Having moved to a new (to us) house, new (to us) yard, in a different city, in a different state, I've shared that I feel like I'm starting completely from scratch again as I start to garden. This yard feels almost like a blank slate.
However, even a blank slate yard is never totally blank. A suburban lot surrounding a house that's been lived in for almost 50 years is definitely not blank. So, I've been watching the yard to see what's already living here, and I thought I'd share some of the native plant species I've found, the native "building blocks" that already exist in the yard for me to utilize.
Trees seem like the place to start. The first thing I noticed coming up to our house last April was the big southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) by the driveway, dominating the front yard.
Next on the current yard list are the oaks, live oak (Quercus virginiana) and sand live oak (Q. geminata). In the photo above, the big tree to the right of the house is our largest live oak. Although there are many sand live oaks in the neighborhood, I think we only have one, a relatively small one, in our (back) yard. On the other hand, we have 5 live oaks, 3 of which are quite unhealthy. Unfortunately, none of our live oaks are terribly picturesque, having been limbed up to be "proper" trees, judging from their form.
Right now we only have one other tree species in our yard, pignut hickory (Carya glabra), but we have 3 mature specimens of this species in our back yard. Pignut hickory is the only deciduous tree species we have.
While there is a lot of Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) in the neighborhood, we have very little in our yard - perhaps a result of how open the canopy is. There IS some, though, and I'm hoping that we get more to grow over the years.
For quite a while, I've been eyeing this little prostrate vine and thinking that I recognized it - and I did.
If you take a second look at the photo above, you'll notice a bare vine going up the tree trunk. This vine is crossvine (Bignonia capreolata), a classic native landscaping vine in the south. Here is a new stem, probably from the same root stock, climbing up a different side of the trunk.
Coming up in the middle of an old sand box, along the city storm drain easement, is a dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor).
Last summer I noticed a rather handsome perennial plant growing at the base of one of the pignut hickories.