Monday, October 8, 2012

Red and Purple

The cool temperatures and cloudy skies over the weekend seemed to bring out the colors in the garden and the dominant colors right now are shades of red and purple.

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This color combination was not planned. It just seemed to happen on its own. I planted the Gayfeather, Liatris, in the front garden, but I had Scarlet Sage, Salvia coccinea, in the back garden and did not intend to have more in the front garden. A few plants found their way to the front garden some how and began to spread. 

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The Liatris spread too. I scattered seeds from two plants that I had in the garden and I think every one of the seeds sprouted. 

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In a couple of weeks, there will be more purple in the garden when the Aromatic Aster, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, in the lower center of this photo begins to bloom.

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Scarlet Sage, Liatris, Mealycup Sage, Salvia farinacea, and Eryngo, Eryngium leavenworthii, grow among the Pine Muhly grass,  Muhlenbergia dubia

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The spiny purple flowers of Eryngo are beginning to fade and go to seed now, but look at this cute little one that grew in the decomposed granite between the sidewalk and street.

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Adding to the red color scheme is Rock Penstemon, Penstemon baccharifolius, to the left of the Pale-leaf Yucca, Yucca pallida.

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The Autumn Sage, Salvia greggii, on the right side of the pathway blooms heavily in the spring, sporadically during the summer, and then heavily again in the fall. It is a favorite of hummingbirds.

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Liatris grows among the Gregg's Mistflower, Conoclinium greggii, in the rain garden. Gregg's Mistflower is also known as Blue Mistflower. The flowers are bluish purple and are a favorite of monarch and queen butterflies. In fact, all of the flowers mentioned above are popular with butterflies and bees. Saturday and Sunday were too cool for the butterflies to come out.

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As soon as the sun came out on Monday and temperatures warmed, butterflies and bees filled the garden. There are at least six monarchs and one queen butterfly in this photo. The red and purple flowers in the garden will provide a welcome pit stop for the orange and black monarchs as they make their way to Mexico for the winter in the coming days.

20 comments:

  1. Wow, just beautiful. You are an inspiration. Keep up the great work!

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    1. Thanks First Man, but I am not an inspiration. I just stick plants in the ground, water them occasionally, and take pictures.

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  2. Beautiful! The butterflies are having a field day there. Your liatris is blooming here too and I'll scatter the seed for more of them in the circle garden.

    I've only seen one monarch so far. They are still on their way apparently so that's good news.

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    1. Shirley, the monarchs are heading south. Their numbers are growing daily here. The Liatris will look great in your circle garden. I even like the look of the plants when they are not in bloom.

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  3. Your garden is beautiful! We just got a house recently and it's our goal to convert our boring hedge and lawn yard into a more native landscape like this, do you have any tips?

    What's the best way to remove old hedges/plants, and did you plant most of the plants from seeds or transplants? What's your favorite plants and are there any plants you might not plant if you have to do it all over again? Thanks!

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    1. Jacki, my best advice is to plan before you plant. You can remove shrubs with a chain and a pickup truck, a shovel and axe, or pay somebody to do it for you. Go through the archives of this blog and you will get a good idea as to which plants are my favorites (because they look good for extended periods and/or attract wildlife) and which ones lost favor (because they did not perform well or spread more than I wanted them to). Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. What's your favorite local stores/resources for native plants? I know you've talked about the spring and fall plant sales from local groups and gardens, but any other local stores or online resources that you like and would recommend?

      (We're also in the Dallas area)

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    3. Jacki, for nurseries, you can find some natives at North Haven Gardens and Redenta's in Dallas. Rohde's is in Garland. Shades of Green is in Frisco. Each of these nurseries has a website that you can easily find with an internet search. wildflower.org is a good online resource about native plants. You may find some additional helpful information with the links in the right margin. If you have not been to Pam Penick's site http://www.penick.net/digging/ be sure to go there. She has links to other blogs in Texas and great photos and info. And she has a book coming out next year.

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  4. Absolutely stunning...I just love how you've scattered the Liatris all around (good to know their germination rate is good)! Can't wait to see the Asters join the show soon :-)

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  5. Scott, I was not expecting the Liatris to sprout so well. Last year was the first year that all of the seedlings bloomed and I started cutting the flower stalks off before the seeds scatter. I noticed a couple of aster flowers today. The asters and fragrant mistflowers are the last to join in the show.

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  6. is that L. punctata? Dotted gayfeather.

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    1. Good question greggo. I bought two small plants that were in a 4 inch pot at a native plant sale. The label said "Liatris sp." and had a comment something like "found growing locally in black gumbo". After some research, I think they may be L. punctata or L. mucronata. As well as I can tell, both varieties grow nearby and my plants have some of the characteristics of each, but I really don't know for sure.

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  7. Wow , That looks great ! I have got to get some Liatris to go with my Scarlet Sage, a plant that has a habit of showing up everywhere and how can we be mad at that? I was playing golf last Monday and came across a 4 acre field of it growin wild next to one of the holes on a Blackland Prairie golf course. Awesome sight! I`ll be back to gather seed !

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  8. I have a question Michael. I went on a seed and plant gathering expedition yesterday and ran up on a good stand of Liatris. I managed to get 3 small flowering plants intact and quite a bit of seed , though most of it is not ready to let go of it`s seed, so assume not mature yet. I understand that Liatris can reseed well in sandy soils, which I possess here. I`m planning on sowing the seed on open ground in my natural area. Is this the way to go about it? I believe these plants are Mucronata or narrow leaf Liatris.

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    1. Randy, if you got the whole plant, you probably noticed the bulb or corm structure at the base of the plants. The plants should come back from these structures next year. The seeds get feathery as they mature. I tossed mine on bare ground and they grew. Other than that, I don't have any growing tips. They seem to do well on their own. Good luck.

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    2. Thanks, Michael. as far as the bulb, It must be there, because I got a large soil ball and today they look great . I`ll study the plant base more carefuly. Good to hear about the seed , because I feel I`m going to have a ton of it, at least of this variety. Do they flower the first year after starting from seed? Thanks for your advice. I reached your blog originally through a google image search, when I was getting serious about trying to prairiescape. You have been a big help.

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    3. Randy, my Liatris seedlings grew slowly the first year. I pulled out several of the first seedlings because I thought they were a weedy grass, then the light bulb came on and I realized what they were. None of the seedlings bloomed the first year. I think a few of them bloomed the second year and then all of them were blooming the third year. By the third year, most of the plants were producing multiple stalks from the corm. Glad you got some helpful information from the blog.

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  9. I`ve been tryiong to find out how to pronounce eryngo, is it EEringo, or Iringo, or EHringo, or eh-RYN-go? Thanks

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  10. I like it, but may attract rattlesnakes in the Panhandle. Need to plant so we don't create such great hiding places for the rattlers.

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