Home

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower . . .

Leave a comment

Lygodesmia texana - Texas skeleton-plant

Lygodesmia texana – Texas skeleton-plant

Just as the name of this blog might remind you of Thomas Hardy’s novel The Return of the Native, perhaps the title to this post will remind you of the poem by Dylan. Dylan Thomas, of course. Or the photo might remind you of the title of the poem. One could also think of an oak tree as a slow explosion, with its mushroom cap shaped crown. But enough said. Click on the photo for a larger picture and meditate on the photo and the title together.

Rudbeckia hirta – Blackeyed Susan

Leave a comment

Rudbeckia hirta - Blackeyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta – Blackeyed Susan

Two of these wildflowers have shown up in my garden this year, most likely sown by birds. Not surprising, since it is one of the most widespread native plants in North America, native across Canada and the U.S. westward to New Mexico. It can grow in many light conditions, from sun to shade, but apparently doesn’t like calcareous or alkaline soils. It propagates itself easily by reseeding and can become aggressive if not faced with competition. It also has been widely used for medicinal as well as aesthetic purposes. What’s not to like about this cheery ornamental? For more information and links to more information than you can imagine, check out the entry at the NPIN plants database.

Rudbeckia hirta - Blackeyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta – Blackeyed Susan

Lupinus texensis – Texas Bluebonnet

Leave a comment

Lupinus texensis - Texas Bluebonnet

Lupinus texensis – Texas Bluebonnet

The earliest blooms on my Bluebonnets have gone to seed, leaving behind these pods with five visible bulges indicating the fruit inside. Compare with this view taken in March of this year:

Lupinus texensis - Texas Bluebonnet

Lupinus texensis – Texas Bluebonnet

One can clearly see that the flowers have turned to fruit.  Later it will become dessicated, turning brown. If you aren’t aware of the life cycle of the bluebonnet, it will then appear to be a weed, in violation of Home Owners Association rules almost everywhere. Then it will open, expelling the seeds forcefully and sowing the Bluebonnets of the future.

 

Say It Ain’t So, Joe!

Leave a comment

Oxalis dillenii - Slender Yellow Woodsorrel

Oxalis dillenii – Slender Yellow Woodsorrel


From Mr Smarty Plants:

TUESDAY – MARCH 19, 2013

From:Buda, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic:Problem PlantsTurf
Title: How to control Yellow Woodsorrel in Habiturf?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Last year we planted Habiturf in our front lawn and prepared the ground as directed with organic compost. This year we have an infestation of low growing yellow oxalis which we believe came in with the compost as we have not had this before. What do you recommend as a control? as weeding will not get all of it and the areas are large. We are considering using an herbicide knowing it will knock out our grass but then we will reseed.

ANSWER:

Yellow Wood Sorrel, Oxalis stricta, and Slender Yellow Wood Sorrel, Oxalis dillenii, both North American natives, are often unwanted visitors in lawns, especially newly-establish or unhealthy lawns.  As your lawn matures and develops a denser stand of grass, broadleaf weeds like Wood Sorrel will be less of an issue.  Promoting healthy grass growth will eventually pay off in reduced weed infestation.

There are broadleaf herbicides labeled for use on oxalis.  These chemicals are specific to dicot weeds and will not kill grasses and other monocots if used properly.  We take neither a pro nor con stance on garden chemicals, but only urge those choosing to use them to do so in a manner that is safest for them and the environment and to strictly adhere to label directions.

Other than hand weeding, we know of no effective organic control for Oxalis species.

In the words of Lennon & McCartney, how about “Let it be”?
This is a golden opportunity to change from turf to wildflowers.

Oxalis dillenii - Slender Yellow Woodsorrel

Oxalis dillenii – Slender Yellow Woodsorrel

Lupinus texensis – Texas Bluebonnet

Leave a comment

Lupinus texensis - Texas Bluebonnet

Lupinus texensis – Texas Bluebonnet

While most instances of the state flower in my yard are still scrawny and small rosettes thanks to the continuing drought in Central Texas, this example has started to put out blossoms in the area between the curb and the sidewalk. Conversations with other native plant advocates have indicated that some bluebonnets have been putting out new blossoms for a couple of weeks now.

The normal bloom period of this annual is from March through May, so it appears to be right on schedule this year. It is especially attractive to native bees and is frequented by butterflies as well. It serves as a larval host for the Hairstreak and Elfin butterflies.

Eryngium leavenworthii – Eryngo

Leave a comment

Eryngium leavenworthii  - Eryngo

Eryngium leavenworthii – Eryngo

This is one time of the year that you might find the skeletons of the annual herbaceous plant Leavenworth’s Eryngo with their unique pineapple-shaped flowerheads. With their spiked leaves and bristly appearance, you might think them to be among the thistles, but actually they are related to carrots. Although lacking in the rich purple hues of its growing season, the bare remains have their own sort of beauty.

Nothoscordum bivalve – Crow Poison

Leave a comment

LILI Nothoscordum bivalve - Crow-Poison

LILI Nothoscordum bivalve – Crow-Poison

The authorities have not yet reached a consensus whether this plant is toxic, either to humans or to crows, so they advise that you just don’t put this in your mouth. Or feed it to crows, I suppose.

Crow Poison can bloom early in the Spring, but as this shows, they can also bloom throughout the summer and well into fall. It is similar in size and shape to Allium Drummondii, Wild Garlic. Sight and Smell are the two senses that help to differentiate the two – Wild Garlic has a purple tint to its white flowers, and it smells like onion.

 

Here you can see the umbel of Crow Poison, with a couple of buds in the process still of opening. Elsewhere you can see an excellent photo by Joseph Marcus with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Tx (http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=13203 ). September 22, 2014 –  Note: the linked photo used to be here. It has been removed in order to avoid infringing on Mr. Marcus’ copyright as well as to abide by the NPIN terms of use.

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: