Thursday, April 14, 2011

Survival of the fittest.

Pink or fragrant mimosa (Mimosa borealis) is one of my favorite shrubs, 
and grows in various places on our property.
What’s blooming today? Not much . . .

Our county is edging toward serious drought conditions – again. Here in Hays County we have two rainfall conditions: drought or flood. We have not had serious rainfall since January (when we had over 5 inches and it flooded), and we had no rain at all in March. According to local weathermen, this was the driest March on record - since 1895. Not only has there been no rain, but it has been warm and windy; the little moisture out there is rapidly wicking away. As a result, the wildflower crop is rather dismal.

Silver-leaf nightshade 
(Solanum elaeagnifolium). 
Apparently, this is a pest 
in some places, and is 
supposedly poisonous.

Antelope-horns (Asclepias asperula) is a funky milkweed,
named for its curving seed pods.
Last year we had a verdant wildflower meadow in the front yard. It was a beautiful riot of colors and forms. After the bloom season, it became a tangle of dried stalks as we waited for plants to drop seeds. My husband kept asking if we could mow. "Not yet," I said, over and over.

As with anything, a constant onslaught would numb us. The next time that beautiful meadow appears, we will be amazed and appreciative, as we were last year.

This year when I look out my window, I don’t see anything blooming in the yard, just scraggly grass and weeds, and a fair amount of bare dirt. Some stunted flowers are there, but you must be standing over them to see them.

Bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis)!
When blooms are few, however, the hardy species leap out. I feel I must stop and admire their beauty and stamina. These stalwarts are the very plants I need, because drought happens all too often here. I want these to survive and multiply. They are a physical manifestation of “survival of the fittest.”

So let's hear it for pink mimosa, antelope-horns, silver-leaf nightshade and a few determined bluebonnets! Hip, hip, hurrah!


  1. Yes, this is a brutal spring, and it's probably going to be a brutal summer. I found the nightshade and antelope-horns pictures interesting. I don't think I have ever seen these plants.

  2. Texas gardening - right? They are interesting. It's taken me awhile to come to appreciate the antelope-horns.

  3. I don't know. I really appreciate the more natural look and find some of these plants really cool. I just came back from a client that is putting in a meadow and I look forward to popping in after we get it going for some photos of the 'interesting' plants. Way more interesting than a marigold or geranium.

  4. Dittos. A visit to the Hill Country on Friday yielded us good BBQ, fresh strawberries, and a trip to the Nimitz museum. However, you could not have seen a wildflower with binoculars and a vivid imagination!

  5. Just to let you know - I'm posting my reading project today. Thanks again for joining in.

  6. Sympathies about the drought :-( We've just had a lengthy one too.
    A mimosa shrub, which is different to a mimosa tree, which is called a silk tree here, which has nothing to do with the shrub... gets confusing :-)

  7. @GWGT - you are exactly right - these plants are very cool. That's not to say I don't like marigolds and geraniums, too!

    @Anon - Sounds like a fruitful trip, even without wildflowers.

    @HG - i'll try to get mine up tomorrow. Been refinishing a door instead of blogging.

    @Mac - Thanks for the sympathies; very nice of you, as your droughts go on much longer than ours! We have mimosa trees, also, but not in this area. When I was growing up in north Texas, my neighbor had one in her yard.