From the Producer: May 2, 2008

May 2nd, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

You won’t want to miss this week’s show! Tom’s garden is the video segment on our preview of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center tour. Check out CTG’s Events for tour details and how to visit Tom’s garden in person. It will also be online on our website. Be sure to check out our new Videos section, where we archive past gardens and recently, Backyard Basics segments.

I hope that you’ll contribute soon to our new CTG blog with pictures from your garden. Share your garden questions, new finds, advice, and program suggestions-it’s your site for swapping! But, as always, you’re most welcome to contact me directly at

In my own garden, I grieved as I pulled out the old cenizo in the front bed. Death by drowning. It makes better to share a picture from its happier days.

A variegated Miscanthus takes its place, in real estate, if not in heart. I do love it for its refreshing look in this sun/shade situation, and will make sure it doesn’t feel second best.


This week, at last, here’s the crepe myrtle bed tour. It’s changed a lot over the years. For one thing, shade from all the trees impacts its design. Mainly, my philosophy has changed. Rather than a blast of color in a season, it’s become a cyclical, perennial diary, with a few annuals when I’m in the mood. In addition, last year I lost a lot by drowning. I’ve added several new plants this spring and moved others around. It’s a continual experiment!

A few years ago, I took it in a new direction with my first Agave celsiis, one of the agaves that accepts shade and heavy soil. Here’s the 3-year-old with Salvia coccinea.
Agave celsii

Earlier this year, I moved the Knock Out rose and ‘Hot Lips’ Salvia greggii closer to the front sun. In their old space, I moved an Agave celseii for the second time (moved into too much shade under the mountain laurel last year), replaced a woody prostrate rosemary with a Forester upright, and added batface cuphea, coneflowers (some moved), purple umbrella plant (Trachellium ceerueleum), a few more of the golden groundsel (Packera obovata) for next year early flowers, and a ‘Powis Castle’ artemesia against the existing fall-blooming Mexican mint marigold. Out of view is a long-term Mexican oregano, whose summer-to-fall lavender flowers attract nectaring insects and hummingbirds. The gap is a placeholder for the Gulf penstemons that I’ll move in fall from where they seeded in the lettuce bed. They’re so tough that I could probably move them now, but I hate to uproot a plant this close to overbearing heat. Under the mountain laurel are new columbines.
crepe from back

Here’s the artemesia against pink evening primrose, coneflowers, and ‘Country Girl’ mums.

artemesia with primrose, coneflower

And the Gulf penstemon against Byzantine gladiolus. Generally, you have to order these heirloom bulbs online. They naturalize and return every April. I adore them.
Gulf penstemons Byzantine gladiolus

Here’s Penstemon cobaea against white Salvia greggii; ‘Country Girl’ mums (soft pink flowers in fall and sometimes in spring) in the foreground. I need to pinch them back, a monthly task until July.

penstemon cobaea, salvia greggi

Here’s a view to the cat perch, with asters, primrose, and the glads. You can see a little bit of Knock Out in the middle of the rambunctious primrose, and ‘Hot Lips’ is fluffing out there as well.

asters, Byzantine gladiolus, pink evening primrose

From front “camera left” here’s a view to the cat cove arbor. New Helen von Stein lambs ears, asters, spiderwort, Agave celseii, columbine and penstemons. There’s also the new Dianella (flax lily) and Dicliptera suberecta.
Helen von Stein lambs ears, Dianella, asters,  Agave celseii

In front of the mountain laurel, there’s evening primrose, candytuft, and ‘Starry Eyes’ nierembegia. ‘Hot Lips’ is just behind them. Along here, there are also garlic chives, oregano, winecup, orange bulbine, August-blooming rain lilies, remnants of spring bulbs, and various coreopsis. I recently added the variegated allium we mentioned on CTG, and now I want more! It’s a beautiful highlight under the mountain laurel’s branches in morning and evening shade, but gets afternoon sun, which I hope will be enough.

evening primrose and Starry Eyes nierembergia

From camera left: asters, artemisia, Dicliptera, bouncing bet, purple heart snipped from the front bed, the new Agave celseii tricolor, and lyre leaf sage (Salvia lyrata). Since this picture, I’ve peppered the front border with Mexican heathers.
asters, bouncing bet, Agave celseii tricolor, Dianella

Here’s a close-up of Dicliptera with the Dianella. The Dicliptera has grown so fast that I’ve been clipping it every week to encourage branching. I can’t wait to see if it brings on its touted red-orange flowers for the hummingbirds.
Dianella and Dicliptera suberecta

So, I’ve bared my soul. You can see that this isn’t a fancy garden, but by the time you read this, the color wheel will have turned. That’s why we like it. Like Texas weather, it’s never static for long. Until next week, Linda

  1. 11 Responses to “From the Producer: May 2, 2008”

  2. By Pam/Digging on May 2, 2008

    I haven’t tried the Byzantine gladiolus, Linda. Does it grow in shade or part sun in your garden, and does it require any more watering than your other plants? If not, I’ve got to try some.

    Thanks also for the heads-up on the shade-tolerant agave. It’s a pretty one. How big does it get? I like squid agave for part shade also.


  3. By Judith Tye on May 2, 2008

    Linda, did you say “not a fancy garden”? Hah! Didn’t see any of the cats in the photos, or have I missed something?
    Starbucks gives away coffee grounds to gardeners for mulch; I would hesitate to put them around ferns but elsewhere, I think this makes an ideal mulch, since the grounds are somewhat acidic. Have you tried them?
    Sure did enjoy meeting you, and look forward to seeing you again sometime! Take care…


  4. By Brent Henry on May 2, 2008

    The picutures are lovely. I am a BIG fan of the dianellas too. I have had ‘Powis Castle’ artemesia in the past and it can be AGGRESSIVE. You will need to keep it trimed. The ones I had were in full sun and wanted to grow around 4 feet wide and 4 feet tall. I do like the texture on them however. Thanks for sharing!!!


  5. By Linda Lehmusvirta on May 2, 2008

    Hi, Pam! In spring, when they emerge, the Byzantines have sun since the trees are bare. When they go dormant, they’re in shade. No extra water. Little troupers. They would work for you for sure in your front or back yard. The Agave celseii supposedly gets to 27″ tall and wide, and mine’s at about 24″ (I measured when I moved the other one to make sure it wouldn’t run into Knock Out.) Tom and I are passionate about this one. I got mine from Yucca Do but you may be able to get it in town by now. This year I added their latest tricolor, because I couldn’t resist!

    Dear Judy, it was a blast to meet you in Waco and thank you for the great gardens! I’ve emailed you but it’s bouncing, so I’ll try again tomorrow. Glad my garden was too great a disappointment.

    Dear Brent, I can’t wait for you to see your garden coming up on CTG! Our studio guest from The Emerald Garden was incredible. The artemesia seems to be a love/hate thing. I just keep them pruned. Every few years, they drown and I start over, but it’s the one artemesia that, for me, seems to handle some shade.


  6. By Susan Albert on May 3, 2008

    “Death by drowning.” Poor cenizo–I mourn with you, having lost a dozen hale & hearty rosemarys during last summer’s endless rains. And as far as color goes, green (in all its variousness) is lovely, with or without flowers.


  7. By Linda Lehmusvirta on May 3, 2008

    Susan, I’m glad to know that someone else lost beloved rosemary plants in last year’s exceptional rains. By the way, everyone should read Susan’s book, Rosemary Remembered, along with all the books in her great series.


  8. By Rhonda on May 8, 2008

    Do you (or anyone else out there) know where in Austin I can find euphorbia Diamond Frost? The Arboretum in Dallas uses it every summer to spectacular effect. Do you know what growing conditions it requires? Is it xeric? I really like your blog with photos.


    Linda reply on May 8th, 2008 2:43 pm:

    Hi, Rhonda! Glad you like the blog. Have you tried Barton Springs Nursery or PlantEscape? Also, you might check out the Austin Cactus and Succulent Society Show ( you can wait until Labor Day.


  9. By sharon on Mar 8, 2009

    is bulbine deer resistant?


    Linda reply on March 9th, 2009 3:56 pm:

    Dear Sharon, I’m sorry, it’s not. Linda


  10. By Pamela on Mar 17, 2009

    Linda – Is the dicliptra deer resistant? Do you have any experience with dwarf bottlebrush? I enjoy your site very much. Your garden is lovey.


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