Zilker Neighborhood Gardens

Commentary by a National Wildlife Steward who helps Zilker neighbors establish native plant gardens

Tag Archives: butterflies

The Fall Garden in Texas

There’s been a lot of action in my garden lately. I’ve seen hummingbirds visiting the firebush. A squirrel(s) has been eating the flowers of my tall rosinweed, must the dismay of my dog! The birds have been bathing in the bath (and drinking). I caught a squirrel there the other evening, too, getting a quick drink. The bees and bumblebees are hard at work dawn through dusk. They seem to love my native poinsettia (despite it not seeming to have flowers), the salvia, the globe mallow, and others. Butterflies have also been flitting around. I caught a few of a Gray Hairstreak in the pictures below.

Lest you think the fall garden is moving towards “winter” and the plants dying back. Yes that will happen some. But the wildflowers have already started to grow. See a picture of a bluebonnet below. These wildflowers will start to grown now, but barely make it a few inches above the ground. They will spend the winter growing DOWN into the soil, their roots going quite deep. Then in the spring, they’ll start growing UP. So lest you think a mulched area has nothing there, take a closer look;  you might see some wildflowers.

Picture of Grandma's Rose, with a Gray Hairstreak butterfly

Grandma’s Rose, with a Gray Hairstreak butterfly

Picture of Grandma's Rose, with a Gray Hairstreak butterfly

Grandma’s Rose, with a Gray Hairstreak butterfly

Texas Bluebonnet, budding

Texas Bluebonnet, budding

Texas Hibiscus, blooming

Texas Hibiscus, flower blooms for one day

Firebush

Firebush

View of one side of the garden

View of one side of the garden

Salvia in bloom, abuzz with bees

Salvia in bloom, abuzz with bees

Salvia, with Gray Hairstreak butterfly

Salvia, with Gray Hairstreak butterfly

Gardening for Birds and Butterflies – mid-day Classes

Mark Klym is offering a course of  8 classes on Gardening for Birds and Butterflies​, beginning Sept. 16.  They will be from 1:30 to 3:30 P.M. Tuesdays at Christ Lutheran Church at 300 Monroe Street East, Austin, TX 78704, USA in south central Austin, 78704.  The fee for the whole course is only $20, through Lifetime Learning Institute of Austin.  There are still some places available.  For more information and the registration form, see www.lliaustin.org
Mark is coordinator of the Texas Hummingbird Roundup and Texas Wildscapes programs at Texas Parks and Wildlife.  He is coauthor of Hummingbirds of Texas by Texas A&M Press and is an excellent instructor.​

Garden wildlife

Since I’ve installed the three new gardens in the front, we’ve seen a huge increase in wildlife visitors to our yard. Mostly, we have birds, bees, and butterflies. Adding a birdbath increased traffic earlier in the summer. We’d sit outside and watch the show as the birds played in the water and quenched their thirst. Lately, in the new garden I see a lot of bees on the sages. I’m hoping to eventually see some hummingbirds in the Firebush but haven’t yet. Earlier this summer, I saw the butterfly show. We had a lot of caterpillars eating up the butterfly weed (milkweed). Providing that food allowed us to see a plethora of butterflies later on in the season. Here’s a few we’ve seen.

I have applied for recognition as a National Wildlife Habitat through the City of Austin for FREE! Your garden (of any size) must (a) provide food, (b) provide water, (c) create cover, and (c) provide wildlife a place to raise young.

Caterpillars on the milkweed

Black Swallowtail on the milkweed (above, center bottom)

Butterfly

Queen on butterfly weed (above)

Another butterfly

Common Buckeye on Blackfoot Daisy (above, center – brown)

%d bloggers like this: