Cancer Healing Garden|Gomphrena|Vertical Growing Systems

June 26th, 2014 Posted in Vertical Growing Systems, annuals, crafts, cut flowers, garden art, garden designers, garden rooms, healing gardens

First, around town Pride of Barbados has been going like gangbusters at the Posse East near UT.

pride of barbados austin texas wildlife perennial

Like us all, they were a tad worried about it last winter. But mine is just crawling back while theirs is stopping traffic! That’s microclimates for you.

While we and the wildlife are waiting for slow-moving perennials to warm up after their big chill scare, Trisha entertains our gardens and attracts butterflies with annual gomphrena (globe amaranth) like ‘Fireworks’.

Fireworks gomphrena globe amaranth austin texas summer annual

She tells us that the colors are actually bracts (like shrimp plant & poinsettias). The actual flowers that attract those butterflies are tiny with yellow stamens.

Fireworks gomphrena globe amaranth austin texas summer annual

Drought tolerant and deer-proof, they bloom like nuts in full sun in the hottest months. Often they’re felled by freeze but sometimes overwinter or return from seed. No fertilizer needed!

Along with Fireworks and the QIS series, Trisha’s latest love is ‘Pink Zazzle’ gomphrena. Its leaves are fuzzy, totally different than any gomphrena I’ve grown.

Pink Zazzle gomphrena Trisha Shirey Central Texas Gardener

Lightly cut back gomphrena early on to spur lush branching. Harvest the little “globes” quickly for long-lasting dried flowers in arrangements, wreaths, or decorative jars.

gomphrena dried flower arrangements central texas gardener

If you want seeds instead, wait until the bracts turn straw-colored. Then, pluck the seeds to sow for another round or save for next year.

My sedges (various Carex) have already scattered their seeds. They’ve been so prolific that I’ll move some around this fall to tickle a few other spaces. I bought my Texas sedge at nurseries and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

sedge Carex texensis central texas gardener

This one came with my house.

Native sedge austin garden

I learned about sedges, along with many native plants, when I met Pat McNeal of McNeal Growers soon after CTG was born. He’s discovered, propagated and brought into the trade many of the drought-tough plants that we count on these days.

Wholesale McNeal Growers is still growing strong, but Pat can’t pass up on new ideas that spare water. This week, he joins Tom to show off his latest venture, Vertical Growing Systems.

Pat McNeal Vertical Growing Systems Central Texas Gardener

Certainly, I’ve seen them around, but how do they work? Pat breaks down the basic engineering that KLRU colleague Galia Farber checked out for herself.

Galia Farber with Vertical Growing Systems Central Texas Gardener KLRU

Why are vertical growing systems trending? For one thing, they’re water-saving ways to grow food and ornamentals to cool down outdoor walls and even roofs.

Vertical Growing System Central Texas Gardener

For indoor condo/apartment gardeners or outside in narrow spaces, Pat explains why this ground-breaking technique is definitely growing up on our horizon.

Vertical Growing Systems Central Texas Gardener

On tour, Elayne Lansford definitely reached for the sky when husband John Villanacci faced a random disease and lung transplant, soon after she recovered from breast cancer.

Healing garden bottle world battle with cancer central texas gardener

She turned her despair into creative energy. After learning to weld, she turned the field beyond their garden into her Bottle World as a triumph to healing.

Healing garden with cancer struggle central texas gardener

Healing garden with cancer struggle central texas gardener

Healing garden with cancer struggle central texas gardener

It was a twist for Elayne, a psychologist who helps clients every day. Since she built a secondary office near the Bottle World, clients can travel her serene path of rebirth—both in spirit and wildflowers.

rustic chairs wildflower path healing garden central texas gardener

Elayne also believes in giving old objects a new objective. She rescues thrift store discards, roadside bottles, and even tools from her family’s farm. One foundling, an old bathtub, became a quiet evening retreat to soak away some of her anger and grief as the stars overhead encouraged hope.

rustic chairs wildflower path healing garden central texas gardener

When she found an abandoned bed spring, she sprung unto action, enlisting a welder friend to create a Bottle World arbor.

Bedspring bottle arbor central texas gardener

Bedspring bottle arbor central texas gardener

Elayne styles up old pails and broken tiles as concrete anchors for smaller Bottle World designs.

Mosaic on concrete container design

From a discarded tabletop, she crafted her recirculating water wall waterfall.

Waterfall with old table top central texas gardener

Her first design had a few bugs, so John came up with a new design. Here’s what he did.

See her story now!

Thanks for stopping by! Linda

  1. 8 Responses to “Cancer Healing Garden|Gomphrena|Vertical Growing Systems”

  2. By Dee Nash on Jun 27, 2014

    Sounds like another busy week in Texas land.~~Dee


    Linda reply on June 29th, 2014 2:40 pm:

    Yes! And the rain keeps missing me. Pooh. Love your daylilies!


  3. By Tina on Jun 30, 2014

    Those gomphrena are just about the cutest things ever!! Hmm–wish I had the room and the sun for them. I like the vertical gardens. My experiment with the Green Tower vertical vege garden has had mixed results: I’ve had yield, but it’s proving difficult to water on the side. Still, a nice crop of toms has been enjoyed by all–including the mockingbirds.! Great post!


    Linda reply on June 30th, 2014 6:56 pm:

    I’ll get back with you on email about your vertical experiment!


  4. By Terry on Jul 4, 2014

    where can I find pink zazzle to buy?


    Linda reply on July 6th, 2014 2:03 pm:

    Hi, Terry! Check your local nurseries, not the box stores. Hope you find some!


    Lorna reply on July 22nd, 2014 9:35 am:

    I found them at the Great Outdoors on S.Congress.


    Linda reply on July 23rd, 2014 3:38 pm:



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