From the producer: April 9, 2009

What a find for this week’s show!  Last October, we taped Lana and Robert Beyer’s garden, a huge departure from the one they had in Houston.  Robert is a passionate collector and ready to try anything once.  Lana attempts to keep it under control with an eye to design. The result is absolutely fabulous.  Also, check out Robert’s website and blog, truly essential plant references from a hands-on guy who learned Central Texas gardening from scratch.

His latest passion is variegated plants, including vines, groundcovers, perennials, shrubs, agaves, yuccas, and citrus. To pass along his enthusiasm, he joins Tom for a more in-depth look at a few of these plants.

In my garden, the Dutch irises are blooming. Purples (though they look blue) under the Chinese pistache.

Purple Dutch iris

More in the patio bed beyond the Marie Pavie rose.

Dutch iris lavender duo

With some yellows.

Yellow Dutch iris

In front, I don’t even remember planting this one.  But they look nice there, so plan to add more next fall.

Dutch iris yellow and white

If you’re new to bulbs, Dutch irises guarantee a return performance for many years, and won’t break the bank. I buy a few more every October and plant on Thanksgiving weekend.

This is rose week, too.  Here’s Mutabilis on Amelia’s fence, in its apricot Easter outfit.

Mutabilis rose apricot flower

And in pink, since Mutabilis is a multi-tasker, with blossoms turning crimson in the end. That’s a coral honeysuckle on the fence beyond.

Mutabilis rose pink flower

Next to it, Isabella Sprunt in yellow

Isabella Sprunt rose

In the den bed, here’s climber Buff Beauty on a trellis next to the window.

Buff Beauty rose

Two months ago, I cut it almost to the ground to encourage lush growth from the bottom, and fertilized with store-bought organic slow release and Harvey poop.

Here’s the fragrant white Lady Banks with primrose jasmine in the neglected back corner, an area next on the project list. No water hose ever gets to it.

White Lady Banks rose with primrose jasmine

My plan for a real upgrade on the cat cove turned into my usual budget “fixer-upper.”  To fix the sunken flagstones, I pushed them up with a shovel and stuffed pea gravel under them.  I’ll deal with the rest of them later.  I didn’t want to smash the plants in bloom.

Cat cove

For years, I’ve topped it with decomposed granite, where calylophys, winecup, oregano, and catnip thread the path.  Since one lavender did so well, I’ve built up a mound on the other side and planted a little ‘Provence.’ And, now that it’s in full sun, I decided to build up a few more areas with pea gravel and granite for blackfoot daisy.  I’m thinking about adding rain lilies, too. On the left are barbados cherry, just out of sight, a bay laurel I plan to “tip” this weekend to fluff out, and in the very front to the left is the spiraea.  On either side of the arbor are spuria iris, daylilies and hymenocallis.

Also since sun has returned, I moved the entrance Mexican heathers, coming up from last year, and planted pink skullcaps once again.  For a long time, they made a fluffy low evergreen hedge, spotted with pink flowers late spring through fall, until it got too shady.

On Sunday, we took down the patio cover and did a vigorous scrub-down. Then I reorganized the containers, pruned, fertilized, and topped them with new potting soil and mulch. Against the patio, one turks cap is already blooming. That is a first to note in my garden diary.

Turks cap

Until next week, Harvey wishes you a Happy Easter! Linda

Rex rabbit Harvey