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Drought Doesn’t Mean Dull

Mary Irish is one of my heroes. Not only does she know her plants, she writes and speaks about them with passionate poetry. And she’s funny! That’s a big plus in my book; never does she intimidate even the newest gardener.
CTG crew with Mary Irish Central Texas Gardener
Her book, Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants, got me started on the water-thrifty succulent trail—a continual reference for me.
Agaves and Yuccas for the Southwest Mary Irish
I latch onto every word in Perennials for the Southwest, jam-packed with drought-tough gorgeous plants, beautifully photographed by husband Gary. Plus, Mary amicably explains why things don’t work out and what to do about it: an “Oh wow, THAT’S what happened” on every page.
Perennials for the Southwest Mary Irish
Texas Getting Started Guide is beautifully written and styled, but condensed for quick reference without sacrificing need-to-know details.
Texas Getting Started Garden Guide by Mary Irish
Long ago on CTG, Mary introduced us to Mexican olive or Texas wild olive, Cordia boissieri. I covet each one I see. My neighbor’s has made it through the toughest winters with nary a scratch.
Mexican olive Cordia boissieri Central Texas Gardener
Since fall is prime time to plant trees, Mary joins Tom to pick a few from big to small, and west to east.
Tom Spencer and Mary Irish Central Texas Gardener
You can find all the rest here in Trees and Shrubs for the Southwest.
Trees and Shrubs for the Southwest Mary Irish
Watch now!

You’ll also love her biography of landing clueless in Arizona and how she and Gary fell in love with a whole new water-wise scheme. For anyone who’s started a new garden, wherever you live, you’ll be right there with them!
A Place All Our Own by Mary Irish
As much as we love our trees, we don’t like those pesky seedlings and saplings that overtake our plans and mangle our fences. Trisha’s got the easy- pull trick for smaller ones with Lawn Jaws. ASAP, I ordered some online and can attest to their success. Of course, it’s always easier pulling if the ground is slightly moist.
Lawn Jaws sapling puller Central Texas Gardener
Puller Bear is for the bigger jobs. You can order in many different sizes and even have your name embossed on them, since the neighbors will want to “share!”
Puller Bear tree removal Central Texas Gardener
Recently, we asked viewers to send us their summer favorite plants. They were so many that we’ve split it up. Here’s Part 1 of Summer Faves. I love these tried-and-trues from Texas gardeners.

Helen Sørensen O’Dowd Quinn, from Navasota, loves perennial, native Texas star hibiscus. It’s a fave with Marianne Yelvington Hutto, too, though she lucked into a white one!
Texas star hibiscus Central Texas Gardener
Heidi Schaub likes Salvia greggii, one of our evergreen favorites to attract pollinators in spring and fall flowers.
salvia greggii Central Texas Gardener
Jeff Ferris picked Texas sage, also commonly known as cenizo. These days, you can find many varieties for height and flower and leaf color.
Cenizo, Texas sage Central Texas Gardener
Another show stopper is Lisa LaPaso’s choice of Fireman’s Cap coral bean.
coral bean Central Texas Gardener
Duranta is tops with Laura Sammons.
purple flower Duranta Central Texas Gardener
Native esperanza (Tecoma stans) rates high with Sharon Nixon Nettle. Duranta and esperanza make a lovely combination!
Esperanza Tecoma stans Central Texas Gardener
And Jenny Stocker’s pick is native rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetela), which would make a lovely smaller shrub near those two.
Vines also made the list, including passion vine from Kirti Kode, Jana Kaura and Vicki Blachman.
bee on passion vine Central Texas Gardener
Vicki also voted for cestrum that ornaments her fence trellis in semi-shade.
cestrum Central Texas Gardener
Annual warm-weather moonflower is Karen Curry’s pick, good even in a container, placed near an entryway, of course, to sniff and view at night. It’s pollinated by night moths.
annual moonflower Central Texas Gardener
Kathy Kloba values her Butterfly Blue clerodendrum, here in a garden we taped for broadcast November 7.
blue clerodendrum for butterflies Central Texas Gardener
Martha Merriell Chang loves her passalong purple-leaved canna. Passalongs are truly garden treasures!

Kirk Walden likes groundcover ice plant. Don’t know which one he has, but Aptenia is a drought-tough groundcover that often sings through hard freezes. Even when damaged, it returns in my garden.
Aptenia groundcover Central Texas Gardener
In the vegetable garden, Randy Jewart and Joe Summy go for okra, David Brooks for Sungold tomato, and Katie Pudhorodsky for black eyed peas.

In part shade, firecracker fern is tops for Stephanie Collins and Martha Cray. It’s a surprise that this one is thriving in full sun.
firecracker fern Central Texas Gardener
Donna and Mike Fowler favor that one, too, along with Pride of Barbados, rock rose and red yucca. Here’s the red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora) supervising orange-flowering aloes underneath.
Red yucca Hesperaloe and aloes drought garden Central Texas Gardener
Another great suggestion for part shade/to sun is Turk’s cap, from April Thomas Rose and Sharon Black-Greene.
Turk's cap wildlife drought perennial Central Texas Gardener
Viewer picture also goes to Helen Sørensen O’Dowd Quinn for her fall-blooming bulb, Lycoris aurea. Most of us are familiar with the red Lycoris radiata, which Helen grows as well. L. aurea is the most reliable of the zinger yellows for us.
Lycoris aurea Central Texas Gardener
On tour, Sara Breuer had lots on her hands in her new garden: sticky lifeless soil and an outdated design with lots of lawn. In front, she displaced grass with raised vegetable beds and limestone planters mingling flowers, food, and herbs.
front yard limestone raised beds Central Texas Gardener
At the front door, she carved a contemporary patio with pea gravel, pavers, and uncluttered, easy-maintenance diversity.
front yard patio bench and rain chain Central Texas Gardener
front yard gravel and paver patio Central Texas Gardener
In back, they tore down a clumsy deck and regraded the flooding yard. With a new outdoor dining and living room deck, she, husband Tim Mateer and son Henry hang out with their friends to watch wildlife in the greenbelt beyond (and Henry’s chickens).
outdoor dining and living room deck Central Texas Gardener
Sara didn’t want to build a roof over the patio, since its posts would obstruct their view. Instead, she chose shade sails to complement her vivid patio furnishings.
shade sails over outdoor dining and living room Central Texas Gardener
To soften with a little lawn, she stylized a living “carpet” on a raised limestone patio.
limestone bed lawn patio Central Texas Gardener
Sara and Tim love to entertain, so she tucks in conversation niches at every level.
shady patio niche Central Texas Gardener
See her whole story now!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda