|'Blue Bird' rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)|
|Hibiscus moscheutos 'Luna Pink Swirl'|
|Native rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)|
|This might just look like a hot mess, but it's actually hundreds of daikon seeds ripening on some of my biggest roots. The pods themselves are edible when green and younger, but now I think they're probably only good for seed-saving.|
|Cowpeas looking good so far!|
|Grow strong, little hibiscus!|
|The bumblebees fly up into the partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) flowers and then vibrate with a high-pitched buzz... presumably to harvest the pollen? It's fun to observe!|
|Pollination results in the formation of these long seedpods. When the pods ripen, they turn a dark reddish color and split open to release their seeds, some of which will ideally sprout to create next year's partridge peas.|
|I scattered ~ 130 seeds outdoors in autumn 2015 from Kansas Native Plants. Last spring, I only had a few plants germinate, but this year I have dozens of plants. I harvested some of the seeds to scatter around the garden and let other seeds fall naturally to the ground beneath the plant. Some seedlings have sprouted in the lawn too, but they don't seem to flower (so far) with regular mowing and are easy to pull, so I'm not too worried about this plant becoming a lawn weed.|
|Partridge pea is native to Tennessee and throughout much of the rest of the Central and Eastern U.S.|
The only place I've seen it growing wild (and it might actually have been planted there) was alongside a parking lot in a South Florida nature preserve.
These plants are growing in full sun on unamended, compacted clay soil with very little supplemental irrigation. (I think I've watered them by hose a few times so far this year.) As you can see, they appear to be thriving.
|The goldfinches have feasted on these seeds.|
|Sunflowers are cheerful bee magnets.|
|All of the sunflowers in this post are volunteers from seeds the birds missed last year.|
As you can see from the photos above, some of their blooms have already faded to the seed stage, but other buds have still not opened yet.
To keep the party going longer, I added some 'Velvet Queen' sunflowers from Southern Exposure.
Those are still in the seedling stage, but they are growing fast and strong!
|Oak leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) panicle fading to pink|
|Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan), first time growing this native wildflower|
|Super impressed with the ability of daikon radish (Raphanus sativus) to form substantial roots on my solid clay soil. Many of the daikons are bolting now - making surprisingly beautiful lavender flower spikes that attract pollinators. Pollinated flowers then turn into edible seed pods!|
|In my continuing search for native groundcover candidates, I think golden groundsel (Packera obovata) is a keeper. This beauty is evergreen in winter and had pretty yellow flower spikes earlier in the season.|
|In my experience, Agastache foeniculum (anise hyssop) is one of the best perennials for attracting both pollinators (to the flowers) and birds (for the seeds). It's a beautiful plant to boot and self-sows moderately to provide a nice amount of new seedlings over time. It can look a bit tired in the heat of summer and I haven't tried growing it in all-day blazing sun, but overall it does amazingly well here in shade or partial sun (either morning or afternoon), especially considering this plant is native to Canada and the northern Plains (Montana to Wisconsin)!|
|After some pruning, Carefree Beauty rose is blooming again.|
|Epimedium x perralchicum 'Frohnleiten' has bounced back and looks great as usual. Here it is nestled alongside a 'Chicago Lustre' arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) and a boxwood.|
|It's hard to see this wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) against the mulch right? That's because this tiny mail order plant never leafed out.|
|Here's the mail order wax myrtle that did leaf out. This one had some dead branches too, and many of the existing leaves were not in good shape, but it's pushing new growth and I think it will eventually recover and hopefully become a nice shrub in a couple of years! (That's called "optimism.") 😉|
|This 3-gallon wax myrtle that I bought in-person at Huntsville's Bennett Nurseries cost about 2.5-times as much as the mail order twigs. (That doesn't include shipping costs on the mail order plants, but then you have to figure time and gasoline to drive 200+ miles roundtrip to Huntsville. Of course, I didn't go to Huntsville just for the wax myrtle. I did visit the botanical garden while I was there and also bought some other plants.)|
|Don't get too excited. This is not the spring beauty you've been looking for.|
|Cupressus arizona (Arizona cypress), not in its natural habitat|
|Ain't looking much like a sapphire...|