Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall on the Prairie

This is my favorite time of the year to be in my garden, or should I say "on my prairie". After the hot, dry summer, fall rains and cooler temperatures brought the prairie back to life.

The growth on the forbs is fresh and green. The colors of their flowers are more intense than ever. The grasses are tall and blooming. Their leaves and flower stalks sway with the slightest breeze.

 Butterflies and bees swarm the Mealycup sage, Salvia farinacea 'Henry Duelberg', zexmenia, Wedelia hispida, scarlet sage, Salvia coccinea and little bluestem grass, Schizachyrium scoparium.

The flower spikes of gayfeather, Liatris mucronata, peek through the little bluestem grass.

The light blue leaves of pale-leaf yucca, Yucca pallida, and four-nerve daisy, Hymenoxys scaposa  are a nice contrast to the changing colors of the little bluestem. Earlier in the year, the yucca and little bluestem were about the same shade of blue, but now the little bluestem is gradually changing to a copper color.

Birdbath and zexmenia.

Entering the backyard prairie, there are more flowers and grasses in bloom. Zexmenia, Mexican bush sage, Salvia leucantha, Indian grass, Sorghastrum nutans, switchgrass, Panicum virgatum 'Dallas Blues', autumn sage, Salvia greggii, and blue mistflower, Conoclinium greggii, to name a few.

Turning to right, frostweed, Verbesina virginica, turk’s cap, Malvaviscus arboreus var. Drummondii, and scarlet sage, are among the flowers under my only shade tree.

Whether taking advantage of the cooler temperatures to work on an outdoor project or just enjoying the plants and wildlife, it’s a great time to be on the prairie. You just can’t beat Texas in the fall.


  1. Yes, thank goodness for the fall. It's such a welcome relief. It's nice to actually be able walk around your garden for an hour or two and not have to ring out your shirt afterwards.

  2. We're finally getting back out in the garden. Even pulling weeds is fun when the weather is good.

    Did you plant your frostweed? I have a few plants in bloom in the woodland but it takes over so quickly and shades everything else out, we've spent years trying to get rid of it. I know it's good for monarchs...but I've got rioting gardens of other blooms...

  3. Hey Curtis. The temperature is right. Now I just need to get in the right frame of mind to do something. Are those plants doing alright?

    Hi Michelle. Thanks for the comment.

    Hi Kathleen. I did plant the frostweed. It took a couple of years before I learned it was a very generous re-seeder. After that, I started trimming off the flower heads after the flowers began to dry. It eliminated most of the volunteer plants, but there are still a few that pop up. Right now the flowers are covered with bees and butterflies. The frostweed flowers attract several critters that no other flowers in my yard attract. Several of them I have never seen before.

  4. They are doing great. I already planted the big red sage and the seeds. I'm planning to plant the bee brush tree soon and the others as well. Thanks again! Have you found a home for the spot agave?

  5. Love the butterfly photos. It's fun keeping up with your anti-lawn yard.

  6. It's hard to believe this blog is now 10 years old, but I still enjoy traipsing through time across your lovely garden! I hope all is still well upon the Prairie. (I miss 'blogs' like these) Beautiful work--(and a lot of it), and I bet it has matured beautifully. You're an inspiration, even after all this time!


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