Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


This mature Datura (Datura wrightii/Sacred thorn-apple) planted close to our front door has been showing off this summer, demonstrating why it is allowed to dominate the area where it grows.
For several weeks it had been developing a record number of buds, each one reminding me a bit of okra pods.  We watched the pods get larger, and eventually a few began to unfurl each day.  Then, record numbers of the pods matured at once, and for two evenings in a row this one plant has treated us to an even dozen blossoms, all opening at one time.
Previously I'd tried in vain to appreciate the widely reported fragrance of the blossoms. Now I can smell them!
The bees have been taking advantage of the fact these blooms, shaded by the house, aren't exposed to direct light until the sun is high in the sky.
The flowers stay open all morning and drew the bees in droves earlier today.
I spotted multiple types, European honeybees and native bees alike.
We were all happy-happy.
Datura is a native, and the speed with which the one-day-and-done flowers draw pollinators in is testimony to a long-standing and well evolved relationship.  I've not had luck starting these plants from seed, but nursery stock is readily available year 'round, with spring planting recommended for more reliable success.

I have two smaller Datura plants out closer to the street, but they aren't the beneficiaries of extra hand watering and have only been in place for a season or two.
Exposed to harsh afternoon sun, my baby Datura haven't yet bloomed, but I'm confident if they make it through the winter yet to come, and become better established, they'll be sharing spectacularly sized white flowers all their own with passers by (and bees!) for years.
Datura wrightii.  Well worth the wait.

Wildlife Wednedays