A Parade of Pretties: Bloom Day for March

I’m not going to pretend that this post is anything more than a runway fashion show of the botanical kind.  What follows is a shameless and giddy celebration of the the bounty of blooming beauty that is early spring in my Austin, Texas, zone 8b, garden.

Golden Groundsel, Packera obovata, hit its flowering stride since last profiled  for its beautiful foliage a few weeks ago.


Slender bloom stalks hold aloft the blasts of brilliant yellow,


…and the gardener smiles.  Tiny critters of all sorts visit–to rest,


…and pollinate.



I’m not thrilled when a fly makes its way into my kitchen, but am happy to see it sipping the sweet stuff from the Golden Groundsel.

SpiderwortTradescantia, plants are strutting their flower-power and keeping the honeybees busy.


This Giant Spiderwort  keeps company with garden furniture.

The many Spiderwort clumps my garden enjoy some variability in size and coloration and I suspect that there’s more than one species growing and cross-mingling through the seasons.

Coral Honeysuckle,  Lonicera sempervirens, a vine hosting dripping clusters of tubular beauty,


…are surrounded by tiny native metallic bees, which I can only manage a vague photograph of.


Actually, that’s not really true, but you’ll have to wait until my own Wildlife Wednesday on April 6th to see some slightly better photos of one of the stunningly gorgeous and fast-flying metallic wild bees.

This Coral Honeysuckle bloom cluster and the not-quite-open Spiderwort look like they’re trying to reach one another for a smooch.


Well, it is spring, you know–the season of love!

Yellow Columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana,

Yellow Columbine with blooming Iris.

Yellow Columbine with blooming Iris.

…and the hybrid between A. chrysantha and A. canadensis, pose beautifully and are available for nectaring, too–if you possess the right proboscis, that is.

Hybrid Columbine with backdrop of orange blooming Mexican Honeysuckle and unopened Iris.

Hybrid Columbine with backdrop of orange blooming Mexican Honeysuckle and unopened Iris.

Hybrid Columbine with not yet in bloom day lilies and Yarrow.

Hybrid Columbine with not yet in bloom day lilies and Yarrow.

The A. canadensis is a smaller, mostly brick-red columbine.  But when cross-pollination occurs, the flower of the hybrid is typically larger, with more yellow and a blush of red.  Over the years, the columbines in my gardens have hybridized and I’m delighted with nature’s improvisations.

Globe Mallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua, is also open for business,  awaiting interviews from native bees.  So far, it’s been teeny, tiny bees, too fast for this photographer to capture with any competence.


The first blooms of many-to-come Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, have unfurled their pinky-purple glory, welcoming spring and their lengthy growing season.


Another first is with this Brazos Blackberry bloom, which heralds more of the same.


Once those flowers are spent, berries will not be far behind.  Yum!  I can taste the blackberries now–as well as the blackberry cobbler.  Bring’em, blooms!

Dancing at the ends of slender bloom stalks all winter and continuing their performance in the spring breezes, the cheery, bouncy Four-nerve Daisy (Hymenoxys), Tetraneuris scaposa,  flowers are nearly non-stop bloomers.


Tired of these tidy, singleton blooms?  How about this cascade of Blackfoot Daisy, Melampodium leucanthum.


A tough Texas native that is best when growing out of poor soil or rock, this one is content and flowering in my Green Tower, which is where I grow veggies and most of my herbs.  The Blackfoot Daisy buddies-up to a thyme plant which also flourishes in the Tower.


Due to the non-winter this year, Mexican Honeysuckle, Justicia spicigera, wasn’t freeze-knocked to the the ground and thus is blooming with orange abandon this early spring.


Mexican Honeysuckle boasts constant pollinator activity, especially from a variety of bees.

Horsefly-like Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa tabaniformis) works the Mexican Honeysuckle flowers.

Horsefly-like Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa tabaniformis) works the Mexican Honeysuckle flowers.

There’s more where that came from!


There are too many blooms and not enough time to showcase them all–they’ll just have to participate in another parade!


Thanking Carol at May Dreams Garden for hosting this monthly bloom frenzy known as Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.  Share your garden pretties, then click over to her lovely blog to see and learn about blooms from many places.



All Hail Hymenoxys

All hail, indeed!!  For those gardeners living in Texas and northwestward states to Colorado, as well as southward into Mexico, it’s a tough proposition to find a longer blooming, better-behaved, cheery daisy to place in the garden than the perennial HymenoxysTetraneuris scaposa.




Commonly called Four-nerve Daisy (because of the veins inside the petals, which the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center describes as “dark purple,” but look green to me),

IMGP5704.new …it’s also known as Stemmy Four-nerve Daisy, Yellow Daisy, and Bitterweed.  It’s a ray of sunshine, year-round, in the home garden or along the highway.



I first planted Hymenoxys over 20 years ago in a spot in my backyard when I began the conversion from a high-maintenance lawn to a low-maintenance, native plants garden. The one I planted didn’t last long and that was  because I planted it in a shady spot. I’ve made lots of mistakes like that over the years and (hopefully) have learned from those mistakes.  That’s the best garden education there is–screw up, learn, redo correctly.  Or at least redo; some of us take longer to learn than others of us.  Over the years, I was enamored and distracted with other aster perennials and never replanted Hymenoxys in my gardens.  When I designed the long, narrow Driveway Garden in spring 2014,  I purchased and planted three Hymenoxys daisies.  I knew they would be great additions to this garden,



…and so they are.  These sweet, dancing-in-the-breezes daisies have bloomed non-stop since being popped in the ground a year ago.IMGP5621.new



Borne from an evergreen clump of slender grey-green foliage,IMGP5711.new

…the leafless stems, the ‘scape’ of scaposa,  rise about 6-8 inches, topped by a single daisy.  The stems show a slightly purple tinge (which I do see as purple),



….and in all phases of flower development, the blooms are attractive.

IMGP5609.new IMGP5618.new

The petals are bright yellow and each ends in three lobes.IMGP5620.new


Hymenoxys is a perennial that works well in many styles of  gardens, including sparse rock/succulent gardens and lush perennial beds.  Hymenoxys is a small plant, so it’s best placed in the front of a bed, rather than behind something that will tower or flop over it. That’s one of the reasons I remembered Hymenoxys for my Driveway Garden–it’s very tidy and doesn’t grow huge like so many perennial shrubs.  It fits well in a narrow spot.



It will seed out prolifically if planted in good soil.  I don’t view that as a bad thing, though I’m sure I’ll eventually have to toss some seedlings into the compost because I won’t have any other spot in my gardens to plant the new additions.   This past fall, I transplanted some seedlings from the mother plants,


IMGP6215.new …and they’ve flourished.  Of course they have.

My patch of Hymenoxys bloomed all winter and that’s another great quality about this plant, its remarkably long bloom time.


Hymenoxys is tolerant of a variety of soil types and is heat and drought resistant during our long summers.  The flowers attract pollinators–I’ve seen bees and butterflies at mine.  Additionally, drum roll please, Hymenoxys is highly deer resistant.

Wow!  The perfect plant!



Unless you’re not fond of pretty yellow flowers!


Bloom Day, December 2014

Celebrating blooming things with Carol of May Dreams Gardens on this last Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day of 2014, I’d like to share some currently flourishing flowers from my gardens.  It’s been mild here in Austin, Texas, though a few light frosts have come our way, none were significantly cold enough to dampen the blossoming spirit.

Wonderful native perennials continue strutting their blooming stuff late this growing season. Two native salvia species are providing nice nectar sources for passing bees and butterflies and a color show for the resident gardener.   The Tropical SageSalvia coccinea, 

IMGP3068.new …brightens the garden with its scarlet blooms, while Henry Duelberg salviaSalvia farinacea, ‘Henry Duelberg’ provides spikes of blue.




Planted near to those two perennials is a group of  Texas Craglily, Echeandia texensis.  

IMGP3086.new There are few blooms left, but many seed pods readying for future golden lily loveliness.

Some of my GoldeneyeViguiera dentata, still bloom. IMGP3053.new

IMGP3054.new IMGP3055.new

I don’t really think I need to add anything to that!  These individuals face west and receive the warmth of the afternoon autumn sun.

A few Turk’s Cap, Malvaviscus arboreus, flowers grace the gardens as well.

IMGP3057.new I don’t recall ever seeing this plant bloom so late before–I’m not complaining.

Native to areas west of Texas, but not specifically Austin, is the Globe Mallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua.   

IMGP3051.new IMGP3099.new

In my gardens it’s a reliable cool season bloomer–at least through the beginning of summer.  The one mature Globe Mallow in my gardens is beginning a nice bloom production and that’s likely to happen throughout winter.


There are always a few Purple Coneflowers, Echinacea purpurea, charming the gardens. This one is planted with an unknown variety of basil-in-bloom,IMGP3046.new


…which I’d know the name of if I’d bothered to keep the tag.  Ahem.

And here, Coneflower is partnered with the equally sweet Four-nerve Daisy or Hymenoxys, Tetraneuris scaposa.

IMGP3049.new IMGP3050.new

I love native Texas plants.

As for the non-natives, well, they’re pretty cool, too.  The Firecracker or Coral PlantRusselia equisetiformis, requires a hard freeze to knock it back.

IMGP3059.new Obviously that hasn’t happened yet.



I feel good about this plant–it has such a tropical look, but in reality it’s water-wise and tolerant of the cooler season.

Roses are responding in kind to our temperate December by blossoming again. Whoop!



Glorious in vibrant red are these blooms of the Old Gay Hill rose.

Finally, the Potato VineSolanum laxum, has entered its bloom time.  This vine twines up one side of my swing beam and blossoms primarily in the cool months here in Austin. It’s a timid vine in my garden, never growing too large.    I forget about it during our long, warm  growing season–it’s there, but unimpressive. Once the temperatures cool, its lovely clusters of dainty, creamy-bell flowers provide interest for my honeybees, still foraging on warm afternoons.



Enjoy whatever blooms you have–indoors or out.  Then check out the many bloom posts by visiting May Dreams Gardens.