It’s been a busy week for these bees now that Flameleaf Sumacs are in bloom! Rhus lanceolata suckers from their base to form thick colonies. So when the time comes for these sumacs to blooms, it’s a spectacular show.

Banded Hairstreak butterfly captured by Joy Hayes-Gates.

Cowpen daisies, Verbesina encelioides, greet our visitors with a bright hello. One of the first blooms you’ll spot upon entering our garden, this species grows best on disturbed soil. We can spot this beauty coloring large areas of hill country pastures and roadsides.

At the moment, we are sharing our cowpen daisies with several hundred border patch caterpillars, who utilize the leaves for their food source.

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 summ

er 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.

Pigeonberry is a great little native for shady spots and produces flowers and red berries through the fall. Its long lasting growth season is quite unique and makes this attractive groundcover a favorite amongst many Texas gardeners.

Standing cypress, Ipomopsis rubra, is a showy native wildflower. Its red, tubular blooms make it attractive to hummingbirds and other beneficial pollinators. 

What a perfect grouping of patriotic red, white and blue wildflowers we saw on July 4th.

Now you see me, now you don’t. This little lizard was so well camouflaged amongst the redbud’s branches, we almost missed him. He stayed frozen still as we snapped a picture then moved on to our garden duties. There is always something cool to discover when we slow down, open our senses and take in the fullness of the natural world around us.

The white pincushion flowers of buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, are unique and so fun to look it! Many pollinators (bees, butterflies and hummingbirds) benefit from these blooms and the seeds produced will feed over 25 species of birds and 3 mammals.

This incredible native has “exceptional wildlife benefits” as a food plant, wetland restoration and erosion control, according to the USDA. Because buttonbush loves water, it is often found near lakes, rivers & creeks.

Monarda citriodora is in her full glory this morning. 

Eastern Gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides) can grow 10 ft. tall.

According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database, this native perennial “is interesting primarily for its terminal inflorescences which have separate male and female flowers. Stigmas are purple; stamens orange.“

We love the way these little flowers dangle and dance on a windy day.

Winecups, Callirhoe involucrata, are such dainty little flowers that bloom from a sprawling evergreen vine-like stem. These wine-colored wildflowers are typically seen in the spring but we still have a couple in the gardens thanks to the cooler weather. We can prolong their growth season by cutting back pollinated blooms. However, once the entire plant dies back in late summer, it’s good to trim it to encourage new growth in fall.

We love this time of year when the garden is full of sunflowers.

Ella Ruth Clary Morgan

These antelope horn milkweed seeds will create the most beautiful flowers (and leaves) for future monarch caterpillars to enjoy.