Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Gayfeather and Pine Muhly

Gayfeather and Pine Muhly dominate the front garden right now. Have a look around.

A few monarch and queen butterflies have arrived to feast on the nectar rich flowers. I hope to see more soon. This is a queen butterfly.

This common buckeye perched on a dried coneflower seedhead between meals.

Plano's annual Environmental Community Awards Celebration was held a couple of weeks ago and I was received the award for Community Outreach in the Individual Adult category. 

It was an honor to be considered among the nominees in this category and the nominees and recipients in the other categories. 

The following is a quote from the program:
Since 2009, Michael McDowell has shared his experiences transforming his front yard landscape from a typical suburban lawn to an environmental oasis of Texas native plants. Michael's Plano Prairie Garden blog, garden tours, speaking engagements and plant swaps have educated and enlightened thousands in Plano and North Texas of the benefits of these ecological landscaping practices. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

White Flowers at Dusk

The rain and break in 100 degree temperatures made August much less miserable than usual. It was enough to bring the garden out of its summer dormancy. As I surveyed the garden on a recent evening, I noticed that a number of the flowers were white.

Generally, I prefer colored flowers over white flowers, but the white flowers do have a way of brightening up the garden in the evening. As an added bonus, most of the white flowers in my garden are very fragrant. 

This photo and the first photo feature Beebrush, Aloysia gratissima. Beebrush blooms a few days after a rain. It is amazing how quickly the bush is covered in flowers and bees after it rains. Because I have four bushes in the backyard, the scent of the tiny flowers is a bit overwhelming at times. I likened the strong scent to bathroom deodorizer in this Prairie Plant Profile

Another flower that blooms a few days after a rain is the Rain Lily. I think this is Cooperia pedunculata.

The flowers open in the evening and are very fragrant. I almost got a picture of a hummingbird moth feeding on the flower.

Here is a close up.

Most people are familiar with red Turk's Cap, Malvaviscus arboreus var. Drummondii. This, of course, is a white variety. I like the white flowered plant because it stays smaller and is less aggressive than the red variety.

Clammyweed, Polanisia dodecandra, is another flower that opens in the evening. The flowers will begin to wilt by afternoon on very hot days and then a new round of flowers will open by evening. This annual wildflower produces many seeds, so be cautious if you plant it in your garden.

Angel's Trumpet, Datura wrightii, produces large trumpet-shaped flowers that open in the evening and fill the air with their perfume. Bees like their nectar so much that they will often try to pry the flowers open in early evening. 

There is a lot of buzz about this plant. Here is a Bee Movie I made three years ago. It stars Datura and many, many bees. And, yes, the constant background noise is the buzzing of bees.


All of the plants described above a native to Texas and do not need much, if any, supplemental water to survive those hot dry summers.