After speaking at the Native Plant Society of Texas Spring Symposium, held at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center last Saturday (and a big thank-you to the organizers and wonderful audience members!), I strolled the gardens with my dad, who was visiting from North Carolina. The early spring show is underway, with Mexican plums and Texas redbuds playing a starring role this week.
You always know when a Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana) is blooming because it scents the air with a spicy fragrance, attracting bees and other pollinators.
I miss this cotton-flowered native tree, which I used to grow in my old garden. I like the underplanting of charming golden groundsel too.
A closer look at the golden groundsel (Packera obovata) — like drops of sunshine.
Nearby, the Family Garden was pretty quiet, although a few adults were exploring the play features…
…like the stumpery, where big tree trunks offer balance-beam fun. Bundled branches stand like a chorus line of winter-bare trees.
Sweet-scented Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) climbs a trellis on a limestone wall.
Its golden trumpets glow against a blue sky.
Heading toward the observation tower, I spotted a sword-leaved Harvard agave (Agave havardiana) sending up a bloom spike resembling an oversized asparagus spear.
Dad and I climbed the tower and admired its spiraling stone top from Robb’s Roost, a small rooftop garden halfway up.
We were rewarded with a lovely view of native coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) in bloom.
A wider view reveals the handsome, rusty-steel trellis it’s growing on.
Heading back into the tower, here’s a peek at the domed brick roof.
Throughout the garden, Texas mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora), our state’s most stunning, spring-blooming tree, is still in glorious bloom, but our unseasonable heat is quickly fading the flowers. Go enjoy some deep whiffs of grape Kool-Aid fragrance now, while you can.
Last year’s faded foliage, like cinnamon-colored bushy bluestem grasses (Andropogon glomeratus), still stand. But spring blossoms of Mexican plum and other plants are bringing spring freshness back to the garden.
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