As May Comes to a Close


In a stroll around the garden toward the end of May, it’s clear that it’s been humid and drippy here in Austin, Texas.

May (and April!) rains have given rise to a powerful, flowerful show.

Rose of Sharon, Althea (Hibiscus syriacus)

Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) Clasping coneflower (Dracopis amplexicaulis) and Nuri the Cat

Lots of cloudy days–unusual here in sunshiny Texas–have provided nice light for the blooms and photographs of those blooms.

Big red sage (Salvia penstemonoides)

Turk’s cap (Malvaviscus arboreus)

Winecup (Callirhoe involucrata)

Clasping coneflower

Pink Tropical sage (Salvia coccinea)

Colors are richer when the Texas sun-blast is diffused by clouds.

Sunshine has crossed the garden, brightening some days, or parts of days,

…and enticing bees to action.

Engelmann’s daisy (Engelmannia peristenia) with visiting metallic sweat bee

Heartleaf skullcap (Scutellaria ovata) with honeybee

The honeybees of my hive, Scar, are quieter this past month–only working when there are no raindrops to dodge.

Mild temperatures and plenty of moisture allowed for new growth on the roses,

…and full-to-bursting gardens.

May is typically a wet month for us here in Central Texas–downright floody at times. But this May, at least thus far, it’s just been grey, damp, and steamy.

Very steamy.

Some autumn bloomers thought it was just fine to test out the late spring air and send forth a sampling of fall floral scouts.

White mistflower (Ageratina havanensis)

Gregg’s mistflower (Conoclinium greggii)

Those two perennials will bloom prolifically in September, October, and November–after they conquer the summer months.

Summer blooming trees have kicked into action,

Desert willow (Chilopsis linearis)

Desert willow with a backdrop of American sycamore

…adding dollops of color to the palette of arboreal green.

I grew up in Texas and am mostly comfortable with the long, toasty summers; I develop goose bumps when it’s below 60 degrees F/15.5 degrees C.  However, I must admit to a love/hate relationship with the Texas summer season–both dreading the long, hot, and sticky, while at the same time, reveling in the abundant flower show and the wildlife which typically accompanies that show.

Rock penstemon (Penstemon baccharifolius)

Left-to-right: purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Iris, potted Color guard yucca (Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’),  potted Ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense). Bottom: foliage of Blue mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum)

Engelmann daisy, Heartleaf skullcap, Purple coneflower

But in the end, it doesn’t matter whether I like or dislike summer–it’s well on its way.

As May draws to a close, we’ll mark Memorial Day on Monday, May 29–remembering those who’ve served this country.

Blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)


Then, schools will dismiss for summer vacation and we’ll move into a different sort of busy in our lives.

Hill country penstemon (Penstemon triflorus)

Wishing a good and safe end to May–and a happy summer to come.