June 26, 2014
Cancer Healing Garden|Gomphrena|Vertical Growing Systems
First, around town Pride of Barbados has been going like gangbusters at the Posse East near UT.
Like us all, they were a tad worried about it last winter. But mine is just crawling back while theirs is stopping traffic! That’s microclimates for you.
While we and the wildlife are waiting for slow-moving perennials to warm up after their big chill scare, Trisha entertains our gardens and attracts butterflies with annual gomphrena (globe amaranth) like ‘Fireworks’.
She tells us that the colors are actually bracts (like shrimp plant & poinsettias). The actual flowers that attract those butterflies are tiny with yellow stamens.
Drought tolerant and deer-proof, they bloom like nuts in full sun in the hottest months. Often they’re felled by freeze but sometimes overwinter or return from seed. No fertilizer needed!
Along with Fireworks and the QIS series, Trisha’s latest love is ‘Pink Zazzle’ gomphrena. Its leaves are fuzzy, totally different than any gomphrena I’ve grown.
Lightly cut back gomphrena early on to spur lush branching. Harvest the little “globes” quickly for long-lasting dried flowers in arrangements, wreaths, or decorative jars.
If you want seeds instead, wait until the bracts turn straw-colored. Then, pluck the seeds to sow for another round or save for next year.
My sedges (various Carex) have already scattered their seeds. They’ve been so prolific that I’ll move some around this fall to tickle a few other spaces. I bought my Texas sedge at nurseries and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
This one came with my house.
I learned about sedges, along with many native plants, when I met Pat McNeal of McNeal Growers soon after CTG was born. He’s discovered, propagated and brought into the trade many of the drought-tough plants that we count on these days.
Wholesale McNeal Growers is still growing strong, but Pat can’t pass up on new ideas that spare water. This week, he joins Tom to show off his latest venture, Vertical Growing Systems.
Certainly, I’ve seen them around, but how do they work? Pat breaks down the basic engineering that KLRU colleague Galia Farber checked out for herself.
Why are vertical growing systems trending? For one thing, they’re water-saving ways to grow food and ornamentals to cool down outdoor walls and even roofs.
For indoor condo/apartment gardeners or outside in narrow spaces, Pat explains why this ground-breaking technique is definitely growing up on our horizon.
On tour, Elayne Lansford definitely reached for the sky when husband John Villanacci faced a random disease and lung transplant, soon after she recovered from breast cancer.
She turned her despair into creative energy. After learning to weld, she turned the field beyond their garden into her Bottle World as a triumph to healing.
It was a twist for Elayne, a psychologist who helps clients every day. Since she built a secondary office near the Bottle World, clients can travel her serene path of rebirth—both in spirit and wildflowers.
Elayne also believes in giving old objects a new objective. She rescues thrift store discards, roadside bottles, and even tools from her family’s farm. One foundling, an old bathtub, became a quiet evening retreat to soak away some of her anger and grief as the stars overhead encouraged hope.
When she found an abandoned bed spring, she sprung unto action, enlisting a welder friend to create a Bottle World arbor.
Elayne styles up old pails and broken tiles as concrete anchors for smaller Bottle World designs.
From a discarded tabletop, she crafted her recirculating water wall waterfall.
Her first design had a few bugs, so John came up with a new design. Here’s what he did.
See her story now!
Thanks for stopping by! Linda