Friday, August 12, 2011

Fields of Gold

It's not a good idea to turn your back on a Florida yard in the summer. You take a short vacation, and when you return, it's clear the plants have taken over. Just last week, the weeds and grass were there, but you seemed to be keeping them in check. A few days (and, according to the rain gauge, five inches of rain) later, and it's obvious you're no longer in control.

It's not always a bad thing, though. Given free reign, native wildflowers can fill your yard with color. Last year, we had two Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) plants in the butterfly garden. They dropped plenty of seeds, and this year the two have multiplied exponentially, literally taking over.

It does seem like a little much, perhaps. Everything else in the butterfly garden is pretty much buried. Then again, the wave of yellow and soft feathery green looks better than most of the rest of the plants this time of year. And the sulphur butterflies (who lay eggs on the leaves) and pollinators like bees just love it.

A few other plants have managed to poke their heads through, too. The Yellowtop (Flaveria linearis) is blooming too, adding to the fields of gold.

And the sunflowers we started from seeds are adding to the golden glow.

Of course, there's always someone who has to be a little different, who likes to stand out from the crowd. The Dotted Horsemint is poking up through the partridge pea, with its unusual fairy-like blooms. Against the fields of gold, the delicate hue is especially soft and lovely.

We know that the gardens in My Florida Backyard are in charge, for now. It's simply too hot and muggy to fight back against the jungle. For now, we'll sit back and let the inmates run the asylum, happy to appreciate the colors they display and the wildlife they bring.


  1. Nice article! THe partridge pea also serves to fix nitrogen into the soils - fertilizer plant! And kudos to you for using plants from three separate families as examples here - Lamiaceae, Asteraceae and Fabaceae - biodiversity at higher taxa! :)

  2. Beautiful yellow blooms!
    We are on vacation and I know I'll have a lot of work in the garden when we get back!

  3. What a delightful flower that Dotted Horsemint has. I love it. It's a triple decker! I have to get some of that.