The Beesness

The butterflies have been a bit slow on the uptake this year, but there are a lot of bees about. Including the beautiful “green ones” that you can see in both the pictures below. My best “wikipedia” guess is they are members of the genus Agapostemon —unfortunately I didn’t look closely enough to use this really cool key to species.

Green bee on the first flowering winecup of the year

Green bee on the first flowering winecup of the year

Bee Battle on the globe mallow

Bee Battle on the globe mallow

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Who’s blooming?

Although the snow didn’t help out the trees any, and we are about a month behind last year’s blooming times, a few things are popping up.  Texas yellowstar (Lindheimera texana), cutleaf daisy (Engelmannia peristenia), and happily the evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa)

Texas Yellowstar

Texas Yellowstar

Even though the seed mix was planted in spring 2011, this is the first year the cut leaf daisies have appeared. They are now popping up all over the place which is great as they are perennials, and mound nicely. This is the first brave flowerer, looking a little subpar as it withstood the snow and another recent frost

Even though the seed mix was planted in spring 2011, this is the first year the cut leaf daisies have appeared. They are now popping up all over the place which is great as they are perennials, and mound nicely. This is the first brave flowerer, looking a little subpar as it withstood the snow and another recent frost

Evening Primrose in bloom

Evening Primrose in bloom

Meanwhile, the front “triangle” is awash with globe mallow, blue flax, and my mystery yellow flowering bush.

Globe mallows going mad in the triangle in the front of the house. The mesquite behind is yet to leaf out.

Globe mallows going mad in the triangle in the front of the house. The mesquite behind is yet to leaf out.

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The front triangle was seeded with Western Wonder's Western Wildflower Mix (which used to be the Llano Estacado mix).

The front triangle was seeded with Western Wonder’s Western Wildflower Mix (which used to be the Llano Estacado mix).

I'm really into these native globe mallows -- the bees go mad for them, they produce millions of seeds, and they also transplant well. I'm planning to collect and germinate seeds for transplant so I can get some more into the backyard.

I’m really into these native globe mallows — the bees go mad for them, they produce millions of seeds, and they also transplant well. I’m planning to collect and germinate seeds for transplant so I can get some more into the backyard.

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And then it snowed

So spring sprang, and then we had snow about a week later, which was very annoying as it knocked back a lot of the transplanted trees early efforts. Here is a rather imperfect panorama, of course it was all melted by mid-day and we were back in the 90s a couple of days later.

April Showers - Lubbock style

April Showers – Lubbock style

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Spring has Sprung

Happily things are just starting to flower, and its a been a nice day to see how things are progressing in the Native Yard. It looks like many of the perennials have over-wintered well and are coming back in force (large mounds), but I think it will be a month or so before everything is flowering. Meanwhile, some photos of whats going on today….

Yard April 2013 from SW side looking SE web

Yard April 2013 SE half - bunch grasses starting to green up

Yard April 2013  Top – from SW corner looking east, bottom SE half. Things are starting to green up

Blue Flax (3).web

The blue flax are just starting to flower

The blue flax are just starting to flower

The blue flax — Linum lewisii are doing well. Although they are a perennial, they seem to be quite good as seeding themselves as they are popping up “unplanted” in the SE half of the yard.  And another perennial, the Prairie verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida) seems to have expanded its holding a little since last year.

Prairie verbena

Prairie verbena

Although I spend a good amount of time doing battle with the annual weed Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) – a fairly pointless activity it has to be said – it is much appreciated by the White-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata). There were at least 3-4 of these guys zipping around the yard this morning; apparently evening primrose (which we are not lacking in) is a food plant for the caterpillar, which make explain their abundance.

White-lined Sphinx Moth 2013 web

White-lined Sphinx Moth 2013

Spot the wings!

Spot the wings! Making the most of the henbit

The native honeysuckle that I bought from Canyon’s Edge last spring (note that they are open for sales from April 12th through end of May), has been going great guns, ad I had to connect up the climbing string between the two plants.

Lonicera sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens

Honeysuckle in flower!

Honeysuckle in flower!

Tigga's cheapo trellis -- string and nails! Hoping to encourage the two plants to fill in the gap

Tigga’s cheapo trellis — string and nails! Hoping to encourage the two plants to fill in the gap

 

 

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Things are looking a bit “crisp”

Back in Lubbock after a month of travels in SE Asia, and things are looking a little browned out and crispy in the yard. Most of the flowers are over for now (although I hope that we will get another blooming session as we cool down a bit in the fall), but the grasses are doing quite well. Unfortunately, I managed to leave my camera in Cambodia (doh), so no pics for a bit. We are now keeping our fingers crossed that all the nice grasses will attract back the family of painted buntings that spent all last August with us in 2012

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Wallace and the Native Garden

As some of you may know already, we inadvertently acquired a puppy on Sunday – came back from pottering around the local garden centers and nurseries to find him in the back yard. We are trying to find a place for him as we can’t keep him as I am horribly allergic to dogs.

It turns out that puppies  and native gardens are a sub-optimal mix, so while he may look all very cute he has been eating my plants (he is particularly fond of black-eyed daisies, which are very glabrous and itchy, so I don’t quite get the attraction). Dude, you are a carnivore, eat your puppy chow and leave my bloody plants alone. 

One of many non-native species in the Native Garden. 

I’m graciously not going to mention all the squashed-grass puppy nests he is leaving – its like mountain gorilla sign.

If anyone in the Lubbock area is looking to control their black-eyed daisy population and would like to give Wallace here a home, do get in touch.

 

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Standing Cypress

Standing cypress (Ipomopsis rubra) just started to bloom this week. These are biennials, and germinated from the Native Trail Mix. Known to attract butterflies and hummingbirds as you can imagine. This particular plant is taller than me! There are several more just starting to flower, and others still in the growing phase.

Standing Cypress adds a lovely splash of red to the yard.

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