeit apt, description for the weather. The long cool spring couldn’t last forever, and shouldn’t here, but still.

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  4. Beautiful blooms! I love the coneflower next to the grass – is that a Muhly? Also I am interested to read that other gardeners experience the mysterious chomping of entire coneflower blooms. I assumed it was one of the night critters, perhaps a raccoon. I guess the wildlife need their vitamins too.

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  5. I visited the Ladybird Wildflower preserve and it was the yuccas that really hit me. I loved them. Texas is so different from Massachusetts – and I’m happy we have so many many kinds of flowers.

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    • Lol, very different! Yes, the yuccas there are gorgeous; they really want full, blasting Texas sun and are happiest when it’s in good supply. My poor little ones are a bit on the lame side, given the part-sun situation. Still, I’m glad to have them.

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  6. I think I might have found a skullcap of some sort recently; the leaves were quite different, but the flower is similar enough that you’ve given me a clue to begin looking. And just today I thought of you. I was driving past an old, down at the heels apartment building, and there along the curb was a single red yucca doing its thing. It was glowing, and so beautiful!

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    • Your description of red yucca is spot on: glowing and beautiful!

      Let me know what you find out about this mystery plant. It’ll be interesting if it’s something specific to your area, or something more wide spread in Texas.

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  7. Red yucca is an odd one. The name suggest that it should be something like a Yucca. I still prefer the real Yuccas, although some need to be kept in the background, where they nastily sharp leaves will not bother anyone.

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  8. Echinacea purpurea is one of my favorite flowers, I love it. The crab spider is white? I really like Scuttelaria ovata. I love Yarrow, they go out alone in my garden. The red cassava is impressive, I love it: its color is fabulous. Tina you now have a wonderful garden with divine flowers. I have not written before because one day when going down to the street it started to rain very hard and when going up to the house I was so wet that I had to take a shower. I got cold and have had a sore throat, body and ears, which accentuated my depression. Today I pick up the computer again with an earache. But I didn’t want to miss your lovely blog. Take care of yourself and your husband. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

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    • I think everyone loves coneflowers/echinacea, Margarita! Please take care of yourself. I understand that Spain’s Covid-19 cases are down, but make sure you rest and heal before you’re out and about again. Be well, Margarita!

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      • Thank you Tina for your concern for my health. It is true, in Spain the cases of Covid-19 have fallen, but we are still in a state of alarm and surely we will be for another month. They have not declined equally, and we continue with confinement and regulated schedules to go outside. The worst is Barcelona and especially Madrid capital and its Autonomous Community, which would be equivalent to a State in the USA. Here we continue poorly although we have improved. I do not go out to the street more than the essential and with a mask and disposable gloves. And when I get home I take off my shoes and clean the soles with bleach, as well as the house keys and everything that has been in contact with someone. I clean the door handle on the outside and inside with half bleach half water and scrub the floor with bleach. I wash my hands by removing the gloves with gel soothing and then every time I clean something with soap. And so on until I finish and take off my mask. And I wash myself again with disinfectant gel. I put it away and already wash my hands with soap and water. Then you take off your clothes and put on one from home and put it on the street for an hour. And you wash your hands for the last time with soap. Tina apologizes for this story of how you have to disinfect yourself when you come from the street according to the Government of Spain and that I have told you because I am tired of doing it and so you can see how boring it is. I follow it to the letter: I do not want my dear Mother to be infected. Tina thanks for your patience, you are a great friend. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

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      • You’re very thorough and I’m sure you’re doing everything you can to keep you and your mother safe. Keep up the good work. It’s hard; I’m not quite as rigorous as you, but am doing much of what you mention and it gets tiresome. This won’t last forever; you need to keep safe. All the best to you, Margarita!

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    • Thanks, Sheryl. My cones will be dormant by then, with a resurgence in the fall–they have two seasons here in Central Texas–and I’m so glad!

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  9. Your garden is looking so pretty and I especially love the yucca and the cone flowers of which I have none growing in my own garden. My note to self is to make sure to plant the yucca and cone flower for next year. My backyard where I have planted for the birds and butters does not get a full days sun. The sun moves around but all areas get at least 5-6 hours and my tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, cucumbers, and squash mixed among the herbs and flowers do well so I shall give a try. I really plant for wildlife and well, for myself too. I am very worried though because I have not seen one single honey bee but I have seen one and only one bumble bee this spring, but a squash has set fruit so maybe other pollinators are around.

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    • Thanks! I’m sorry you haven’t had any honeys, but I’ll bet you have plenty of native bees–they’re everywhere and most of us don’t see them.

      You’ll love growing cones and the yucca; they’re both such rewarding plants. My garden is in quite a bit of shade, as well. There are spots of full sun, but mostly it’s part-sun to dappled light. I remind myself in July and August that the shade is a good thing.

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      • Oh thanks for the info. I didn’t think of the native bees and I so hope that you are right. I’m happy with any kind of pollinator but especially those of the bee family.

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