Papaver rhoeas aka Poppies

You see these often in Austin, it’s a bit too warm for them in Houston. They bloom in March each year. Poppies are annual but will reseed themselves. If you are purchasing seeds plant them in the fall after it gets chilly.

Seeds will survive in the soil for years, plants appear when the soil is disturbed exposing the seeds to some light. This is why they were so commonly seen near the trenches of WWI

Poppies produce prodigious amounts of pollen making them a great addition to a bee garden.

Native to Africa, extensively found throughout Middle East and the colder parts of Europe

Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’ aka Japanese Honeysuckle Vine

The first mention of it in the US is in the early 1800s in Ohio. It was brought to US to use to control soil erosion. Later it became a popular ornamental plant.

Flowers open at dusk to attract hawk moths who are the main pollinators. While they are frequently visited by bees, bees tend to remove more pollen than they leave for pollination.

Propagate by cutting

Native to Russia and Central Asia, listed as invasive by multiple sources. Birds eating seeds do most of the spreading, to control, trim plants before seeds form.

Many components of the plant are medicinal and parts are edible (Foraging Texas), but the berries are poison. Near as I can tell almost every plant down here is trying to murder you so proceed with caution.

Salvia lyrata aka Lyre-leaved Sage

I found these growing in a boggy area along a pathway.

Perennial herb, wild throughout eastern and midwestern US, zones 5-10

Cold, wet winters will kill it, it prefers drier areas

Blooming late March ( spring – summer depending on location )

Considered invasive in some locations. Many home owners mow it after it flowers.

Considered a medicinal plant, Gray’s Pharmacopoeia (1848) lists its uses for warts and cancer but studies haven’t found any medicinal uses. aka Cancer Weed

Well liked by bees and butterflies

Easy to grow from seed

Echinacea purpurea aka Purple Coneflower

Perennial, loves sun, doesn’t mind occasional dry spells, benefits from dead heading and dividing clumps every 3 years or so.

Native to North America, there are about 9 species in this genus. It’s been a garden favorite as far back as the early 1900s where it is often referred to as the ‘dull pink coneflower’

It is a strongly recommended addition to bee and butterfly gardens and said to be deer resistant

Rudbeckia hirta aka Black Eyed Susan

Not surprisingly this is in the sunflower branch of the family tree and North American native.

It loves lots of sun, tolerate occasional dry spells and are easily grown from seed or pick up a flat of the plants and plant them.

They are perennials, divide them every few years to keep them flowering.

Dead heading the plants ( cut off spent flowers before they go to seed ) will prolong the blooming cycle.

Used in traditional medicine, not all the parts are edible. ( Don’t try it at home ) There are many references to it as a kitchen garden plant as far back as the early 1800s. The older mentions all reference the orange center, not all the newer varieties still have the orange center.

Geranium carolinanum aka Carolina cranesbill

Several years ago I purchased some citronella scented geraniums ( which do not keep mosquitoes away, that’s Lemongrass (Cymbopogon ). They died off during droughts, freezes and go figure, today in its place I discovered a wild Geranium carolinanum. Only a tiny scent emerges from its leaves, I can’t quite place it.

This is a native through the middle of the US and across to the eastern states. Some authors claim it likes dry, wooded areas, others wet moist areas. Mine appeared in a sunny dry area.

One book lists it as the worst weed of the Geranium family, and that’s the kindest thing the author has to say about it. It spreads out from the roots becoming invasive. Time will tell, for now I’m going to leave it alone and see what happens.

Early flowers give way to fruits with a beak like appearance which also disperse seeds. The crane like fruit abruptly splits at the side which pulls the beak scattering the seeds a long way off. It is an annual or biennial

Can reach about 2′ in height and width.

Blooms March-May in the Houston area