In this post you won’t find any cowboy boots or hats, nor plates of barbecue and bowls of salsa, and certainly no funny, twangy accents, but you will see plenty of beauty and Texan toughness. What is this you’ve stumbled across? It’s an homage to Texas native plants and to the celebration thereof: Texas Native Plant Week marked annually during the week of October 16-22.
Nectaring Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) on Zexmenia (Wedelia acapulcensis var. hispida). Twistleaf yucca (Yucca rupicola) serves as a backdrop
Established to educate and encourage Texans to recognize and utilize our lovely, valuable native plants in personal and public gardens, many communities in Texas sponsor events promoting the use of native plants during this week of native plant love.
Native plants are valuable for many reasons: they’re easy to grow and maintain, and require less irrigation; they feed and protect native fauna; they’re key to biological diversity, and vital for a healthy environment.
Plants can be native to a wide geographical area–like the whole of North America–or specific to a small, confined eco-system–like the area in which you live.
Natives belong where you live, whether you’re in Texas or some other fabulous place.
Do we need to practice purity in our gardening aesthetics and utilize only natives in our gardens? Well, it would be nice if we planted all natives, all the time, but for many gardeners, that’s simply not possible because native plants aren’t always as commercially available as non-native plants. And it’s true that there are many non-native, well-adapted plants which enrich our gardens and beautify our world; it’s perfectly fine to garden with both natives and non-natives.
Red tropical sage (Salvia coccinea) paired with non-native, potted Yucca filamentosa ‘Golden Sword’
But when you plant natives in your garden, you help define the place you live. What grows for me here in urban Austin, Texas doesn’t work–or may not fit–for gardeners in Chicago, Illinois, Eugene, Oregon, or Bangor, Maine. What grows here, doesn’t necessarily grow there; plant diversity makes the world go ’round. All regions enjoy unique botanical flavor and that should be appreciated–and practiced–by those who’re driven to create gardens.
Plant natives in your garden for ease and practicality.
Plant natives to protect and nurture wildlife.
Migrating Monarch (Danaus plexippus) nectaring on Turkscap
Plant natives for seasonal interest and to elicit a sense of place.
Especially in urban areas, the use of native plants helps restore wildlife habitat and regional character.
Migrating Monarch on Plateau goldeneye
Flowers in the city are like lipstick on a woman–it just makes you look better to have a little color. Lady Bird Johnson
For more information about Texas Native Plant Week, check out these links:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Native Plants of Texas
Today I’m also linking with Carol of May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Check out flowers from all over the world, honoring all things blooming–native or otherwise.