There are times when I question whether I made the right decision when I removed my lawn and replaced it with a variety of native wildflowers, perennials, and succulents. All of the rain this spring made plants grow like crazy. If I still had a lawn, it would be lush and green right now without having any supplemental water. Instead, I have a garden full of waist high drought tolerant plants that are beginning to flop over.
Here at the end of June, many of the plants are as tall and thick as they would be at the end of the growing season. I was afraid I might turn myself in to the city code enforcement officer due to high weeds so I spent a good part of last weekend cutting back and thinning plants. All of the pictures in this post are "before" and not "after" because I am not finished hacking at plants.
This shot does not look too bad because there are some open areas and structural plants.
Turning a little to the right, however, there is a tall mess of plants. The tallest plants are Pitcher Sage and Liatris. I know my plant collector tendencies are to blame and I have been thinking of ways to make the garden look better. Perhaps removing the Pitcher Sage and Liatris will help? The Liatris looks great for a couple of weeks in the fall, but not so great for the rest of the year. I am pretty sure the Winecups will go or be thinned. Their long stems crawl over the other plants giving the garden a messy look.
The rain garden is full of quickly spreading Heartleaf Skullcap, Aromatic Aster, and more Liatris.
At the opposite end of the yard it is time to cut back the Gulf Coast Penstemon before all of the seed pods dry and shatter. It is a good idea to let a few seeds sprout each year because the older plants get weak and woody after a few years. 10,000 new plants is not a good idea.
I removed all of the aging Bluebonnet plants in the parkway during a break in the rain a couple of weeks ago. I am not sure what the tall plant is to the left of the Pine Muhly grass. I could be a weed that blew in as a seed or a wildflower from a seed that I collected and threw out. I was going to keep it around until it bloomed or something, but I think it is time for it to go too.
People ask me why I do not grow more plants in the parkway. The main reasons are to give an open and orderly feel to the front of the garden and to keep passage on the sidewalk from feeling too enclosed. I think I need to give the main part of the garden a more open and orderly feel too.
I have been neglecting my duties of keeping the neighbor's grass off of the edging and pathways at the property line.
Plants are growing into the pathway that cuts across the garden too.
Little pecan and oak trees are everywhere in the garden. I was about 50% successful pulling them out with pliers. I will need to dig them out with a shovel when they resprout.
The rain's effects on the Horsetail Reed were interesting. While it was raining during the spring, the plants grew taller than I have ever seen them. When we had a two week break in the rain, the tips of the reeds started to dry and turn brown. This did not happen in previous dry years. I suppose they grew higher this year than their roots could pump moisture once the endless supply of rain stopped. I plan on taking the hedge trimmer to the reeds and cutting them back like I do every February.
This is a "during" picture. I was pulling Winecup vines away from the Rattlesnake Master when something startled me in the Liatris to the right.
Hiding among the tall plants was a mallard duck sitting on her nest. I was thinking about creating wildlife habitat when I planted a garden of native plants. I was thinking about birds. I was not thinking about ducks.
Evidently, I did not disturb her too much because she was still sitting on her nest today. I will need to wait a little longer before I continue reshaping this section of the garden.