Holistic Pollinator Habitat

Always, I let my parsley and cilantro bolt. Bees and other pollinators hover in the wings for those nutritious flowers.
bee on bolting cilantro Central Texas Gardener
Bee traffic is backed up on Gulf or Brazos penstemons (Penstemon tenuis). So far, everybody stays in their own lane.
bee on Brazos penstemon Central Texas Gardener
bee zoom Brazos penstemon Central Texas Gardener
Yaupons bursting with miniscule flowers pack in lots of bees, here on my Lynn Lowery yaupon.
bee on Lynn Lowery yaupon Central Texas Gardener
At ground level, native Salvia lyrata gets my vote for re-seeding intelligence. Pooh on mulch. They sent their progeny to slivers of gravel on a part-shade patio.
Salvia lyrata native groundcover Central Texas Gardener
Native cedar sage (Salvia roemeriana) isn’t under Ashe junipers in my east Austin garden, but hummingbirds and butterflies are fine with that.
Salvia roemeriana Central Texas Gardener
I’ve got lots of butterflies, too, and to show how you can have them in your garden, I hope you’ll join me this Saturday, April 16, at the EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens in Wimberley for their 18th Annual Butterfly Festival.
Wimberley Butterfly Festival kids Central Texas Gardener
My talk “Backyard Butterflies” is at 1 p.m. but the super fun-filled family day is from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Find out more and come on out!

What’s the secret to lively, holistic habitat that supports wildlife all year long? This week, Eva Van Dyke from Barton Springs Nursery has some answers to surprise you.
Tom Spencer Eva Van Dyke Central Texas Gardener
Certainly, it’s no surprise that wildlife needs shelter and food every single day. Caterpillars feed spring’s baby birds. Newly hatched spiny lizards eat tiny tree ants and later clean up garden pests. Oh, and those snails—above ground cleanup patrol. Eva’s got a handy tip to distract them.

Every season, trees offer progressive nectar and larval feeding. In early spring, sandpaper tree (Ehretia anacua) delights pollinators.
Anacua tree Central Texas Gardener
In summer, desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) spurs bees and hummingbirds to drop by.
bee desert willow Central Texas Gardener
Eva explores the entire picture from above our heads down to grasses and groundcovers. Perennials like native coneflower feed lots of pollinators, including birds if you let a few go to seed.
Giant Swallowtail on coneflower Central Texas Gardener
bee on native coneflower Central Texas Gardener
She invites us to plant a mallow garden that’s as beautiful for us as it is for pollinators. Rockrose (Pavonia lasiopetala)
Pavonia lasiopetala stamens Central Texas Gardener
Globe mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
globe mallow Central Texas Gardener
And (I think) Velvet-leaf mallow (Allowissadula holosericea)
velvet leaf mallow Central Texas Gardener
Get Eva’s WONDERFUL plant list for every season, including one of her summer-fall favorites, Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).
buttonbush bee and Red Admiral Central Texas Gardener
And watch now!

Animals can chomp our trees, especially in drought. Daphne explains what happened to Robin Carter’s bigtooth maple and why it’s okay.
animal damage bigtooth maple Central Texas Gardener
Trisha sweetens our low-sugar lives with stevia, though pollinators surely head to those tasty flowers. Find out why store-bought stevia may not be what you think, how to grow it, and make extracts.
Stevia Central Texas Gardener
Absolutely the biggest change I’ve seen in garden philosophy is creating wildlife habitat, including larval (chomped) plants. Right now, Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars are dining on cilantro, parsley, fennel and dill.
Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar on parsley Central Texas Gardener
So, Daphne’s Plant of the Week features a few of our viewers’ great shots. Christina Pasco found this Giant Swallowtail larva on her key lime. They do love citrus leaves!
Swallowtail larva on lime tree Christina Pasco CTG
Kathy Harte discovered this Sphinx moth caterpillar in her garden.
Tersa Sphinx moth Kathy Harte CTG
With warm weather so early this year, Vance caught this Gulf Fritillary soon after it emerged from the chrysalis where it had overwintered.
Gulf Fritillary emerge chrysalis CTG
Summer annual zinnia is a butterfly fave. An Easter Tiger swallowtail goes for Rusty Brindle’s flowers.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Rusty Brindle CTG
Lantana is a big hit. Marie Pavlovsky sent us video of a Red Admiral on purple trailing lantana.

Many butterflies nectar on milkweed. Rob Seiler’s 9-year-old son snapped this great picture of a Monarch on its larval host last fall.
Monarch butterfly Rob Seiler  CTG
And Robyn Squyres sent video of two Monarchs on milkweed—their larval host.

Here’s her picture.
Monarch butterfy Robyn Squyres CTG
Comal County Master Gardener Charlotte Trussell spotted this American Lady butterfly on native golden groundsel.
American Lady butterfly Charlotte Trussell CTG
In winter and early spring, she provides a supplemental diet for overwintering butterflies that emerge on warm days. Red Admirals are really going for it in her garden.
Red Admiral butterfly mash Trussell CTG
Here’s her recipe for Butterfly Mash:
• 2 black bananas peeled and smashed
• 1 tablespoon molasses
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• And about a third of a cup of dark beer (enough to make the mixture “soupy”)
• Mash ingredients together and allow to sit UNCOVERED overnight to ferment, then spoon small amount into a shallow plastic lid and place in your garden.

On tour, Monica Gaylord from the Heart O’ Texas Orchid Society packs in fragrance, beauty, and global connectivity in her orchid greenhouse that promotes awareness of these endangered pollinator plants.
Orchid greenhouse Central Texas Gardener
Go into gorgeous, fragrant overload at the 45th Annual Heart O’ Texas Orchid Society Show & Sale April 22 – 24. Find out more.
phalonapois orchid Central Texas Gardener

Watch now!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda