What’s your plant personality? How does it heal you?

February 7th, 2013 Posted in Nurseries, books, destinations, early spring flowers, garden design, garden designers, healing gardens, philosophy, pruning, roses

Quick, tell me, pick a word to describe the personality of a plant in your garden. My word for newly opened Narcissus ‘Erlicheer’: “Dreamy.”

Narcissus Erlicheer

My silver germander? Hmm. . . “Convivial.”

Silver germander

I bring up this word game thanks to Antique Rose Emporium founder, Michael Shoup, who matches rose personalities with our gardens in his ground-breaking new book.

Empress of the Garden

He and Tom have a blast comparing notes on drought-tough roses with monikers like “Whimsical,” “Greedy” and “Romantic.”

Tom Spencer and Michael Shoup Antique Rose Emporium

Can’t you just imagine Michael’s fun with categories like “Reliable Showgirls,” “Tenacious Tomboys,” or “Big-Hearted Homebodies?”

Mutabilis rose Antique Rose Emporium
In Empress of the Garden, Michael makes it easy to select the right rose for you, how to grow it, and how to do it organically. I see that my tough-as-nails fragrant Buff Beauty falls into “Balloon-Skirted Ladies.”  I agree with Michael’s tag words for her: “Versatile, languid, warm-hearted.”

Buff Beauty rose Central Texas Gardener

So, let’s see: how would we describe Daphne’s pick of the week, Grandma’s Yellow rose, a Texas Superstar plant brought into cultivation thanks to Greg Grant?

Grandma's Yellow rose

This shrub rose is fragrant, blooms without missing a beat in Texas heat, and isn’t easily troubled, as it certainly isn’t at the Travis Extension office.

Grandma's Yellow rose, Daphne Richards and Augie
It does have thorns. Essentially, it’s like a grandma who showers the love and pinpoints all your troubles with gentle advice or a well-timed verbal swat ala Downton’s Dowager Duchess. What word would YOU pick?

‘Grandma’, like our other “Tenacious” shrub roses, doesn’t need fancy pruning. But since all roses gain a lot more personality with a yearly haircut, Daphne explains why we prune them in February.

spring buds on The Fairy rose

Since roses and many of our plants want good drainage, especially in heavy soils, Merredith Jiles from The Great Outdoors shows what to do. If starting from scratch, definitely check out his explanation of expanded shale, something I rely on now for new succulents and any new plant in my clay.

Improve soil drainage The Great Outdoors

All our plants, whatever we select, are “Healing.” On tour, get ideas to inspire your healing design from the Tranquility Garden at University Medical Center Brackenridge, where TBG landscape architects turned asphalt into gardens of recovery.

Thanks for checking in! See you next week, Linda

  1. 13 Responses to “What’s your plant personality? How does it heal you?”

  2. By Jeaniene Jolley on Feb 7, 2013

    Hi Linda – I really loved seeing the Tranquility Garden. Our Butterfly Garden attracts many people throughout the year who just sit and read.

    Charlotte Trussel will be the Garden’s community chair this year and she is the perfect person for the job. She has taught me so much about the plants and the butterflies. Come see us soon. -Jeaniene


    Linda reply on February 7th, 2013 9:28 am:

    Dear Jeaniene, I will so come and see you all. I’m repeating the Bulverde garden soon and I’ll keep you posted.


  3. By Daphne on Feb 7, 2013

    Love, love, love it! Even though it’s beautiful, because of all those thorns, Grandma’s Yellow has never been on my list of must-have roses. But thinking of her as the wonderfully thorny Dowager Duchess has changed my mind. And yellow really sets off Augie’s fabulous red highlights, don’t you think? :-)


    Linda reply on February 7th, 2013 9:27 am:

    Oh yes, a perfect color to go with Augie’s auburn-ness!


  4. By Shirley Dehmer on Feb 7, 2013

    I love my hanging baskets best of all. I have a bougainvilla Barbara Karst that I love, and my very favorite are two ferns. One is fish tail and the other is varigated Boston. My words for them are “precious” and “homey.” My word for the Bougainvilla is “sweetheart.” The words for my three plumerias are “bloom damnit! you’ll just have to live or die with the amount of sun we get here! Ha!


    Linda reply on February 7th, 2013 4:37 pm:

    I love those plants too! So many great ones out there and you are certainly the one to grow them! Feed your plumerias a bit this year too!


  5. By MikeKerr on Feb 7, 2013

    Some great roses – I love the old, fragrant varieties proven tough in TX. My mom in San Antonio always had some and I did at my SA home in ’90’s. Great TX yellow rose Daphne – sure wasn’t hardly an option out in West Texas was it? Not sure about you, but I miss the Davis Mountains! (we worked together out west in Extension – I did water and Daphne helped me with water-saving landscapes.)

    I have to get some old roses – maybe the prolific Texas Aggie small rambling rose I have seen too – this spring. But, behind the fence safe from prolific Kerr County deer and my sheep lawn mower.

    Thanks for reminding me. mike


    Linda reply on February 7th, 2013 4:36 pm:

    Thanks, Mike! I’ll let Daphne know–she misses her old stomping grounds, too. Yes, so many great tough roses, as long as you can keep them away from the deer!


    Daphne reply on February 8th, 2013 11:43 am:

    Hi Mike! I do indeed miss the Davis Mountains. I’m so glad that we’re still connected through CTG!


  6. By MikeKerr on Feb 8, 2013

    Thanks ladies, good to hear from you both. Great blog Linda and good TV show ladies. We all share another friend, L.A. David Christiani of Albuquerque. He and I made friends on a couple of RWH conferences out in AZ years ago and keep in touch on plants, ecology and football. Our Aggies Daphne, finally beat his Sooners! Bout time. I have been trying to remember the name of a beautiful, prolific big rambling red rose A&M developed? U know?

    I really miss the Davis Mtns and the climate.
    Beautiful country and good folks. I know El Paso area really misses your plant expertise Daphne, you were a big help to me. Davis Mtns has a great NPSoT group, think we put on a good state conf some years ago at Alpine. Texas’ climate change is making things too hot over here! Take care, Mike


    Linda reply on February 9th, 2013 4:21 pm:

    Hi, Mike!

    Are you thinking of the Knock Out rose? Also, did you see David on CTG last week? http://www.klru.org/ctg/episode/date/2_2_2013/
    So glad to have this small-world connection with you!


  7. By Sharon Lovejoy on Feb 11, 2013

    First things first: I adore Mike and can’t believe the GEM he has grown for all you lucky neighbors (and visitors).

    I always check in on you, but sometimes don’t take time to comment. Just want you to know that I’m thinking of you!




    Linda reply on February 13th, 2013 5:25 pm:

    Sharon, he is a gem but so are YOU! Hey, I understand crazy schedules, especially for someone as busy as you. So lots of kisses for stopping by! When can I come live with you, by the way?


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