currently in Austin


Magical fall flowers; meet trouble free roses

A few weeks ago, it seemed like a Lycoris radiata would never show up. All it took was a smatter of rain for them to pop out like mad; I haven’t seen this many in years.  Here they are with shrimp plant and native betony-leaf mistflower (Conoclinium betonicifolium). Bamboo muhly peeking out  at  far left.

Lycoris radiata with shrimp plant

Just give ’em what they want, ma’am, rain at the right time.

spider lily Lycoris radiata in rain

The garlic chives rival competition for most ethereal. I can’t grow any of the other alliums with success, but these multiply with abandon.

Garlic chives flowerhead Garlic chives

See how Trisha Shirey adds all different alliums to her Lake Austin Spa gardens, even as edging borders!

After sulking all summer this year, the toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) finally got over last winter’s 14°. Here, it’s nestled with purple trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis).

Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)

Admire it from afar, though, unless you have 10 billion square feet you want to cover. It is considered an invasive plant, which I didn’t know when I bought it years ago at a reliable nursery. The extreme cold set it back, but it’s returned with a vengeance. Thank heavens the bunnies like it, so I pull up handfuls for their dinner salad, leaving just enough for us to enjoy. It hasn’t spread outside its domain, though. The once-recommended purple trailing lantana is now on some hit lists as an invasive, too. Sigh.

Fall is my favorite season, since a few springtime bloomers go for a second round to join the autumn stars. Climber New Dawn on the cat cove trellis is one of them.

New Dawn rose in bud

For many of us, a garden isn’t complete without a rose. But troublesome roses are worse than no rose at all.

So, this week on CTG, Tom meets with Michael Shoup of the Antique Rose Emporium for selections that promise a rosier outlook. Old Blush is one to add to your list.

Old Blush, The Antique Rose Emporium

And don’t be afraid to soften your textural structure with fragrance, like with F.J. Lindheimer.

F.J. Lindheimer with yucca, The Antique Rose Emporium

Plus, get Michael’s latest research on how to make organic rose growing even easier!

On tour, absolutely don’t miss Donna & Mike Fowler’s garden in Hutto!

Donna & Mike Fowler garden

Framed around the 1880s house that Mike’s great grandpa built, they’ve designed a low-care garden that reflects their playful wit, spiritual curiosity, and family and community connection. Donna whittles out a few hours before & after her job as a pharmacist at the Round Rock Medical Center.  She devoted weeks to help out Katrina victims. When she first started gardening, one of her inspirations was Mike’s mother, Vee Fowler, who many of you know from Zilker Botanical Garden’s herb garden.  Donna & Mike are just as involved in civic affairs as when he served as Hutto’s mayor.

Of course, you’ll see a few hustling hippos in their garden, along with Hutto’s official flower, the Orange Crush daylily, thanks to Donna & Mike.

This week, Daphne features Susan Whitton’s great question, since it’s a very common confusion. Is this plant poison ivy or, as she suspected, Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quincefolia)?

Virginia creeper, not poison ivy

The two look very similar, and when they’re clustering like crazy, and you’re a little timid to get too close, it can be difficult to know. Anyway, this is the native Virginia creeper, a great choice for a perennial deciduous vine or groundcover in partial shade to prevent erosion.

Since it’s time to get wildflower seeds to plant in a few weeks, William Glenn from The Natural Gardener explains how to do it for the best success.

William Glenn The Natural Gardener on wildflowers

I’m going through my seed inventory and adding a few from the nurseries. Of course, you can get everything you want at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s plant sale on Oct. 9 & 10 (preview sale for members on Oct. 8).

Pink evening primrose and spiderworts are already popping out in my garden, but I plan to wait until mid to even late October to sow my seeds.

I finally got around to clearing out the fall vegetable beds and turning in compost and 8-2-4 fertilizer. Now, I’ll progressively start sowing lettuce seeds, cilantro and others, though I’ll install parsley from transplants. Get the latest planting guide from Skip Richter, Director, Travis County AgriLife Extension,  and Master Gardener Patty Leander. And check out Renee’s Roots for more tips for your fall vegetable garden.

Until next week, Linda