February 19, 2015
Super Spring To-Do Tips + Romantic Garden in Sun & Shade
Winter. I love it. For one thing, it brings on the cool bulbs that perennialize, even after humid hot Texas summers. One early bird I count on: sweetly fragrant Narcissus ‘Erlicheer,’ here with a cheery smile!
And ‘Gigantic Star’ narcissus. It’s been trumpeting big beautiful yellow for years in my garden, filling the spot where plumbago is now cut to the ground.
She explains why we wait to prune evergreens until bud break (later this month and into March). And why to leave cenizo (Texas sage) and blackfoot daisy alone until warmer weather.
On blackfoot daisy: with its thin root system, pruning now can harm it if we get cold, gray and rainy days. She recommends cutting back no more than half the foliage at one time. Plus, it’s better to prune often rather than too much at one time.
If your pink skullcap (Scutellaria suffrutescens) is getting too woody (like mine is), whack it way back since new growth comes from the crown. Like Salvia greggiis (which we can prune back hard now), it blooms on new growth, too.
Robbi’s got tips for fertilizing, too. Though she relies more on compost than products, one combination that does a great job for her is half Superthrive and half liquid seaweed in water. I’m so going to try it! Watch now.
Short answer: an apical dominance anomaly. Find out more, and how and why your plants set buds where they do. Great info for pruning!
Now, even the hardiest roses and other generally trouble free plants can run into fungal problems like black spot and powdery mildew in our cool, humid springs. John Dromgoole’s got some easy homemade fungal fixes with aspirin, garlic, hydrogen peroxide and milk! Find out more.
If you’re looking for an evergreen shrub in part shade, Daphne’s got a great one: Pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana).
Since I’m a nut about silver—so hard to do in part-shade—it’s a winner for me, even though it confines that coloration to its oblong leaf undersides. Bees and butterflies go nuts on spring blooming flowers.
According to some viewer taste testers, its fall-ripened fruits are best when they literally fall off! So far, mine hasn’t produced fruit, but it’s a perfect, low-maintenance frame for me between a patio and a shady fence strip.
On tour, step into Chandler Ford’s backyard voyage of serenity. Pineapple guava anchors the end of a narrow textural bed.
In May, indigofera blooms right along with the pineapple guava, while ligularia beyond counterpoints with big shiny leaves.
Chandler mirrors the garden for another viewpoint from indoors.
Pineapple guavas in large containers flank this charming setting–all done with recycled finds.
Tiny accents like this succulent container once again vary textures and our viewpoint.
Chandler understands how to frame a view, like with this trio. Since her beloved oak tree is suffering, she positioned her “insurance tree,” a bigtooth maple, beyond its spreading limbs. An understory weeping redbud rules this spot in winter with waterfall limbs sprinkled with little flowers.
Japanese maples and a possumhaw holly gently separate the patio from a grassy cove on the other side of the walkway.
Trex walkways diverge around the oak to a larger conversation patio. Trex, made from wood chips and plastic grocery bags, is durable and not slippery.
For structural attention and privacy along one side fence, she planted clumping ‘Alphonse Karr’ bamboo. She painted the fence black to show off its golden culms. At night, the fence disappears totally, letting the culms glisten gently with subtle backyard lighting.
In this garden of two personalities, the front’s a festive fragrant parade. Framing her 1937 cottage and sidewalk, it stops neighbors in their tracks to savor her ongoing festival of flowers and food.
In spring, sweet peas sweetly tower over hardy roses and poppies.
Chandler collects sweet pea and poppy seeds for next year, marking her favorite double poppies with Dixon pins. Great idea! I always plan to mark irises and poppies but hate to clunk up the garden too much.
Like many of us, she has shady spots beyond the sun. A step away from intense color, discover equally sensual colors and texture with Ligularia, Aztec grass, dwarf pittosporum, purple oxalis and persicaria.
Persicaria is one of her favorites in part shade, as it is mine. Somehow, I messed up mine a few years back, and it’s hard to find in nurseries. But I’ll keep looking!
Chandler is just as charming as her garden, so watch the whole story now!
Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda