From the producer: May 31, 2008

June 2nd, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

Now’s the time for all good gardeners and their plants to see if their spring adventures make it through the heat! Last weekend, we put up kiddie pool to make sure the gardener makes it through the next four months. Oh, just too wonderful. After a dip, I watered and pruned, my irritation and sweat in the heat serenely evaporated.

I was thrilled when we taped a garden recently to see a kiddie pool already in action—fancied up with a fountain made from an old sink, an idea I’m thinking of borrowing.

Speaking of fun with water, this week’s program features a fabulous new find, Kurt Hudgeons fromIt’s About Thyme, on creating “ponds for the people.” He shows how to make a water feature in one afternoon without breaking the bank. Fun ideas to get your creativity, and mine, in high gear. Bulky trash pick-up scavenges, or garage clean-out—that’s the key! He also designs custom-made fountains out of concrete, just beautiful!

Here’s one of Kurt’s quick designs that he calls the “red neck pond.” You can just imagine a passionvine climbing over its arbor.

Kurt also gives free classes on building ponds, streams, and funky water features, so check them out! You’ll also want to visit It’s About Thyme for their hard-to-find natives, plumerias, and herbs, including Thai herbs, and their fun and knowledgeable staff. Owners Diane and Chris Winslow have made it one of Texas nursery treasures. I also thank multi-talented Darrel Mayers from Mundi for suggesting this segment.

Here’s a clever idea I saw on the way to the grocery store.

With this inspiration, Greg and I are thinking about crazy fountain ideas to replace the variegated ligustrum in the patio cove. I hope that you’ll send your pictures of fun ideas, so we can all have a new summer project!

On projects, the short rebar on the rose arbor was short change when it came to the wind on steroids. Yes, we should have cemented it in, but we didn’t know if this was a forever situation. Since many of you may be in the same boat, here’s what we did.

We got ½” by 4’ rebar which I spray painted black the day before installation. In plumbing supply, we got hose clamps.

With a sledgehammer, Greg hammered in the rebar on all four sides to about 2-1/2’.

Greg clamped the rebar and arbor together. Next, I’ll touch up with black paint. Really, I should have painted the clamps first, but Greg said they would get “bougered up.” That’s a technical term, used by husbands who get drafted into this stuff.

On water, I’m giving the new plants long slow drinks while they’re still figuring things out. Wilt in evening, as you know, isn’t a bad sign. That’s a natural protective system. If they’re still wilted in morning, it’s time for a drink. I do the finger test for soil moisture, because too much water is just as bad as not enough. For sure, I’ll never get drafted as a “hand and nails” model.

A surprise: the moss verbena I planted years ago in front reappeared! I thought it was long gone. Here’s one against zexmenia in the front window bed.

This verbena has always been one of my favorite groundcovers, but they don’t hang around for me more than 2-3 years. With all the digging that went on in front this year, back they came, and in a few new locations. This one showed up on the other side of the sidewalk beyond the daylilies.

My first St. Joseph’s lily (Hippeastrum x Johnsonii) bloomed in the rental bed near the kiddie pool. This spring, I bought one pot, and being the cheapskate I am, divided its bulbs to ornament each side of the path for a few feet. It looked like I’d failed, but here they come! Guess I’ll get some more.

Here’s Coreopsis lanceolata in the crepe bed, a long-term buddy.

Finally, here’s Cedric on the patio. This box carried plants home two months ago, but while Cedric’s adopted it, there it stays. Every year he sits in the plant box until it falls apart. This is not artistic expression for the patio, but if the cats are happy, peace is all around us.

Hope to hear from you soon! Linda

  1. 7 Responses to “From the producer: May 31, 2008”

  2. By Pam/Digging on Jun 3, 2008

    I have one of those “redneck ponds” in my own garden–ha! I can’t quite picture the kiddie pool, Linda. Do you mean the shallow, plastic jobbies? Can you get submerged in one of those? ;-) Or maybe you have something bigger. Would love to see a photo.


  3. By Linda on Jun 4, 2008

    Hi, Pam! For years we had the 8′ pool with fish or carousel design. Last year we moved up to an Intex 10′ pool with a filter. Too funny and too wonderful! Greg has been wanting me to write a story about our kiddie pool for years, so I’ll share with you next week the story and our “kiddie pool management.” Not sure I’m brave enough to send a picture. We’ll see. Bring me a margarita and some of those deviled eggs and I’ll take a picture.

    Your pond is very sophisticated. For years, we had a redneck pond on the patio, but for various reasons, we ended that story last year. We’ll try again, because it was great, and the toads certainly loved it. More later, Linda


  4. By vertie on Jun 5, 2008

    Can’t wait to see the new fountain ideas. I love the one you passed on the way to the grocery store. I guess we are neighbors! I walk by that one all the time.


  5. By Annie in Austin on Jun 5, 2008

    I just watched this week’s CTG show and loved both the water ideas from Kurt at It’s About Thyme and the visit with Patti Kubala in her shady garden with the front terrace.
    Kurt’s ‘Bubba Rocks’ looked amazing! I love my disappearing fountain but am intrigued with a ‘rock’ weighing 50 pounds instead of the nearly 300 pounds ours weighed.

    Did you buy your beautiful St Joseph’s lily at a nursery or was it a passalong plant? I’ve read about them but haven’t seen them for sale – maybe I’m looking at the wrong time of year? Or in the wrong places?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


  6. By Link on Jun 5, 2008

    Borrow away, Linda! It’s big trash week in South Austin: if I find a discarded — yet tasteful — sink, I’ll get it for you.

    Your blog is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.


  7. By mss @ Zanthan Gardens on Jun 5, 2008

    Water features are such a boon to the garden this time of year. I’ve been to one of Kurt’s workshops and he is informative and passionate about ponds.

    One thing concerns me and that is water use. I’m very conscious of water conservation and try my best to follow good water use principals. We put in a pond last year and I was shocked how quickly the water is evaporating during these August-like days of May.


  8. By Linda on Jun 6, 2008

    Hi, mss! I understand about the water conservation issue. I guess one thing would be to collect rainwater–for these small ponds, it wouldn’t take much. It’s such a boon to the wildlife, too, who are frantic for water.


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