From the producer: June 28, 2008

June 26th, 2008 Posted in Uncategorized

I must tell you that I’m thrilled with my experiment, Dicliptera suberecta. I was worried about the gray leaves in my clay (albeit composted) soil, but the folks at the nursery said it handled heavy wet just fine–in case it ever rains again. It’s filling out nicely in all the beds. This one in the crape bed gets filtered sun with a few hot blasts during the day. It laughs at the heat!

Others get intense morning sun. I know that it can take cold, too, since I planted the first ones just days before we got our coldest freeze. It set them back a bit as new 4″ transplants, but not for long. One common name for it is hummingbird plant, a testament to its flowers. There were two on them last night!

The bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis) in the crape bed is blooming, too. I’ve had this one for years, through drought, drown, and freeze. It doesn’t get mad when you divide it, though I wouldn’t do it now.

What’s bizarre is that a few larkspurs are still blooming! These self-seeded guys are in the front room window, with purple heart (Setcresea) and fall asters beyond. By the way, a head’s up that all fall-only bloomers get their last clipping in the next two weeks.

My latest curiosity is ferns, thanks to Laura Joseph, our featured gardener, and our interview guest, horticulturist/designer Patrick Kirwin. Last fall we taped Laura’s gracious garden at her historic home. She’s now an internationally acclaimed fern expert, a plant passion that began in childhood. In containers and in the ground, she has magnificent specimens, from staghorns to natives to exotics I would never have recognized as ferns. But she doesn’t stop with ferns, and as a supreme plant experimenter, at every turn you run into surprises of color and texture. Laura’s also a long-term volunteer and garden club member at Zilker Botanical Garden. Recently she spearheaded The Garden Club of Austin’s new fern garden at Zilker to educate and entice novices like me.

Then, while shooting one of Patrick’s designs last spring, he spoke with passion about ferns, including the many natives that we can grow. That day, we came up with the idea for his segment with Tom, focusing mainly on native ferns, including ones for sun, and how to give them a creative design statement.

On that shoot with Patrick, it was actually an exotic, East India holly fern, that hooked me. When I literally ran into one at the nursery that weekend, I figured I’d take my first step into fern-ville. I got just one for the patio bed to see if our relationship was agreeable. So far, we’re still together!

For Patrick’s interview with Tom, I went to a nursery to borrow an Autumn fern, one on Patrick’s list, and ended up buying it. I planted it in the patio bed where the cycad used to live. It was over 100° when I planted it, but it didn’t care. Already I love it.

Patrick and Laura may have created a new fern fan, and with you, too, I hope. Patrick’s list will be on our web site. You can also click on John Dromgoole’s picture, for the list he recently presented as a fern lover.

As the heat goes on, I hope this week’s program will inspire you, as it did Tom and me, for a few new ideas. Until next week, Linda

  1. 7 Responses to “From the producer: June 28, 2008”

  2. By mss @ Zanthan Gardens on Jun 27, 2008

    I have a few larkspur blooming, too. Or maybe they just dried that way.

    Ooooh, I’m fascinated by the ferns. I’d love to have some…some that can survive Austin. Do you know when the fern segment will air yet?


  3. By Rhonda on Jun 27, 2008

    Okay, okay, okay. What nursery did you get the Diclipera Suberecta from? With the gray leaves, maybe it’s deer resistant?…..


    Linda reply on June 27th, 2008 3:29 pm:

    Barton Springs Nursery. But I bet others have it too. It’s just that I saw it there for the first time. My first two did so well that I went back to get more. You know, I didn’t ask about deer resistance. Maybe has info on that. From that site, I learned that it’s easy as heck to propagate from cuttings. So far I’m loving this one! It seems to benefit from being sheared back to keep it fluffy.


  4. By Jenny Stocker on Jun 27, 2008

    I am such a bad gardener! I planted a 4″ pot of Dicliptera last year. It just grew leaves. I cut it back and this year it is in full flower and wonderful. I just couldn’t remember what it was called. Dicentra I thought- but when I looked that up it was bleeding heart. So I am thrilled to see it in your garden and the mystery is solved. That is one 4″ pot that survived. I love it so much I plan to get some more this fall.
    Thanks for solving my mystery.


  5. By Linda on Jun 28, 2008

    Hi, Jenny! That happens to me all the time. I’ve heard it called various common names. I understand that it’s also very easy to root, so with your talent, you may try that when it cools off!


  6. By Annie in Austin on Jun 29, 2008

    Your Diclipera suberecta photo caught my eye, too, Linda – perhaps I can just recognize the name if it shows up.

    Some of my larkspur are also putting out a few flowers. Last year the wet soil made them rot and collapse early but they’re staying upright this year. None of this year’s survivors are in full sun – all have some afternoon shade.

    Laura Joseph’s garden was a lovely segment – the staghorn ferns are fascinating. But one part of the story surprised me. Don’t the Purple Martins object to people handling their fledglings?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


  7. By Linda on Jun 30, 2008

    Hi, Annie! Actually, the martins are very human-friendly. They want their houses to be close to yours. And they don’t mind the babies being handled. It’s important to monitor the nests for mites or the babies that die–to get them out and clean the mites off the live ones. We had success with martins for a few years before our lot got too shady. The little birds loved to be handled! It’s so fun!


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