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Wild About Flowers and Habitat

In my garden, Texas bluegrass (Poa arachnifera) is going to seed after weeks of waving its feather duster blooms at me.
Texas bluegrass Poa flower head Central Texas Gardener
The one or two I picked up at the Wildflower Center sale a few years ago multiplied to texture up a semi-shady spot under a mountain laurel. Like sedges, Texas bluegrass takes a few years to really fill in.
Texas bluegrass Poa flower and false dayflower Central Texas Gardener
Yucca pallida’s flower stalk couldn’t stand up to all the attention it’s getting.
Yucca pallida flower Central Texas Gardener
Viewer David Fuller asked: can we move yuccas and should they be hardened off like cacti?
Yucca pallida BELO Central Texas Gardener
Daphne explains why we should harden off for a few days. “When you cut a succulent, it will ooze sap, which contains sugars. And those sugars are a very attractive food source for soil fungi and other microbes, so it needs to seal the wound before you return it to the soil.” Get her complete answer and why a new yucca may show up in that spot anyway.

Now that warm weather is confirmed, we’re doctoring up our containers. John takes hanging baskets to new heights with native plants.
native plant coconut fiber hanging plant Central Texas Gardener
To celebrate National Wildflower Week May 2 – 8, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center hosts daily activities all that week—even for the kiddoes! Click here for details and to download a cut & color coneflower mask, lesson plans for teachers, and activities for families.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Wildflower Week
Now, true or false? Native plants like Barbados cherry are so tough that you can plant and walk away.
Barbados cherry Central Texas Gardener
If you picked FALSE, you’re right on target. Just because a plant is native doesn’t mean we’re off the hook to water. Andrea DeLong-Amaya, director of horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, explains when to turn on the hose.
Tom Spencer and Andrea DeLong-Amaya Central Texas Gardener
Soil, of course, is a huge factor. One native plant that rots in heavy soils is globe or desert mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua).
apricot globe mallow Central Texas Gardener
Beloved by us for its silvery-green foliage and by pollinators for its cup-shaped flowers, Daphne reminds us that we shouldn’t overwater, especially when temperatures are cool or mild. Get all her tips on growing globe mallow, our Plant of the Week.
Globe mallow Central Texas Gardener
Our Viewer Pick comes from Allison Floyd of Harker Heights who found this cute green tree frog in her basil. Allison says that she doesn’t live near water, but frogs and toads seem to flock to her yard. Thanks to Marc Opperman from the Capital Area Master Naturalists for his ID!
tree frog Central Texas Gardener
On tour—the rainiest day in CTG’s history—we headed to Blanco last May to visit Sheryl-Smith Rodgers and James Hearn.
Sheryl Smith Rodgers James Hearn Central Texas Gardener
A week after the disastrous floods, the rain kept coming. Finally we moved the interview indoors. Ed, Mark and I scooted outside to shoot between drenches.
stone patio outdoor living Central Texas Gardener
Sheryl writes for Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine and I follow her incredible blog, Window on a Texas Wildscape, where she journals how she and James scrapped most of the lawn for dynamic wildlife habitat with native plants.
stone raised beds backyard habitat Central Texas Gardener
These two are energy in action! One scavenged rock load at a time, they carved a sanctuary for themselves and wildlife.
stock tank birdbath habitat backyard Central Texas Gardener
native plant habitat backyard Central Texas Gardener
native habitat backyard Central Texas Gardener
brick patio firepit Blanco Central Texas Gardener
brick patio firepat outdoor living Central Texas Gardener
In 2012, Texas Parks and Wildlife designated them a Wildlife Habitat Demonstration site.
Texas Wildscapes Demonstration Garden Central Texas Gardener
Sheryl grows her collection at native plant sales along with seeds, transplants and divisions from around her property. Berlandier’s trumpets climbs a trellis.
Berlandier's trumpet flower Central Texas Gardener
Plateau goldeneye
plateau goldeneye native plant Central Texas Gardener
Simpson’s rosinweed
Simpson's rosinweed Central Texas Gardener
In her blog, Sheryl documents how she rescued valuable native plants, including many species of milkweed, including antelope horn.
antelope horn milkweed Central Texas Gardener
Texas milkweed
Texas milkweed Central Texas Gardener
Purple milkweed vine
purple milkweed vine Central Texas Gardener
Pearl milkweed vine
pearl milkweed vine Central Texas Gardener
In 2008, they bought the vacant lot next door. When Sheryl recognized the valuable native plants in its seed bank, she nurtured them with timely mowing and invasive plant weeding.
wildflower pocket prairie Central Texas Gardener
And wow! She took on city hall to stop mowing on the easement to protect nectar and larval natives. To seal the deal, James signified it with a parks-style sign.
wildflower pocket meadow Sheryl Smith Rodgers James Hearn Central Texas Gardener
Hey, see the whole story now as they celebrate their 10th anniversary!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda

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