Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blooms on the hill

The big bloom news on the hill today: rain lilies! They are blooming exuberantly on roadsides and in fields, after receiving the first influx of rain this bloom season. This is the first good wildflower showing of 2011 in central Texas - and it's mid-May!

My daughter and I think we may have two kinds of rain lilies here - the Hill Country rain lily (Cooperia pedunculata) and the evening star rain lily (Cooperia drummondii). We are going to observe how long the blooms last to make a final determination. Both of these open in the evening a few days after a good rain, but one (the Hill Country) lasts one or two days, while the other lasts two to four days.

We all know the expression, "the grass is greener over the septic tank." Over our septic field, the wildflowers are running amok. We are supposed to keep this area neatly mowed, but mowing happens rarely down there. Today, it is a riot of Mexican hats (Ratibida columnifera - pictured at right), Texas thistle, and silver-leaf nightshade.

Only a few things are blooming in my beds, but that makes the ones that are all the more appreciated!

Gray santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus) is another plant that flourishes
here without supplemental water.

Black and blue salvia (Salvia guaranitica)
Rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) furled up
as if it is concealing a treasure.


  1. Interesting - I don't think we have rain lilies here. I love Mexican hats, though they don't grow for me. Rock rose, however, is one of my very favorites for the garden.

  2. @HG - Rock rose is one of my favorites, too; rain lilies are a lovely treat after rainfal.

  3. Dave's garden lists both rain lilies as the same species ( - but either way, its always fun to see 'em popping up everywhere after a rain. I collected some seeds and attempted to raise 'em - planted the seedlings out in the garden but think they want more sun than I can provide.

  4. Look forward to reading your findings about the rain lillies. I saw them all along Hunter Road today, lovely after so much dry.

    Your black and blue sage is gorgeous! And I can only wish for rock rose blooms. The deer usually eat they're eating down into the bushes. I hate drought.

  5. We have a little wild lily similar to the one you showed in North Carolina. It comes out in the spring. I have no scientific names as I always called it a wild lily (see how much imagination I have!)

    I will be curious of the outcome of your experiment.

  6. Your rain lily fills the same ecological niche as our March lilies - Amaryllis belladonna. Mine have faded, gone to seed, and now the little seedlings are coming up, before the flowering bulbs put out their belated leaves. And we share Santolina ;~)

  7. the bit about the septic tank...either way, those Ratiba are so lovely!

  8. @RBell - That's interesting. I usually use the Wildflower Research Center ( on wildflowers, which is where I got my info. They do seem to be essentially the same.

    @Kathleen - Deer haven't munched on rock rose here, but they did eat blooms off my purple coneflowers - urgh. I almost feel sorry for them - almost. See next blog post for my decision!

    @LH - wild lily sounds like the perfect name!

    @EE - How cool to have something in common when our gardens are so far apart. I need to look up your March lilies.

    @Scott - My bro-in-law told me the Mexican hats grow in disturbed areas, but we agreed we didn't care as they are so colorful! I guess every plant needs a little fertilizer . . .

  9. Love your black and blue salvia. Mine is pouting, but maybe it will give a show now that it's gotten some rain. For now, I'll be lifted by the photo of yours!

  10. @Lona - never thought of a plant as pouting, but that's a great characterization! I'm surprised about how slow a response to the rain I'm seeing - not much is blooming, yet.