Gardening on a budget

September 16th, 2010 Posted in bulbs, garden bloggers, garden design, native plants

I’ve never had a ton of money for the garden, and not a bunch of time, either. And like the rest of my life, the garden is a process, one step and experiment at a time. Honestly, I can count more failures than victories (though every disaster is one-up for experience). But a sure-fire way to extend your bucks is with naturalizing bulbs for reliable seasonal surprise every year, one of the best joys of gardening. Well, if you like surprises, that is.

Oxblood lily with lantana

After the 6″ of rain, my oxbloods went stark crazy. I love the way they spring up through perennials like blue plumbago (Plumbago auriculata).

Oxblood lily with plumbago auriculata

This year, I’ll divide some to include around the native Plumbago scandens.

Plumbago scandens

Another rain lily popped up. I think it’s some version of Zephyranthes labuffarosa, but I’m not sure.

summer rain lily

Thanks to the rain, the passionvine got a second wind, too. From the patio, Greg spotted it on the back fence and raced out for a picture.

Passionvine Greg Klinginsmith

Back on the patio, he got this romantic shot of our potted begonia, another long-term reliable if protected from freeze.

Begonia Greg Klinginsmith

Since gardening is how many of us launch into DIY projects that we never imagined taking on, this week on CTG, Tom Spencer meets with Pam Penick, of Penick Landscape Design with tips to give your garden structure, definition, and intrigue on a budget.

Many of you know Pam already through her beautiful and informative blog, Digging, where she journals the adventures in her garden and travels to others.

On CTG, she tackles three easy projects that make such a difference in the garden’s personality. Sure, there’s a little sweat equity involved, but with cooler days on the way, now’s a perfect time to try this at home. Pam explains how to make an easy trellis with cow panel (without a post hole digger!), and how to stylize your garden with paths that are equally functional and eye-catching.

Pam Penick, Penick Landscape Design

For a little intrigue, Pam shows how easy it is to make a peek-a-boo gate. One illustration she chose is the picture she took of the curious & creative Michele Holt’s version at Wabi-Sabi Home and Garden.

Michele Holt wabi-sabihomeandgarden

Daphne tackles a little intrigue this week, too, with some troubled leaves sent in by Richard Reinert and his daughter Vivian Miller.

Fungus on Chinese pistache leaves

If you’ve only considered kalanchoe a patio or houseplant, check out her tips on growing ground-hardy Kalanchoe sp., Mother of Thousands.

Before racing to the nursery this fall, check out Trisha’s tips on how to pick a healthy plant.  Gardening on a budget is a lot easier if you pass up a plant that’s about to croak.

Catch it all online, including our garden visit that reminds us that it’s time to be thinking about planting wildflower seeds.

Note on Casis garden: I really thank Lynn Boswell who spent tons of time organizing it all. Well, no wonder. When she’s not being a Casis mom, she’s a freelance television producer (via CNN) who also produces Texas Monthly Talks. This October, watch for its new rendition as Overheard with Evan Smith; great guests to overhear on the way!

Until next week, Linda

  1. 10 Responses to “Gardening on a budget”

  2. By Carol on Sep 16, 2010

    It is post like these that make we wish CTG aired in Indianapolis. I will wait patiently for the YouTube version!


    Linda reply on September 16th, 2010 4:27 pm:

    Carol, it’s live online at and on YT. It will also be on your own PBS station’s video portal. Your garden makes me wish I were in Indianapolis!


  3. By ESP on Sep 16, 2010

    Hi Linda.
    I have been seeing some stunning arrays of oxblood lilies all around town after our last good soaking…now I want them, a lot of them…I am so bad with planting bulbs! I am not a flower person as you know, but these look amazing in large numbers!
    Oh yes, I will have them!
    A True-Blood convert.


    Linda reply on September 17th, 2010 3:11 pm:

    I think I see some in your future. I’ll have a talk with my shovel.


  4. By Kathleen Scott on Sep 19, 2010

    So glad you’re featuring Pam! Her stock-tank garden how-to is still my favorite post of last year. Great step-by-step.

    I put in some oxblood lillies five summers ago and never saw a bloom for three years because the deer kept them eaten down. But they didn’t die and last spring I moved them to a protected spot. They’re my joy of September now (after the joy of falling temps). I’ll be happy when I have a thickness to divide.

    Our passion vine took a couple of years to establish too but now I find it coming up everywhere. I can’t complain, we’ve never seen so many gulf frittilaries. And how can a person complain about those outer-space-looking flowers?


    Linda reply on September 20th, 2010 3:14 pm:

    Yes, it took years for me to get a stand of oxbloods. But now that they’re going for you, you’ve got them forever! And yes, one passionvine turned into a million. Yea, hate to complain. . .too much!


  5. By Jenny on Sep 21, 2010

    Linda-A little bird told me that you have won a very deserved award for your writing on CTG, Congratulations. Also, congratulations on spending your money very wisely when it comes to choosing plants for the garden. You always come up with something wonderful every season. We all love CTG.


    Linda reply on September 22nd, 2010 4:08 pm:

    Thank you, Jenny! I’m going through your blog soon to remember all the plants I want to get at the Wildflower sale.


  6. By Meredith/Great Stems on Sep 28, 2010

    That is a GORGEOUS photo of the passionflower. Holy cow, what colors. This is my first year with successful passionflowers — can you believe I managed to kill one last year? Now, they are all thriving, thank goodness.


    Linda reply on September 29th, 2010 4:19 pm:

    Believe me, I’ve killed a few myself. Once they’re happy, they’re very happy. I just had to cut one off a yaupon to prevent strangling!


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