You can tell it’s late winter because the Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) are beginning to bloom; before long, the north end of Tenison Park (near our pollinator garden) will be blanketed with these purple wildflowers which have naturalized here for years now. You’ll see them when you drive along East Grand near the intersections of Tenison Memorial Drive and Blair Street. The first day of spring - March 20 - is not far away.
We were a small but mighty group this past Saturday; Jody Lyke, Jeff Ferrand, and Heath Quinnley came to work on the last details before planting (next Saturday, March 18th).
Our three beds are sizable - Jody needed a 100’ tape measure to get around each of the three beds. We were confirming how many plants we’ll need.
Jeff staked out where three Dallas Red Lantana plants will go - in a triangle at 30” centers. Lantana is a perennial shrub in the Verbena family which blooms April through October. It requires little water, is heat tolerant, attracts birds and butterflies, and is a native.
Heath planted small Pavonia (Rock Rose) transplants. A friend of Mellen West’s offered to thin out her Pavonia and donate them to our garden. Pavonia is in the Mallow family and an excellent addition to our pollinator garden because it is native, a nectar source for butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds, and very drought tolerant. The hibiscus-like flowers bloom from April into November ensuring another nectar source for the fall migrating Monarchs.
This is one of the beds ready for planting. The flags represent where 8 Gulf Muhly will be planted. Muhly is in the grass family. In October the spikelets take on a feathery, deep pink hue. It is known to attract beneficial insects such as ladybug beetles and will contribute a winter form to the garden. Your $25 contribution will help us purchase five of these.
We had time to clean out the Inland Sea Oats bed under the large pecan trees. It was time to cut down last year’s growth - the seeds had served their purpose of winter food for birds with some falling to the ground to grow into new plants.
Inland Sea Oats are an attractive, dense-covering grass for shade. Seeds are eaten by small mammals and granivorous birds. Leaves provide graze for mammals. Stems and leaves are used as nesting material by birds. It attracts butterflies and is the larval host of the skipper butterfly.
We repurposed all sorts of fallen twigs as a natural border. As organic material decomposes, it provides a slow release form of nitrogen which is not easily washed away.
And last, but not least, this darling young one and his dad strolled over while we were working. He was very excited to see the bees, with legs full of dandelion pollen, buzzing from flower to flower.
Mark your calendars for this coming Saturday, March 18th, 9AM-2PM. We will be planting!