Groundcovers made for the shade; spiritual healing garden

November 14th, 2012 Posted in Techniques, companion plants, container gardens, crafts, drought, fall plants, garden design, groundcovers, healing gardens, lawn replace, philosophy, shade plants

Is it true? Is fall here at last? In any case, ‘Butterpat’ chrysanthemum is ready!

Butterpat chrysanthemum
Since we’re finally around the heat bend, it’s time to plant. This week Daphne explains why we should firm the soil around our plants. Why is that, when we’re cautioned not to trample beds? Plus, get her answer on what happens when we till.

Daphne Richards, Augie, Grandma's Yellow rose
I did firm the soil around my new snake herb (Dyschoriste linearis), one that accepts my east Austin soil, but is adaptable to many sites.

Snake herb (Dyschoriste linearis)

Find out about this drought-tough groundcover and many more when Tom meets with Michelle Pfluger from Green ‘n Growing in Pflugerville.

Tom Spencer Michelle Pfluger Central Texas Gardener

Yep, she descends from the Pfluger founders. Her parents started this great nursery in 1975, one of the first to carry organic products. I cut some of my early teeth on it. Now she’s at the helm, and carrying on the tradition of propagating some of their diverse, Texas-proven selections.

Green 'n Growing Garden Center Pflugerville Texas
She responds to one of CTG’s top questions:  How can we dress up dry shade to part sun?  One of her drought-tough picks is cobweb plant (Tradescantia sillamontana).

Cobweb spiderwort Tradescantia sillamontana

Now, this one’s really supposed to get some shade, but I planted my passalong from gardener Paul Lofton last spring in a psycho hot area: shade morning and blasted heat in the afternoon. It blooms most in fall, but its creeping texture is what I treasure.

Cobweb spiderwort flower
It goes dormant in winter when tall spring spiderworts (Tradescantia gigantea) will take over.

This picture shows it in perspective. It’s the one cozying up between the two pots.

frogfruit path with cobweb spiderwort

Another dry shade/part sun lover is Mexican spiderwort (Tinantia pringlei), blooming through hot months. This perennial will go dormant in winter but return in spring, maybe even with a new family!

Mexican spiderwort  (Tinantia pringlei)
Here’s mine with Yucca rupicola x pallida and fall-blooming bulb Sternbergia lutea.

Mexican spiderwort with Sternbergia lutea
A compatible companion for its spotted leaves is African hosta (Drimiopsis maculata). In gardens, it goes dormant in winter to return in spring. In protected containers, it is evergreen.

African hosta Drimiopsis maculata
Recently, I found a spot for another spotted one on Michelle’s list: Silver leopard manfreda (Manfreda x ‘Silver Leopard’). You’ll also see it as Manfreda maculosa ‘Silver Leopard.’

Silver leopard manfreda (Manfreda x 'Silver Leopard').

Nearby are two ‘Helen von Stein’ lamb’s ears. Behind are the ‘Butterpat’ mums. Yellow, silver, and burgundy; lovely! One of the new snake herbs is just down the line from them. Pictures later! I plan to take a cue from Amanda and create a “spotted garden” in this area, too.

An evergreen I’ve wanted for years is Mountain pea (Orbexilum sp.) Recently, this drought-hardy plant for sun to part shade has become more available. It’s showing up in gardens all over, including mine. It’s the perfect, no-care addition under big trees, though I’ve also seen it as a lush companion plant in sun. Gets about a foot high. Here’s one with its sweet little pea-flower in the Travis County AgriLife Extension demo garden.

Mountain pea

Get Michelle’s complete CTG list to spark up your shade.

Since drought and hard freezes will always be on our radar, we repeat Merredith Jiles’ Backyard Basics tips on what takes the trauma in his garden.

Merrideth Jiles The Great Outdoors

On tour, find soulful inspiration as we head into the season of thanks through Elayne Lansford’s healing garden.

Healing garden Elayne Lansford Central Texas Gardener
Her Bottle World is a tribute to triumph over life-threatening illness and the power of healing through gardening and hands-on creativity. Here’s a shot where director Ed Fuentes documents her journey.

Healing garden bottle world

Re-framing her reality by giving new life to old objects helped her when husband John Villanacci faced a random disease and double lung transplant, soon after she recovered from breast cancer. One soothing technique is a waterfall from a recycled table top.

Waterfall with old table top

Healing garden outdoor bath

She even learned how to weld to create her own Bottle World creations from foundlings.

Healing garden bottle tree
Every roadside discard captures her imagination, like this comfy hideaway under a satellite dish.

Satellite dish shade cover
Her story of struggle and yes, celebration, is CTG’s tribute to every gardener who seeks consolation, strength, and joy when life throws us a curve.

Thank you for checking in! See you next week, Linda

  1. 35 Responses to “Groundcovers made for the shade; spiritual healing garden”

  2. By Desert Dweller / David C. on Nov 14, 2012

    Looks to be a nice, funky variety this week…I look forward to my Sat AM breakfast tacos over another CTG online. You all love your bottle trees – bottle everything. But first, I might need to take something to mellow out the cuteness coming off the Daphne / Augie pic!


    Linda reply on November 14th, 2012 5:30 pm:

    I think you need to FedEx us some of those tacos! We’ll send you some bottles! Yes, a great picture of the dynamic duo at Extension on Master Gardener tour day.


    Daphne Richards reply on November 15th, 2012 12:04 pm:

    Thanks David! Augie and I had great fun in the garden on tour day, and we got to meet lots of wonderful people.


  3. By Shirley on Nov 14, 2012

    Great show, great plant choices. I’ve been looking at some ideas for similar garden challenges and those are such good options.


    Linda reply on November 14th, 2012 8:00 pm:

    Thanks, Shirley! Now all we need is some RAIN!


  4. By Bob Beyer on Nov 15, 2012

    What is that gorgeous yellow rose behind the picture of Daphne and Augie?


    Linda reply on November 16th, 2012 6:22 pm:

    Grandma’s Yellow rose. A Texas SuperStar.


  5. By Bob Harper on Nov 15, 2012

    Hey, Linda. It was sure nice to get to see the lady who belongs to that wonderful voice on CTG. I still hope to get up there some day in order to watch you all tape a program. But, in the meantime, your bit on last week’s show was great. Hope you’ll do that more often. Bob


    Linda reply on November 16th, 2012 6:17 pm:

    Dear Bob, thank you so very much! But don’t hold your breath! I prefer the writing/editing/producing–not being up front! Tom does that perfectly!


  6. By Daphne Richards on Nov 15, 2012

    Lovely, as always!


    Linda reply on November 16th, 2012 6:17 pm:

    Thanks to you!


  7. By Sara Chavarria on Nov 17, 2012

    I have missed seeing Augie with Daphne and am wondering why he has not been on camera? I enjoy seeing his sweet expressive face as he sits on Daphne’s lap.


    Linda reply on November 18th, 2012 5:24 pm:

    Hi, Sara! Augie took a little break, but he’ll be back in January! I’ll let him know that he has another fan!! Linda


    Daphne Richards reply on November 20th, 2012 3:06 pm:

    Thanks Sara! Augie is doing fine and is as sweet as ever. He will indeed be back in our new episodes for next year. And he can even be seen wiggling his way in to this week’s round table episode, so be sure to watch. I think you’ll like his grand entrance and greeting for Tom.


  8. By Chamunda swami-spiritual healer on Nov 19, 2012

    Such a nice presentation of nature as a healer. Yes nature can be act as a good healer.


  9. By Charlie on Jan 1, 2013

    I found your blog post full of beautiful blooms a real inspiration as I am already starting to feel the drag of winter. The photos are both well done and greatly appreciated.


    Linda reply on January 2nd, 2013 4:55 pm:

    Thank you, Charlie!


  10. By Susan on Mar 10, 2013

    Are there directions on how to make the waterfall using the glass tabletop? I have one and would love to put one in our garden.


    Linda reply on March 13th, 2013 3:52 pm:

    Hi Susan! Let me ask Elayne and I’ll get back with you. I can’t remember how she did it but seems like they ran a tube around the perimeter. Great question!


    Susan Hamm reply on April 5th, 2013 6:36 pm:

    Awesome! Thank you so much for the quick reply! so looking forward to it. I kinda though that a tube with holes in it might be. but i will wait with baited breath for your answer. :D


    Linda reply on April 6th, 2013 2:11 pm:

    Hi, Susan! From Elayne: they have a cement basin for the water. A little pump and a tube to go through perforated copper conduit. They are still experimenting with this, though. Please let me know what you devise–I’d love to see it!

  11. By Terry on Apr 8, 2013

    Hi, I live southeast of Fresno Ca and I really like the repurposed glass table waterfall could you tell me how you created it……….


    Linda reply on April 8th, 2013 12:54 pm:

    Hi, Terry! Thanks for checking in. Well, they’re still experimenting. Basically, they have a cement basin underneath with a pump and tube that goes into a perforated copper tube. I’ll see how it anchors on. Best!


  12. By Patricia on Apr 25, 2013

    Linda I so love what you have done.
    I too found life in a garden after a hit and run accident that left me with brain damage.
    It was just so healing. I did it for 10 years until last year when apt. owners ( sub-sidized housing )took gardens away from us. everything had to be removed.
    has broken such a deep part of my spirit.


    Linda reply on April 25th, 2013 2:59 pm:

    Oh, Patricia, thank you so much for writing! I’m glad you’re okay now and I’m so sorry that the apt. owners took away your healing gardens. Why do people do things like that?


  13. By ROULA on May 17, 2013



    Linda reply on May 18th, 2013 2:07 pm:

    Dear Roula,
    Great to hear from you!

    Scroll down and you’ll see the answers I’ve given to other creative people like you. Linda


  14. By Linda on Jun 25, 2013

    Hi, Kay! Ooh, I’m so sorry about the upcoming surgery. Take care! Elayne had a cement basin underneath for the pump but you could use anything, like something for a small pond even. They drilled holes in the copper tubing and attached it. A tube from the pump comes into it. I’ll see if I can find out more! Good luck with the surgery!


  15. By Kathleen on Jul 9, 2014

    I am wondering if you have the complete plans on the table top waterfall yet. I have the table top n copper wire, but need to know alittle more to get started. If you could send to my email I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for sharing your ideas, designs and thought.


    Linda reply on July 9th, 2014 6:26 pm:

    Will do so Kathleen! Linda


  16. By Laura on Sep 13, 2014

    This was such a beautiful garden. I’d love to know how you made the repurposed waterfall table as well! I saw it on Pinterest and it is just beautiful!


    Linda reply on September 17th, 2014 5:14 pm:

    Hi, Laura! Many apologies for late reply. Here it is:


  17. By Marilyn on Sep 15, 2014

    I would love the complete plans for the table top waterfall as well. Just ran across this on pinterest, and this would be fabulous in the garden!!!


  18. By Linda on Sep 17, 2014

    Marilyn, many apologies for late reply! Here you go!


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