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Wildflower Center Garden Tour 2014

air date: April 26, 2014

See how to design with native and adapted plants in drought on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s 2014 Gardens on Tour. Tour the new Luci & Ian Family Garden that extends Lady Bird’s mission to all generations. Daphne answers: What is a native plant? See why she makes native Texas betony her plant of the week. Multiply your native plants with John Dromgoole’s tips on how to propagate them.

Episode Segments

On Tour

Luci & Ian Family Garden | Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

For kids or the kid in us all, the Luci & Ian Family Garden at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a native habitat playground of discovery, wonder, and outright fun. Jumping, running, and hiding are allowed, along with hiding out to see wildlife up close. Extending Lady Bird’s mission to the next generation, it’s delightfully designed for current and future gardeners on wise water, wildlife plant design, and imagination.

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Question of the Week

What is a native plant?

What does “native plant” mean?

We often talk about “native Texas plants,” but as you well know, Texas is a big state, with a wide variety of environments.  So not all Texas natives do well in all areas of the state.

Native to Bastrop most certainly does not mean native to Fredericksburg, and so, when you decide to plant more “natives” in your landscape, you should be careful to understand your own climatic and soil environment.

Here in Central Texas, you’ll commonly see regional information on recommended natives.  In our partnership with the fabulous folks over at the City of Austin Watershed Protection Dept, Extension here in Travis County assisted in developing the acclaimed Grow Green series of horticultural fact sheets, including the must-have Native and Adapted Landscape Plants guide.

Plants in this brochure are listed as native to the Edwards Plateau, the Blackland Prairie, or both.

The Edwards Plateau has shallow limestone or caliche soil and is generally found west of Austin.
The Blackland Prairie has deeper, darker soils, with a much higher clay content.

Native plants that require well-drained soil and are extremely xeric would commonly be found in the Edwards Plateau region, while natives that can tolerate, or might even need, “wet feet,” would be listed as Blackland Prairie plants.

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Plant of the Week

Texas Betony

Texas Betony

Stachys coccinea

Texas betony is a striking plant native to the Trans Pecos region of West Texas and it makes a great addition to Central Texas landscapes. Texas betony looks and feels especially at home in Hill Country gardens with rocky outcrops, where limestone boulders are commonly found half buried, or even lying on top of the ground. Virtually no irrigation is needed once the plants are established, and there's definitely no need to fertilize. Texas betony is listed as hardy to zone 7, and is often evergreen in our normally mild, Central Texas winters. If it does freeze back, simply treat it as a perennial, shearing it to the ground in early spring. You might notice the striking resemblance of Texas betony to its more commonly planted relatives, the Salvia species. The flowers of Texas betony are a deeper, more scarlet red than the Salvias, and the bloom stalks shoot further skyward, up to almost 3 feet. Our friends at the Native Plant Society of Texas list this plant as deer resistant once established, and that's due to the pungent scent of the leaves that gets stronger as the plant matures. Plant Texas betony in well-drained soil in full sun, in a place where you can enjoy the show.† Since it blooms from March through October, you'll be watching hummingbirds flock to the scarlet red, tubular flowers all summer long, and well into the fall, as the zippy little birds start to migrate south for the winter.†† Shear back regularly in summer, to encourage more of the striking blooms.

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