Even with the extreme heat and drought of this past summer, the few fall rains that we have had are bringing out some welcome color via some Texas native wildflowers in my back pasture. Many native Texas wildflowers are even suited for the home garden where they require much less care than most nonnative nursery plants. I have several currently in bloom in my gardens including this native lantana.
To help bring awareness of the many benefits of native plants, the Texas legislature passed and the Governor signed a bill into law in 2009 designating the third week of October as Texas Native Plant Week. This year it is October 16-22. Now is one of the best times of the year to establish a native plant garden or meadow. Texas Parks and Wildlife has what sounds like a very comprehensive and very reasonably priced resource to help you start your own native plant area. I was so impressed with the description that I have just ordered the DVD to add to my gardening library.
Some Texas natives even managed to bloom unattended during this past long, hot summer. On a trip this past August, I was surprised to see a field of purple just off the highway. We were still in our 100 degree plus streak and I just had to go back and see what could be holding up so well. It was not a mirage, it was a field of Texas bluebells. They were gorgeous!
If you get a chance, how about giving a Texas native plant a try in your home garden to celebrate Texas Native Plant Week? Nurseries are getting better at stocking native plants and some even specialize in them. Two examples from my garden that I dug, with permission, from pastures and brought home to my garden are the liatris and big bluestem as seen in my Texas Stars photo album. (Note: Not all of the plants in this resource are natives, some are just adapted to our climate.) Another great resource for native plant information (and purchases at their native plant sales) is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. GO NATIVE (plants that is).