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Capsicum annuum – Chile Pequin

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 Capsicum annuum - Chile Pequin

Capsicum annuum – Chile Pequin

Hadn’t really looked at the tiny flowers of the Chile Pequin before, but here they are, with a slight touch of purple in them.

Off to the right is the fruit, which turns a bright shiny red when it has fully ripened. Easy to grow, withstands drought, edible, attracts nectar feeders when in bloom and birds after bloom has turned to fruit. Reseeds itself if allowed to.

 

Aloysia gratissima – Beebrush

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Aloysia gratissima - Beebrush

Aloysia gratissima – Beebrush

 

This Beebrush has been in the front yard under the Oak tree for several years now, and it probably should be transplanted to a spot where it will get full sun. Although it does have these vanilla scented spikes of flowers that attract bees and butterflies and other nectar feeding insects, I find it tends to be spindly in the partial shade it gets, and trimming shrubs is not my strong suit.

So if anyone in my vicinity (Round Rock TX) wants a high maintenance native plant that has a medium water use profile and likes moist soils, feel free to come over and dig it up with my blessings. Because this lovely little shrub will probably not make it through the summer in my yard, as it gets replaced by shade loving plants with low water requirements.

 

 

Lupinus texensis – Texas Bluebonnet

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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.

Malvaviscus arboreus – Turks cap

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Malvaviscus arboreus - Turks cap - detailFavored by hummingbirds and solitary bees, this lovely hibiscus-like flower (that never fully opens) does extremely well along a shady northern side of the house. Has not received supplemental watering throughout the drought.

Drought Defiant Gayfeather

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ASTE-Liatris mucronata - Gayfeather -detailThere are relatively few plants holding up to the current drought and heat. One of these is Liatris mucronata, Gayfeather. Although not as lush as in previous years, this perennial still has attractive purple blossoms and has not wilted in the heat.

Drought

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The San Gabriel River, shown here in late May, is certainly lower now than this barely wet gully.
And yet, Turks Cap, Tecoma stans (Yellowbells), and Gayfeather are blooming quite nicely despite the lack of rain.

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