The late winter and early spring bulbs have bloomed and their foliage is busy storing energy from the sun for next year's bloom. They have been followed by an array of bulbs, perennials, annuals and flowering shrubs. The flowers shown in this collage are the ones having the biggest impact currently in my garden. Clockwise from the upper left corner: 1) "Apple Blossom" amaryllis, 2) yellow columbine, 3) Texas bluebonnets, 4) winecup, 5) autumn sage, 6) white Indian hawthorn and weigela shrubs with a weigela flower cluster inset, 7) dianthus and 8) vinicolor Louisiana iris.
Amazingly my Apple Blossom amaryllis has decided to become a perennial for me in my zone 8 garden. I expect this in zone 9 but continue to be pleasantly surprised at the return and increase in size of this tender bulb. The long spurs on my yellow columbine are eye catching. This is a great shade and drought tolerant plant. The red eyes on the bluebonnets pictured here mean they have already been pollinated. These plants come back from seed from the original plants that came from a piece of property I used to own. This winecup is a low growing and very floriferous variety and is also very drought tolerant. Autumn sage puts out a big flush of flowers mid to late spring and again in the fall. It will also bloom sporadically during the summer. This is an excellent drought tolerant shrub. Indian hawthorn (I also have a pink variety that is blooming well.) and weigela are also good choices for spring flowering shrubs. My dianthus think they are evergreen perennials that need to bloom on and off much of the year. I don't plan to dissuade them. This lovely purple iris came from a friend's garden. It has grown extra tall with our wetter than normal spring.
While I do tuck in some annuals here and there because they often have longer bloom times than perennials, I really like having rotating color spots throughout the garden by planting native and adapted perennials with different blooming periods. I hope this collage provides some ideas and inspiration for your garden.
Update: I was out this morning and realized I totally forgot to include a couple of native TX wildflowers that I have in my gardens, spiderwort and prairie phlox. Native spiderwort expresses itself in a variety of colors including hot pink, sky blue, purple and many variations on the blue/purple continuum. Both plants are very drought tolerant.