Monday, September 21, 2009

Spontaneous woodsorrel my backyard

I woke up about 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, later than usual for my slothlike self; coffee cup in hand, I moseyed on out to the back 40 (feet) to see what was up, and was greeted by an enormous field of wild Oxalis drummondii that'd seemingly popped up overnight.

At 9 a.m., the southeast corner of my yard was a sea of three-leafed clover-like green.

The tiny plants laid in wait, thick as thieves, forming a literal carpet. I'd never seen anything quite like it. (I can't identify the long-stemmed weed with the red flowers that's popping through in spots.

Two hours later, when the sun came out from behind the clouds, the purply-pink five-petaled flowers burst open, faces toward the sun, to wish me a hearty Top O' The Mornin'. I swear, I saw one of their little green eyes a'winkin. (Look closely and you'll see a few blue-eyed Widow's Tears in the mix.)

Keep in mind that my "lawn" in the backyard was a field of death two months earlier -- brown, dry, crispy -- and now, it's a forest wildflower field?? Somehow, I don't think a couple of three-foot tall lime trees qualify as a forest!
The Native Plant Database at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center says that "This little plant likes the higher elevations, growing at altitudes of 4,000–6,000 feet, preferably under oak trees." Well, somebody best tell the flowers, because this is the driest, lowest, most exposed corner of our 500-foot-above-sea-level urban lot, and our two oak trees are located one to two dozen feet north. The NPIN entry also states Drummond's woodsorrel is found in "open grassy areas and brush-lands of either calcareous or sandy soils." OK, that sounds more like my backyard.

Naturalist Thomas Drummond identified this wildflower in these parts in the 1830s, along with 749 other species of native plants and 150 birds.

Admittedly, I do quite like the look of Drummond's woodsorrel around these aloes and bulbine. (Of course, it would look even better if the bulbine were [cough] blooming, erherm.)

The bees adore it.

These honeybees seemed to be humming an especially melodic tune, going quiet only as they drank thirstily from the flowers, starting up again the moment they lifted off to fly on to another flower.

If I hadn't had so much to do, I would have happily sat and listened to them for an hour.

Even the spiders like it.

Some gardeners might view such a scene with utter dismay as they run for the Weed 'N Feed. Me, I try to enjoy such unexpected pleasures while they last -- until the next mowing.


  1. What a pretty little surprise flower. So delicate looking and a feast for the bees. So glad you are not of the "weed and feed" persuasion! Wouldn't gardening (life) be boring if yards were nothing but grass?

  2. i love those little purple flowers. we have some popping up here too, not quite like your's though..;) instead we have this other low to the ground weed with yellow flowers that has taken over the backyard. i was actually walking up from feeding animals and cursing it...came in, grabbed some coffee and sat down to see your blog. now i want to go look with fresh eyes..;) thanks for the reminder that even what we are suppose to consider "bad" in the garden, can be quite a pleasant surprise...:)

  3. How pretty, Caroline! And now I know the name of a plant I didn't know before! I've seen those leaves in my yard, but I don't know that I've ever seen the flowers bloom. I'll have to keep an eye out. I love the close-up photos, too!

  4. I love this little flower. I don't have any myself but my son has some up in Dallas and I keep meaning to bring some back with me. I have some of the white which is also flowering after the rain.

  5. Jen, I agree! One of the reasons the woodsorrel moved in was because I have so little grass left.'

    Cat, that sounds like horseherb. We have tons of it growing on the 'dark side' of the house, near the gate.

    Meredith, woodsorrel needs lots of sun to bloom -- something we haven't had much of lately. (It seems odd to say that!) There are other types of oxalis that have smaller, less conspicuous flowers, too.

    Jenny, I love the white oxalis, too. I've seen some with green leaves, and some with dark purple, almost burgundy leaves.

  6. Those are pretty little flowers. What a surprise when you woke up... the photos are very pretty!

  7. Caroline, what a lovely post. I love these wild flowers and the bees you have captured. We grow it as spring annual here and the color is just awesome. Thanks for sharing with us, i am thoroughly delighted.

  8. My husband's agreed to wait about mowing our Wildscape because those Drummond's woodsorrel ARE so pretty. I just don't remember seeing them in years past. Strange. We're over here in Blanco, and they're just everywhere too!

    Thanks for helping me ID one of my mystery plants. Glad I was able to help you as well. Nature is just so fascinating!

  9. OH! So that's what they are. what a cool thing to wake up to. You're my kinda gardner. I just LOVE all the things that are popping up after these lovely rains; like a whole nother world.

  10. I notice that my patches are getting bigger -- it's going to be interesting to see what happens they meet the horseherb which is spreading from a different part of the yard.