Drought Busters!

April 3rd, 2014 Posted in Nurseries, bees, citrus, companion plants, drought, early spring flowers, fall plants, freeze damage, garden art, garden bloggers on tour, garden projects, lawn replace, native plants, patio plants, plant propagation, succulents

Despite only rainfall spit for months, a few poppies won’t miss their yearly applause. This clever one selected artemisia and lamb’s ears to show off in the crowd.

Pink poppy with artemisia and lamb's ears Austin Texas

I’m a fan of drought tolerant bearded iris, even when not in bloom. Right now, deeper green spuria irises join in this end bed’s structural anchor. They’ll tag along with golden blooms in a few weeks.

Bearded iris and spuria iris structural drought plants

Lavender bearded iris austin texas drought

Texas bluegrass (Poa arachnifera) is in full swing with blackfoot daisy and rambunctious pink evening primrose.

Texas bluegrass blooming with pink evening primrose native texas plants

Pink evening primrose picked its own spot to cheer up freeze-nipped ‘Macho Mocha’ mangave.

Mangave 'Macho Mocha' with pink evening primrose austin texas drought

For years, I bet lots of my drought buster plants (and yours too) started at Mountain States Wholesale Nursery in Arizona—many from seeds collected right here in Texas! This week, Tom meets with Janet Rademacher for a few you don’t want to miss at your local nurseries.

Janet Rademacher Mountain States Wholesale Nursery on CTG

We all love red yucca, but Hesperaloe parviflora Brakelights® PPAF certainly brakes us to stop for another look!

brakelights hesperaloe stops traffic at UT

brakelights hesperaloe flower austin texas

And what about Hesperaloe x Pink Parade with a more upright flower?

Hesperaloe x Pink Parade Mountain States Nursery

Summer won’t seem so awful with bold Tecoma x Solar Flare to catch the rays.

Tecoma x Solar Flare R PPAF Mountain States Wholesale Nursery

Aloe x Blue Elf is one her list I’m adding to mine. Here’s the kind of great fact sheets you can read on Mountain States’ website.

Aloe x 'Blue Elf' Mountain States Nursery

In those narrow well-drained spots with lots of sun, Candelilla Euphorbia antisyphilitica is positively soothing.

Candelilla Euphorbia antisyphallitica Mountain States Wholesale Nursery

Another smaller one Janet features is gopher plant (Euphorbia rigida). My very first is already blooming in its pot.  I didn’t dare plant this guy in my clay soil, no matter how amended! It’s in nice gritty soil.

Gopher plant euphorbia rigida bract austin texas

Janet explains: when the bee-loving bracts fade, cut back the gangly stems to the rosettes.

how cut back gopher plant euphorbia rigida

Structural, fragrant rosemary makes a lovely companion to hot, drought designs. This prostrate variety I planted in my neighbor’s curb bed gets no extra water.  Content, it’s rooting new plants from branches that touch the soil (uh, you know, prostrate!).

prostrate rosemary rooting austin texas drought

This week, Daphne answers a Facebook question: how to propagate rosemary from stem cuttings. Find out why she recommends rooting in soil rather than in water.

Daphne’s pick of the week is Bottlebrush (Callistemon rigidus), a sure fire bee magnet. This one made it through the freeze in Hutto.

bottlebrush tree central Texas

Dr. Robin Mayfield, gardener and blogger at Getting Grounded, absolutely loved hers. Sadly, in her microclimate,  super freeze took it out.

frozen bottlebrush tree Getting Grounded blog Austin Texas

Daphne notes: “This tree is notoriously frost sensitive, usually being completely killed if temperatures get into the 20s. But I’ve also seen bottlebrush taken out by our extreme Texas heat during abnormally hot, dry summers.”

Still, other gardeners didn’t lose a leaf this winter. And it’s a great evergreen screen, so give it a try if you have a protected spot where it gets sun but not all-day searing blasts.

For homegrown fruit even in containers,  Trisha shows how to grow yummy kumquat and calamondin. And Kaffir lime, which may not produce fruit, but the leaves are wonderful in Thai and other recipes. Yes, they need some water, but too much is actually worse than not enough. Last year I tried my first calamondin in a pot. I watered it deeply once a week.

calamondin in pot austin texas

It got nipped when it hit 12°, but is still alive.  Like the kumquat, it flowers and fruits from spring to frost.  The fruits are very tart, even when super ripe, but are great in recipes and to munch if you like tart, as I do!

On tour, check out how new Texas gardener and  fabulous blogger Heather and Brett Ginsburg dumped their lawn and boring shrubs for a xeric-style party to wow their kids with wildlife discovery.

Xeric garden style paths San Antonio Texas

Heather kept an eye on practicality with her design for paths and a screen from a busy street.

xeric style wildlife plants and path san antonio texas

xeric style wildlife garden house makeover san antonio

She also hid the original box store edging with free rocks she scavenged. I really like this combination of rosemary, creeping germander and thyme, with silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea) in a pot.

xeric style border with herbs and creeping germander san antonio

In back, she dumped lawn for this fun hangout. Her fire pit is another scavenge, some big truck tire rim.

fire pit from scavenged tire rim san antonio garden patio

Brett tells us how he turned leftover exhaust pipe into Heather’s succulent planters.

exhaust pipe succulent planter

And, they dumped lawn in exchange for fresh eggs.

cute chicken coop central texas gardener

They tell their story best, so watch it now!

Thanks for stopping by! Next week, check out native alternatives to invasive plants. Linda

  1. 8 Responses to “Drought Busters!”

  2. By Mike Mecke on Apr 4, 2014

    Good bunch of info Linda. I too always have loved the purple iris, that was one of mom’s beds I hand weeded to earn my dime allowance when small. Then saw them growing wild in wet meadows in Colorado and Wyoming high country while living there. Mixed in a green, grassy meadow (remember green?)with snow covered mountains as a backdrop – heaven! Reminds me, I need to plant some this year. Nope, no pink upright aloe for me – red and traditional form. thanks, mike


    Linda reply on April 4th, 2014 9:43 am:

    Those iris sound lovely! And red traditional yucca is still a winner.


  3. By Tina on Apr 4, 2014

    Wow! So much to take from this post. I also have my first poppies blooming and the iris have recovered from the last, hard freeze and are opening daily. I almost bought both a gopher plant and a ‘Brakelights’ red yucca, but reminded myself that I have no more room. Boo-hiss! I need a bigger plot of land, it seems. Great photos.


    Linda reply on April 4th, 2014 4:46 pm:

    Me too, Tina! More room, more room! I bet you can squeeze in one more pot (!) for gopher plant, though. Yowsers. Be sure to collect those poppy seeds when ready and save for next year. I don’t rely on them making it on their own, though most actually do!


  4. By Heather/xericstyle on Apr 5, 2014

    Your garden is colorful and lush looking! What do you think of that ‘pink parade’…I am going to be looking for that one. Thank you for one of the most special memories of my life :) – Heather xoxoxoxo


    Linda reply on April 6th, 2014 2:00 pm:

    You are one of my special memories! And oh yes, that Pink Parade! Yummy!


  5. By Diana/Sharing Nature’s Garden on Apr 6, 2014

    I love your irises. They are far ahead of mine, which have only had one or two blooms. For me, the next best thing about them after their drought tolerance is that they are also deer resistant!


    Linda reply on April 6th, 2014 2:00 pm:

    All of a sudden they’re coming out like nuts! I like it’s because I took Daphne’s advice on CTG and fertilized this year!


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