June 29, 2022
Curb Appeal for Wildlife
On a Saturday errand run, I detoured my agenda when I spotted this eye-popping crowd at an intersection. Under an anchoring Lacey oak, bees speeded to native rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) and fiery Pride of Barbados. Cooling silvery native cenizo (Texas sage) promises blooms in humidity.
Strappy native sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri) contrasts shrubby rock rose. There are no deer in this neighborhood, but everything is deer resistant to some degree.
Sun-loving rock rose can bloom from spring to frost. Prune to shape in late winter. Lightly clip back when flowers are spent to encourage bushier growth and more flowers. It gladly reseeds for you, too, even in the most inhospitable spots. I have some that landed far from the water hose, but a little extra irrigation certainly improves their vigor.
Even though street-reflected heat accelerates summer’s beating, native Texas frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) covers the ground to attract tiny butterflies and native bees to flowers the size of pencil erasers. As I know in my garden, it withstands drought and flooding. Pink skullcap and a yucca (possibly ‘Color Guard’) companion this section.
Firebush (Hamelia patens), a native shrub sure to bring hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees your way, goes dormant in winter after flowering for months, even when the pavement melts shoe soles. Peeking in, bat-faced cuphea (Cuphea llavea), a perennial sub-shrub native to Mexico, nourishes the same crowd.
Hummingbirds and butterflies always welcome native esperanza (Tecoma stans), including this orange hybrid. It freezes down in winter, but generally returns, especially when established.
On the home front, I got a fun surprise Sunday morning! From the kitchen window, I spotted a flutter of activity in the planter of Numax ‘Twilight’ peppers. An adolescent mockingbird was plucking those hot peppers as fast as he could. There’s more coming every day, so I hope he’ll be back.
Need an energy/inspiration boost? Check out Leah Churner and Colleen Dieter’s engaging podcast, The Horticulturati, for design ideas and philosophies as they take us along on their paths of horticultural discovery. Recently, they visited with John Hart Asher, CTG’s host, about how to create a pocket prairie. They go far beyond that, though, with fun, insightful and downright surprising revelations. Listen here.
From the CTG archives, watch Leah and Colleen’s tips for saving seeds.
Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda