Archive for the ‘Little Texas Garden’ Category

I have developed a seedy new habit… Whenever I see a robust and bustling garden, I have an insatiable desire to loot it.  Always begging for seeds and offspring plants at any opportunity presented.

In my third year of gardening, I can say that my style has been largely inspired by my Aunt Pam’s “tough and adaptable, natural and Texas native” planting creed.

This au naturel style is abundantly clear when meandering down her thyme covered stone steps… the entrance to her whimsical, butterfly-peppered sanctuary… filled with patches of periwinkle Plumbago, pungent Spearmint, and happy little clumps of Blackfoot Daisies. Continue walking, and the crunch of the crushed rock underfoot will fill your ears as you explore the P-shaped path of her little prairie garden… Strange old world herbs, utilized by long ago pioneers, bushing to the right… trailing Vinca (occasionally blooming with bell-shaped lilac flowers) ever so slightly grappling up the wall of her house for more space than the floor of the garden will allow it… Autumn Sage and Turk’s Cap to satisfy the greedy hummingbirds buzzing around them, all held ransom by a border of redbud trees and tall red yuccas (that always seem to be blooming with their ferocious crimson spires reaching towards the sky.)

Even in negligence, this garden would survive. In fact, without the dutiful hand of a keeper, the “daughter plants”, as my aunt would say, and “grand-daughters” …would pop up wherever the breeze or birds directed them to take hold.

I'm obsessed with my little rock garden, filled with different types of Sedum, Iceplants, Torch Cactus, Salvia, and Skullcap

This lovey Rock Rose seems to be doing well in my West facing garden of fire… for now.

This is what I want to emulate in my own garden. NATURE’S beauty. Not the fake, pointy, manicured nail of perfection. While cookie-cutter gardens are very beautiful, the maintenance involved seems tortured and insincere. I don’t need voluptuous ‘Knockout Roses’ and begonias to be satisfied with myself, er uh, I mean… my garden. 😉 It sometimes feels like I am surrounded by prisons of conformity and compliance.



But I also know, that when my garden is lush and thriving… I would do the same for my friends and family. Share in the joy of gardening.  Let the grand daughters go play in someone elses yard! 

I have also taken to collecting seeds from my own plants, and I relish discussing each variety. So far I have Salvia greggii, ‘Winecup’, ‘Nana’ Coreopsis, two types of ‘Rock Rose’, and I even took seed from my ‘Batface’.

Rock Rose and the White Crab Spider

Citronella Plant and the Lynx Spider

Will I ever have daughter, even grand-daughter plants in my garden?! I certainly hope so.

3 year old Salvia greggii ~ one of my FAVORITES


Goodbye, Old Friend

Posted: March 31, 2011 in Little Texas Garden, nature, texas

I’m sad to tell you all that I have decided to remove my sweet Yucca that has become infested with Yucca bugs, as she has been suffering a slow painful death while the little fiends suck the life blood from her soft spikes. 

I’ve attacked the bugs with organic pest repelents to get rid of them… but they came back anyway.  And I’ve tried non-organic pest killers… which just made things worse for my beauty by affecting the weak foliage.  I really don’t feel like war-ing with the bugs anymore… so I am accepting defeat.  I’m so sorry my old friend.

Hopefully I will not get too beat up removing her.  And in her place I needed some sort of small tree or shrub… so I’ve picked up an unusual yellow flowering shrub called: Genista racemosa… A desert/tropical that will not burst into flames in my west facing front garden.  And I’m hoping it might even provide a little shade for the smaller girls in the garden.  BUT I have a creeping feeling that I may get a caterpillar infestation to defoliate the newbie… because, well, it’s me.  Very hesitant and nervous.


(Mine is about 1/3 this size right now)

PS: My Little Texas Garden – Spring 2011 coming SOON!

Oh, my mama, she loves me
She get down on her knees and hug me
Like she loves me like a rock
She rock me like the rock of ages
And loves me
She love me, love me, love me, love me
~Paul Simon

Veronica spicata – ‘Glory’ Royal Candles:  Blooms spring to fall and they have not dissappointed me once!  Attracts bees and butterflies and stays radiantly purple with just a touch of dead heading.  One of the only flowers that remained glorious during last summer’s heat wave (or the Summer of Death, as I like to call it)

Dianthus gratianopolitanus – ‘Firewitch Diantthus’  and  Lavandula stoechas – ‘Spanish Lavender’  finally blooming after I rescued them as the last remaining puny outcasts last fall.

Dianthus blooming like crazy.

Gelsemium sempervirens – ‘Carolina Jessamine’:  only one flower this year as it only blooms a few weeks in early spring.

Bruce turns into a Rolly-Polli when I let him out to garden with me… he’s still not used to being outside!

My ‘rock garden’ makes me so happy! 🙂

Stone crop or anything in the Genus: Sedum, I have no idea what their names are (there are over 600 species)… but I LOVE THEM!

Nierembergia hippomanica – White cupflower:  Amazing mounding perennial that thrived in the hottest part of my garden… this baby blooms spring, summer, and into fall.  And it survived our coldest TX winter in history!

My favorite!  Calylophus drummondianus – Sundrops:  native to TX this lovely perennial is a true gem… like good drainage, sloping hills, and our hot Texas climate.  Very drought tolerant.

My rock garden EXPLODED this spring!  Last year I was trying everything to fill it up… now I’m trying to prune it back!

Star Jasmine… smells so sweet!

The bees LOVE my Beauty Bush!

Scutellaria suffrutescens – Pink Texas Skullcap:  Texas native, drought tolerant, tough little booger that you might find growing in the desert.  Love it!

The boys ‘helping’ mommy pick seeds

Ramona Clematis:  We’ll see how this vine does in the hottest part of the garden… I’m a little worried that she wont make it.

Tulbaghia violacea – ‘Silver Lace’ garlic in bloom

Please tackle me if I try to take anymore pictures of my rock garden!!!

New to the garden: Scabiosa columbaria “Butterfly Blue Pincushion.” Seems to be great in the basket… but the one I planted in the ground has been plucked bare by some vexing bird.  I really don’t mind, I think the point of having native plants is to entice native animals to come for a visit!
Pictured with Coreopsis auriculata “Nana Dwarf Coreopsis”


The boys have been watching their cilantro seeds grow… and arguing over whose is bigger and better.

The unassuming green tufts behind the dianthus have come back from the ground… Veronica spicata “Royal Candles”  These are absolutely one of my favorites!  They have beautiful spires of purple that bloom ALL summer long!

The dianthus look amazing this spring!  2 1/2 years old
Some type of sedum that came back after I cut all the rusty yucky remains from winter
Purple, lilac, and white Verbena
Another MUST have for any Texas garden is Silvia Gregii.  I have watched hummingbirds on four different occasions hit every flower on the bush!  And they bloom in almost every season.  True to TX they can survive the scorching summers without a care.  Seen with Tulbaghia violacea “Silverlace Society Garlic”, Nana Coreopsis, and Sedum.
The indoor babies:
Red Cyclamen and a teensy jumping spider
Hoya – Variegated Wax Plant
Veriegated Pothos – “Marble Queen”
A sunny spot will make some of the variegation go away… and if you propogate from a limb that has turned green you will not get any new variegation on the new growth.
Back Patio:
Verbena and Purple Coneflower sprouts that I dug up from the front garden… we’ll check back on him. 😉
Anole Lizard

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)

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

Scientific Name: Mentha spicata var. piperita
Description: Perennial Groundcover
Partial shade/full sun
Ideal container plant
Culinary Uses:
*Taste like peppermint crisp
*Use in chocolate cake, chocolate icing
*Deserts, chocolate mousse, chocolate drinks, ice cream
*Tea, ice-tea, fruit juiceParts Used:
LeavesMedicinal Uses:
Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-spasmodic, anti-flatulent, stimulant
Indigestion, stomach upset, heartburn, cleanse liver, promotes bile flow, gargle and mouthwash – gum infections, tea – eye wash – remove dust and grit
Chew a sprig – sweeten breath

Aztec™ Verbena Vegetative
Scientific Name: Verbena x hybrida
Common Name: Verbena
Hardiness Degree: 32°F (0.0°C)
Blooming Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn
Plant Habit: Mound, Trailing
Characteristics: Attract Bees, Attracts Butterfly, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Attracts Hummingbird, Heat Tolerant, Low Maintenance
Water: Light
Fertilize: Once a week
Spacing: 12-16″ (30.5-40.6cm)
Height: 8-10″ (20.3-25.4cm)
Width: 12-18″ (30.5-45.7cm)
Exposure: Sun
General Information: Bright and colorful, these trailing Aztec verbena thrive in heat and sun. Their attractive foliage will stay lush and healthy all summer.
Idea & Tips: Avoid overhead watering.

Salvia greggii – Wild Thing (MY PERSONAL FAVORITE – right most plant pictured. Mine has not started full bloom yet)

Salvia greggii is a popular, usually evergreen sub-shrub growing natively in rocky soils in Central, West and South Texas, and Mexico. It has small, dull pale green, glandular, aromatic leaves. The normally red-flowered species also has white and pink forms and many named cultivars with slightly larger or smaller, rounder or more elongate leaves. There are also numerous named hybrids with Salvia microphylla and other species, which are often referred to as “Salvia greggii types”. It is valued for its adaptability to garden soils, its very long blooming season and as a magnet for hummingbirds. Salvia greggii is usually not winter hardy in Wichita Falls and the High Plains of Texas. In a garden setting, prune back to 4 inches in late winter and again by one half in August to maintain a tidy shape, or allow to grow and spread or sprawl for a more natural appearance, with occasional pruning of old wood.
Plant Habit or Use: small shrub
Exposure: sunpartial sun
Flower Color: red and many others
Blooming Period: spring, summer, fall
Fruit Characteristics: nutlets
Height: 3 feet
Width: 3 feet
Plant Character: semievergreen
Heat Tolerance: high
Water Requirements:
Soil Requirements: alkalineadaptable

‘Morden’s Gleam’ is a seedless, non-invasive Loosestrife (Lythrum virgatum). It grows to 3 feet tall and in July and August bears beautiful tall spikes of pinkish-purple flowers prized for the beauty of their reflection on water. Its cousin, Purple Loosestrife, is banned in many states, including Missouri, because a single plant produces as many as 2 million seeds, making it highly invasive and destructive in wetlands. This variety is said to be okay but when in contact with wild loosestrife it is said to propogate… I don’t know? Thoughts? Rip it out now before it becomes a noxious threat to all those decent and holy?

My holly bush is dying from a scale infestation… I don’t want to buy chemicals that will contaminate the soil, so I think I am going to rip it out and buy some more Salvia. As long as they don’t ban my favorite plant because some punk kids are apparently smoking it these days.
Oh, and we collected those rocks from the lake the last time we went to my Aunt Pam’s house! Maybe I’ll plant some Grace Ward (see below) around them.
My cute little frog statue and some Dwarf Coreopsis that the rolly pollies have munched.

I plan on doing a picture diary of the growth of these thyme seeds… Day 5.
Misti I gave your seeds to my Aunts as a present, they loved it! And I love your new banner/labels!

Pink Cloud Beauty Bush: Kolkwitzia amabilis
Mature Height: 8 to 10 feet
Mature Spread: 6 to 8 feet
Soil Type: Well drained
Moisture: Widely adaptable
Mature Form: Arching
Growth Rate: Medium
Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Flower Color: Pink
Fall Color: Red/Orange
Foliage Color Green
Zones 4-8
I love these bushes! We have them just to the right of our front door… they have the cutest pink bell shaped flowers that attract all sorts of fun things to watch. IE: honeybees, hummingbirds.

Mandevilla – Cultivar: Ruby Star
Family: Apocynaceae
Height: 10 ft. to 15 ft.
Plant Category: climbers
Foliage Characteristics: medium leaves
Foliage Color: dark green, green
Flower Characteristics: large showy
Flower Color: pinks, reds, whites,
Bloomtime Range: Late Spring to Early Fall
USDA Hardiness Zone: 10 to 11 (Meaning this baby is going to die come November. Fort Worth is zone 7b-8a) Maybe I’ll try Bougainvillea next year instead. Or some Coral Honeysuckle.
Light Range: Part Shade to Sun
pH Range: 5.5 to 6.5
Soil Range: Some Sand to Clay Loam
Water Range: Normal to Moist

Dianthus… these are great… you would have to be REALLY mean to them to kill ’em!
Lithodora – Grace Ward
Height: 0.17 ft. to 0.25 ft.Width: 1.5 ft. to 2 ft. (LOW GROWING)
Plant Category: ground covers, shrubs
Plant Characteristics: low maintenance
Foliage Characteristics: small leaves, evergreen,
Foliage Color: dark green
Tolerances: deer, drought, pollution, slope
Bloomtime Range: Late Spring to Early Summer
USDA Hardiness Zone: 6 to 8
Light Range: Sun to Full Sun
Soil Range: Mostly Sand to Clay Loam
Water Range: Dry to Normal
This is one of the finest rock garden plants, I am in love, and on my way to buy more! It prefers a sunny location. Deep blue, small, funnel-shaped flowers renew themselves all summer long. Evergreen leaves are narrow, up to an inch long. Both stems and foliage are hairy. Performs best in loose, well-drained, acidic soil with ample summer water.