Purple Reign

Purple is the color of the week in my garden.

A purple Spiderwort flanks a potted Ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense), setting the mood for a reign of purple.

 

Oh sure, there’s yellow, red, and orange too, all vying for attention with their look at me! petals and am I not gorgeous? spring-green foliage.  But it’s the purple array of Spiderwort–demonstrating pollinator-driven color and petal variations–that is stealing the wildflower show at this moment in my March garden. 

Some Spiderwort flowers are darker and suggest an affinity for geometric arrangements.

The petals are curling, heralding afternoon heat.

 

Other Spiderwort flowers trend pink, though purple is definitely a part of the petal pedigree.

 

Still other Spiderwort are shy and soft in color, with hint of blue and only a suggestion of exhibitionist purple.

 

The pollinators are busy, busy, busy and Spiderwort blooms are a favorite dining spot!  This diminutive syrphid fly caught my attention as I was chasing a significantly larger butterfly.  I failed at photographing the butterfly, but I followed the syrphid, or flower fly, as it visited several Spiderwort blooms.  The syrphid was a work-horse pollinator at the flowers, spending more time at each bloom than the flighty butterfly.

 

Part of the honey for next season will come from this Spiderwort and its farming honeybee.

Check out Ms. Honeybee’s pollen pantaloons.  The proper name for this part of the honeybee is pollen basket or corbicula, but I prefer my own addition to bee etymology:  pollen pantaloon.

 

Purple reigns in the garden, though it–in the form of Spiderwort–hasn’t quite taken over.  If I want a diverse garden community next year, I’ll need to cull a fair number of these randy Spiderwort plants–they’re rather a promiscuous bunch!    That’s fine, I’ll be donating some to plant swaps and cajoling neighbors into planting some of my extras.  (But will those neighbors ever speak to me again, after they, too, reap the bounty of Spiderwort?)

A stalk of purple passalong iris photobombs the cluster of spiderwort.  In time, this iris and  its compadres will likely  assume the mantle of purple.

Spiderwort: a reign of purple and a prince of flowers.

Spring Forward

Clocks have been dutifully moved forward and we’re all a bit sleep-deprived.   The great outdoors reveals daily–sometimes hourly–changes as spring happens.  Vibrant green, accompanied by pops of color, appear at every turn as I enjoy a post-sunrise stroll through the garden.

Demanding my eyes turn toward the ground is this blast of sunshine in flower form, Golden groundselPackera obovata, .

 

Adjacent to the groundsel, one of my two Mountain laurel trees, Sophora secundiflora, calms the groundsel’s screaming yellow with dripping blue-purple clusters.

 

The other Mountain laurel boasts blooms whose faces reach toward the emerging blue sky, enjoying the warming sun.

 

Not outdone by either yellow or purple, a CrossvineBignonia capreolata, showcases  belled blossoms for pollinators, though in early morning, no visitors have arrived.

 

Giant spiderwort, Tradescantia gigantea, currently dominates the floral palette of the back garden.   A passalong plant from years ago, it is a triumphant spreader of royal purple.

This Spiderwort group decorates the front garden; no doubt, it will also seed out, given the work of the bees.

 

The Spiderwort cluster pairs with two second-year Martha Gonzales roses.

 

Burgundy in foliage and scarlet in petals, this tough rose is a must-have for my garden.

 

Planted last autumn after Hurricane Harvey laid waste half of an Arizona Ash tree, the happy-faced, tough-as-nails Blackfoot daisyMelampodium leucanthum,  is open for blooming business and will relish the full sun now available.

 

An as-yet unfurled Wild red columbineAquilegia canadensis, awaits its flowering turn in the morning sun.

Daily changes of seasonal beauty allow pollinators and gardeners satisfaction with their efforts.  What’s in your spring garden?

March to Spring!

Here in Austin, Texas (zone 8b), gardener giddiness is palpable.  Gardens and wild spaces are greening up and blossoming out.  It’s March!  Spring–visual and meteorological–is imminent, and daily garden evolution attests to that reality.  The first blooms in my garden have appeared and are set to lead the botanical charge for a new growing season.

Giant spiderwort, Tradescantia gigantea, is a native wildflower and a reliable early bloomer.  Individual plants take their turns blooming, feeding pollinators, and setting seeds throughout the spring months.  Summer heat renders Spiderwort dormant.

Rainfall is welcome for new spring blooms.

 

Globe mallowSpaeralcea ambigua, is not native to Central Texas, but instead, to points west.  In full sun and with good drainage, this gorgeous shrub is a cool season bloomer in Central Texas.

A hungry honeybee joined me in admiration of the blooms; I looked and admired, but she has more “wings” in the game.

When she flew off (to one of my backyard hives?), she was covered in pollen!

More blooming goodness is on the way–for honeybees and all other pollinators– awakening from winter and revving their pollinating engines.

Happy March! Happy Spring!