Category Archives: birds

Hidden Beauty of Pollination

Gorgeous cinematography of pollinators in action!  Production by Louie Schwartzberg; Filmed March 2011 at TED2011

Get out and add native plants for pollinators in your landscape!  Fall is a wonderful time to plant!  The fall season is the preferred season to start many native wildflowers from seed, including bluebonnets and many other spring blooms!  It's also a great time to transplant from pots with milder temperatures and more frequent rains, native plants get busy getting their roots established during the mild weather.

NICE! Summer 2016 Plant of the Season

Red Yucca, Hesperaloe parviflora: Tough Texas summer favorite shrub Description: Red Yucca, Hesperaloe parviflora, has evergreen leaves that are thick, dark gray-green and sword-shaped, often with a graceful arch, with no dangerous tips. The leaves have interesting thread-like peeling leaf margins, adding to their attractiveness. The foliage reaches 2-3 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide.…
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NICE! Summer 2015 Plant of the Season

Salvia penstemenoides

Red Sage, Salvia pentstemonoides: Summer-blooming perennial once thought to be extinct

Description: Big Red Sage, Salvia pentstemonoides, also called Penstemon Sage, is an herbaceous perennial native to the Texas Hill Country. In nature, it is only found on banks along streams and on seeps on limestone ledges in the central Edwards Plateau. In North Texas, Big Red Sage usually grows 18-36 inches wide and 30-48 inches tall. Its 4-6 inch leaves are deep green, elongated, and glossy, looking similar to penstemon leaves, which explains its botanical and second common name.

Flowers and Seeds: Big Red Sage blooms from June through the fall. The 1.5-2 inch flowers appear on spikes that grow above the foliage and are deep-red to purplish-red in color. Seeds may be collected following flowering.

Planting sites: Big Red Sage thrives in partial and dappled shade, although with more water, it can be grown in full sun. It tolerates a range of soil pH.

Watering Instructions: Big Red Sage should be given supplemental water during its first season in the garden. After it is established, it is moderately drought tolerant. During a summer dry spell, it will need to be watered deeply as often as once every 10 days depending on the temperature. Like many Texas natives, Big Red Sage should have adequate drainage; it will not tolerate “wet feet.”

Comments: Big Red Sage was first described by the great Texas botanist Ferdinand Lindheimer in the 1840’s, but by the 1950’s it was thought to be extinct. Fortunately, in the 1980’s it was rediscovered growing in the Texas Hill Country, where it is still quite rare. Because it is so pretty and amenable to cultivation, it has entered the nursery trade, although it can be frustratingly hard to find. Big Red Sage is a well behaved garden plant. It has a very pleasant citrus fragrance and is deer resistant. It self-seeds, but not prolifically, and can be propagated through cuttings. Big Red Sage is a hummingbird magnet and attracts butterflies. It may be pruned in the late fall after it finishes flowering and will die back to a rosette after a freeze. New growth recurs in the spring.

Look for the NICE! Plant of the Season signs and information sheets on your next visit to a participating North Texas nursery.  Thank you for using native plants in your landscapes.

Written by Dr. Becca Dickstein