pink evening primrose

prairie spiderwort and wild onions

lazy daisies

lemon mint


 Is This House Abandoned?

Curiously, most people automatically assume that a house with a yard full of wildflowers is abandoned. They believe that homes should only have domestic flowers (exotics) growing around them. People often pick the flowers without asking permission because they think wildflowers don't belong to anyone.

A new mail carrier stopped delivering mail to this house because he believed that wildflowers meant the house had to be vacant.

A number of people decided not to buy the house next door because they didn't want to live next to an abandoned house.

A caterer almost didn't deliver food to this house because she thought the house was empty and for sale. Asked what she thought the people in the yard were doing, she replied, "I thought they were trying to decide whether they wanted to buy the house." It did not occur to her that they were looking at the flowers.


Indian blanket


lanceleaf coreopsis

brown-eyed susan

A seemingly abandoned house
with spring flowers mostly in
the front and side and summer
flowers running thru the back.

aerial photo

An official of the local chapter of
Keep America Beautiful commented
on the wildflowers in the yard : "It
has the zero, but not the 'scape."


These flowers are called weeds.

Texas star


Yet a weed by any other
name is often a flower.

Texas dandalion

common sunflower

plains coreopsis

lemon paintbrush

 Home - Wildflowers in My Yard - July 8, 2002 - Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center


The house was built on a large field in an otherwise established neighborhood in the oldest part of the city. The neighbors had become accustomed to seeing wildflowers throughout the summer months. When I bought the land, some of the neighbors expressed concern that I would kill the wildflowers. I promised not to do so and soon thereafter read Sally Wasowski's Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region. Wasowski's book recommended proceeding slowly to find out just what was growing in the yard. As it turned out, the mowing schedule of the former owners had been suppressing a lot of the wildflowers. By altering the timing of mowing, wildflowers that had never been seen in the yard before suddenly appeared, sometimes in large numbers.

The chief problem of this natural approach is the transition from spring to summer flowers. Bluebonnets in particular are not pretty when they are going to seed. By August the front yard can be reduced to a typical grassy void.

Problems in the yard include Japanese honey suckle, sand burrs, Johnson grass, poison ivy, Bermuda grass, Chinese privet, and briar. These problems are not noticed by critics of wildflowers, perhaps because most of the plants are exotics.