Mash-up: artful edibles for all

First, we’ve got lots of drowning going on, since rain isn’t always reasonable.  When it drops a bomb, xeric herbs like sage dive out.

why sage died central texas gardener

Daphne explains what happened to Tracie Storie’s healthy, long-term thyme and others.

why thyme rotted central texas gardener

Tracie keeps them on the dry side, which is good.  Suddenly, the plants get drenched, humidity builds up in their dense centers, and root rot clips them.  Get Daphne’s complete answer.

With autumn’s heads-up that freeze is around the corner, Trisha preserves cold-tender herbs and chile pequins to use all winter. I love her tip to freeze ginger, too; just shave off a bit when you need it.

freeze herbs in Mason jars and containers central texas gardener

But there’s lots to eat in winter, including edible flowers! Deena Spellman from Bastrop Gardens joins Tom to fill our perennial beds and containers with cheery petals, herbs, and vegetables.

Deena Spellman Bastrop Gardens and Tom Spencer Central Texas Gardener

What about planting annual calendulas to fill spots left blank when perennials freeze back?  They’re pretty enough to eat, especially sprinkled on homegrown lettuce salads.  Plant enough to invite bees and butterflies to dinner!

edible flower calendula and bee central texas gardener

At Bastrop Gardens, Deena and husband Jeff Spellman operate an organic, “here to help” nursery that promotes good health for all of us, including the wildlife. They encourage us to include birds in our planting schemes this fall, with drought defiant choices like possumhaw holly.  Deena gives us the scoop on why yaupon hollies are discouraged in fire-ravaged Bastrop as replacement trees.

Fragrant dianthus is a charmer in the ground or in containers. Its abundant petals can spare a few to punch up your salads.

edible flower fragrant dianthus central texas gardener

Let’s spice things up with perennial oregano and cool-weather annual feathery dill.

oregano and dill central texas gardener

In spring, Swallowtail caterpillars will seem to appear overnight if you didn’t spot the adult laying her eggs on this larval host.

Swallowtail caterpillar on larval host dill central texas gardener

I’m so partial to sweet little violas that I hate to eat even one petal, but per their common name, Johnny-Jump Up, they’ll jump back fast to replenish my pickings.

edible flowers viola central texas gardener

Viewer Picture goes to Irene Phillips for this knockout container with summer annual Blue Daze. I imagine yellow violas to take its place this winter!  Ooh, that gives me an idea. . .

Summer annual Blue Daze in cobalt container Central Texas Gardener

We can’t eat Daphne’s Plant of the Week crossvine (Bignonia capreolata), but its spring and fall flowers are a real treat for hummingbirds and butterflies. Deer love it all the time.

'Tangerine Beauty' crossvine on chain link fence Central Texas Gardener

Like all vines, it takes a few years to get growing to cover an arbor, trellis, or chain link fence.

'Tangerine Beauty' crossvine on trellis to hide fence

It’s a great time to plant cultivar ‘Tangerine Dream’ or the original native that sports golden tubes with magenta center.

Tangerine Beauty crossvine on arbor at Mueller Lake Park

It’s semi-evergreen, dropping its leaves in spring, just before new ones emerge.   Daphne explains that it blooms on old wood, so prune after flowering. Oh, and it needs a little gardener control. Mine clambered onto Lady Banks rose until I gently intervened.

lady banks rose and 'Tangerine Beauty' crossvine central texas gardener

On tour, meet Austin Neal, one of the most joyful people in the world! I first met him when he volunteered as a Travis County Master Gardener for KLRU’s 50th anniversary party.

Austin Neal at KLRU 50th birthday party

In his front yard courtyard garden, he blends food for him and wildlife along with serene spots to hang out and enjoy it all.

front yard courtyard garden Austin Neal Central Texas Gardener

To gently frame his courtyard, he recycled old fence planks with six different design panels. “It’s kind of a patchwork thing, which I like to think as a homage to my great grandmother who was a quilter,” he tells us. Cattle panel sections invite neighborly interaction.

creative fence courtyard garden Austin Neal Central Texas Gardener

Neighbors often join him to wander the garden where he turned a one-dimensional yard into many levels of interest. He kept some grass for rescued dog, Zephyr. Since we taped, he’s planted a native blend of grasses.

front yard courtyard garden Austin Neal Central Texas Gardener

To clarify spaces, he built ipe boardwalks against decomposed granite sections.

ipe path front yard courtyard garden Austin Neal Central Texas Gardener

When he moved to Austin in 2008, he was clueless about Texas plants. With his tireless quest for knowledge and challenges, he dug in with layers of textures and seasonal attraction that require little water or constant babysitting.

ipe path front yard courtyard garden Austin Neal Central Texas Gardener ipe path front yard courtyard garden Austin Neal Central Texas Gardener

Now a Travis County Master Gardener, Austin starts other new gardeners on their journey with resourceful plants and techniques. In his vegetable beds, shaped to counterpoint the garden’s straight lines, he uses efficient ollas to water his organic vegetables.

front yard courtyard vegetable garden Austin Neal Central Texas Gardener

He can’t resist a creative way to repurpose lucky finds, like Habitat for Humanity roof tiles for succulent containers.

succulent hanging container Austin Neal Central Texas Gardener

In his wildlife active garden, he treasures beneficial wasps, as I hope we all do. Respecting their work of art, he attached abandoned nests to a repurposed mobile. Especially I love the ones shaped like a heart!

wasp nest mobile Austin Neal Central Texas Gardener

Watch it now and get ready to feel joyful!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda