Company’s Coming!

I had lots of company last Sunday. They zoomed around faster than my speeding pruners as whack-back 2021 carried on. I finally dropped the gloves for the camera just in time to catch a metallic sweat bee nuzzling native wildflower baby blue eyes.
Metallic sweat bee on native annual wildflower baby blue eyes Central Texas Gardener
One spring in a shady spot at Zilker Botanical Garden, I fell in love with baby blue eyes, hugging the ground with soft blue blossoms against sunshine yellow columbines. So, I did it! This spot in my garden gets morning sun only, but this picture is from my archives. Since then, the columbines have disappeared, as they sometimes do.
Columbine and native annual wildflower baby blue eyes part shade garden Central Texas Gardener
A friend got me started with baby blue eyes years ago with transplants she divided from her brood. These native annuals (Nemophila menziesii) generously self-seed, forming rosettes in late fall. March signals bloom time. These seeded near evergreen oregano.
native baby blue eyes spring wildflower with oregano Austin garden Central Texas Gardener
Many wildflowers want as much sun as they can get, but baby blue eyes tucks into part shade to part sun spots. For a few years, they colonized around native golden groundsel (Packera obovata), squid agave (Agave braceteosa), and ‘Orange Crush’ daylily.
Native annual wildflower baby blue eyes perennial golden groundsel Agave bracteosa daylily 'Orange Crush' Central Texas Gardener
Bee on baby blue eyes native wildflower with golden groundsel Central Texas Gardener
For some reason, they’ve ducked out of that bed (for now). Evergreen, perennial golden groundsel now dominates all year. A fiery skipper butterfly joined the feeding frenzy this week.
Fiery skipper butterfly on native perennial spring blooming golden groundsel Central Texas Gardener
Tiny pollinators dodged all around. I can’t say for sure, but this may be a black hoverfly, a garden friend you want to attract. Its larvae prey on aphids, scale, thrips, and caterpillars.
small pollinator maybe black hoverfly on native golden groundsel Packera obovata Central Texas Gardener
There are many native spiderworts, but we’ve got Tradescantia gigantea. Since they cross pollinate and seed to compatible locations, it’s always fun to see what colors pop up in new spots. This year, I lucked into a dreamy duo of magenta-hued against groundsel’s golden.
native spiderwort Tradescantia gigantea flower with native golden groundsel Central Texas Gardener
For years, they’ve populated our part shade spots since we rescued a handful from razing. Easily divided, I plunked a few under this tree where they’ve multiplied to join pink oxalis. It’s a combo perfect for bee-friendly fast-food orders.
Native spiderwort oxalis and Mexican feather grass in part shade under tree Central Texas Gardener
This one tucked against Mexican feather grass that got its spring clip last weekend.
Native spiderwort Tradescantia gigantea with Mexican feather grass part shade Austin garden Central Texas Gardener
Most of my plants have made it back, though some are slow to return, awaiting warmer weather. Already, annual sunflowers (spread by the birds) are up in my garden and at Este Garden @este.gardenatx, the renewed gardens at the former East Side Café gardens (more about them soon). At Este, they’ll help shade the newly planted tomatoes this summer.
Sunflower seedlings near young tomato plants Este Garden Austin Texas Central Texas Gardener
So, it was a kick to note that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has honored sunflowers as their first Wildflower of the Year!
Carder bee on sunflower
There are more than 80 native species that include the common annual and perennial fall standout, Maximilian sunflower.
Maximilian sunflower Wildflower Center Central Texas Gardener
Find native plants of all kinds at the Wildflower Center’s Spring Plant Sale—once again with extended days.

Friday – Sunday: April 2 – May 30
Members Only: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Open to All: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Reservations and masks required

Next week, environmental designer John Hart Asher suggests native clumping grasses to add to your list. See you then, and thanks for stopping by! Linda