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Wrangle Rainfall with Rain Gardens

air date: June 10, 2017

Got a gully washer racing through your yard every rain? Or want to keep each precious drop in your garden? Jessica Wilson from Austin Watershed illustrates easy ideas to control and contain with swales and rain gardens. On tour, designer Mitzi VanSant patterns gardens at the Texas Quilt Museum with heirloom plants that rely on little water. Daphne highlights heritage crinum lily that unites generations with drought-tough performance and glorious summer flowers. And discover the beneficial insect that showed up on Jason Wisser’s crape myrtle tree! Trisha teams up with designer Colleen Dieter to make your own plant pots with hypertufa.

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Episode Segments

On Tour

Texas Quilt Museum

Have you ever considered how quilts and gardens unite two arts? That’s just what’s happening at the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange where cousins Karey Bresenhan and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes restored historic buildings to feature heritage and contemporary quilts. In their Grandmother’s Flower Garden, designer Mitzi VanSant brings quilt patterns to life with drought-tough plants that represent the historic time frame. Indoors, quilt displays rotate while outdoors, the garden follows the seasons with bloomers set in evergreen frames.  Austin graphics artist Duana Gill designed a quilt mural on the buildings that stitches museum and garden togeth

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Interview

Rain Gardens and Swales with Jessica Wilson

Got a gully washer racing through your yard every rain? Or want to keep each precious drop in your garden? Jessica Wilson from Austin Watershed illustrates easy ideas to control and contain with swales and rain gardens.

Watch more CTG Interview videos on YouTube →

Question of the Week

What is this crazy-looking orange bug on my crape myrtle tree?

Thanks to Jason Wisser for this great shot and a great garden! These crazy-looking insects are ladybug pupae, a sign that he’s doing the right thing to achieve a natural balance of pest and predators.

Ladybug larvae and pupae are carnivores, feeding on aphids and other insects that damage our plants. They will eventually turn into the adult ladybug that you will easily recognize, and their presence indicates a healthy ecosystem.

If we kill off all their food sources (like aphids), we won’t have ladybugs. You can buy ladybugs like crazy, but if there’s nothing to eat, they are going to leave. AND, you don’t have to buy anything if you just keep hands off on pesticides.

We should encourage more beneficial insects in the garden, and the best way to do that is to not use any broad-spectrum insecticide. Broad-spectrum means that a product targets many different types of insects, killing not only the dad bugs, but also the good ones.

This doesn’t just apply to chemical products, it also includes organic ones, such as neem oil which kills a wide variety of insects, mites, and even fungi. Cultural controls such as pruning, or even just letting nature take its course, are often viable options and help maintain balance in the garden.

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Plant of the Week

Crinum Lily

Crinum Lily

Crinum lilies offer a plethora of delightful cultivars from height to color and growing conditions. Their glossy, robust leaves charm the garden with warm season structure. With their fragrant, summer flowers, crinum lilies have been the obsession of many a botanist throughout history. As with many other plants, such as roses and tulips, this obsession led to much human manipulation of the flower color and other attributes through hybridization. They are perfectly comfortable in the hot summers of the southern U.S., but need a little extra irrigation in periods without rainfall, in order to thrive. They’re perfect for rain gardens, too, where rainfall collects and then dries out. Plant in partial shade or full sun, and they’ll benefit from the addition of two to three inches of organic mulch, which releases moisture into the air as it dries. No pest problems and they are (supposedly) deer resistant! Most cultivars are three to four feet tall and almost as wide at maturity, so give them plenty of space. Crinum lilies are perennial, dying back to the ground each winter: simply cut back browned leaves in early spring. Like many bulbs, crinum lilies create offshoots that are easily dug and separated, making them great pass-along plants. The foliage can get a bit droopy and unkempt, and if it does, simply snip off the damaged leaves, if you find them too unsightly.

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