My Little Texas Garden

Posted: September 3, 2009 in Little Texas Garden, nature, texas
The Scorching Summer Edition
My little Texas garden has gone through so many changes over the past year!  I remember this time last Sept when a neighbor saw me attempting to pull up a Holly bush (with a blunt shovel) for over an hour, with my little flat of Dianthus flowers baking in the sun just waiting to be placed in the cool soil.  She immediately rolled over a wagon full of supplies.  None of which I had myself.  She brought a bag of topsoil to add to my gardening mix, plant food, a trowel, a large POINTED shovel, and a three pronged hoe.  These are all items that I now know are manditory when gardening.  I cannot believe that I was roughin’ it with a spoon (I kid you not), and a bag of soil.
I’ve come a long way from the hopeless amatuer gardener that I was.  I can identify twice as many types of flowers, I’ve redesigned two flowerbeds, and most of my plants are now flourishing… Meaning: they are not dead! 
For awhile there it did look as if some of my flowers and plants would burst into flame from the scorching Texas heat.  My Mandevilla required too much water and it was one of the first to wither into a lifeless bone dry shell and die.  Next was the Grace Ward Lithadora… this plant did well in a container and then as soon as I moved it to my rock garden (since the care tips said it would be happy there,) but it started sagging and browning to a crisp within days of the move.  I lost my pretty red Verbena in one of the bad July storms when our basketball goal fell over and shattered the planter it was in, and then the poor little flower was washed down the drive in a smear of soil, roots, and hail.  My Chocolate Mint was the worst… I tried so hard to keep that smelly guy alive!  But no matter what I did, even spraying the leaves with water to try and keep it cool on the 103-105 degree days, it still didn’t make it.
I also have a mysterious spot in my garden that is determined to remain barren.  Any flower I have planted in this spot has died within weeks.  I have NO idea why.  I thought maybe bugs, or poor drainage???  I finally decided to put a pile of the practically unkillable Gold Lantana over it.  We shall see… we’re at two weeks and counting with no death as of yet.
Most of my Texas native and drought tolerant plants haven’t skipped a beat!  Like the Salvia Greggii, Dianthus, variegated Society Garlic, dwarf Coreopsis, and my pretty white cup flower (Nierembergia.)
AND my yucca (ie: the big spiky plant in the center of our garden) has a HUGE flower stalk that is about to bloom.  I can’t wait!

MY FAVORITE AT THE MOMENT??? Is the Black Heart Impoea that I resurrected from the dead.  I bought it for $2 at Walmart to add contrast to a planter full of New Guinea Impantiens and Hibiscus.  Well, we skipped town for a 4 day weekend and, wouldn’t you know it, when we came back everything in the planter had fried in the 107 degree heatwave that had struck while we were gone.  Literally everything was crispy, but as I was ripping out all the carnage I noticed the two little heart shaped leaves that were still alive.  I wish I had taken a picture of it in the big ol’ pot all by itself… it was sadder than a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  But don’t feel too bad for the little Black Heart, because without all of his little buddies crowding him out… he EXPLODED!  ( Yes, I sometimes refer to my plants as male…everything else I have is a boy so why not!?!)  Within two weeks the Impoea was twice it’s size.  Now after a month it’s taking over my front patio!
New Edition – Star Jasmine
(has tiny sweet smelling flowers when blooming)
Yucca

Spanish Lavender and Firewitch Dianthus (both look totally different when blooming!)

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Comments
  1. Karin says:

    Not sure where you are in Texas but Grace Ward Lithodora might work in the ground if you don’t plant it in full sun. It says it likes full sun but in hotter climates, half day until noon or so is plenty! It needs water the first year but after that it likes it quite dry, so make sure it has excellent drainage! I’m in Kansas now but am from Texas. My Grace Ward did better here after getting more shade as a nearby tree filled out during my Lithodora’s second season, providing it with a lot more shade. You should try it again; they’re strikingly beautiful when in bloom!

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