Monday, September 1, 2008

Nifty Texas Natives

This year has been one of the hottest summers on record in Austin. My plants and trees have been baking all summer and the rain has been ever-so-scarce, but lucky me - I chose to plant my garden with natives and adapted plants that have weathered through the heat like champs. Check out some of the Texas natives in my garden:

The Golden Leadball tree. Funny name, awesome tree! I never ever water this one (too much water will do it in).It digs living in the rocky, limestone soil and gets these nifty yellow powderpuffs on it after it rains:

The seedpod:


Behind the Golden Leadball tree, I planted a Prairie Flameleaf Sumac. In the fall the leaves turn an outstanding red. I almost lost this tree in all the rain last year, but it recovered and took off like gangbusters this year. It is just loving the desert-type heat. It is currently covered in blooms that the bees adore:

I chose to plant a Sumac in my garden because it was one of the natives the developer stripped off the land when they put in our neighborhood and I wanted to put it right back. So I did. This tree can be a bit scruffy - I just trim it up the way I like it. The fall display and all the wildlife it attracts are really what this tree is all about. The people love the fall colors, the birds dig the berries, the bees and butterflies love the blossoms, and it is the larval host to the Red-banded hairstreak butterfly. How can you go wrong with this native? Sumac form:

Eve's Necklace. Another funny name, another nifty Central Texas tree. It is named after the drooping black seed clusters it forms. My tree has yet to flower, I think because I put it in the shade on the North side of the house. I really planted it for it's wonderful drooping form, so if it does start getting flowers one of these days, that will just be an added bonus! This is another one I never-ever water. It does just fine all on it's own:

Then there is the Anacacho orchid tree. I LOVE this tree. It never needs to be watered and it gets these fabulous white flowers on it in the spring and occasionally thereafter whenever it rains throughout the rest of the season. This one has just gotten huge and keeps on getting bigger. I planted it 5 years ago when we first moved in and it was only a twig. Look at it now:

Now on to other interesting things in my garden.

Here is the wild snapdragon vine I grew from seed. It is slowly snaking it's way up the Texas Mtn. Laurel:

The first Oxblood lilies poking up through the earth:

Patio tomato I put in the garden and NOT in a pot on the patio where it would surely have been seared to death by the afternoon sun. Look - tomatoes are setting after the rain last week! Whee-haw!!:

A big Ol' green butterfly on the Hot-lips salvia. I have no idea what kind of butterfly it is - it looks like a big sulpher butterfly, but it is green. Do they come in green?:

This hummingbird has claimed this feeder as hers. She chases away all the other hummingbirds, even if they just look at the feeder wrong. Good thing I have other feeders on other sides of the house:

Last but not least, lately, I have been finding holes dug up by the roots of my plants everywhere in my garden. This morning I caught the culprit trying to make an escape:

An armadillo. They move faster than you would think (Hey Mr. Armadillo! Stop running in circles so I can get your photo!):

Escaping across the neighbor's lawn:

It looks like he was in a tussle with a cat or something at some time in the past - his hindquarters look a bit mangled:


Pam/Digging said...

Great examples of the native trees growing in your garden, Lee. I like how you underplanted the Eve's necklace with silver ponyfoot. I have all these except Eve's necklace and golden leadball, and I've love to add the latter to my next garden. Do you find that it seeds out or not?

Lee17 said...


Thanks, I thought the silver ponyfoot looked pretty under the tree too ;) The Golden leadball tree doesn't seem to seed out too much. I will warn you that the deer and grasshoppers find this tree simply irrisistable! You will need to cover it with mesh until it is big enough to fend for itself. I almost lost mine when it was small because both of the above stripped it bare! I had to cage it for 2 years until it was bigger. They do grow really fast though, so don't get suckered into buying a big one unless you want to avoid caging it when it is small. Barton Springs Nursery will order you a big one upon request if you want to go that direction, however.

The tree is so pretty though, I find it was worth the effort of caging it.

Lancashire rose said...

You should be proud of your native planting and your "natives" I was thinking about a spot for an Anacacho but I'm having second thoughts. The one at the WFC has not grown as full and as lrage as yours in the last 10 years. I'm still searching for a very small tree. Methinks no such thing in texas.

Pam/Digging said...

Lee, I'll have a fenced yard at my next house that, according to the current owners, doesn't entice deer over the fence. Maybe a golden leadball would though!

Lancashire Rose, I was astonished by the size of Lee's orchid tree because mine is very narrow and airy by comparison (after 6 years). Perhaps that's due to my zealous pruning---necessary when one has a small garden and wants everything.

Lee17 said...

Lancashire rose,

Yeah, even the small trees get really big if you put them in full sun!!

Lee17 said...


Oh good! Your tree should be safe then ;)