Sunday, July 13, 2008

Penstemon and more

Naturally, after our visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we visited a nursery and browsed through all the plants. We came home with more than we should have, but that's our true fun in life–adding to our Wildscape. In the evening, we enjoy sitting outside and watching all the birds, especially the hummingbirds.

That evening after our Austin trip, we planted a native butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) near our blue mist, a nectar host plant for butteflies. Earlier this summer, we planted a butterfly weed that has red-and-yellow blooms. Last year, we planted a yellow-flowered butterfly weed, and it didn't come back after winter. We're hoping at least one of these two do. Queen and monarch butterflies lay their eggs on this plant. Last summer, I watched numerous caterpillars grow from tiny to big on our butterfly weed. I got up real close and spotted eggs underneath the leaves, too. Lots of fun!

Butterfly weed (newest one)
Asclepias tuberosa

We also planted a blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) near a rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) that we planted last year. The rock rose came back this spring but has struggled a bit with powdery mildew. We've cut back on water, and it seems to be doing better. I thought a blackfoot daisy might do well near the rock rose because it's also a low-water user.

Blackfoot daisy
Melampodium leucanthum

Last Friday, we bought three red turk's cap (Malvaviscus arboreus) and also two pink ones ('Pam's Pink'). They'll be planted in the new bed that's under construction in the back yard. In the front yard, we have a huge patch of red turk's cap that grew from three small ones I planted three summers ago. My former husband gave me those little "saplings," and they've done quite well.

Isn't the pink bloom pretty? Can't wait to get those established.

Turk's cap 'Pam's Pink'

In the past week, we've also added two new lantanas in a front bed: a purple trailing lantana and 'Texas Flame.'

Purple trailing lantana

Lantana camara 'Texas Flame'
Here's a photo of a bed that's in the center of our back yard. Front and back, our yard is huge. Little by little, we're adding more native plants and building more beds. Just takes time!

Can you see that bit of red at the front of this bed? Yep, we loved that cut-leaf penstemon so much at the Wildflower Center, that we bought one for ourselves! It's between two columbines.

Cut-leaf penstemon
Penstemon baccharifolius

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