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Creative Concepts

encore date: April 16, 2015

original air date: April 18, 2015

Spring into creative concepts with fun recycled containers and delicious plants with Amanda Moon from It’s About Thyme. On tour, meet creative young Makers at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. Daphne explains how to cut back that unruly primrose jasmine. Annual hyacinth bean vine is her Plant of the Week for sweet pink and white summer flowers and glossy burgundy seed pods in fall. John Dromgoole tackles staking tomatoes and vines with T-posts and bamboo.

Episode Segments

On Tour

Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders

At the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, creative young Makers embrace project-based learning to impact the future. In a garden project, 10th grade and 7th grade students united to give back to their teachers.  They customized an old Airstream, complete with hand-crafted furniture and solar panels to power computers and small appliances. Then they designed its patio and waterwise gardens for fragrance, food, and wildlife.

Music by Randy Reynolds.

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Question of the Week

How do I cut back unruly primrose jasmine to fluff it out again?

Many gardeners, especially in older homes, have evergreen primrose jasmine shrubs (Jasminum mesnyi), that sport small, sterile yellow flowers in late winter and early spring.

This sprawling shrub needs regular pruning to keep it in shape. It grows very quickly, making it a popular choice for new landscapes.

But with its mounding growth habit, the interior of the plant can very quickly become a gnarly mess; cutting off sunlight from the interior of the plant almost completely. Without sunlight in the interior, the plant has no need for leaves there, so primrose jasmine often ends up a mass of twisted woody branches with just a façade of leaves and flowers.

When primrose jasmine gets completely out of control, give it a hard pruning, even back to the ground, if necessary. With its aggressive growth habit, it should return fairly quickly, and will be much healthier.

But it will very quickly get out of control again, if you don’t put it on a regular maintenance schedule.

Hard pruning is best done in late winter, but for a plant that’s completely out of control, you can cut it back at any time.  Primrose jasmine shoots out very long, draping stems, similar to brambling plants like blackberries. After a hard pruning, allow the shrub to grow back to about the height you want it to stay, then stay on top of pruning those brambling new-shoots before they become unmanageable.

Note: this plant spreads quickly by rooting branches that touch the ground.  Although it’s not listed on the Texas Invasive Plant list, be wary. Dig out small rooted plants before they escape your yard.

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Plant of the Week

Purple Hyacinth bean

Purple Hyacinth bean

Lablab purpurea

Purple Hyacinth bean is fast-growing warm weather annual vine is a great addition to any garden spot where you need dramatic effect. The heart-shaped leaves contrast nicely with the delicate lavender flowers. If supported by a trellis, purple hyacinth bean normally grows to about 15 feet tall. You can also allow purple hyacinth bean to grow up and over other structures in the garden, such as fences and pillars, in a much less formal way. Purple hyacinth bean is in the same family as garden beans, and its growth habit is very similar. But the gorgeous magenta bean pods formed on this plant are ornamental-only: the seeds are poisonous if ingested. The best way to plant purple hyacinth vine is from seed, directly in the garden, in mid-spring. Plant seeds about a foot apart, or a little closer, and water regularly. Once the seeds germinate, be sure to keep the soil moist until they can form enough root mass to be more water-efficient. Flower buds will begin to form in early summer, and will continue all the way through fall. The fragrant flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies. Purple hyacinth bean should be watered regularly, but don’t overwater, especially if you have heavier clay soil. If left on the vine until maturity, the bean pods will dry and fall to the ground. So if you don’t want purple hyacinth bean to self-seed for next season, harvest the pods and save them to plant where you want them next spring. They look wonderful in floral arrangements until the purple husk fades. You’ll also have plenty of seed to share with family and friends. Just one or two plants can cover a lot of area, so you don’t need many seeds to reestablish for next year.

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