Re: [gardeners] Wildflowers

Liz Albrook (
Sun, 19 Apr 1998 22:48:27 +0000 <> wrote:

> Not being a born-and-bred Texan, all my efforts at planting 
> bluebonnets were fruitless, but as my NG companion IS a third 
> generation Texan; we encouraged him to plant the seed, he did, and
> we now have two great patches in full flower.

So help me, I am not going to drive down Double Entendre Lane at this 

 Each year, mowing is
> not permitted until the seed pods have turned brown, split, and
> "thrown" their seed. Give us three or four more years and we will
> have most of the "cultivated" half of our five acres covered in
> bluebonnets. The other wildflowers we have are mostly planted by
> birds -- we still haven't any Indian paintbrush, but there are
> winecups, mealy blue sage, rain lilies, Mexican primroses, and all
> manner of unidentified tiny things that bloom. And in a month or so,
> there will be standing cypress and Maximillian sunflowers. And more
> DYC's.

ARGH!  I have wildflowers in my lawn, too.  My front yard is a sea of 
DD which may be Lady Bird's DYCs.  With all those wildflowers why 
would the Texas Hill Country need two Southern Ladies to start a 
business that utilized three 100' greenhouses?  I'd say you are 
blessed already.

> So don't let anybody tell you that flowers won't grow out of rocks,
> or that Texas is all sagebrush and cactii. As a matter of fact,I
> can't grow a sage to save my life, and our only cactii are in the
> house -- except prickly pear, and we keep a bit of that around to
> provide napolitos and for the blooms -- which can be spectacular.

What kind of sage can't you grow?  If it's sagebrush, the trick to 
getting it to grow is to walk on it or, better, run a car over it 
about once a month.  That makes it mad.  Complacent sagebrush dies at 
the drop of a Stetson.  As for cactus, I was just discussing that 
very thing with one of your relations.  There are some beautiful 
cacti that should grow quite well as specimen plantings even with 
the rain you get.  If they'll grow in Maryland they should surely 
grow in the hill country.

Have you tried any of the ornamental wheats or barley?  It grows in 
about a foot of alkaline soil over bedrock all over the Palouse in 
eastern Washington.  I get misty eyed at the site of barley in the 
fall as it waves in the wind like spun gold.  There are some terrific 
wheats available -- somewhere I've seen a black one.

> About those sage. Maybe what I need to do is have my native-born
> Texan plant a few!  Pat

What is a winecup?  Is that anything like a Pasqueflower?  I've never 
heard of a standing cypress -- can you tell me about it?  Not meaning 
to sound dimwitted but do most of the native wildflowers in your area 
have taproots or particularly long roots?  That is something that is 
true of native (and naturalized) wildflowers here.

Since I'm asking lots of questions -- how much rainfall do you get 
per year?  We tend to run about 10 inches of rain annually but are 
lucky enough to have cheap irrigation water.  Without that irrigation 
water I'd have an entirely different style of garden.  Where you are 
located I'd guess that water is a critical concern for your garden.