currently in Austin


Fragrance, flavor + fun with gourds

Since my roses are trouble-free, I’m on aromatic overload without worrying that soon I’ll be under work overload.

Marie Pavie rose

If I dally about dead heading my Marie Pavie rose framing the patio, doesn’t matter much. Blackspot never blackens my on-going view, either.

On the cat cove arbor, equally self-reliant New Dawn and Buff Beauty are taking up where Lady Banks left off. Here’s fragrant BB.

Buff Beauty rose
Beyond, blackfoot daisy joins purple winecups, rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) and oregano that creeps between the flagstones.  The oregano loves when I nip it and strip its leaves for the kitchen, since that keeps it lush.

Blackfoot daisy, winecup, rock rose and oregano
In my early garden days, I dedicated one spot for herbs. But that’s like putting all your favorite plants in the same spot. Each herb has its specifics to be happy. Now, I include them sited to their preference, (sun or shade, moist or dry), and mingle their diverse forms and textures among the perennials. There’s feathery southernwood in part sun and fuzzy lemon balm in shade.  Silver-leafed society garlic wants sun and good drainage, so I paired my new ones against cat cove winecups. In any garden spot, when other fragrant plants are out of bloom, you can grab an herbal handful to whiff or plop into drinks or dinner.

Since herbs are so easy to grow, even for the first-time gardener, this week on CTG, Tom meets with Amanda Moon from It’s About Thyme.  Wow, she has such great new insight and ideas!  I’d never even considered pairing Swiss chard with red-veined sorrel, but now I must try it! 

Also, check out It’s About Thyme for all their fabulous free workshops.

* April 17: Success with olive trees
* May 1:  Ponds and water features: a beginner’s guide
* May 15: Incorporating edibles in the garden (even blueberries!)

Then, go out of your gourd with Trisha’s tips on growing gourds.

Gourds with Trisha Shirey

This is the ultimate DIY fun: flowers, shading vines and cool stuff you can make.  Trisha brought along some of the gourds she’s painted and decorated, but I added my beloved apple gourd and little pears I got at the Texas Gourd Society show a few years ago. Here’s good news: this fall, their show is in Fredericksburg Oct. 14-16. I’ve already marked my calendar because I want one of the gorgeous lamps!  And I sure hope they have the popcorn bowls this year–too beautiful!

You’ll also go crazy on this week’s garden tour to Elm Mott! Against acres of wide open fields, energetic Cathy Hejl created a series of cozy family destinations, one weekend and evening at a time. Behind every artistic project, she had a good reason, too.

Cathy Hejl garden

She has it all: flowers, chickens, ducks, vegetables, a pond and water fountains, wonderful walkways and entryways: all done with her own two hands. When I met her, she said “No more projects.”  Then, recently, she told me about three more that have my head spinning! I dearly thank Waco Master Gardener Judy Tye for connecting us to such inspiration.

Cathy goes for tough plants that don’t need a lot of babying. I know she’d approve my gold bearded iris blooming near a Salvia lyrata in the crape bed. As long as you don’t drown them and divide them every few years, they top the list as no-care plants.

Yellow-gold bearded iris
Here’s Salvia lyrata, a native perennial groundcover that flowers in spring, just as tough and enduring.

Salvia lyrata
And to keep the gold and lavender theme in the crape bed:

Lavender bearded iris Gold columbine

Daphne answers Liz Clark’s question, one I often get: Why didn’t my possumhaw holly produce berries? Does it need a pollinator?  Unless Liz got a male plant at the nursery, her female will be pollinated by other hollies in the neighborhood. It may just be too young to produce “offspring.” Let’s hope she gets flowers soon!

Don’t forget: send us your question or a plant picture from your garden to feature on Central Texas Gardener!  What is your favorite plant and why would you recommend it to fellow gardeners as Plant of the Week?  Send ‘em on to
Until next week, Linda