Read your garden’s rule book|Mueller restoration

February 9th, 2012 Posted in bulbs, drought, garden design, native plants, philosophy, pruning, roses, winter color

Crazy days weather!

winter tree color Central Texas
Narcissus ‘Abba’ is an early performer, but a few weeks earlier this year.

Narcissus 'Abba'
Primrose jasmine (Jasminum mesnyi) is a little ahead of schedule, too.

primrose jasmine early bloom
It’s a bit early for silver germander (Teucrium fruticans), though flower “scouts” are not unusual.

Silver germander flower Teucrium fruticans
Generally, it explodes later in spring. Since its diminutive flowers are but brief, its true mission lies in dramatizing the neighbors all year.

Salvia greggii and silver germander
I’ll wait to shape this drought-tough shrub in March, like all the evergreens.  I guess I’ll wait until then to cut back the unusually busy Copper Canyon daisy (Tagetes lemmonii), too.

Copper Canyon daisy
Rose ‘Isabella Sprunt’ is always early, a gift long ago on my mother’s death, from dear friends Kati and David Timmons.

Isabella Sprunt rose
As usual, my neighbor’s ‘Marie Pavie’ is the first on the block to unveil a shower, without benefit of fertilizer, shaping, or even irrigation. I planted it when she lost her husband, one of my first garden mentors.

Rose Marie Pavie early flower

The hardest lesson I learned as a gardener is that you can’t change your zip code. Sure, you can attempt it if you’re one who loves a battle. But we face so many other battles; why invite one with the ultimate CEO?  Instead of competing with nature, I’ve learned to  pay attention to my garden’s rule book.

Why good plants go wrong is this week’s interview with Pat McNeal from McNeal Growers.

Tom Spencer and Pat McNeal
He and Tom remind us why it’s important to “dance with the one that brung you,” not the partner across the room (or zip code!). I admire so many plants, but before I succumb, I refer to my garden’s rule book.

Pat’s a long-time innovator to grow what works for us, like this sedge lawn of his.

Pat McNeal sedge lawn

Although his nursery is not open for retail, check out his website for plants he’s tested, and his insight into selections for your garden.

On tour, see how Mueller in east Austin is growing where it’s planted: a new and yet old-fashioned way to garden, with compact yards that value resources and connect neighbors as nearby bungalows did years ago.  It’s a community that unites with nature, too, through the parks and ponds that have brought back the wildlife on land once covered by airport runways and parking lots.

In the vegetable garden, John Dromgoole shows off some late winter beauties that aren’t too late to grow from transplants.

John Dromgoole late winter vegetables

John Dromgoole late winter vegetables

See you next week! Linda

  1. 12 Responses to “Read your garden’s rule book|Mueller restoration”

  2. By Pamela on Feb 9, 2012

    LOVE the piece re: Mueller gardens. Thanks so much for featuring it.


    Linda reply on February 9th, 2012 4:40 pm:

    I LOVED doing it! What a wonderful place, and people.


  3. By cherie foster colburn on Feb 9, 2012

    My narcissus and leucojum are popping, too, Linda! c:


    Linda reply on February 9th, 2012 4:40 pm:

    Hi, Cherie! First leucojum out and the others about to explode! Oh, just nabbed the Johnson amaryllis from Southern Bulbs! They came today and I’ll plant this weekend. Can’t wait!


  4. By Desert Dweller / David C. on Feb 9, 2012

    An inspiring development…I only hope we can pull something like that off, but for our desert locale, as the LA. (hearing “Mueller” pronounced as “Miller” threw me!) And the sedge lawn, Pat Mc Neal…a nice idea that has me thinking, and now I can place the face with the name I’ve heard of. Great post!


    Linda reply on February 9th, 2012 6:27 pm:

    Hi, David, the Mueller pronunciation throws me off every time! I love the sedges and am thinking about imitating Pat’s idea. If you come to Austin, I’ll introduce you to Pat. He’s discovered some great plants!


  5. By Robert Breeze on Feb 9, 2012

    Linda, I had to cut back my Gold Canyon daisies about a month ago because due to the nutty weather they were overgrowing their space, but only cut it back to the bare minimum and left the rest of the freezer-burned branches. When do you think it’s going to be safe to cut those off?


    Linda reply on February 9th, 2012 6:26 pm:

    Hi, Robert! You can cut them back any time. Normally we’d do hard pruning with them this time of year.


  6. By Cat on Feb 9, 2012

    Hi Linda, I love the sentimentality of your roses. What a sweet remembrance of your mom. I was at the Grow Green class Wednesday and Pat McNeal taught a session. He was most interesting and easy to listen to. I enjoyed his session. That sedge lawn looks so refreshing and soft; it beckons for bare feet!


    Linda reply on February 10th, 2012 9:39 am:

    I love that lawn! And I’ve learned so much from Pat over the years. I’m so glad you got to meet him!


  7. By Bob Harper on Feb 10, 2012

    Thank goodness – this week’s preview of the Saturday show came thru “loud and clear.” Sure am glad . And, I even managed to see last week’s preview – but had seen show last Saturday. I have the DVR programmed to tape all new CTG shows in case I forget to tell it each week. One of the wonderful things Brent Henry has done for me is to put me onto your show. And, what a shame I didn’t know about you all sooner. Guess you’ll have to call this my Valentine to YOU ALL. Bob


    Linda reply on February 11th, 2012 3:45 pm:

    Bob, you are so sweet! And yes, we are glad the server is back and happy! Happy Valentine’s to you!


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