I know spring is in the air when the thimbleweed or windflower, Anemone berlandieri, starts to bloom. In shades of white to purple this is the first wildflower to bloom in the spring. The bloom period is short, just a matter of one or two weeks. What appear to be petals are not petals but sepals and all parts of the plant are poisonous. The center of the flower elongates which is an adaptation for wind dispersal of the seeds.
This bluebonnet flowering in the vegetable bed is flowering ahead of the masses. Most others are only a small circle of leaves. The recent rain and warm days should accelerate their growth but April is likely to be their peak bloom time. Notice the white marker on the flower: a guide for the bee. Once fertilized the mark turns red and the bee can no longer see the mark.
The four nerve daisy, Hymenoxy scaposa, has flowered all through the winter. It re seeds in the gravel and this one has produced a nice clump in between the path stones. It gets to stay.
The Carolina jessamine, Gelsemium sempiverens, perfumes the air with a delicate fragarance. To say this vine is vigorous would be an understatement. It sends its greedy roots for up to twenty feet. This particular plant is starting to show its age and will come out once it has bloomed. I will replace it with something a little less rambunctious. The plants around will be very grateful.
The ice plant is perfect a perfect companion for the viola among the stones in the sunken garden. I like it so much have rooted cuttings. It roots easily.
Alyssum is at its best during the cooler spring weather. I shall have to watch out for the dreaded harlequin bugs who favor this brassica.
A lone coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, is getting an early start on the season. It is in a sheltered location where it receives some heat from the wall of the house.
Gaura lindheimeri "Siskiyou pink" also surprises with an early flowering. This drought tolerant plant, like many, has a deep tap root and for this reason does not transplant well.
In the same garden the Texas mountain laurel, Sophora secundiflora, is flowering on the lower more sheltered branches.
The Viburnum tinus " spring bouquet" will take anything thrown at it. Dust, heat, drought and pollution and still maintain it s bright glossy evergreen leaves. The buds start out pink and open white.