Munchies

A bevy of beautiful birds are noshing in the garden.

Three males and a female enjoying lunch.

Lesser GoldfinchesSpinus psaltria, come and go throughout the year, but I can set my calendar by their appearance in the garden buffet during autumn when the Plateau Goldeneye, Viguiera dentata, are creating seeds.

After all, that’s how the plants and the birds rock-n-roll with one another: seeds are produced at the end of flowering and for the nourishment of the birds, and the birds, in turn, spread the seeds to other places to grow, bloom, seed. It’s an ancient complementary relationship and one worthy of watching and appreciating.

 

The Yellows

The fall yellows are out, brightening already sunny days, cheering the rare gloomy ones. One of the stalwart yellows is ZexmeniaWedelia acapulcensis var. hispida, and it’s blooming once more after its end of summer sabbatical. Pollinators are busy at the small blooms.

This Gray hairstreak rested from its flitting just long enough for me to capture it with the camera.  Occasionally, it shared flower space with honeybees and two different native bees.

 

The brightest of the bright are the flowers of Plateau goldeneyeViguiera dentata.

Goldeneye grow into unwieldy, floppy shrubs, more so if not pruned sometime in late summer.  I neglected to prune by half several that I grow, resulting in too large shrubs, some of which are now toppling over, heavy with yellow goodness. 

This one stands tall, a well-behaved daisy extravaganza.

Multiple blazing blooms fill each shrub–top to bottom, inside and out.

Honeybees are all over the flowers and even finches are in on the buffet, as flowers fade and seeds appear.  Check out the orange pollen on this bee gal’s corbiculae, also known as pollen baskets, or in Tina-speak, pollen pantaloons.  The pollen pantaloons on this bee are the puffy orange pillows situated on either side of the bee.

 

A favorite fall flower of mine is the Texas Craglily, Echeandia texensis.

Not as brilliantly yellow as the other two perennials, this pretty produces somewhat muted yellow-orange, petite lilies.  It’s a showstopper, with the multiple flower stalks rising above the soft, green foliage.

I didn’t get any photos with pollinators, but I have noticed that it’s mostly the native bees and smaller butterflies which visit these belled beauties.

Craglilies are graceful, remarkably delicate looking, but truly tough Texas perennials.  Fleshy grass-like foliage appears late in spring and remains green and fresh during summer;  slender stalks reach skyward during September and October.  The stalks are dotted with lovely little lilies.  In my garden, the Craglilies are happy in a spot with some direct sun, but are shaded during the hottest time of the day.

Rain or shine, each of these yellows are fab fall flowers.  With an abundance of cheer for the gardener, they also provide late season sustenance for pollinators and seeds for wintering birds.

Golden Autumn

This week marks the annual celebration of Texas Native Plant week, October 16-22.

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Two Texas natives, Lindheimer’s senna peeking through an American century plant, demonstrate the soft and the prickly of plants from the Lone Star State.

Texas is well-known for its spectacular spring wildflower show and especially its star wildflower and state flower, the Bluebonnet, Lupinus texensis.  But September, October, and November display an equally stunning array of beautiful grasses, annuals and perennial bloomers, as well as colorful seed and berry-producing plants during the beautiful autumn display.  Important for pollinators, migrating birds, and other wildlife, Texas native plants are easy to grow, conserve water, and define place:  native plants make the Texas natural landscape, or your cultivated garden, special.

Yellow is an autumn thing here in Texas.  Native Yellow bellsTacoma stans shout golden goodness with masses of trumpet blooms–and the pollinators are appreciative.

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The Texas craglily, Echeandia texensis,  sports sweet flowers along 2 to 3 feet bloom stalks and blooms well into November.

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Zexmenia, Wedelia texensis, is a native flowering groundcover which graces any garden with loads of nectar-filled daisies from May through October.

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Zexmenia paired with another native groundcover in a container, Wooly stemodia (Stemodia lanata).

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Zexmenia planted with Twistleaf yucca (Yucca rupicola).

Sometimes called Puppy-dog ears because of its soft foliage, the Lindheimer’s senna, Senna lindheimeriana, rock cheery flowers which are native bee magnets.

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Plateau goldeneyeViguiera dentata, brighten Texas gardens and wild spaces with a blast of fall sunshine.

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Beloved by pollinators,

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…once the blooms are spent, native finches and warblers gobble the seeds throughout winter.

Lauding just a few of the native bloomers from my garden, I’m also enjoying Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day with Carol at May Dreams Garden.  Join in, share your garden pretties (native or not!), then click over to her lovely blog to see and learn about blooms from many places.