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Flower power, superstar guest to CTG

What is it about a flower that gets us so excited?

Red and purple poppy
Most of us dug a shovel into the soil the first time because a plant bewitched us. Sometimes we move on to design concepts and rapturous serial combinations, botanical names, ecological benefits, and topiary. Other times, we just plant the plants and vegetables we love. Works for me.

Candytuft, Iberis sempervirens

At the nurseries last weekend, I saw a glow in every eye from every garden variety gardener: kids, grandmas, Birkenstock folks babbling species-talk, beer-gut guys cradling tiny pots of herbs, young couples chattering about their first plants ever (though not sure what they were), and people like me. Just plain excited. Regardless of weirdo weather and backbreaking moments when we wonder why we’re doing this, it all comes down to falling in love with a plant.

Clusiana tulip 'Tinka'

Two of my spring loves joined together in the crape bed: Narcissus ‘Falconet’ and spiderwort (Tradescantia gigantea).

Narcissus falconet with spiderwort Tradescantia gigantea

Since Greg rescued a few floundering spiderworts from the creek bed years ago, they’ve multiplied like bunnies. Every year, I toss seeds back to the creek banks to see if I can restore them. Their habitat has been highly disturbed, but perhaps they’ll return someday. In the meantime, their heritage is safe with me.

Here’s possible Narcissus ‘Grand Primo’ with clusiana tulip ‘Tinka’ in the den bed. Both naturalize.

Here’s ‘Tinka’ with ‘Helen von Stein’ lambs ears in the crape bed. I’ll never forget how excited I was to find these two plants for the first time. ‘Helen’ is hard to find, but worth the hunt.

Tulip 'Tinka' with 'Helen von Stein' lambs ears

Clusianas close up shop in evening, but flaunt themselves by mid-day to attract attention from pollinators.

Clusiana tulip 'Tinka' with insect pollinator

By the way, I’m sharing the lambs ears’ love in front this weekend by dividing some of these healthy girls.

I’m also in love with the winter-prominent groundcover Packera obovata, blooming against the new Carex morrowii ‘Aurea-variegata’.  I fell like a rock when I saw this variegated Japanese sedge a few years ago. Glad I finally succumbed.

Packera obovata with Carex morrowii

One of my first roses from the Antique Rose Emporium was Lady Banks. And what’s not to love about it with red poppies?

Red poppy with Lady Banks rose

In the cat cove, much is waiting to happen.

Cat cove spring 2010 Cat cove 2010

Soon, the blooming spring starflowers will have company with winecups, calylophus, more poppies, spiderworts, Gulf penstemon, and others. The pots are my new Pelargonium sidoides. I also plan to tuck in some Sedum mexicana. There are a few varieties of oregano, and catnip, of course!  The lavenders took a beating, but I cut them back and they’re flushing out, along with Mexican mint marigold.

Our special CTG superstar “guest”?  Cheap Trick was at KLRU last week to record the first taping for Austin City Limit’s 36th season that premieres in October. These incredibly nice guys agreed to a photo on the CTG set.

Cheap Trick on Central Texas Gardener set

Thanks to Emily Joyce, ACL’s Associate Producer/Digital & Interactive Director, who took the photograph.  Since Daphne wasn’t there, I’m sure that the guys advised Emily to keep her new tomatoes covered for a few weeks.  Keep up with Emily’s blog on all things Austin City Limits, including behind-the-scenes stories and video.

Tom and I thank all of you who made our CTG Spring Special one of our most successful pledge programs!  We’re repeating it on KLRU this Saturday at noon. You can also join online at any time to support CTG. And thank you so very much!

Next week, tune in for all new programs, starting with CTG’s superstar tips on growing citrus, success with tomatoes, Daphne’s weed patrol, and a visit to Randy Case’s spectacular garden makeover. (Oh! My Satsuma orange made it. First flowers today).

Until then, surrender, surrender, don’t give yourself away (except for that bewitching plant at the nursery).  Linda