currently in Austin


From the producer: May 31, 2008

Now’s the time for all good gardeners and their plants to see if their spring adventures make it through the heat! Last weekend, we put up kiddie pool to make sure the gardener makes it through the next four months. Oh, just too wonderful. After a dip, I watered and pruned, my irritation and sweat in the heat serenely evaporated.

I was thrilled when we taped a garden recently to see a kiddie pool already in action—fancied up with a fountain made from an old sink, an idea I’m thinking of borrowing.

Speaking of fun with water, this week’s program features a fabulous new find, Kurt Hudgeons fromIt’s About Thyme, on creating “ponds for the people.” He shows how to make a water feature in one afternoon without breaking the bank. Fun ideas to get your creativity, and mine, in high gear. Bulky trash pick-up scavenges, or garage clean-out—that’s the key! He also designs custom-made fountains out of concrete, just beautiful!

Here’s one of Kurt’s quick designs that he calls the “red neck pond.” You can just imagine a passionvine climbing over its arbor.

Kurt also gives free classes on building ponds, streams, and funky water features, so check them out! You’ll also want to visit It’s About Thyme for their hard-to-find natives, plumerias, and herbs, including Thai herbs, and their fun and knowledgeable staff. Owners Diane and Chris Winslow have made it one of Texas nursery treasures. I also thank multi-talented Darrel Mayers from Mundi for suggesting this segment.

Here’s a clever idea I saw on the way to the grocery store.

With this inspiration, Greg and I are thinking about crazy fountain ideas to replace the variegated ligustrum in the patio cove. I hope that you’ll send your pictures of fun ideas, so we can all have a new summer project!

On projects, the short rebar on the rose arbor was short change when it came to the wind on steroids. Yes, we should have cemented it in, but we didn’t know if this was a forever situation. Since many of you may be in the same boat, here’s what we did.

We got ½” by 4’ rebar which I spray painted black the day before installation. In plumbing supply, we got hose clamps.

With a sledgehammer, Greg hammered in the rebar on all four sides to about 2-1/2’.

Greg clamped the rebar and arbor together. Next, I’ll touch up with black paint. Really, I should have painted the clamps first, but Greg said they would get “bougered up.” That’s a technical term, used by husbands who get drafted into this stuff.

On water, I’m giving the new plants long slow drinks while they’re still figuring things out. Wilt in evening, as you know, isn’t a bad sign. That’s a natural protective system. If they’re still wilted in morning, it’s time for a drink. I do the finger test for soil moisture, because too much water is just as bad as not enough. For sure, I’ll never get drafted as a “hand and nails” model.

A surprise: the moss verbena I planted years ago in front reappeared! I thought it was long gone. Here’s one against zexmenia in the front window bed.

This verbena has always been one of my favorite groundcovers, but they don’t hang around for me more than 2-3 years. With all the digging that went on in front this year, back they came, and in a few new locations. This one showed up on the other side of the sidewalk beyond the daylilies.

My first St. Joseph’s lily (Hippeastrum x Johnsonii) bloomed in the rental bed near the kiddie pool. This spring, I bought one pot, and being the cheapskate I am, divided its bulbs to ornament each side of the path for a few feet. It looked like I’d failed, but here they come! Guess I’ll get some more.

Here’s Coreopsis lanceolata in the crepe bed, a long-term buddy.

Finally, here’s Cedric on the patio. This box carried plants home two months ago, but while Cedric’s adopted it, there it stays. Every year he sits in the plant box until it falls apart. This is not artistic expression for the patio, but if the cats are happy, peace is all around us.

Hope to hear from you soon! Linda