The Garden’s Pollinator Pathway is a-buzz this month with bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators busy collecting nectar from blooming plants. To enjoy this whirl of activity in your own garden–and help support the overall health of our ecosystem–look to summer-blooming native plants.
Many plants flower in May and into June, but as the temperatures rise, the blooms fade away and then stop altogether. Not red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora.) This Texas native combines easy care and drought tolerance with reliable color all summer long. “It’s one of the most carefree plants you can find,” says Sr. Horticulturist Steve Huddleston.
Midwinter is a quiet time outside in the Garden, with most plants dormant until the days grow longer. But in the greenhouses devoted to the Garden’s Begonia Collection, excitement is growing as these remarkable plants get ready to bloom. Learn more about the incredible variety of begonias and get started growing your own.
In stories of wizards and witches, transfiguration is described as the magic of turning one object into another. With the wave of a wand, a magician can turn a teacup into a hedgehog, a rabbit into a hat, or a human into a cat. Here in the real world, transfiguration remains impossible—mostly. One plant species seems to have the magical ability to transform into a bewildering variety of forms and shapes. You may have enjoyed one of these forms for dinner last night. You may be growing another in your flowerbeds. Brassica oleracea isn’t magic, but it may be as close as we muggles can get.
November is the month to plant wildflower seeds, and this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. A little effort now can pay off with a glorious, pollinator-friendly display come spring. Texas is famous for its wildflowers, and some may volunteer themselves in your yard. But for best results, plan ahead.
Walk into any garden center or nursery in October and you will be greeted by rows of yellow, red, purple and orange chrysanthemums. Many people treat chrysanthemums, or more simply mums, as annuals. They buy them every year and throw them out when they stop blooming or at the first frost. In fact, mums are hardy perennials that will withstand our winters and summers and come back just as colorful year after year. The Garden loves mums, and special displays of these plants are on view now in the Fuller Garden and Japanese Garden. Learn more about how to grow your own mums for fall color as well as the history of this remarkable plant.
A sigh of relief can be heard across North Texas that the heat wave has broken. We know to expect more hot days in September, but with Labor Day behind us, cooler weather is just around the corner. That means it’s time to think about spring! No, we’re not crazy, and yes, we know it’s not yet autumn. But now is the time to plan for a gorgeous spring by planting bulbs.
Gardeners across North Texas can only look at their landscape and sigh as the heat wave refuses to break and rain refuses to fall. Plants that thrive most summers are withering and dying under the stress of week after week of 100-degree-plus temperatures. Gardeners struggle to balance watering enough to keep their plants alive with responsible behavior during a drought–and the prospect of budget-busting water bills. What to do? “The first step is to not give up,” says Sr. Horticulturist Steve Huddleston. “You do have options.”
Learn How to Stop the Spread of Invasive Plants through Smart Shopping and Native-Friendly Gardening
Readers of this newsletter are savvy and environmentally aware—most know that invasive plants threaten the environment and native plants support a healthy ecosystem. But it’s not always easy. You might go to your local garden center looking for a native plant like lantana, take it home and plant it in your garden. You’ve done a good thing, right? Maybe. Maybe not. How do you know that the variety of lantana you purchased is native lantana?
A fascinating shrub is currently in bloom in the Garden, one that Senior Horticulturist Steve Huddleston suggests North Texas gardeners should consider for their landscape: buttonbush. “This plant will dazzle you with its form, foliage and flowers,” says Huddleston. “And it thrives in locations that many plants find challenging.”