Plants that stand up to weather and time are excellent investments.
This Desert Bird of Paradise or Yellow Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) is about 11 years old and continues to thrive in its small confined place.
It’s a large shrub with clusters of unusual yellow flowers that attract pollinators.
Duranta (Duranta erecta) has been another survivor. It’s also about 11 years old.
Although it’s a tropical plant, it can survive here if it’s planted in a place protected from north winds. So it’s not a shoo-in for our area.
Gregg’s Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium greggii) is the best plant to attract Queen butterflies. The flowers themselves are unimpressive, but they definitely provide the needed nectar.
If you plant them, they will come. And stay for the duration until winter.
Always a pleasure to look out the window and see the flurry of activity on these flowers.
Also very hardy is a large variety of weeds that are tenacious. It’s a constant struggle to keep them out of the flowerbeds. But that’s to be expected since we live in the middle of pastures.
Pink Surprise Lily or Naked Lady (Lycoris squamigera) was definitely a surprise for me this year. According to my records, the bulb was planted 4 years ago and has never bloomed before.
At zone 8a, we’re out of its normal range. The optimum zones are 6a to 7b. When it was planted, the zone maps put our area at 7b. Revised maps show we’re in a hotter zone.
I’ve since learned that the best growing conditions include a cold, long winter. Since we did have colder temperatures and a later spring, I guess that explains why it finally bloomed. Also, this lily prefers a dry, hot summer. Voila. We have that in spades.
The leaves appear first and die; then the naked stem with flowers appear.
Iron Weed (Vernonia noveboracensis) is a native that grows in bar ditches and bloom with some moisture. They can be gangly growing 3 ft. tall with flowers right at the top of the stem. Their best feature is the purple color of the flowers.
I got a fistful of seeds from a friend about 4 years ago. The plants reseed and will spread out.
“Respect old people. They graduated high school without Google or Wikipedia.” unknown