Annual, Perennial Wildlife Raves

What a color! I’ve had 7 years of good luck with my experiment, ‘Linda,’ an Asiatic lily I couldn’t resist for its intensity and as I’ve discovered, tenacity.
Asiatic lily 'Linda' Central Texas Gardener
Until I find a spot for a retama (Parkinsonia aculeata), I’m glad my neighbor did. And so are the bees! Photo bombing on the right is Texas olive, Cordia boissieri.
retama Parkinsonia aculeata for bees Central Texas Gardener
Down the block, native Gaura lindheimeri is blooming up a storm on a hot curb strip. Bees, butterflies and moths can’t resist this deer-resistant perennial.
Gaura lindheimeri  Central Texas Gardener
We get spoiled in spring, but waves of color won’t bypass us in summer with heat-loving annuals. This week, John Thomas from Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg picks a few easy ones to start from seed.
Tom Spencer and John Thomas Wildseed Farms
He explains how to succession plant for wildlife raves until frost. For big, bold and bees, go for sunflowers. Birds will appreciate the easy pickings when things get skimpy in August.
Bees on sunflower Central Texas Gardener
Don’t freak out if lots of caterpillars join the party, too. They’ll turn into beautiful Bordered Patch butterflies. Just keep planting those seeds every few weeks to make up for any loss, like on Mammoth Grey Stripe.
Mammoth Grey Stripe sunflower Wildseed Farms
John also tells us how to prune native, fall-blooming Maximilian sunflower for maximum impact.
MaximilianSunflower Wildseed Farms
Wildseed Farms is just as pretty to visit in summer as it is in spring. You’re sure to run into lots of butterflies on all their varieties of zinnias.
zinnias Wildseed Farms
Butterflies and bees go for cosmos, such cheerful sun-lovers.
cosmos fields Wildseed Farms
When we bought our house, I was broke and clueless about gardening. To brighten up the blank yard, an inexpensive packet of cosmos seeds did the trick. I was so amazed that I kept on going. . .
Cosmos 'Sea Shells' Wildseed Farms
Now, there are so many irresistible colors of cosmos, but Tetra Versailles Red has won my heart!
Cosmos Tetra Versailles Red Wildseed Farms
Daphne sets a vertical stage with perennial, deer-resistant Queen’s Wreath vine (Antigonon leptopus), also called coral vine.
Queen's Wreath vine on chain link fence Central Texas Gardener
Drought-tough in full sun once established, its summer through fall flowers guarantee lots of bee and butterfly attention.
alt=”Bees on Queen’s Wreath vine Central Texas Gardener ” />Nancy Smith poses Question of the Week: “Can we pound a nail into a tree to hang a container plant or feeder?” YES, Daphne tells us: no harm to a mature tree. “My” squirrel politely posed for this example.
nail on tree for feeder Central Texas Gardener
Food for us: Ivy Lara from Dripping Springs Garlic Queens joins Trisha Shirey to show how to harvest and dry your homegrown garlic. DSGQ Jana Kaura in the middle for post-taping picture.

Trisha Shirey and Dripping Springs Garlic Queens Central Texas Gardener
Find out when and why Ivy and Jana cut their scapes to stir fry or pickle and get their favorite ways to dry their harvests.
hanging garlic to dry Dripping Springs Garlic
drying garlic Dripping Springs Garlic Queens
Inspired to grow your own garlic next fall? Here’s Trisha and Ivy’s past segment on varieties and planting tips.

On tour in San Antonio, I was thrilled to meet Rambling Wren blogger Stephanie Lanier and her husband Todd!
Todd and Stephanie Lanier Central Texas Gardener
Their story is one I totally appreciate. When they bought her charming childhood home, the 1973 lawn and foundation shrub style wasn’t what Stephanie wanted now. One bed at a time, they scooped out grass for more interactive plants.
Lanier garden makeover Central Texas Gardener
After getting to know where sun hit every hour in their mostly shady garden, they nourished the untended soil with lots of compost. In shade, Stephanie blended colorful and interesting foliage with pollinator draws that don’t need much sun, like purple oxalis and bear’s breeches (Acanthus mollis).
bear's breeches and purple oxalis for shade Central Texas Gardener
Along with new additions like heartleaf skullcap, Stephanie cultivates her grandmother’s crinum lilies, residents for 30 years. “It’s a nice connection between my past and my present and when I look at those plants they remind me of them,” she says.
shady garden strip Central Texas Gardener
In a spot of sun, she found the perfect spot for bee-loving bottlebrush.
bottlebrush shrub for bees Central Texas Gardener
That’s what she and Todd are going for: wildlife. There wasn’t much to be found when they started their makeover. The transformation didn’t take long!
Gulf Fritillary butterfly on pineapple sage Rambling Wren
bee on salvia guaranitica Black and Blue Rambling Wren
Rather than banish prolific oak leaves to curbside pickup, Todd cultivates them as cooling, nutritious mulch. An extra bonus is watching the birds poke through them looking for worms!
chickadee in oak leaves Rambling Wren blog
Another big project was digging out an old shed foundation for the kitchen garden. Stephanie and Todd love to cook, so freshly harvested organic herbs and vegetables were on their list.
charming vegetable bed design replaces lawn Central Texas Gardener
cute vegetable bed design central texas gardener
Since they have lots of noms for wildlife, they do reserve the strawberries for the house with a hardware cloth cage.
screen cage to protect strawberries Central Texas Gardener
Now, meet them for yourself!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda