Summer is in full swing in Austin–heat, blooms, heat, blooms. I tire of the heat and humidity, but beautiful native wildflowers thrive in our sticky summers and today is the day to show them off. Thanks to Gail at clay and limestone for hosting and promoting the use of native plants and wildflowers in the home garden.
A few years ago at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s fall native plant sale, I bought a Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta.
It was a total impulse purchase and I’m glad for that particular lack of impulse control! Each spring, this little annual (for me) pops up in a different place in my gardens. This year? It’s on the back patio, keeping the potted bougainvillaea company. I’ll let it seed out this summer and who knows where it will appear next summer.
I must share a photo or two of my wonderful Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea.
The quintessential summer perennial in my gardens, Coneflowers are tough, happy summer flowers. They are great for pollinators and also are terrific as cut flowers indoors, if you’re so inclined.
The Zexmenia, Wedelia texana, began blooming a little late this year, but is in full force now.
Zexmenia is a lovely Texas flowering perennial and performs no matter how hot it is in Austin.
I often pair Zexmenia with Rock Rose, Pavonia lasiopetala, in my gardens.
From morning through mid-afternoon, the combination of the pink Rock Rose and the yellow Zexmenia is pretty and fresh. Both perennials require little water and are favorites of native pollinators. The hibiscus-like flowers of Rock Rose close with the heat mid-afternoon, leaving the yellow Zexmenia to go it alone until the next sunrise.
A few years ago, I collected seeds of Drummond’s Ruellia, Ruellia drummondiana. I caught the first bloom of the season recently.
This ruellia, which isn’t commonly available, doesn’t usually begin blooming fully until mid-to-late summer. I was tickled to see one open early in the growing season. It looks like the ants are happy about that too!
The ‘Henry Duelberg’ Salvia, Salvia farinacea ‘Henry Duelberg’ still sports its pretty bloom spikes.
It’ll bloom until it’s too hot, then the ‘Henry’ rests, renewing its bloom cycle again with cooler autumn temperatures. I’ll prune the ‘Henry’ to keep it tidy until its fall bloom cycle.
Turk’s Cap, Malvaviscus arboreus, is an excellent summer bloomer and another favorite of mine.
It’s a superb wildlife plant as well: hummingbirds, bees and butterflies love its bright red blossoms and the birds devour its fruits in the fall. It grows as a thick shrub, so many lizards, birds and insects shelter in it.
The cheerful Engelmann’s Daisy, Engelmannia peristenia, should bloom through mid-summer.
One reason I chose this wildflower for my gardens is that I noticed how many bees visit it in other gardens. That hasn’t been true for this daisy this year and I’m not sure why, but Engelmann’s Daisy is still a bright spot in the garden.
Lastly, this is a nice conglomeration of summer beauties together:
Two native Texas perennials I haven’t profiled today, Damianita, Chrysactinia mexicana, and Rock Penstemon, Penstemon baccharifolius, are blooming in this photo. Usually, the Damianita takes a break in the summer after its profusion of spring blossoms. Rock Penstemon is a hardy summer/fall bloomer.
What native wildflowers are in your garden? For more wildflower goodness from many places, check out clay and limestone and its celebration of June wildflowers.