American Basket Flower gets a visitor

Danny and I were sitting on the porch after a hard day’s planting (for me anyway, bit of a spectator sport for Danny), when I was very gratified to see this Lubbock visitor flit around the yard and finally settle on one of the Basket Flowers.

Monarch butterfly on American Basket Flower

Not the best photo as it was across the yard, but I was happy ūüôā ¬†Brings my 2012 butterfly and moth species list to 8, although there are some I’m still trying to identify from my blurry photos.

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Goodies from Canyon’s Edge

I came back with some plants from Canyon’s Edge as you can see below. They are all rather wee, so lets hope most of them make it once they are planted out.

The Canyon’s Edge Haul ūüôā

Pretty much everything is found on the Panhandle, aside from the coral honeysuckle. The haul comprised: Antelope horns (Asclepias asperula) Рpretty small and not sure of their chances of survival, but worth a go; Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata); Toothed Sundrops (Calylophus serrulatus) РI got a lovely mature plant at LBJ in April and it is a delight (although the newbies are quite a bit smaller!):

Calylophus serrulatus

Also pretty tiny are the Winterfat (Ceratoides lanata ¬†aka Krascheninnikovia lanata) – you need males around for the females to flower so got three and have to hope for the best. I’ve ¬†been obsessing over Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus¬†var argenteus) for a while (all part of my fixation with shrubs and trees that will work up here), and picked up a couple of juveniles (seedlings? – not sure what the cut-off is for being a seedling – have to stick with vertebrate terminology with appologies), which I transferred to a 1 gallon pot as they probably need another year before I let them loose in the yard.¬†¬†Also got a couple of Rubber Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus graveolens aka¬†Ericameria nauseosa ssp. nauseosa var. glabrata (not even trying to keep up with plant nomenclature)),¬†Illinois Bundleflower (Desmanthus illinoisis), Bush Morning Glory (Ipomea leptophylla), some more gayfeather¬† (Liatris punctata), more Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) — one of the ones from last year is looking very crusty (i.e. more or less dead), Missouri Evening Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa missouri), Shell Leaf Penstemon (Penstemon grandiflorus), and some Prairie Zinnia¬†(Zinnia grandiflora).¬†

Needless to say, I had a busy time planting them all out. So far, so good, just one obvious casualty (a chocolate flower that I planted when it was too hot).

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Plant Shopping

Tomorrow I am heading up to Canyon with Danny and Nancy to go to Canyon’s Edge Plants¬†to see what additional plants I can find for the yard. What is cool about this place is that have Panhandle natives. For those not familiar with this area, the High Plains of the Texas Panhandle (Llano Estacado) is fairly inhospitable — cold winters (for TX), hot summers, low rainfall (semi-arid), and high winds. So the true Panhandle natives are pretty tough. I have downloaded their spring sale list and have some things on my “wish list” that I hope they still have in stock. I will report back on that next week.

Back in April, Danny and I hired a big white van to go down to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center  Spring Sale, where I did very well rounding up things on my list (more on how the newbie transplants are doing another time) and then filled up the rest of the van with vegan products and decent beer as they are in limited supply here in Lovely Lubbock. Anyway, I love the LBJ Wildflower Center, and amusingly Danny and I were treated as heroes for coming all the way down from Lubbock. The wildflowers along the way (especially on TX-71) were absolutely stunning, so it would have been worth the trip anyway.

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American Basket Flower

Centaurea americana

I’ve been keeping a date record of when things are starting to bloom (i.e. I have a spreadsheet), and today is the first official day of the American Basket Flower (Centaurea americana), just beginning to bloom. I’ve been wondering what these mysterious thistly things were, and I only had one flower last year and it was all of about 5 inches tall.¬† This year’s crop are 1-2 feet tall.¬† Some good links here and here. The seeds were planted in the spring of 2011 as part of the Native Trail Mix from Native American Seed.¬† Lots of species are blooming right now – so far this year I’ve recorded at least 19 native flowers.

American Basket Flower (Centurea americana) – blooming day one.

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Going Native in Lubbock, TX

Greetings

In this blog I will be detailing my efforts to convert my fairly standard backyard in Lubbock, TX into one dominated by native plant species. I actually started almost 18 months ago, so my chronological reporting will be interspersed with “flashbacks” and relevant side topics.

Tigga

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