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Shawna Coronado Vertical Gardens, American Botanical Council, Hypertufa

On my strolls: I love this wall screen, one of many ideas I picked up on a quick trip to Toronto for the Garden Bloggers Fling. Already, I’m spinning ideas to spruce up a boring exterior wall. Another, attached to my chain link fence, could block a bad view. Let’s see if I can swing painting an anole or a butterfly!
wood garden screen painted with design Central Texas Gardener
Up on the roof at the progressive Hugh Garner Housing Co-op, the garden is full of over-the-top design ideas. It’s even watered with rainwater collection.
rooftop garden Hugh Garner Co-op Central Texas Gardener
These garden carts are perfect for small spaces, to move out of blasting sun, or easily protect in winter.
Rolling planters at Hugh Garner Co-op roof garden Central Texas Gardener
Back on the home front, Megan McFarland and Adam Vicknair recycled a pallet to dress up a fence with succulents.
pallet succulent vertical garden Central Texas Gardener
To power up boring walls or grow in tiny spaces, dynamo Shawna Coronado joins Tom with heightening ideas from her book, Grow a Living Wall—Create Vertical Gardens with Purpose.
Tom Spencer and Shawna Coronado Central Texas Gardener
Beautifully designed with pictures and step-by-step instructions, Grow a Living Wall covers every detail—from soil and watering to vertical container methods. Shawna’s even got the magic soil recipe for hot, dry regions.
Grow a Living Wall Shawna Coronado Central Texas Gardener
Shawna always applauds recycling, like old bookshelves or discarded pallets.
shawna coronado vertical garden book shelf
shawna coronado vertical garden pallets
Also, her book illustrates the diverse purchased units you can buy, plus how to install them.
shawna coronado vertical wall garden planters
Along with noise barriers and privacy pretty, with vertical walls you can grow flowers for pollinators, food for you, and sensory aromatherapy gardens. Just not an indeterminate tomato!

Perfect for that tiny squished in balcony patio.
shawna coronado window boxes patio
And to show off your succulents.
shawna coronado succulent vertical garden
Here’s Shawna jamming it up at the Austin City Limits plaque!
Shawna Coronado Austin City Limits plaque KLRU
Trisha and Colleen Dieter team up this week to make hypertufa containers.
hypertufa how to Central Texas Gardener Colleen Dieter and Trisha Shirey
Style up your own hypertufa containers in any shape or size. Here’s how!
hypertufa how to Central Texas Gardener
And, Colleen will be doing hands-on workshops again this fall.
hypertufa how to Central Texas Gardener marbles
On tour at the American Botanical Council’s gorgeous gardens, Special Projects Director Gayle Engels walks us through easy-to-grow plants with medicinal benefits to promote good health or to heal what ails you.
American Botanical Council medicinal gardens Central Texas Gardener
This old house in east Austin has seen a lot since 1853 when it was built on a Republic of Texas Land grant.
American Botanical Council historic home Central Texas Gardener
Since 1998, it’s been home to the American Botanical Council, founded by Mark Blumenthal. Through its public gardens, ABC extends their educational mission to reveal the true beauty behind plants of many origins.
American Botanical Council medicinal gardens Central Texas Gardener
The gardens in front are devoted to plants that serve the human systems. As a demonstration garden, ABC only grows plants that work for us.
American Botanical Council medicinal gardens Central Texas Gardener
American Botanical Council medicinal gardens Central Texas Gardener
Beneficial aloe vera actually blooms at ABC, since they cover it in winter.
blooming aloe vera American Botanical Council medicinal gardens Central Texas Gardener
In cooler months, you’ll find lots of annual calendula (here with borage). Along with its edible flowers and nectar for pollinators, Gayle explains how to make a soothing skin balm.
Beneficial calendula and borage American Botanical Council Central Texas Gardener
The gardens support lots of wildlife, like this bee on borage.
bee on borage American Botanical Council Central Texas Gardener
ABC plants extra fennel and dill for Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars, here photo bombed by a ladybug.
Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar and ladybug on dill American Botanical Council gardens Central Texas Gardener
White sage, Salvia apiana, was used by Southern California and Baja California Native Americans for medicinal purposes and some food. Now, its leaves are mainly burned as a ceremonial smudge, believed to purify the space and to dispel evil spirits and negative vibrations.
Salvia apiana white sage at American Botanical Council Gardens Central Texas Gardener
Along with native plants for medicinal use, ABC grows herbs from around the globe.
Oriental medicinal garden American Botanical Council Central Texas Gardener
Oriental medicinal garden American Botanical Council Central Texas Gardener
Oriental medicinal garden American Botanical Council Central Texas Gardener
Ayurveda is a traditional Indian medicinal paradigm.
Ayurvedic garden American Botanical Council Central Texas Gardener
Ayurvedic garden American Botanical Council Central Texas Gardener
In back, culinary gardens include those for tea and international tastes we’ve come to love.
American Botanical Council culinary gardens Central Texas Gardener
Southeast Asian culinary gardens American Botanical Council Central Texas Gardener
Fulltime gardener Toby Bernal, a Buddhist, balances rocks as tiny sculptures for soothing meditation after a hard day’s work.
tiny rock sculptures American Botanical Council Central Texas Gardener
Toby (left) is now joined by former volunteer, Skyler Passino (right), signed on for part-time duty. Volunteer Kyle Olson picks up a few tips.
American Botanical Council Central Texas Gardener
Yes, to maintain the extensive gardens, ABC relies on volunteers, who get lots of knowledge in return.
Education and intern coordinator Jenny Perez scoops compost ready to spread by UT Pharmacy students and dietetic students from Texas State University.
American Botanical Council Central Texas Gardener
Visitors, like local artist Bob Wallace, contribute to ABC’s gardens. In the antioxidant grape arbor, Bob carved a symbolic wood nymph into an elderly, damaged tree topped for building safety.
American Botanical Council grape arbor and tree carving Central Texas Gardener
Like our intern Brenda Szwejbka, anyone can visit Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Guided tours of five or more upon request.
American Botanical Council Central Texas Gardener
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Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda

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