Nature’s color combos

We can fuss about what flower to plant next to which, but seeing a field of wildflowers makes you realized that really anything goes. On a recent press trip to bluebonnet country (Washington County, Texas), the bluebonnets were shy to bloom at first after a cold winter and chilly start to spring, but by the last week of March, roadsides and fields were getting their customary impressive swathes of color. The little annual lupine (Lupinus texensis) – really bluer than any photo can show – shares field- roadside space with several other wildflowers, including orange Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa) and several DYC (damn yellow composites, or sometimes DYF, damned yellow flowers – a bit of convenient botany student nomenclature). Walking along the river at Washington-on-the-Brazos – what had been the main street of town – after a short lecture on the Republic of Texas, I spotted a few spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis), Phlox drummondii, and a blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium). And this all before our lunch at R Place, located literally at a bend in the road, where we had brisket plus lots of sides. But food will have to wait for a well-deserved post of its own. Meanwhile, don’t be afraid to combine blue, orange, yellow, purple and pink for a truly natural garden.

And take a look at “Landscaping With Native Plants of Texas” (George Oxford Miller, 2006, Voyageur Press). When I ducked into the gift shop to look up a plant ID, I was reminded that I had a copy of George’s book at home – and I told him so, because he was on the tour, too. Well done, George!

Go see bluebonnets for yourself.


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