Inland sea oats, Chasmanthium latifolium, waving in the morning sun.

A sweet smelling scent welcomed us this morning as we followed the path into the garden’s amphitheater. Looking around, our eyes landed on a wispy Beebrush, Aloysia gratissima, whose simple white flowers are frequently visited by pollinators. We got closer to smell this fragrant shrub in the Vervain family, and oh, what a treat!

It’s the time of year to start embracing the crispy, fading vibrancy of our beloved spring superstars. Coming out of the lush green of spring, we want to hold onto the color and brilliance of new life. But no matter how hard we try, the sun’s harsh rays and extreme Texas temps will win every time.As we let go of what was, we begin to appreciate what is and summer is the season to enjoy beautiful native bunchgrasses. We love some for their blueish-green hues and others for the intricate texture of their seedheads. If you spend time with them on a windy day, you begin to hear their enchanting whispers; a song so sweet it feeds the soul.

Seed pods from Eve’s Necklace (Styphnolobium affine) are beginning to darken and we’re loving the blended colors.

You know it’s been a crazy, weird year when a bluebonnet decides to bloom in July.

Photo: Ella Ruth Morgan

There are so many winged things in the garden right now…

Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) is loving the afternoon showers. Although this hardy native is drought tolerant and stays green all summer long, she sure perks up with a little rain. Frogfruit’s versatility makes her the Queen of wildscape gardening and she has the flower crown to show it. Great for ground cover, cascading off rock walls, or in a pollinator garden- you can never go wrong with this wildlflower.

Yellow sun bursts of gray golden-aster blooms (Heterotheca canescens).

Monarda citriodora is a Powerhouse of a Purple Pollinator Plant! Its common name, Lemon Beebalm, points to one of the many pollinators that frequent this versatile wildflower. But the benefits don’t stop there. The presence of thymol in its leaves and flowers make this plant a great medicine against the flu. Thymol has strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties, so next time you feel a scratch in your throat, think about gargling with monarda tea. For a deeper dive, check out this great article.

Because of pollinators, our native fruit trees are bursting with delicious treats for all to enjoy. Mexican plums (Prunus mexicana) and Texas persimmons (Diospyros texana) are edible and make wonderful jams, baked goods, drinking vinegars and more. They are also an important food source for birds and other wildlife.

This little guy, a Hackberry Emperor (Asterocampa celtis), was drying off on some frogfruit blooms this morning. Named after the tree in which they lay their eggs, Hackberry is an important host plant for this butterfly’s offspring.

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is a fun native plant with explosive-white blooms. Their fragrant flowers attract all sorts of pollinators, like this Gray Hairstreak butterfly (Strymon melinus).

Photo: Graham Armitage

The male Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) is brilliantly colored, earning him the Spanish name “brasita de fuego” or “little coal of fire”. He will also make his presence known by puffing up his feathers and singing his tinkling flight song on repeat while fluttering high up in the air.

We recently re-built the wickiup with help from Salvage Shelters Tiny Homes. Thanks for your help!