Shady Customers + Saving Seeds

The latest round of wildflowers is in gear, like bee balm (Monarda citriodora) while the early birds are going to seed.

Monarda (Bee balm) Austin texas prairie

This week, Trisha Shirey shows when and how to collect and dry seeds for next fall, including the bucket technique, my fave.

how dry and collect seeds Trisha Shirey Central Texas Gardener

To separate seeds from debris, you can use a fine strainer and even sift in front of a fan to blow away the hulls.

how dry nigella seeds central texas gardener

Trisha cautions: Always store in paper bags or jars after you’ve dried the seeds in shallow containers in the house. Plastic bags can retain residual moisture, and if the seeds mildew, they won’t germinate.

Check out these medication envelopes, available online to dispense to friends with your prescription!

medication envelopes store seeds seed label medication envelopes trisha shirey central texas gardener

In shady areas, it’s time to collect seeds from columbine.

columbine and purple oxalis

And widow’s tears (Commelina erecta), if they haven’t already scattered.

widow's tears wildflower

Shade plants TOP all the questions I get. Here’s a charming spot in Lucinda Hutson’s garden under a gingko tree, where she quilted ferns, ajuga, Katie ruellia, Wedelia tribolata, creeping jenny, violets and oxalis.

Lucinda Hutson shade garden cove

Recently I learned at Ten Acre Organics that the oakleaf hydrangea they inherited is quite drought-tough.

oakleaf hydrangea shade perennial texas

Jon Hutson from Tillery Street Plant Company dispels some of my concerns about drought & cold-hardy plants for shade when he joins Tom to widen our shady horizon.

Shade plants Central Texas Gardener Tom Spencer and Jon Hutson

I was astounded to learn that firecracker fern (Russelia equisetiformis) works in some shade and heavy soil. Of course, it’s going to stretch a bit, but that just adds to the cascading affect.

firecracker fern russelia plant for shade and hummingbirds

I’ve admired ligularia in gardens for YEARS. I figured this would be a water hound. Not so, he tells us.

ligularia shade plant

Another I’ve drooled over after seeing it in several waterwise gardens: Plum yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Duke Gardens’). Now, Jon tells us, this low-growing groundcover is more available outside the landscaper trade.

plum yew shade plant Cephalotaxus harringtonia 'Duke Gardens'

One I never would have suspected is Anthony Waterer spiraea that blooms in summer!

Anthony Waterer spiraea shade shrub

Jon’s got a ton more, so here’s his list. Or just head out to Tillery Street Plant Company and hang out in the shade to peruse your favorites.

tillery street plant company patio hangout austin nursery

On tour, Lynne Dobson grows many on Jon’s list, like root beer plant (Hoja Santa).

root beer plant hoja santa shade plant

When she and husband Greg Wooldridge bought their house, the backyard was an unwieldy slope of lawn in lots of shade. Landscape architect Bill Bauer gave them access on every level. Lynne filled them with serene enchanting places to live and talk.

Lynne Dobson shade garden on slope shade garden living room on slope Lynne Dobson shade garden outdoor living room Lynne Dobson Central Texas Gardener shade garden living room Lynne Dobson Central Texas Gardener

Her Chilean mesquite tree gracefully transitions the broad sunny patio with the cozy, shady living room.

chilean mesquite tree lynne dobson central texas gardener

As a professional photographer, with a deep and rich connection to nature’s gifts, Lynne designs patterns to appreciate from every view. She’s mindful of close-up wonders, like this Ming fern.

Ming fern shade plant Lynne Dobson Central Texas Gardener

She tells us, “I’m always finding different angles and looking at backgrounds and looking at foregrounds and looking at everything together.”

blackfoot daisy lamb's ears oxalis Lynne Dobson garden

Growing up on the Gulf coast, she symbolizes her mother’s love of shells with a sculpture by artist Emily Tracy-Haas.

Emily Tracy-Haas shell sculpture Lynne Dobson garden

Lynne charms every nook. She likes to pair succulents with Austin artist Rick Van Dyke’s containers.

rick van dyke succulent container Lynne Dobson garden

To have a ball with the side yard’s functional drainage control “gutter,” Lynne dipped into Greg’s bowling ball collection. “They’re fun and structural and they withstand the weather just great. It was boring with just the rocks for drainage,” she says.

bowling balls line drainage path Lynne Dobson garden

A classic mailbox delivers garden tools and supplies midway between gardens.

classic mailbox garden tool storage Lynne Dobson

Certified arborist and designer Molly Wood assists with plant resources and big maintenance jobs, like the yearly application of turkey compost for plant health and water retention.

Lynne also sees a lot away from home as a humanitarian photojournalist and activist for several non-profits. On her website, she documents her missions in Africa, including Water to Thrive, Free Wheelchair Mission and the African Children’s Choir.

Water to Thrive photo by Lynne Dobson

Watch her story now!

Thanks for stopping by! Next week, we grow up with vertical containers. Linda