May Flowers

I wish I could say that April showers brought my May flowers, but here in Austin, Texas (zone 8b), it was a dry April and so far, May is in fine copycat form as the dry late spring segues into summer. Nonetheless, there are plenty of blooms in the garden because I’m a lazy gardener and choose tough plants that withstand the tricky Texas conditions while delivering valuable and pretty blooms–a win for pollinators and a delight for the gardener.

A stunning set of blooms, the always dramatic, royal-blue Majestic sageSalvia guaranitica,  currently reigns in certain spots of the garden.

I expect this crew to be the last of the Majestic blooms for a while, as this perennial’s blooms enjoy our gentler months of spring and autumn and then temporarily abdicates blooming during the toasty summer months.


Brightening a front garden is a reliable spring and autumn bloomer, the low growing shrub, DamianitaChrysactinia mexicana.

Handsome evergreen and aromatic foliage, plus perky daisy flowers, equals floral sunshine.


This nice combo sits nearby and includes some of my favorite flowers: Purple coneflowersEchinacea purpurea and ZexmeniaWedelia acapulcensis var. hispida.

Both are superb pollinator plants and almost always have insect visitors in, around, or on the blooms.


Red yuccaHesperaloe parviflora, are now in full, salmon-and-yellow glory.

The flower stalks are 4-5 feet in height and bear multitudes of belled blooms during spring, summer, and through fall, nourishing insect and avian pollinators alike.


A spray of Heartleaf skullcapScutellaria ovata, dances in front of surrounding shrubs and grasses, its violet blooms a floral contrast to the other foliage-prominent perennials.

A closer look…


Nothing shouts summer!  like sunny sunflowers and this threesome nod approval for a fast track to the summer blooming season.

Some of this season’s sunflowers are already in seed production and the finches and sparrows are taking notice.

To enjoy more May blooming beauties, please pop over to Carol’s May Dreams Gardens and enjoy bloom-filled-blog posts celebrating blooming in May.

Everyone Eats Here!

This plant, Zexmenia or WedeliaWedelia acapulcensis var. hispida, is the restaurant of choice for wildlife in my gardens.  Trendsetter insects like Ms. Honeybee,

…and Ms. Texas Mason Bee, Osmia subfasciata (?),  experiment with Zexmenia’s specialty menu, the well-known nectar de

Out for the evening, a member of the Muscidae clan partakes in the melt-in-the-proboscis Asteraceae ambrosia.

All three of those Zexmenia aficionados slurped delicious and nutritious nectar  from this native Texas insect cuisine.  Ms. Honeybee also took home a corbicula doggy bag full of pollen.

Butterflies also visit this popular spot for a quick nosh. The trendy Dun Skipper, Euphyes vestris,

…and the Matthew McConaughey handsome Texas CrescentAnthanassa texana,  just rave about Zexmenia’s menu.   Alright, alright,

But the  Spotted Cucumber BeetleDiabrotica undecimpunctata, isn’t a welcomed patron of most vegetarian restaurants.

Maybe he just popped on for a sip?  As well, another rude patron is this caterpillar,

…which, instead of drinking or gathering pollen, is a destructive consumer of the flowers. Zexmenia is the host plant to three different butterfly species, so it would be natural to find some caterpillars on the leaves, but this fella is munching on the bloom, which shows poor manners.  He’s so immature.  I imagine once the caterpillar grows up, she/he will be a better mannered butterfly or moth guest and only nip daintily and spread pollen productively.

Zexmenia is a plant that all the groovy insects hang out on.  This female Plateau SpreadwingLestes alacer, is definitely part of the cool crowd.

And some, like the Green AnoleAnolis carolinensis,  come to Zexmenia to see other patrons. And, maybe eat them.

This is a great place to wildlife watch–a place to see and be seen.  Zexmenia provides a satisfying and elegant dining experience for many tastes and palates.   Make your reservations and try it this weekend!

National Wildflower Week

This week, May 4-10, is National Wildflower Week.   In honor of the beautiful wildflowers that exist everywhere and that should be lauded, appreciated, and most importantly, planted and nurtured, this is just a little reminder of the beauty that is easy to achieve and maintain.

Check out the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s informative website and learn about wildflowers and native plants for your region.  Wildflowers impart a sense of place, provide sustenance for wildlife and are easy to grow and pretty to look at.  Ask your local nurseries to supply native plants and seeds and rid yourself of wasteful, sterile, water-guzzling lawns and plant natives and wildflowers

You’ll be glad you did and so will the wildlife endemic to your region.