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.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Candle or Mirror?

Edith Wharton wrote: "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.".

I'd meant all along to post about Native Plant Week (October 19-25, 2014) but when I first noticed it was coming up, it was early September and honestly, there was too much work to be done in the garden beds themselves before it would be proper to stop and write about anything on the garden blog.
Mockingbird sitting guard over Beautyberry bush berries (Callicarpa americana)
One chore led to another, you know how that goes, and suddenly, here it is Native Plant Week observed, and I found myself unprepared to celebrate much beyond raising a cup of coffee to the native plants already established in our spaces.
Horace's Duskywing Skipper Butterfly on Augusta Duelberg White Mealy Sage (Salvia farinacea)
"OK", I thought to myself, "I can at least organize something to post and raise awareness a little.".  And right as I was thinking that, THIS popped into my inbox.  Tina of My Gardener Says had already written a lovely (and comprehensive) meditation on why it is not only important but deeply rewarding on every level to use native plants in the landscape.
Mockingbird eating berries off Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria)
I've written some recently (posts here, here, and here) about taking out non-native plants that have dominated certain sunny spots in my spaces to be replaced with natives that better support local and migratory wildlife. I don't really have anything significant to add today, so I'm going the "what SHE said" route.  When it comes to reading about the joys of native plant gardening, Tina's post truly says it all.  If you haven't yet, do drop in and read what she has to say, and then I'm going to challenge you to take it a couple of steps further.
Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood tree) 
Go outside and identify at least two native plants you have in play at your own place. (HINT: the native plants are typically the ones drawing in the most bees, butterflies and other wildlife.)  The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center's plant finder is a great resource to help you with names and other helpful information.
A mini-grove of Pavonia lasiopetala (Rock rose) coming right up!
Now, make plans to introduce more. You won't be sorry!

Happy Native Plant Week all!  Here's hoping if you aren't already enjoying the additional benefits of going native, that this will be the week that changes all that.  


Tina said...

Well, dear, thanks for the link! It's always good to get the word out, though as many routes as possible. I like your challenges--to identify at least two natives and to add more. Wouldn't it be just so wonderful if more home and commercial landscapes hosed native plants, as least tw0, in their gardens. Wouldn't Lady Bird be proud? Those photos of yours--love'm!

TexasDeb said...

Tina: Thank you, ma'am. I like how frank you are about a central reason to use native plants: laziness. Once I get native plants established in an area I also get much more interesting and beautiful surroundings without much maintenance or bother. Not to mention the wildlife show. What's not to like?

It is not a formal look here, but that can be done rather easily with simple substitutions.

Debra said...

/raising coffee mug to Native Plant Week

/ad libbing Listen to her! She's right, also!

Gorgeous photos! (as usual) They alone ought to prove inspirational.

As for the challenge. Oh, man. It is going to be hard if I don't include all my propagation experiments but ...

1. asters (I just saw a nice display growing wild at the creek. Not sure of their name though I've been searching for awhile)
2. mealy blue sage

Anonymous said...

Great advice to look to see which natives one has. "HINT: the native plants are typically the ones drawing in the most bees, butterflies and other wildlife." is even better - I still recall my ex-astonished neighbors (gravel yards or few/0 natives) telling me about all the birds, etc there.

Quite revealing which people, even friends, who got it or hadn't one clue. Inspiring post, even though different than here. I hope more get into Native Plant Week.

TexasDeb said...

Debra: Oh me oh my - once all those propagation experiments of yours prove successful you are going to be up to your ears with native plants. What a lovely predicament to anticipate!

TexasDeb said...

David/DHB: It tickles me to think that once upon a time a gardener's regard for a plant was based perhaps upon its rarity or how far it traveled to get there, without many stopping to realize that every plant, no matter how "exotic", is a native plant, somewhere...

I am optimistic using native plants is a form of gardening and landscaping "wisdom" that is becoming ever more widely recognized. Pretty soon ALL the cool kids will be doing it.