Saturday, September 4, 2010


"Any surprises?" David asked me, as we sat down to dinner on our first evening home. I had been working in the garden all day. "You mean more than dead plants?" I replied. Of course that was all that was on my mind. That and weeds. I know what he was thinking. Back to 2 years ago, when we returned from our summer trip to find squatters in the garden. No such luck.

A day later I couldn't wait to tell him that I had found a really good surprise. In the middle of an enormous clump of tomatillos, which I was about to pull out as all the fruit had mysteriously disappeared, a single pink flower. Wow! What's that? I rushed in the house to look in my Wildflowers of Texas book (thank you, Michael, this is the best little Texas Wildflower book). Organized by color and right there on the very first page, announcing the red-pink flowers, was my flower. Now identified as Hooker's palafoxia, Palafoxia hookeriana.

To think, but for that flower in bloom it would have been yanked. The rather lanky foliage does look rather weed like.
Described as one of the state's most beautiful wildflowers I can expect a terminal cluster of flowers which will resemble a bouquet. Long blooming, as long as I remove the seed heads, allowing only the final flowers to set seed to ensure another flowering next year. Not in the vegetable bed.
The plant was named in honor of Sir William Jackson Hooker, first director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Yes, what a surprise.


  1. Wow! I've never seen one before.
    That is a beautiful flower.
    I'm trying to think back...didn't you have foxes move in at some point? They were beautiful.
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

  2. Oh yes,
    One more thing. You asked about my owls (they live in the trees) and about successful owl boxes. I've found your person.
    Pam at Digging there in Austin.
    Look at her categories/entries and go to her June 2, 2010 entry.

    I'm eager to find out more myself since we have the screech owls here as well.
    David/ Tropical Texana

  3. I'm glad you put the link to the squatters in this post. That post of the foxes was my very favorite post of all.

  4. I agree with Bob, what a lucky and memorable surprise to come home to foxes in the garden! I fear we are a little too urban and have a few too many resident canines for any fox visits :(

  5. That's a sumptuous wildflower indeed! Glad the "little book" helped.

  6. David, Melanie and family- The link to the foxes is there as squatters in the garden. Yes, Pam is well known in the Austin area and I did see her post about the owls that moved in this year. I am hoping that once the smell of the human handling has gone from the box I will also have a nesting pair. I am now wishing that the hispid cotton rats will come back. the owls need a food source and these critters are high on their list of delicacies.
    Bob- It was pretty special. I really wish they would come back. Saw one recently so they are still around somewhere. The persimmons are ripening!
    Suzie- I understand that foxws are moving into urban areas-coyotes too!
    Anon- Yes it has become the book of choice to use when id needed. rarely fails me. Thanks.

  7. What a gorgeous surprise! So pretty!!

  8. How beautiful! Do you have any idea where it came from? Isn't it strange how much like weeds the natives can look? Welcome home!

  9. Just popping in to say it's nice to read you again. I don't think I've ever been surprised by something I didn't deliberately plant myself, so it amazes me you found such a flower, and in September! The foxes sleeping in your garden from two years ago just begs to be a children's book.