Engelmannia peristenia, commonly referred to as Engelmann’s daisy or Cutleaf daisy, is one of the most impressive wildflowers in our garden at the moment. They can grow up to 3ft tall and their blooms are abundant and densely bundled together- a wildscape floral arrangement for all to enjoy. This native is great to plant on hillsides to limit soil erosion and all sorts of pollinators benefit from its nectar.

Yucca rupicola is the most common yucca in the Texas Hill Country. Rupicola means “lover of rocks,” which explains the rugged limestone terrain in which these beauties thrive. Common name, Twistleaf Yucca, describes their narrow, olive-green leaves that twist with age. And oh, their white flowers hang gracefully from a stalk, earning them another nickname: The Lamps of God.

Oenothera speciosa (Pink Evening Primrose or Pink Buttercups) have made their way to the Legacy Plaza block. Although not in the garden, they’ve found a cozy spot in our soon-to-be outdoor education classroom.

We are so excited for the next phase of this project. We will be growing the garden’s landscape and incorporating teaching areas on soil and water conservation, interactive play spaces for children to learn about prehistoric life, and a shaded ramada to rest under.

Next we highlight a lemon-yellow bloomer that adds color to lawns, pastures, and roadsides throughout the state. Pyrrhopappus multicaulis, Texas dandelion or false dandelion, is a wonderful native wildflower. They’re often mistaken for common dandelion because their feathery puffed seed heads look alike. However, Texas dandelion flowers arise on stems that are branched and have dabs of brown on their stamens, making them easy to tell apart.

A couple of Texas classics: Prickly Pear and Gaillardia pulchella, commonly known as Blankeflowers or Firewheels.

Hidden amongst the foliage of a Gray Golden-Aster, we found this White-lined Sphinx moth taking a little break. What a beauty!

The adults are primarily nocturnal, but can sometimes be spotted during the day. Their wings are relatively small compared to their plump bodies which requires them to rapidly beat their wings to stay in the air. Turns out, this makes them quite agile fliers. Because of this quality, they’re sometimes mistaken for hummingbirds when in flight. 

We’re OPEN like the blooms of this green milkweed, Asclepias viridis. Come spend some time in nature this week. Can you spot the camouflaged critter?

It looks like the organic aphid control from our Earth Day Ladybug Release is working out nicely. 

No sign of blooming Standing Cypress (Ipomopsis rubra) in our garden this year, so we ventured over to Goldthwaite Elementary School Butterfly Gardens to spend time with some.

The glorious firework-like blooms of American Basketflower, Centaurea americana.

We are thrilled to see that this patch of exposed soil, that was once void of all life, is now teaming with healthy soil bugs. All we had to do was cover it with leaf litter, bluebonnet seedpods, and a couple handfuls of cut grass and Voila! Now, the decomposers can recirculate nutrients and help aerate topsoil. The organic material left behind will hold in soil moisture and protect against the harsh Texas sun. With all these benefits, microbes will find their way back and the transformation from “dead earth” to thriving soil community is complete. A beautiful, organic wildscape garden begins with healthy soil.

Wild dill is encouraged to grow in our garden because it is a favorite of Black Swallowtail caterpillars. This past Monday, we spotted 8 hungry babies all over a patch of dill. Throughout the week we’ve enjoyed watching them grow. What plants do you leave in your garden to feed the bugs?