Now, about local nurseries: Howard Nursery populated many gardens from 1912 until 2006.
Perhaps you met granddaughter Robin Howard Moore behind the counter where she and brothers Hank and Jim gave hands-on advice. I’ll never forget them as some of my first garden mentors. In fact, Robin always knew when we’d wrapped up another Pledge drive, Auction, or other intense production. I’d drag in on Sunday as my reviving treat. She would say, “So, Linda, guess you just finished a big project. What are you looking for today?”
It’s natural to be a little wary when treading on new ground, especially when it means keeping something alive. My young Copper Canyon daisy (Tagetes lemmonii) gave me a scare last summer. Oh yes, we ARE taking risks if we don’t water even drought-tough plants their first year. This one forgave my negligence by blooming this spring. I was lucky.
I finally cut it back several inches, since I want it to lush back out: not just for my visual preference, but to cover itself in flowers for migrating and resident butterflies this summer and fall.
Weird years (and that’s most of them), keep us coming back for more. Many weird years ago, I took a risk when I dug up a huge stretch of lawn. At one end, I decided to have a rose arbor. I couldn’t decide between New Dawn or Buff Beauty, so I took a design risk and put one on each side. Well.
I wasn’t so lucky when I planted an Iceberg rose in the den bed, where I figured it would get “just about enough” sun. Nope. I moved it to a really hot spot that I rarely water and never fertilize. Now, it’s almost always in bloom. It reminds me: the odds are better by following SOME of the rules.
Peggy Martin loves her hot spot trellised on my chain link fence as a little privacy and to share with our beloved neighbor.
Recently, Saliva farinacea ‘Henry Duelberg’ joined Texas betony in the island bed. I found it in a nursery, thanks to horticulturist Greg Grant, who collected seeds in a La Grange cemetery and named it for the headstone nearby. I also thank the Texas growers who took a risk to take it public.
And what about avocados, allspice, cinnamon, hibiscus for tea, and other tropical edibles? Amanda Moon from It’s About Thyme joins Tom this weekto entice us to follow this delicious trek.
I snagged this picture of allspice in Lucinda Hutson’s garden last fall. She does overwinter its container in a garage with a Grow Light when she remembers to turn it on! Like all plants protected in a garage, gradually bring them back out into the light to avoid sunburn.
Ragna went totally organic since butterflies and other beneficial wildlife matter more than a few pests. Oh, and since then, she doesn’t have many pests! One way to attract butterflies is with summertime annual, Mexican tithonia, Daphne’s pick of the week.
Yes, says Daphne, unless there’s been a past problem with oak leaf rollers. She also explains why oak leaf drop happened earlier this year for some of us. Have we mentioned watering trees in drought?! Don’t risk your trees: do water.
Over the years, I’ve whittled away grass, because there are so many fun plants out there! I’m keen on bulbs, especially for endearing combinations, like my long-term Narcissus ‘Erlicheer’ and 3-year-old Yucca pallida.
This leucojum (Leucojum aestivum) surprised me by popping up in my Texas sedge (Carex texensis). How cute!
Overhead in back, the Mexican plum carries on the white theme.
Little spring starflowers (Ipheion uniflorum) touch it up with lavender in a spot that was once plain old grass.
Last spring, we tackled one area where grass never had a chance as our path to the front door from the driveway.
Recently, we completed the next step of the picture. Last year, I simply layered newspaper, compost, and mulch around the tree and thought about things. Thanks to very talented help, my little vision became real last week. In January, I’d already moved some Salvia greggiis that needed a sunnier position and added some asters to match the window bed (currently cut back, so not visible). In the next few weeks, I’ll do some “shopping” in my garden to fill it out, along with a few new nursery plants to widen the botanical adventure.
The bottom slope: still thinking about that one. Already, Mexican feather grasses have seeded themselves. It may be a combo of them and more sedges.
Many times, I’ve banished St. Augustine with the newspaper (or cardboard) technique. In evil spots where Bermuda grass showed up, that’s been a task, though I will say that my newspaper technique worked well for me in a few places. An old-fashioned dandelion puller assists when a stray shows back up.
But I’m sure you all have seen something like this! Not in my garden, thank heavens; I’m very cautious about planting spiky ones if there’s even a sniff of Bermuda around.
On tour, Dani & Gary Moss turned an oak wilt disaster into total enchantment with wildlife gardens, a Chicksville chicken coop, and English style conservatory. When they want to add a touch of art, they make it themselves. Gary welds to suit the purpose and Dani catches the light with her stained glass. Here’s a sneak peek, but I know you’ll want to meet them in person on this year’s Austin Funky Chicken Coop tour on March 30!
Now, with this crazy warm weather, it’s tempting to add some things that really need to wait a bit. This is an excellent time to plant almost everything–except warm soil lovers. Daphne explains why soil temperaturemakes a difference.
Firespike (Odontonema strictum) is one perennial that we want to plant after the last freeze date. But it’s Daphne’s pick of the week, since gardeners like to plan ahead!
Like the ones at Dani and Gary’s, and the one I have, firespike is a dramatic addition for shade gardens. Mine didn’t even freeze back this year. In harsh winters, I thought I’d lost it. I kept my patience, and as soon as the soil warmed again, back it came!
Remember last spring and fall when mushrooms appeared like magic? I always get a few, but last year, many mornings were absolute wonderland!
Some gardeners fear that mushrooms mean something really evil.
What is a mushroom? Ashley tells us that it’s the fruiting body of an underground network called a mycelial mat. This mat is interspersed among all habitats. If you see a cobweb sort of structure under the soil, that is the mat.
The mycorrhizal relationship between plants and fungi, like mushrooms, is very beneficial for plant health, soil fertility and drought tolerance, to name just a few. You can buy mycorrhizae, but if you’ve got mushrooms, it’s free!
Ashley describes the habitats where they’ll pop up in our gardens, why they emerge after rain when soil temperatures are cool, and how to collect their spores and encourage more.
In Austin, South Austin Mushrooms is supplying Oyster and soon, Shitake mushrooms, if you want to grow your own edible ones! For now, they’re only on Facebook, but will have their website up soon.
Pruning’s on our minds, so let’s not forget those trees on our to-do list!
Daphne explains why to prune in winter while they’re dormant. “Their plant sap, which contains water, nutrients and hormones, isn’t actively flowing at this time of year. This means that the cut surface won’t have lots of sap rushing to it, as it would in the spring, which would attract insects and disease spores—which are also more active in warmer weather—to the source of a direct route into their body.”
Still, we want some sap flow to naturally heal the cuts. SO, you don’t need to paint cuts on most trees, since that will impede natural healing. But, you MUST paint cuts on red oaks and live oaks immediately to protect them from the beetles that vector oak wilt. You’ll want to get those trees pruned in the next few weeks.
Ah, now about pruning everything else! Relax: there’s no reason to scurry around to tidy up. Top growth can protect roots, grasses hide overwintering butterflies, and seeds feed hungry animals and birds.
Instead, take a winter walk in your garden to simply revel in its beauty.
Turn off your editing mode and absorb its graceful shapes and textures and how the light plays upon them.
Instead of clamping those pruners, ponder the mystery locked into each seed head.
Then, just gush over the intense colors that only come with frost.
If you want the perfectly behaved plant for sun or even shady spots (like under your oak trees), this one is for you! As a 2’ tall “groundcover,” its tidy leaves and rounded form make a great foil against other textures. In fall, tiny flowers are simply a bonus against its evergreen simplicity.
I first met it years ago when Pat McNeal introduced it on CTG as a lawn replacement. Then, it was harder to find, but thanks to growers who recognize a good thing, look for it at your local nursery. I nabbed one (and more to come) from Michelle Pfluger at Green ‘n Growing. Here’s her CTG list for other great groundcovers.
Plus, while it’s still cool, we can get after those projects on our lists—like structures to wrangle vining plants and upcoming tomatoes. Trisha shows you how.
Often I’m asked, “How do people have such great gardens? I can NEVER do that.” Well, yes you can!
All it takes is patience, a plan, personality, and passion. Oh, and lots of blisters. Now, this is not to say that I had a plan! When I started, the only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted a crape myrtle that we could see from the den window.
I’m kneeling here, since I set my camera on a tripod for a self-picture, and I’m much taller than the little tree. I snagged some free rocks to encircle my first little garden. Clueless about plants, I bought a bag of dahlia corms. I was mighty proud of this, let me tell you!
This was before nurseries promoted native and hardy adapteds. Quickly I figured out that dahlias are not Texas plants. And believe me, I’m still learning what actually works for me. But with more patience then pennies, my den view is a lot more dramatic these days.
But I’m not finished! As I’ve mentioned before, last spring we decided to put in a path to replace dead grass.
Over the summer, I thought about what I wanted to do about the section near the island bed. Eventually, I ordered more stones and roughly painted in the plan to complete the lawn-free picture.
In our original work, I planted a few frogfruit plants (Phyla nodiflora) in one section to soften and cool the stones. Butterflies, bees and other beneficials flock to them constantly.
They’ve done so well that I’ve added some to the new stones (and more, as soon as I can lay my hands on this tough native groundcover). The first ones have been so prolific that I’m also dividing some to fill in the gaps. Their long stems root easily, so I just cut a section from the mother plant and dig up the rooted plant.
By next spring, this picture will have changed again when it fills in! During Christmas, I’ll work on the edging. I haven’t decided whether to build up the original edging with roadbase or to use leftovers of the 6′ x 6′ dry stack stones for the vegetable bed (more on that in a few weeks). Sometimes, patience pays off to give you the answer!
Tom was booked as director of iACT (Interfaith Action of Central Texas), so I stepped in. Yowsers!
Diana points out the essentials for planting: size, sun, soil, and compatible conditions. Then she recommends looking at the long-term picture: how do you want to use the space? What’s your style?
She explains how to use color and texture.
Diana stresses the importance of including destinations for your eye and to reinforce your own sense of style.
Find out more about Diana’s designs, her garden coaching and to follow her beautiful, instructive blog!
Another question CTG often gets: what is the difference between soil, compost, and mulch? I remember when I was confused about mulch and compost, too (and thought I could just stick a plant into my heavy clay soil and be done with it. Oh brother!). So, this week, Daphne explains the difference and how they work together for a healthy garden.
Now, to show you that I wasn’t totally clueless in my first garden: I gathered what few leaves I had and scavenged more to scrunch into my beds, back in the days when buying even a bag of mulch at the grocery store was a financial luxury. Eventually, I made my own compost in a bin from wooden pallets left over from KLRU deliveries. These days, I just have piles behind the shed, but I also buy bags and sometimes yards. And I often add decomposed granite or expanded shale to up the drainage even more.
Cover crops for vegetable beds fascinated me from the first. This week, John Dromgoole explains how Austrian winter peas, hairy vetch, crimson clover and elbon rye return nitrogen and compost to fallow winter beds destined for summer crops. While they’re growing, they’re a natural “mulch” too!
On tour, visit Molly O’Halloran and David Brearley’s first garden, where they renovated their 1915 house and garden on Austin’s east side from devastation to drought-tough style, vegetables, and safe harbor for chickens that supply organic eggs for Molly’s yummy recipes!
I’m still figuring out gardening, but CTG is here to help us!
In the wilt of weeks past, our desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) keeps pumping out a few flowers to please the hummingbirds that have finally shown up!
Even though this native tree requires very little water and isn’t keen on soggy soils, this week’s rain may encourage extended flowering.
My sedges (Carex texensis) are pretty drought tough, but the ones tucked near the AC condensation pipe are especially robust, whereas their thirstier neighbors look a tad annoyed.
Keeping our container plants going in heat is a question I often get.
This week, Trisha Shireyexplains how to fortify them with organic fertilizers and which nutrients they provide. Her arsenal includes seaweed, apple cider vinegar, molasses, coffee grounds, earthworm castings (great for indoor plants) and more!
She also recommends topping your containers with compost to gently feed them with each watering. Then, add mulch on top to conserve moisture. Here’s her list for details. I’m definitely getting blackstrap molasses and apple cider vinegar this weekend!
Another top question: Why don’t my new trees grow, even though I’m watering them deeply? This week, Daphne explains that if the tree looks healthy, water may not be the issue at all.
If your tree won’t budge after a few seasons, and you’ve provided the right conditions, your problem may be underground with girdled roots (very common) or stone basins in rockier sites that are actually drowning your tree. Find out more.
A perennial that will grow just about anywhere is Pam’s Pink turk’s cap (Malvaviscus x ‘Pam Puryear’), Daphne’s Pick this week.
Its claim to fame, along with our native turk’s cap (one of its parents) is that it can withstand drought or too much water at one time. In fact, it’s perfect for rain gardens. Wherever you put it, beneficial insects and hummingbirds will thank you! My returned hummingbirds are all over my natives!
Since catching the rain is on our minds, this week Tom joins Environmental Consultant Dick Peterson for tips on barrels, cisterns, and simple berms to catch runoff.
There are many options, including smaller barrels to get you started.
Move up to something larger to cover more ground, like this 350-gallon tank.
This 350-gallon fiberglass tank is even in the front yard, pretty much invisible from the street with its color and foreground trellis of evergreen star jasmine.
Plastic, metal, fiberglass, and ferrocement are all options these days. Cisterns complete with pumps are showing up in more gardens these days.
If you’re into making your own with recycled products, some gardeners are adapting IBC totes.
On tour, cool off your spirit and feed your soul at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. We taped this in high definition a few years ago, but until CTG went HD, that copy stayed safely in my office. Now you can experience Ed Fuentes’ beautiful videography in HD!
Here’s a good reason to plant native plants! This Monarch showed up for dinner on the coneflower. If it finds a date, maybe we’ll get eggs on our new milkweeds.
In the back “prairie” of my garden, I’m so thrilled that my Indian blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) seeds made it. I think I’ve finally found the sunny, well-drained spot to sow more next fall to up the ante from what they sow themselves.
In the “prairie,” butterflies are all over Gregg’s mist flower (Conoclinium greggii)–formerly Eupatorium–though eluding me at the moment.
When I dug up a long stretch of grass along the back fence years ago, my plant budget was smaller than my dreams. I planted just a few blue mist flowers to fill in fast.
Since then, I’ve been diversifying that space a few plants at a time. I’ve had to wrangle the exuberant mist flowers, since they do take over! But they’re easily divided to move around or share. I let them run a bit, though, since the butterflies love them so much.
In front, the butterflies thank my friend Holly for sharing a division of her Coreopsis lanceolata. In my mulched soil, it’s only seeded a bit, but I welcome each one.
In our latest lawn reduction project, I planted a few (on a budget) Texas frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora). They’re already going mad. Winecups are heading for the granite, too!
By fall, they’ll cover our granite with flowers to attract butterflies and other nectaring insects. Their leaves are larval food for the Phaon Crescentspot, Buckeye, and White Peacock butterflies.
Here’s a shot from Austin City Hall’s raised beds on the plaza; a testament to their endurance in hot spots. At my neighborhood’s former swimming pool, they covered the “grassy” spots, oblivious to full sun, heat, no water, and people camped out on their sun-bathing towels.
I love this Star thistle/American basket-flower (Centaurea Americana) from an Austin garden.
Not so long ago, the idea of actually using native plants in our gardens was sadly rare. For one thing, it was hard to find them in nurseries. Thanks to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we started asking for native plants and the growers responded. These days you can find groundcovers like Silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea) and Texas betony (Stachys coccinea), one that’s on hummingbird radars.
The Wildflower Center’s annual Gardens on Tour puts us one-on-one with native plants in garden settings. To spark your own designs, this week on CTG, Tom meets with Andrea DeLong-Amaya, Director of Horticulture at the Wildflower Center to preview this year’s May 12 tour.
Here’s just a sampling of what you’ll see.
Tour admission includes The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, too, for fabulous new designs like this.
The Wildflower Center is also hosting book signings and great activities for the kids! So, mark your calendars for May 12. Admission is $25 for all or $6 per garden. Find out more.
On CTG’s tour this week, here’s a sneak preview of one you can visit in person. We taped in December to illustrate the beauty of a native garden even in winter. On May 12, see it in spring glory and meet the gardeners, Lynne and Jim Weber, authors of Nature Watch Austin.
Here’s another show stopper event! The Austin Area Garden Railroaders are hosting “Spring Bloom 2012 Garden Railroads Tour” on Saturday, May 5th, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. This free event features five railroad gardens. This is a total kick! Find out more.
For years, we’ve planned to install large stone paths where our feet pound the soil every day. Intent turns into action when grass-killing drought prods inertia. Although I’ve hauled a ton of stones in my car, this time I turned to designer Mark Biechler and his team from Pearson Landscape Design to take stone work to a level beyond my expertise, my car, and my back!
In January, here’s the spot that bugged us every time we headed to the driveway. Really bugged us when the grass was dead.
What a transformation! The established plants transformed themselves from project day Feb. 12 to a few weeks later.
From the other side:
On the next free weekend, I’ll dig up more weeds around the tree and simply mulch it. Eventually, I’ll divide plants from the bed to unify the path. Oh: the blank spot in the left bed has a healthy stand of asters coming back from their pruning when I took this picture.
Moving around back, here’s another well-traveled path (rowcover at half-mast at that time to protect cilantro in case of crazy freeze).
Here’s the view from the garden side.
So, okay, I did pick up a few billbergias from Tillery Street Plant Company to try them out. For now, I’ve mainly pulled out the rock edging and either dug weeds or covered them with newspaper and mulch until I divide plants or add new ones. The resident winecups will cover a lot of ground pretty fast.
Rounding the corner, I quickly divided some of the no-mow monkey grass that thrives next to the garbage cans, and pulled some Bouncing Bets (Saponaira officinalis) from the crape bed. I dug into the newspaper weed barrier, and set them in. In one week, the Bets were bouncing!
Really, it all didn’t look so awful before. And the stretch alongside the den window wasn’t always so miserable. But drought, ball throw with dog, and our feet took their toll.
For two years, we’ve talked about what we’d do. Mark helped us decide!
Once the stones were in, I widened the beds and did the newspaper/mulch routine. When I pulled out the edging stones, I put a layer of decomposed granite underneath so maybe they won’t sink so much. I’ll be dividing crowded plants to fill in the new spaces, though I think some (like the lamb’s ears and skullcaps) will take care of it themselves. Obviously, a lot of plants are out of control, but I’ve been dealing with that!
About the dead grass strip: we’re exploring options. For me, it’s easier to visualize once I’ve cleared the space.
The view from the other side shows off Greg’s oyster shell sculpture, moved out from its former residence closer in. Greg gave it a new look with a “river” of Mexican black river rocks. They’re a luxury, but his idea was priceless.
So, then, I suggested we continue the “river” theme on the other side. For this, he scavenged some of my holey rocks that were hidden in the garden. We really did this for the cats, don’t you know. Oops, our newspaper is showing!
Mark’s stones really make the central bed stand out. At their edges, I dug out weeds and spread more decomposed granite. In the front, I planted native frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) to soften the stones and attract butterflies and bees with its eventual flowers.
Since this picture, I dug out that weedy patch on the right and went shopping again in my garden. I took cuttings of Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ and stuck them in. I figure that silver will show up at night from every path.
Here’s the strip to the back, always an awkward place to mow and trim since the summer kiddie pool lives within the rock border on the right.
At the back, for years I’ve wanted to do a patio (or something) for the grass that gave up in the shade.
Mark came up with the “something.”
On the left, I’ve planned (for years) raised vegetable beds. That’s the next project.
At the back corner that overlooks the creek, I’d let primrose jasmine take over. In an energetic fit the day after Christmas, I cleared as much as I could.
Mark’s team cleared the rest and fulfilled a long-term dream.
What’s totally amazing is that the white Lady Banks rose I’d planted years ago was still alive. No water from me, no fertilizer, shaded. It’s rebounding so fast from my renovation that in one year (and possibly sooner) it will hide the chain link fence and return our privacy. More about this fragrant champ later.
No question, there’s lots more to do, one Sunday at a time! That’s the value of a garden: it’s an endless open door to dreams and imagination. And yes, back-breaking work. The aches heal quickly. The rewards last forever. Until you change them!
Next week, CTG is back in high definition (so cool!) with a fabulous lineup to fuel your dreams, too!
Troublesome Central Texas weather does have its upside! Most winters, seasons converge with greenery and flowers, even as dormant perennials take a break.
Early bird Paperwhite narcissus starts the bulb parade.
Bees raced from one flower to another.
Then they checked out The Fairy rose, but veered off when they spied me as an evil stalker. Normally pink in color, this early scout quickly turned white in the brief heat wave.
Even though we’re in remission from last year’s torture, we’re in recovery mode. Our soil is still damaged, and until we restore its vitality, our plants will struggle when we head into the next tough round coming soon.
For years, George has mentored me (and us all!) on soil biology. It’s the key to success, whatever soil you have. As he explains this week, it’s essential to nourish our soil horizons with compost, aeration and “fuel” like granular molasses or other microbial activators.
To keep soil horizons intact, George doesn’t recommend tilling. He notes, “The top 4-inch layer includes things that provide food and sustenance for feeder roots. The further you go down, the more it changes into things that are holding moisture and providing a backup of minerals.”
Really, I’ve seen the difference that a little time with a spading fork can do in making holes and topping with compost. Push your spade gently around beds and plants to loosen things up, then top with some compost. In compacted areas, you’ll notice the difference really fast. In beds, you’ll also see plants perk up when air and nutrients get to their roots.
After two winters of exceptionally hard freeze, we’ve all paid more attention to “how low can it go?”
This week, Daphne explains what “root hardy” means. Does the plant tag info on cold hardiness refer to the soil or air temperature? She notes: “if a plant is listed as “hardy” to a certain temperature, it is likely to be killed if temperatures drop below that number. To protect your perennial and root hardy plants in the winter, be sure to mulch very well before the first freeze, piling the mulch up much higher around the root zone than you normally might.”
Daphne explains the relationship to air temperature. “In December when I had two nights in a row in the mid 20’s at my house, I measured the temperature of the soil, and it was only 40 degrees. Because the air is colder than the soil, many temperate zone plants have developed the strategy of dropping their tender leaves, or even sacrificing their entire body, to hunker down into the soil, where it’s relatively warmer. Plants that have this strategy are called perennials if they’re relatively herbaceous, like our native echinaceas and gazanias, and root hardy if they’re woody, like lantana and esperanza.” Microclimates and how long the plant’s been in the ground can also affect “how low can it go.”
Now, here’s a happy story for you about Christmas poinsettias, thanks to Jay Musfeldt in Leander.
Every year viewers ask, “Can I plant my poinsettia in the ground?”Get Daphne’s answerand how Jay found the magic spot in his garden for a return performance a year later.
On tour, we recap a visit to Sue Ford’s former garden in Fredericksburg. She and designer Patrick Kirwin took a lesson from the past with waterwise plants and no lawn in a cottage garden setting that reflects the home’s historic roots. Antique roses join succulents, naturalizing bulbs and wildlife food in every season.
Gardening is all about planning ahead. When plants are tiny, sometimes it’s hard to imagine if things will really work out like you hope. I feared that drought would defeat one of my visions: ‘Country Girl’ mums with native asters. Guess they had a talk and agreed not to let me down.
Patience is essential, too. I tend to buy small plants to extend my budget, so it can be a few years before my vision hits reality. I moved some of my young native Plumbago scandens late last spring. With the onset of heat and no rain, they were slow to rally.
But they did! The nip last week turned some leaves to delicious purple, all the better to show off their sweet flowers. By this time next year, they’ll knock my socks off!
Right now is an excellent time to plan ahead with planting. Last weekend, I got in some wildflower seeds (more to do this weekend), along with more lettuce, arugula, and radishes to join the parsley transplants already in. The bunnies anxiously await the parsley along with homegrown cilantro. But since I seed cilantro, they’ve got to wrangle their little imaginations for a few more weeks. The cooler weather has them growing like gangbusters!
Patience is a useful quality to have in store when awaiting the return of Heartleaf skullcap (Scutellaria ovata). Mine haven’t yet returned, but while digging in that area, I unearthed their rhizomes.
I took this opportunity to spread out their bounty to a few other areas. One reason I was digging was to add a new Hardy white gloxinia (Sinningialongituba).
I tried one in the crape bed a few years ago and like the results! This one has a tuber that looks like a potato! It runs around like Heartleaf, but goes dormant in winter. My vision is Heartleaf from late fall to June, and Hardy white gloxinia until freeze.
I saw it in a garden a few years ago, but figured this gardener had a magic touch that I surely don’t have. By golly, Daphne reports that this one, also known as “fire on the mountain”, did great in the Extension Office demonstration garden all summer with just one irrigation a week. It’s an annual, but re-seeds with abandon. I’m getting this one!
Lisa’s got tips for the best varieties, how to plant, and how to care for them in extreme drought. She ought to know how to do this right, since she and her husband Hal have been cultivating hundreds of acres of pecan trees in Cedar Creek since 1980.
How many times have you been on the way to Bastrop and wanted to stop in and see Ms. Pearl the Squirrel?
Not only can you buy a tried-and-true pecan tree of your own, you can pick up some of the Berdoll’s own delicious pecans and treats in the retail store, now owned by daughter Jennifer Berdoll Wammack and her husband Jared, with sister-in-law Brandi Berdoll as manager.
What great holiday presents, huh? I just ordered some and they arrived in two days, so I didn’t have to be too patient about that!
Trees are very patient with us, but our mistakes can push their patience to the limits.Just about the time they capture our vision, they can die, thanks to us. This week, Trisha continues “How Not To Kill a Tree” with a focus on maintenance mistakes. One is a common disease called “weedeateritis”. Wanna kill a tree? Whack the sensitive bark with a string trimmer or a lawn mower.
Instead, mulch far around your trees and mulch. For one thing, that holds in soil moisture. For another, the barrier protects the bark from zealous edgers. But, don’t volcano mulch! Some landscapers like to do this, and Trisha nabbed a perfect example.
It kills us (and your trees) that gardeners see this in public areas and decide it’s the right thing to do. Really, whatever started this? NEVER EVER pile mulch against a tree’s trunk. Leave it open to air and light.
Don’t let English ivy or Asian jasmine climb up your trees, either. Not a good thing to do at all. Clip it and let it die before you pull it off so you don’t further harm the bark. For sure, don’t use herbicides around your trees!
Patience is not a good quality when it comes to weeds. Pluck ‘em now, or scream later. There are some that are downright parasitic, like dodder, that’s latched onto Diane Hanna’s potted firecracker fern. I’ve never seen this before!
But Daphne has! She notes: “Dodder invades the tissue of the host plant and steals its nutrients to grow. It has very little chlorophyll, so it usually isn’t green. It can range in color from pale whitish-brown to bright orange, and when you first see it, you’ll wonder if someone hasn’t covered your plants in silly string.”
This dodder probably came along with Diane’s plant. Since it’s on a mission to reseed all over the place, it’s important to remove it immediately. Diane will also need to cut off any parts of the plant that it’s invaded. Get Daphne’s complete answer, and thanks, Diane!
On tour, feast your eyes on this edible garden!
A once forbidding slope, now a garden gracefully directs water to terraces of fruits, vegetables, herbs and ornamentals. To create an edible garden that also attracts wildlife, Suzanne and John Shore worked with Rosemary Vincent and Kellan Vincent of Vincent Landscapes, Inc.