Recently in wildflower center Category

Early Blooms at the Wildflower Center


"My heart found its home long ago in the beauty, mystery, order and disorder of the flowering earth." -- Lady Bird Johnson

Please enjoy these images of early spring blooms and wildlife at the Wildflower Center, along with some special quotes by Lady Bird herself. A week ago Friday, fellow blogger Carole Brown of Beautiful Wildlife Garden and Ecosystem Gardening joined me for a special tour given by our friend Kelley, who has volunteered at the WFC for many years. Thank you, Kelley. It was wonderful. And we followed up our visit with a delicious Tex-Mex lunch -- mmmmm.


Carolina Jessamine...


Black Swallowtail...

GSblackswallowtail03-17-11.jpgSpiderwort, with Agave...


"Though the word beautification makes the concept sound merely cosmetic, it involves much more: clean water, clean air, clean roadsides, safe waste disposal, and preservation of valued old landmarks as well as great parks and wilderness areas. To me... beautification means our total concern for the physical and human quality we pass on to our children and the future." -- Lady Bird Johnson

Red-Eared Slider...


Goldeneye Phlox...

GSphlox03-17-11.jpgGolden Groundsel...

GSgoldengroundsel03-17-11.jpgSkulls in a West Texas desert bed...


GSskulla03-17-11.jpgMexican Plum...


 Texas Bluebonnets, of course...



"We have impressive and valid reasons for using our native plants -- reasons of the soul and pocketbook." -- Lady Bird Johnson

Coral Honeysuckle, on a trellis I aim to copy...


The first winecup...

Possumhaw, still showing off its winter berries...


Plant sale preparation...

GSplantsale03-17-11.jpg Redbud...


"My special cause, the one that alerts my interest and quickens the pace of my life, is to preserve the wildflowers and native plants that define the regions of our land -- to encourage and promote their use in appropriate areas and thus help pass on to generation in waiting the quiet joys and satisfactions I have known since my childhood." -- Lady Bird Johnson


Lady Bird's message and purpose continues to touch my heart and soul. What a gift she has given us, with a call for us to do more.

Return of the Swamp Thing


A spontaneous pond cleaning turned me once again into the Creature from the Black Lagoon, or barring that, at least the Swamp Thing. Six hours spent mostly in a pond cleaning out winter sludge and muck, with the remaining time spent repotting water plants, turns one into a rather disgusting and smelly abomination. And no, once again, I did not take a picture.

It was time for a spring cleaning of the pond, that's for sure, but what really prompted it today was yesterday's trip to the Wildflower Center Plant Sale. I didn't quite get there at my normal early time, so I now know what it's like to be at the back of the line (note that everyone is admiring the bluebonnets off to the side of the path).


Not only that, but I had to park way off in a neighborhood close to the highway, so it was quite a trek with my little wagon. But this line is nothing compared to the one at check-out. I've never seen it go to the back of the sale area before (comparable to a full block or two distance), and the wait was so long -- I think for some it took close to an hour just to check out!

But I enjoyed myself, and I did get to visit with a couple of fellow Austin garden bloggers and other friends. I controlled myself and only took a wagonful home, and this time it included some pond plants -- hence my venture into sludge and slime! Had it not been dark by the time I got everything done, I might have taken a picture after all... but only of the pond, not of the Creature.

Happily six of our nine goldfish made it through the winter. I'll find out in the morning whether I managed to kill any of them with my massive pond cleaning.

And now it's time to go enjoy a margarita and help my back recover from my day in the swamp...

Back in the Garden


For many of my plants, this is their "creep" year, and for a few, it's their "leap" year.

fournerve04-03-10.jpgI'm counting on it, because so far this season I've had very little time to spend in my own garden -- it's all gone to the school habitat. My poor plants have been on their own for awhile now!

Some of the second-year plants aren't just blooming --they're by gosh BLOOOOMING. Gorgeously so. The four-nerves, seen above, are finally blooming with gusto. And my Salvia greggii in the front yard has really started to take off.


My crossvine has exploded in tubular flowers and buds-to-be. Really, I'm astonished everytime I look at it -- it hardly bloomed in the fall, and now you can barely see the leaves through all the blooms. This picture is from a few days ago, and the blooms are far greater in number now.

crossvine04-03-10.jpg And I sense that it will be another good wildlife year. My first official spring garden visitor captured with a camera is a new species to my yard, that I'm aware of. I believe this is a Juniper Hairstreak, a little tattered but enjoying its time on my Blackfoot Daisy.

juniper04-03-10.jpgLast weekend we did begin to attempt to tackle the Weed Jungle. It's so horrifying I can't bring myself to take a picture of it. On the plus side, though, it inspired me to make a pathway through it, and now it will be easier to know what is meant to be pathway and what is meant to be free-plant-zone. And I don't mean weeds!

And as it turns out, a Weed Jungle makes for pretty good places to hide Easter Eggs. Two positives! Think I'll be in such a good mood after we get back to work on the weeds this weekend?

Tomorrow's the Wildflower Plant sale, and I'm sure I'll once again overspend buying plants I haven't yet prepared beds for. On the other hand, that's pretty much how I garden, so I guess I can just smile and enjoy the process!

Fall Plant Sale at the Wildflower Center


We're very fortunate that Texas is home to the truly special Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and we Austinites are particularly thrilled that it's right here on the edge of our beautiful city. The center is dedicated to the conservation of native plant species across North America, providing an incredible online database of information about thousands of plants and giving visitors to the center a first-eye glimpse of the beauty of Texas plants. 

Throughout the gardens lovely sculptures and other art complement the natural beauty of the Texas flowers, shrubs, and trees.

wildflowerorga10-09-09.jpgSpectacular combinations of colors and textures bring unconscious serenity to the viewer. Here the majestic Goldenrod really stands out against the wispy seeds and grasses of Big Muhly.

  wildflowerorgb10-09-09.jpg All around the center are fantastic displays of plant diversity, with settings typical of our state: prairie, pond, woodland, meadow, and more. Even a few coastal plants are represented, minus the ocean and the sand.

wildflowerorge10-09-09.jpgIt was my husband's first time to the Wildflower Center, so we did a quick little walkaround, but there wasn't much time to take a thorough tour. There is so much more the center offers, from truly impressive rain collection systems to walking trails to green roof research to continuing education courses, and more.

 wildflowerorgd10-09-09.jpgBut twice a year, Texan gardeners get very excited about a special event that takes place at the Wildflower Center. The center hosts an outstanding native plant sale each fall and spring, and gardeners from all over the state converge to seek and buy plants they might not be able to get at any other time. I know that there are always plants I've never seen before, and it's hard not to get carried away with purchasing. People line up with their wagons and lists. 


Even the rainy day couldn't keep the buyers away, though fortunately the rain came the night before and in the morning, but not during the actual sale. The crowds were a little smaller than is typical of the opening day of the sale, but it might be chaotic this weekend instead.

Here you can see some of the plants set aside for the rest of the weekend, so that plants would be available throughout. You can still see the mini-lake left over from the heavy rains.

wildflowerorgh10-09-09.jpgUp near the front of the line, my husband and I chatted with our friendly line neighbors.

(I had great fun trying to figure out where to put the copyright on this image of my husband. He wouldn't let me plaster it right across his nose, though.) 

2mo10-09-09.jpgOf course, when the ribbon was cut and the sale actually opened, we all said something along the lines of "It was so very nice talking to you! Now stay away from my plants!" (And at this point I stopped taking pictures, because the mad rush to find all coveted plants began. In fact, if you couldn't tell from the images -- these are from my pocket camera instead of my regular camera. I had to make sure I wasn't overburdened when plants were at stake! Yes, at first it can seem like a frenzy, particularly for the rarer species. I didn't start taking pictures again until all our plants were chosen, and by then many buyers had already cleared out, so this crowd looks small compared to the earlier blockade of people all trying to get their carts through the aisles while collecting as many plants on their list that they could).    

wildflowerorgf10-09-09.jpg Now, this being Texas, even though there is definitely a mad rush at first, people really are friendly about it. And I think the biggest rush is for trees and shrubs, and perhaps some succulents and water plants. The perennials can go fast, but in general there are plenty available.

wildflowerorgg10-09-09.jpg I  should mention that two Native Plant Society groups and Native American Seed were also there as vendors, and I made sure to visit their tents.

My special purchases of the day were Rusty Blackhaw (there was definitely a crazed rush to find these, and even then, only very small plants were available; I consider myself very fortunate to be able to buy any) and Anacua, or Sandpaper Tree. I also got a gorgeous Anachacho Orchid, an Evergreen Sumac, and a few other smaller plants. I even got a Lizard's Tail plant for my pond. My husband was a trooper about it, despite the money being spent. But I'd been preparing him for several months that by gosh we were going to the Fall Plant Sale at the Wildflower Center, no matter what! :)


Meredith O'Reilly happily
gardens for wildlife in
Austin, TX. She enjoys
educating people of all ages
about native flora, fauna,
and healthy environments.

Nature Blog Network


Powered by Movable Type 4.21-en
OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID