Yellow Columbine is a NICE Addition to a Shady Hill Country Garden

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Native to the southwestern U.S. (from Utah through Texas), Yellow Columbine is a flowering species that can flourish in a Texas Hill Country garden. The NICE Native Plant Partners program was created by the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT). The NICE acronym stands for “Natives Improve and Conserve Environments.” The program was created to assist plant nurseries in offering a variety of native species which would work well for local gardens. Fredericksburg and Kerrville NPSOT chapters have implemented this program in the Texas Hill Country and have chosen Yellow Columbine as the plant to promote this season.

The program is designed to introduce native plant species to area gardeners which would make excellent substitutes as opposed to non-native species. The area’s delicate ecosystem requires native plants to sustain itself, whereas non-native species have been found to be extremely harmful to nature’s balance. Diana Armbrust, President of the NPSOT chapter in Fredericksburg, told, “Plants that are not native to a local region may seem suitable, but quite often they offer nothing in the way of food or habitat for key wildlife species. Native plants, on the other hand, have grown here for centuries, providing dependable sources of nectar for insects, shelter for birds, and food for wildlife.”

Yellow Columbine is a NICE Addition to a Shady Hill Country Garden

Photo: Wikimedia/Stan Shebs

This year’s growing season will see the Yellow Columbine being promoted by the Hill Country NPSOT chapters as the NICE Plant of the Season. Also recognized as Hinckley’s Columbine, or Golden Columbine, this plant is one of several of its species that flowers yellow in this part of North America. It’s a perennial, meaning it returns on its own each year. It’s also hardy, as well as easy to grow and care for. Plus, it’s known to attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. It can produce large, impressive blooms of single as well as dual-color patterns from late spring into early summer. When they’re not flowering, a columbine appears as a leafy green rounded cluster, anywhere between four and eight inches in height. Its flower stalks have been known to grow one to two feet tall.

Yellow Columbine is a NICE Addition to a Shady Hill Country Garden

Photo: Pixabay

Although they might enjoy full sun, columbines are known to prefer shade. It likes partial-to-full shade and a bed in well-drained soil with just enough watering. Mulching around the plant will also help to maintain its moisture levels. When flowering, they make the perfect bright spot in a shaded Hill Country garden. Experts identify the plant as rabbit-resistant and say that deer tend to avoid them, but have been known to consume them if they’re hungry enough. You can find the Yellow Columbine at independent local nurseries in the Kerrville and Fredericksburg areas which support the NICE program. You can recognize these by the “NICE Plant of the Season” sign on their property, or find a list of them at the link available here.