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Save the Date:  September 14, 2024


Photo by Emmy Ulmschneider


By Emmy Ulmschneider and Debbie Roland, Master Gardeners

 

The dog days of summer are upon us!  If you bought native plants at the Permian Basin Master Gardener plant sale in April, hopefully they are in the ground and thriving.  But, even in the dog days of summer, it is not too early to start planning for the PBMG plant sale this fall, September 14, 2024.  The sale will again feature native plants.  Fall is the best time to plant natives or sow native wildflower seeds.  We have covered sowing native wildflower seeds before, check out:  https://www.westtexasgardening.org/post/sowing-native-seeds  https://www.westtexasgardening.org/post/west-texas-wildflowers.

 

By hosting a native plant sale in the fall, we are following a long-established tradition.  Each fall the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center hosts their fall plant sale.  Last year this month-long native plant sale ran from 9 am to 1 pm Fridays to Sundays from the end of September through the end of October. Think of fall as the start of a plant year.  As the Cibolo Nature Center has said, “Fall in Texas is the second spring!”   https://cibolo.org/fallgardening/#:~:text=Fall%20is%20your%20second%20chance,time%20to%20spread%20wildflower%20seed

 

Why is fall the best time to plant natives?  From a native plant point of view, it is easier to become established in the fall.  During the dormant fall season, conditions are perfect to encourage underground root growth.  So, your plant is ready to bounce into spring with a healthy root system ready to support vigorous new growth.  Planting in the fall also gives you time to prepare and organize for the start of the next growing season.  Winter is the perfect time to sharpen, clean, and maintain tools. When spring returns you can be outside to enjoy the beauty and life of a spring garden and welcome back old favorite plants or new arrivals. 

 

To prepare for the plant sale and to introduce some of the native plants that you might want to try in your landscape, we are going to profile some native plants.   So, meet Rock Rose, Pavonia lasiopetala, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center 2024 Wildflower of the Year.  Rock Rose, a small perennial shrub in the Mallow Family, is indeed a standout because of its color, hardiness, and versatility.  A Texas native, it is found from the Edwards Plateau south into the Trans Pecos.  It will adapt to a wide range of soils but does best on well-drained limestone soils.  A low water user, Pavonia grows in sun to part shade, thrives in summer heat and is easy to grow.  The brilliant pink and yellow, hibiscus-like flowers tell you it is in the Mallow Family and their beauty always makes me smile. Best of all, Pavonia supports our native bees, birds, butterflies, moths and small mammals who use its flower and seed resources. 

 

Be on the lookout for Rock Rose or Pavonia, the Lady Bird Johnson 2024 Wildflower of the year, and we will see you at the PBMG Fall Plant sale, September 14, 2024

If you have questions, call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700.  

Additional information, and our blog for access to past articles, is available at westtexasgardening.org.  Click on “Resources”.

 

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