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Indian Blanket

Gaillardia pulchella

Along with bluebonnets, these are the most common flowers along Texas highways and also super easy to start from seed. As I write, in May 2007, the highways are covered with a red and gold blanket. Like most wildflowers, I think these look best en masse. My little wildflower experiments have left me with occasional Indian Blankets here and there and just look weird on their own. They can get quite tall, too, which I didn’t realize until a group of these in one of my beds were almost 3 feet tall before they started forming buds. The tallest is almost 4 feet, up to my chest. I know there are other cultivated varieties of this that are tall and dwarf varieties, but as far as I know, I planted the native Texas seed from Native American Seed.

I just really love them, though. They look tough and they also signal the coming of summer. Whereas in March and April, the cool fields of bluebonnets have the center stage, they are gradually replaced by the warmer tone of Indian Blankets. Rarely have I seen them together except this year for a few short weeks in April they were side by side. Mine, however, didn’t bloom until May, although some started appearing in Austin in early April.