Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring and Native Plant Sales

Spring begins today. Tennyson wrote, "In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love." Maybe because I am not so young any more, my fancy is turning to thoughts of gardening instead. This quote from Margaret Atwood seems more appropriate, "In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." And that is exactly what I intend to do for the next couple of days. I am going to smell like dirt, if not a little more. 

People often ask me where I get my plants. In addition to a few local, independent nurseries, the majority of my plants, especially the hard to find varieties, come from native plant sales. There are several sales coming up this spring, so take advantage of your chance to add some native plants to your garden and smell like dirt at the end of the day.

I normally compile a list of native plant sales in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but this year I found a statewide listing on Sheryl Smith-Rodgers' blog, Window on a Texas Wildscape and she directed me to the source of the information on the Native Plant Society of Texas website. Click the links for the full lists. I will summarize the DFW sales below. 

Since it is the first day of spring, I wanted to take post some pictures of the spring flowers in my garden, but there are not many. We had ice and temperatures in the teens just a couple of weeks ago and that did some damage to the tender flowers that were starting to form. I do have a few patches of Four Nerve Daisies blooming like the one above and the flowers on the Golden Groundsel are just beginning to show a little yellow. Otherwise, most of the plants are slow to break dormancy. The native plants know not to rush into spring because you never know when it will turn cold again.

This is how the front garden looks today. If we get a little rain and do not have any more freezing temperatures, the spring flowers should burst into bloom in another couple of weeks. For fun, I looked back at my photos of the garden at this at this time of year and at this approximate angle over the last seven years to see the changes and the effects a cold vs. mild winter has on when the flowers start to bloom.

April 4, 2013. This is a couple of weeks ahead on the calendar. I don't think I will have this many Bluebonnets blooming on April 4 of this year. The plants are just now beginning to grow out of the rosette stage.

March 24, 2012. The winter of 2011-2012 was extremely mild. The Four Nerve Daisies bloomed all winter long. It was strange that many of the Four Nerve Daisy plants died during the summer of 2012.

March 19, 2011. A few Four Nerve Daisies are blooming. The Possumhaw Holly in the background has more leaves than it does today.

March 21, 2010. This was the winter that killed most of my agaves. Just a few days before this picture was taken, I removed the mushy agaves and planted the spineless prickly pear and Yucca pallida. I thought winter was over. This is the reason native plants are sometimes slow to come out of dormancy. 

March 23, 2009. This is a little bit of a different angle. The focus of this photo was my new decomposed granite pathway that I just installed. In 2008, I removed the grass from the front yard and began planting to the left of the pathway in the fall. Everything looks so fresh with the new pathway and fresh mulch. 

I don't have a photo for March of 2008. Later that year became the lawn's Season of Destruction and the garden's Season of Construction. I am sure some neighbors still wonder when the lawn's Seasons of Destruction will end.

April 1, 2007. Lawn, lawn everywhere, but I did have a nice big flowerbed next to the house and in part of the parkway. It is amazing how the garden has changed through the years and how the winter weather affects when spring really begins in the garden.


  1. Wow, what a fun progression! I took some photos from when we moved in versus at the one year mark and I'm sure I will do the same for this year (two years in June/July).

    Your yard has come a long way!

    1. It is helpful to have a photo record of the garden.Sometimes you do not realize how much things change until you look at older photos. You have made a number of changes in your garden in the last two years.

  2. Thanks for putting up the native plant sale information. I will make sure I hit up the McKinney sale. Spring is the best.

  3. Wow, I love the look at your garden over the years. I have never seen my salvia greggiis damaged so much as this year. And lots of pink skullcap looks like it is toast, too, which surprises me. I'm going to give them a little more time. Amazed at the 4-nerve in my garden. Not even fazed by the freezes. I thought we were going to have a great wildflower display this year because of the fall rains, but now I am not so sure anymore. And if I might give a shout out for Grapevine Garden Club's plant sale on April 26 at the Grapevine Botanic Garden. Not 100% native, but we will have a lot of natives available, and certainly well-adapted plants.

    1. My Salvia greggii was doing fine until I gave them a hard pruning a couple of weeks before the last deep freeze. I have not seen any green on a few of them yet. I don't see any problems with my pink skullcap. I cut them to the ground when I pruned the Salvias and I am seeing a little green on them. Have you tried the native purple skullcap? Mine stayed green all winter. Thanks for the info on another plant sale

  4. I could look at pictures of your garden all day. I love the transformations. They're so inspiring.

    1. Thanks Ally. You are doing a pretty good job at your place too.

  5. Appreciated your "On this date in Plano Prairie Garden history" flashbacks, as I was pondering the effects of different winters. Well done!


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