Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Flowers on the Prairie

Things are changing daily on my prairie. The weather has been warm and sunny on most days, although the prairie did experience a rare, but welcome, meteorological event on the last two Mondays - rain! The first rain in weeks, if not months.

I make daily walks around the prairie to see what has changed since my last walk. Which plants have started growing? Which plants have started blooming? Are there any new caterpillar eggs on the milkweed, pipe vine, or Hercules club? Have any of the caterpillar eggs hatched? Do any weeds need to be pulled? Did I just hear a hummingbird fly by? People with lawns just don't know how they are missing out.

I have been busy working on several projects and enjoying the garden, but I took time to take photos of some of the plants blooming on my prairie.

Gulf Coast penstemon, Penstemon tenuis,  blooms in my front yard rain garden. This plant is very versatile. It can grow in sun or shade and wet or dry soil. The bees and butterflies love the flowers. The plant sometimes reblooms if you cut back the flower stalks or you can leave them for the decorative seed pods that turn reddish purple in the summer. 

These are the deep red flowers of cedar sage, Salvia roemeriana. It is a low growing salvia that primarily blooms in the spring and spreads slowly by seed.

Looking across the front yard prairie toward the west are the bright yellow flowers of the almost always blooming four nerve daisy, Tetraneuris scaposa. In the background, my snowball viburnum bush is in full bloom. I do not know for sure which viburnum this is, but I am pretty sure it is not a native to Texas. The mother plant was purchased several years ago for $2 at a Winn Dixie. This plant is a sucker from the mother plant that I brought with me when I moved to this house seven years ago.

More four nerve daisies are blooming and spreading across the prairie. 

 
I am anxiously awaiting the first (ever) blooms on my pale-leaf yuccas, Yucca pallida.

Another shot featuring Gulf Coast penstemon and snowball viburnum.

On warm sunny mornings, the chocolatey perfume scent of chocolate daisies,  Berlandiera lyrata, fills the air.  Behind the chocolate daisies are some winecup, Callirhoe involucrata.

This eastern red columbine, Aquilegia canadensis, grows under an oak tree in the backyard. They are native from Texas to Canada and all the way to the East Coast.  

The purple flowers of prairie verbena, Glandularia bipinnatifida, do not always photograph well and neither do the fast moving snowberry clearwing mothsHemaris diffinis. Apparently, dogbane is a host plant for snowberry clearwings caterpillars. Maybe I will keep my spreading mystery plant around for them.

I believe this is a stemless evening primrose, Oenothera triloba. The flowers of this annual open in the evening and close the next morning. The red flowers in the photo are spent blooms from the previous day.

You would not want to walk barefoot in a field of stemless evening primrose. The seed pods develop along the base of the plant forming a very hard pineapple-like structure by the end of the season. This one is a little mangled because I was trying to release the seeds. I needed pliers to break into the seed pods. 

5 comments:

  1. How beautiful ! Very interesting plants! Have not seen anything like this before !

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  2. Ahhhh... Springtime on the Prairie! Very nice Bluestem.

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  3. I think of your prairie when I walk around our yard. Our Hercules Club has bloomed and berries are forming. The cardinals will be happy. I found a young one back in the trees, a cardinal gift. And my winecup are blooming. Most of our wildflowers didn't make this year. We haven't had rain in 3 months, and it was only 2 inches then. The rain before it was 3 months too.

    But I stocked up at the Lady Bird Wildflower plant sale anyway...hard to resist adding species!

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  4. Thanks Collagemama, Sandra, Tracy, and Kathleen. Kathleen, did you notice the Hercules club on the right side of the sixth photo? We have so many of the same plants and who can pass up a plant sale?

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