What were you doing on the forth of July? Angie Brown, Secretary of AOGC,
and I were photographing native plants on my place for the web site. It
was about 1 PM, 95 degrees, and the only natives wilting was Angie and
me. The Texas native plants were blooming their hearts out. Take a look
Lantana (Lantana horrida
and L. camara) are two tough plants and bloom when the weather
gets hot. Horrida starts off with yellow blooms, then gradually
turn orange as they age. The leaves are slightly smaller and more
crinkled than L. camara, which is pink and yellow and is naturalized
in East Texas. They do great in medians or in large-scale landscapes.
Both get two to three feet tall, bloom until frost and die back
in the winter. Pruning is recommended each winter to keep them in
bounds, but wear gloves; they are prickly.
Prairie verbena (Verbena bipinnatifida)
is a low growing native, about six to twelve inches, and blooms
purple whenever it's above freezing. The only negative--it is not
a long lived perennial. It usually blooms only two years, however
reseeds easily. Great for rock gardens.
Esperanza (Tecoma stans angustatum)
sometimes called Yellow Bells, can reach six feet tall and has spectacular
2-5" yellow blooms that bloom from April to November. It is woody,
but a bit tender in our area, and usually dies back to the ground
each winter. I think an extra helping of mulch is in order for this
Flame acanthus (Anisacanthus
quadrifidus wrightii) produces spectacular pumpkin orange blooms
from summer to frost. It is a three to four foot tall shrub that
the hummingbirds and butterflies just love. It has no known disease
or insect problems and is a must for your garden.
Texas Betony-I've found little
written on this plant, only the plant stake that came with the one
I purchased. It's a low mat-forming plant that is covered in a profusion
of coral-red 10-12" flower spikes. The color matches perfectly with
our native red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) and that's where
I planted it. The plant stake recommended planting 30" apart; however,
I planted them closer, about 18" apart. I wanted a bit more color
and I got it.
Rockrose (Pavonia lasiopetala)
is a two-three foot shrub which dies back each winter. It's short-lived,
yet reseeds freely. The 2" pink flower opens each morning and closes
each afternoon. They will perform better with some afternoon shade.
All of the mentioned natives love sun, need well drained soil, normally
need water only from Mother Nature, and a little mulch doesn't hurt. Please
note that all natives must have supplemental water until they are established,
usually the first and/or second year.