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Wondrous Wanderings at the Wildflower Center

The seasons, they’re always a-changin’. As autumn unfolds, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center flaunts fall sensations to illustrate the beautifully progressive nature of native plants.
Goldenrod muhly grasses Maximillian sunflower entrance prairie Wildflower Center
Despite record heat and drought, Lindheimer and pink-hued Gulf muhly flowers dance on grassy wands.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center tower muhly grasses Central Texas Gardener
Lindheimer muhly’s also tagged “big muhly” for a reason. Its stature and feathery plumes dramatize any sunny spot.
Lindheimer muhly native grass fall flowers Wildflower Center Central Texas Gardener
Until our front garden got too shady, it was my husband’s favorite view as he rounded the corner on our curvy street. Clustering in groups or rows magnify their grandeur. Evergreen most of the year, muhly grasses make great “hedges” to dignify spaces, too.
Lindheimer muhly fall flowers and Plateau goldeneye Wildflower Center Central Texas Gardener
But Lindheimer muhly looks almost sedate against bushy bluestem’s explosive puffballs.
Bushy bluestem fall flower head with Lindheimer muhly grass flowers Wildflower Center Central Texas Gardener
Seed heads of perennial Liatris glimmer against its sunny grass companions.
Liatris seed heads in October Wildflower Center demonstration prairie Central Texas Gardener
Just across the path, a few spikes hang onto the last of the deep lavender flowers.
Purple liatris flowers and seed heads Wildflower Center Central Texas Gardener
Everywhere, perennial Plateau goldeneye (Viguiera dentata) promised pots of pollinator gold.
Plateau goldeneye fall flowers Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Central Texas Gardener
Energizing sights met mood-elevating sounds: squeals of delight and thumps of racing little feet to this year’s newly installed Fortlandia. One earnest tot ran past me faster than the wind, gleefully shouting “Climb, climb, climb!”
Fortlandia Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Central Texas Gardener
Since Fortlandia lasts until January 31, I’ll race past her another day to adventure on custom-designed forts designed and built by local architects, designers and artists.

In my two-hour reservation slot, this time I took the path to the demonstration gardens that illustrate compatible choices to plant at home. In the Habiturf® plot, short grasses, like blue grama, wave tiny wands.
Blue grama fall blooming native grass Wildflower Center Central Texas Gardener
Buffalograss and curly mesquite join the Habiturf® mix to illustrate a drought-hardy lawn in sun.
Habiturf native grass lawn demonstration garden Wildflower Center
J.J. Priour’s “Local Light and Water” turquoise glass and limestone sculpture elevates the broad view of these low beds.
J.J. Priour Local Water and Light sculpture Habiturf demonstration bed Wildflower Center
Indeed, it is a study in light. Below its pedestal, geometrically pruned native silver ponyfoot, framed by glass nuggets, reminisce of silvery pools.
J.J. Priour Local Water and Light sculpture geometric silver ponyfoot groundcover Wildflower Center
J.J. Priour glass and limestone sculpture demonstration garden Wildflower Center
J.J. Priour turquoise glass and limestone sculpture catches light Wildflower Center
Black dalea also hugs the ground, spilling over its limestone border with tiny purple flowers for
crowds of bees.
Black dalea native groundcover Wildflower Center Central Texas Gardener
Stately Maximillian sunflower screens a shady passageway where a cozy bench invites a break to watch pollinators zoom to those supersized flowers.
Maximillian sunflower Wildflower Center Central Texas Gardener
It’s also the fall standout in the Fiber & Dye garden, along with low-growing, frothy prairie goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis), prickly pear and others. And in case you’ve heard the myth, it’s not true that goldenrod causes those fall sneezes!
Maximillian sunflower goldenrod prickly pear Fiber & Dye Garden Wildflower Center
Stock tanks bring another geometrical and height dimension to the rectangular layout. Aromatic aster’s one of their ambassadors to bees, butterflies, and many other pollinators.
Aromatic aster in stock tank Wildflower Center Central Texas Gardener
And what a thrill to find airy annual wild aster (not sure which one) tucked into another spot. These used to pepper my garden and now and then they pop up again.
Wild asters Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Another stock tank hosts wild poinsettia (Euphorbia cyathophora), also called Fire on the Mountain. White gaura leans in.
wild poinsettia Euphorbia cyathophora Gaura lindeimeri Wildflower Center
In every part shade spot, perennial shrub American beautyberry’s glossy, purple fruits claim fall fame after waiting in the background for months.
American beautyberry fall purple fruits Central Texas Gardener
There’s lots of wonder (and peaceful thoughts) along the streams, ponds, and waterfalls. But I never expected to see a blooming crinum lily in the entrance waterfall and pond!
crinum lily at pond Wildflower Center Central Texas Gardener
Reservations are required for now, but it’s easy to do! Wonder awaits.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center entrance
Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda

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