Events that Changed My Life

March 19th, 2014 Posted in Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, bees, early spring flowers, garden projects, lawn replace, native plants, parks, philosophy

Let me tell you, I was pretty proud of this long ago!

Linda's first garden Austin Texas

And rightfully so. My first garden life-changing event was when we bought a house with a dusty yard owned by fire ants.  With more energy than knowledge or money, I embarked on a journey that hasn’t yet reached its destination. Who knows how I’d be spending my time now if not for those fire ants?

The more I learned, the more the garden changed.

taking out grass for path Austin Texas

As the garden changed, the more I learned/am learning.

spring garden austin texas

When I started, there weren’t tons of garden events/talks every weekend at local nurseries.  It was to Zilker Botanical Garden that I headed to learn about drought-tough adaptable and native plants like Mexican feather grass.

mexican feather grass austin texas

At the Austin Area Garden Council clubs’ meetings, shows and sales, I picked up one-on-one lessons in botany, plant cultivation and wildlife sustainability.

honeybee on passionvine

At Zilker Garden Festival (then Florarama) I got my first Salvia greggi—a native plant! What a prize! I raced home to dump a resident ligustrum and chop out grass for a new front yard garden.

Salvia greggi with silver germander austin texas

Always, I hauled home a trunk load of local garden art and surprises, like this crinum lily.

crinum lily austin texas

On March 29 & 30, join the fun for plants, garden talks, Kids Corner and live music at the 57th Zilker Garden Festival!

Another big event for me: Mayfield Park’s annual Trowel & Error Symposium.

mayfield park trowel & error with Renee Studebaker

I’ve always loved the historic Gutsch garden and house at Mayfield (we even thought about getting married there).

mayfield park pond austin texas

Over the years, I’ve attended every Trowel & Error to learn from passionate gardeners (speakers and guests) and pick up heirloom plants at the plant sale.

mayfield park trowel & error Meredith O'Reilly

On April 5 from 9:30 – 1 p.m., Mayfield’s got another super lineup! Landscape designer and horticulturist Amanda Moon goes for “Heat & Drought Tolerant Plants You May Not Have Heard Of.”

amanda moon It's About Thyme

Writers for Texas Gardener magazine include passionate and informative blogger Jay White:  “Fence Me In: Selecting Proper Support for Tomatoes.”

Jay White Masters of Horticulture

And equally passionate Master Gardener Patty Leander: “Go Vertical in the Garden with Climbing, Vining, and Twining Vegetables.”

Master Gardener Patty Leander photo by Bruce Leander

I’ll be there, too, as the Raffle Queen, with fabulous gifts from many generous donors!

The event that really turned my vision to native plants is when I attended the first Bluebonnet Blast at the original location of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

bluebonnets and nolina central texas

At the semi-annual plant sales, I’m always adding to my collection, like rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) and Calylophus berlandieri.

pavonia lasiopetala and calylophus berlandieri native plants

I’m so glad I took a chance two years ago on Texas bluegrass (Poa arachnifera), here with blackfoot daisy. I’ve started to divide the Poa for other shady spots in the garden. . .that includes non-natives, too, but all suited for drought and wildlife.

Texas bluegrass with blackfoot daisy austin texas

Some part-shade plants like golden groundsel (Packera obovata) aren’t yet available in nurseries. This one’s so popular that you really need to get there on Members Day!

native bee on golden groundsel austin texas

One big lesson I’ve learned is that “native” is not a catchall. Plants native to rock are never going to be satisfied in my Blackland Prairie soil. Others want conditions that I just don’t have. So, I’ll admire lovely Texas bluebells at the Wildflower Center!

Texas bluebell at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

On April 12 & 13; members day on April 11, admire away and grab your goodies, walks and talks, kid’s events, and more. Click that link to also get the plant list. I like to have it as a resource for my ground-breaking endeavors!

All these events support the organizations’ year-long endeavors to inspire and guide us.

Next week, we launch our spring season with all new shows, starting with Eric Pedley’s deer-proof succulents and a couple’s garden journey that started with a flood of ideas to control flooding.

Thanks for stopping by! Linda

  1. 21 Responses to “Events that Changed My Life”

  2. By Ally on Mar 19, 2014

    As a fellow gardener who has been around long enough to remember the difficulty finding native and adapted plants, I’m thrilled to have so many gardening classes and events to choose from these days. It wasn’t always so, which makes me appreciate the fun all the more.


    Linda reply on March 20th, 2014 3:32 pm:

    Hi, Ally, and isn’t it wonderful that you are now there to teach us! Can’t wait until your garden airs next weekend–people are going to love your “before and afters.”


  3. By Mike Mecke on Mar 19, 2014

    Good post Linda – don’t blame you for being proud of your home yard – heck of a long ways from dust and fireants! We all have come a long ways in Texas landscaping. Well, not ALL of us, but a bunch. The rest better catch on or one year the water will be gone for landscapes and it will be a lot of dead lawn, dust and fireants again. Happened here in Kerrville alot last few years. I just let mine mostly die and whatever took over, is now it. Slowly replacing things with natives, but find that at 74 and retired it is a lot lower level than it once was. You have a beautiful mix of native and heirloom flowers and plants.


    Linda reply on March 20th, 2014 3:31 pm:

    Hi, Mike! I bet your garden is lovely! And yes, you know the rest will catch on and I bet some in your neighborhood are getting ideas from you!


  4. By Tina on Mar 19, 2014

    I still catch myself calling the ZBG Garden Festival, “Florarama” from time-to-time. I also remember how excited I was when I bought and planted my first Salvia greggi (also red)–who knew it would bloom and bloom! We’re fortunate to live in a city with so many garden-related resources.


    Linda reply on March 20th, 2014 3:30 pm:

    Hi, Tina! I bet I ran into you! We are lucky and I’m lucky to know great people like you.


  5. By Shirley on Mar 19, 2014

    Your garden journey looks wonderful Linda.

    Vining and twining plants are on my list this year so and Deer-proof succulents are a must in my garden.


    Linda reply on March 20th, 2014 3:29 pm:

    Thank you, Shirley! I love following your progress and can’t wait to see what’s up your garden sleeve next.


  6. By karen cannatti on Mar 20, 2014

    I love the format and your story about how you started and the ways and places that informed you and also inform your readers. Luscious pictures of beautiful flowers. Great focus on Mayfield Park’s annual spring gardening symposium, Trowel & Error. The speakers sound fabulous.


    Linda reply on March 20th, 2014 3:29 pm:

    Thank YOU for all your encouragement over the years! It’s been so fun knowing you!


  7. By Katina on Mar 20, 2014

    Oh to look back on where we began. I should find old photos and reminisce through my blog, too.


    Linda reply on March 20th, 2014 3:28 pm:

    I know, Katina! My pictures (back then on film) have albums just like the family. And would LOVE to see your reminisces on your blog!


  8. By Jenny on Mar 20, 2014

    Thanks for sharing your journey Linda; a journey which never ends. Where will these droughty years take us next I wonder?


    Linda reply on March 21st, 2014 3:07 pm:

    Oh, I know, Jenny! I’ve been through a few but who knows what’s coming.


  9. By Noelle on Mar 21, 2014

    Your Salvia Greggi is gorgeous. This is such a cool blog. Your photos and gardening experiences are inspiring! You should be proud of your hard work! Enjoy your Springtime, Linda.


    Linda reply on March 21st, 2014 3:07 pm:

    Hi, Noelle! Thank you so much. I really appreciate your kind words. And happy spring to you, too!


  10. By Desert Dweller / David C. on Mar 22, 2014

    I’m just glad you posted again, plus hearing about life chages through making a garden!
    Your area’s horticultural strides for decades sure have born fruit. With your past winter not abnormally warm like many recent ones sounded, it’s another refinement and reset? CTG, blogs, and the critical mass of better gardens must play a part…


    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2014 2:14 pm:

    What a poet you are, David!


  11. By Heather/xericstyle on Mar 31, 2014

    I loved your first picture to see how much things have evolved and changed – I liked the one you emailed me with cute you in it better though! I received some crinum lilies as a gift from Ragna last fall…I am looking fwd to seeing what happens…I have never seen any up close until your pic! Cheer Linda! xo


    Linda reply on March 31st, 2014 7:29 pm:

    Dearest Heather, you will LOVE Ragna’s crinums!


  12. By Patty Starkey on Apr 20, 2014

    I don’t know if this is the place to post this…but I love the show. We are from Washington State, looking for a home in Georgetown, have always loved gardening, I have watched everthing on CTG. I know it will be invaluable to my husband and me. Great job.


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