J. Darris Mitchell
The Pride of Barbados
Next to our porch grows one of my favorite native plants of Texas. It’s called the Pride of Barbados. We cut it back every winter, and every spring it grows tall, slender, spiky stems that are covered in compound leaves that look like something out of Jurassic park. At the top of each of these stems sits a gorgeous flower that blooms in the colors of fire: reds and oranges and hints of yellow. Once these flowers are pollinated, they form long green seedpods that slowly turn brown as the seeds ripen.
What is remarkable about these seedpods (and previously unknown to me!) is that when they complete their drying process, they split open and launch their seeds for greener pastures!
There we were, sitting on the porch, when all of a sudden we found ourselves on the receiving end of a barrage of seeds! We followed them back to their source to find the seedpods cracked open and twisted into desiccated spirals. Considering we never water this plant, it attracts hummingbirds better than any feeder, its gorgeous flowers, and the fact that it literally launches it seeds with an organic spring, it will forever be my favorite
Bird of the Week
My son and I went out looking for a piping plover but we didn’t see it… Instead I got a great look at a buff-breasted sandpiper before the stench of the evaporation ponds of the sludge treatment plant overwhelmed my three year old, and we were forced to leave before the world’s mightiest tantrum could manifest.