Flameproof plants

June 10th, 2010 Posted in Uncategorized

Spring meets summer again! Angelica pachycarpa towers over the kiddie pool. I keep pruning off its bottom leaves as they give out, but we’ve got another week or so before the whole thing goes underground for now.

Angelica pachycarpa

With last week’s bit of rain, it was April again when the columbines I recently cut back reenergized.

Columbine Denver Gold Columbine Denver Gold

Tawny daylilies still demand attention.

Tawny daylily Central Texas Gardener

On the patio, I always have pots of Tom Peace’s old-fashioned petunias (I get them in spring from The Natural Gardener or re-seed from last year’s plants if I need to renew them). These petunias aren’t just all about looks: they pack a scent! Against them in another pot is my beloved find of the year, Gazania rigens ‘Bicton Orange’ from It’s About Thyme.

Old-fashioned petunia with Gazania rigens 'Bicton Orange'

The winecups responded to a trim, as well. Wish they’d stick around longer, since they’re perfect against warm-weather Diamond Frost euphorbias.

Winecup with euphoria Diamond Frost

But this week on CTG, see how Jimmy Turner tops Diamond Frost with this Euphorbia hybrid ‘White Manaus’. It’s the big one in back, with Diamond Frost in front.

Euphorbia White Manaus Dallas Arboretum

As Senior Director of Gardens at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Jimmy also tests plants to see if they’re worthy for us. His motto: “Trial by Flower. If we can’t kill it, no one can!” He tried hard to kill this Lobularia ‘Snow Princess’. It laughed and grew like crazy.

Lobularia Snow Princess Dallas Arboretum

And look at this jewel he couldn’t kill! Gaillardia pulchella ‘Razzle Dazzle’.

Gaillardia Razzle Dazzle Dallas Arboretum

That’s just a sample, so check out his complete list and details about each flame proof plant. You can also watch online, since you must experience his excitement and insight about each plant. I’ve met a lot of passionate gardeners, but if Jimmy’s energy could be corralled, we could light a few cities with it!

Oh, be sure to sign up for his enewsletter on his latest plant trials. And check out all the fun events for kids and families at the Dallas Arboretum for a fabulous staycation jaunt.

On tour, you really really can’t miss seeing Claire Golden’s San Antonio garden, if you haven’t seen it before. I think of her as a “grande dame” of gardens: gracious, fiery wit, and a glamorous garden she restored around her 1920s Mediterranean bungalow.

Curious about that black stuff on your plants? Daphne has the answer: caterpillar frass.

caterpillar frass

Get all her tips and plant of the week info.

John Dromgoole heads to the kitchen and medicine cabinet for inexpensive homemade fertilizers and fungicides. And yes, it’s a good idea to recycle the dregs of your sodas into the garden!  And I never knew that comfrey was one of the best fertilizers around! We’ll be doing more on this.

Viewer Jan wrote in that her favorite inexpensive homemade discovery is Epsom salt (Magnesium sulphate). “My family has told me about the use of Epsom salts on flowers, plants, veggies and lawns. I have been using it and it is a remarkable product to use. My flowers have never looked so nice. I planted a tree a few years ago and this year it has taken off since I pour 2 teaspoons to a gallon of water on it. Thanks for the tip, Jan!

I thank Charlotte Trussell for sending these great pictures. First, she’s got some katydids of a different color. Any clue about their identity?

Katydid San Antonio

Also, check out her variegated fritillary butterflies dining out on this recipe: hummingbird nectar (4 cups water with 1 cup sugar), fresh watermelon, and butterfly mash (over-ripe bananas, beer, and brown sugar mixed in a blender and allowed to ferment).

Variegated gulf fritillarys on home feeder

Until next week, Linda

  1. 24 Responses to “Flameproof plants”

  2. By Pamela Price on Jun 10, 2010

    LOVE that San Antonio garden. Love, love, love.


    Linda reply on June 10th, 2010 4:29 pm:

    Love that garden and we love Claire! I want to be like her.


  3. By Pam/Digging on Jun 10, 2010

    That Euphorbia hybrid ‘White Manaus’? Oh my! Size does matter.


    Linda reply on June 10th, 2010 4:28 pm:

    I know. Can you believe it?


  4. By Miki K. on Jun 10, 2010

    I recognize the black ash container from about 20years ago Linda, looks great. Bought that down in Larado on one of our Randolph Wives Club Tours, they were always fun. Miki K.


    Linda reply on June 10th, 2010 6:49 pm:

    We love it!


  5. By Linda Phillips on Jun 11, 2010

    I like that lobularia. Every other one I’ve ever planted, died a quick death. I’d like to try this one.

    One of my ‘Diamond Frost’ euphorbias, looks like it’s going to survive the deer attack. But, that ‘White Manaus’….wow. That would be a good one to have.

    As usual, this week’s show is full of good gardening info. Thanks for that.


    Linda reply on June 11th, 2010 3:49 pm:

    Thanks, Linda! I really appreciate that.


  6. By Wizzie on Jun 11, 2010


    The katydid is a Central Texas Leaf Katydid. There seem to be huge populations just south of Austin around Hays/ Bexar Counties. More info here:



    Wizzie reply on June 11th, 2010 12:15 pm:

    Wrong weblink- sorry!


    Linda reply on June 11th, 2010 3:57 pm:

    Oh, yes, Wizzie, she is south of us, like you said.


    Linda reply on June 11th, 2010 3:49 pm:

    Wow! Thank you, Wizzie!


  7. By Kathleen Scott on Jun 11, 2010

    What I love about CTG is that I always learn something. I didn’t realize I’d have another flush of blooms if I pruned my Hinckley’s columbine. I’m somewhat prune-phobic and appreciate seeing your pruning results. Will help me take the scissors out.

    Amazed variegated frittilary feeder! Do you have details of making the butterfly mash?

    Your tawny daylillies look a lot like the heirlooms I got from my mother, that she got from her mother. Is your foliage variegated too?

    Thanks for sharing your wealth.


    Linda reply on June 12th, 2010 2:51 pm:

    Hi, Kathleen! No, my tawnies aren’t variegated. I got them as a passalong, but nothing as neat as you getting your grandmother’s!

    For the mash, I can ask her but I think it’s just one of those mix a little of this & that, not too soupy. I have great luck just putting out old bananas, watermelon and peaches. They come to it like crazy!

    I can’t really say that pruning the columbines helped them bloom again, but it’s happened before. I was cutting back all the icky foliage from the bottom (not the tops; take it off at the bottom). That flushes out new growth from the bottom. We got that rain and slightly cooler temps, and bingo!


  8. By Robin at Getting Grounded on Jun 12, 2010

    Linda, I want to print out his list – loved Jimmy’s enthusiasm and want to keep that list. But when I tried the link in your post to access his entire list, it didn’t work for me. Can you send it to me?
    Thanks! Robin


    Linda reply on June 13th, 2010 2:00 pm:

    Yes, Robin, he was great! I want all those plants. Yes, I’ll send you the list and I’ll also get that link fixed. Thanks!


  9. By Sherry Colvin on Jun 16, 2010

    I just tried the link to Jimmy’s flameproof plant list, and it is still not working for me.
    Maybe you can post the proper link here so that we can all see it?


    Linda reply on June 16th, 2010 6:33 pm:

    Sherry, not sure what is going on with this link. I’ll email you the list. Many apologies.


  10. By Annie in Austin on Jun 17, 2010

    The Angelica is amazing, Linda – you have such unusual and interesting plants!

    I love that term ‘flame-proof plants’ but my garden may be too small for an enormous cold-tender plant like Euphorbia ‘White Manaus’ – my ‘Diamond Frost’ euphorbias work well tucked in between other plants, not as a feature. Do like the lobularia!

    What a great garden visit video, Linda…Claire Golden’s garden has so much personality and drama! I love gardens with stories. Now off to buy lottery tickets ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose


    Linda reply on June 17th, 2010 4:38 pm:

    Oh, buy one for me too! I need to hire a gardener!


  11. By Mary on Jun 18, 2010

    I also tried the link to Flame Proof Plants and it didn’t work. Is there any other way to get the list?


    Linda reply on June 18th, 2010 3:21 pm:

    Hi, Mary, I’m sorry. I’ll email it to you. We can’t seem to figure this one out. Do the other links open for you?


  12. By John Sullivan on Jun 18, 2010

    I work in a “big box” retail store. We are constantly getting back dead trees and bushes and the cause is quite clear; They are all pot bound
    In the Cedar Park area, for one, if you dig out a round hole in our rock hard soil. the roots will simply follow the edge of the round hole and never make it out to the drip line of the tree or shrub. The best plan is to dig a square hole and break out the corners with a rock bar. or like I have heard on C.T.G. plant high.


    Linda reply on June 18th, 2010 3:21 pm:

    Thanks, John! In any nursery, plants can be pot bound. Often, on CTG, we recommend cutting off those girdling roots and spreading out the rest. And, like you said, dig a big ugly hole & in rockier soil, break out the corners with a rock bar. Always plant high, too! Girdling roots & planting too low will kill them every time. Super to hear from you. I’d love to know other common problems from your customers. And be sure to refer them to CTG to help them out, like you are doing!


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