November 6, 2014
Tempting Trees and Fall Fun
On the way to the recycling bin, I stopped in my tracks. Wow, a Monarch butterfly chowing down on ‘Butterpat’ chrysanthemums! I dropped the stuff and slowly backed up to get the camera. Good luck to me that it wasn’t in a hurry to depart!
All kinds of bees and other tiny flyers are covering my drought defiant aster and mum explosion.
At Trisha’s Lake Austin Spa gardens, I love this wildlife duo: milkweed and aster.
And check out her annual hyacinth bean that frames this charming LAS destination. Pollinators go for the flowers while the seed pods are fantastic in arrangements until we replant next April.
Viewer picture goes to David Fuller with his clever companionship: twining hyacinth bean on his sunflowers.
Boy, my native Barbados cherries (Malpighia glabra) took a serious hit last winter. They’re back in the game, here with white ruellia and my bay tree in shadow beyond.
Get ready for leaf-peeping as trees start their fall metamorphosis. Daphne explains why secondary pigments take over from chlorophyll as trees prepare to go on winter vacation, like bald cypress.
Daphne makes bald cypress Plant of the Week, since it’s one of our most outstanding for fall color.
This stately deciduous conifer does get big and wide, though, so keep that in mind if your yard isn’t huge.
For the crafty among us, its seeds would well adorn wreaths and arrangements.
Daphne explains why it may suffer from iron chlorosis in our alkaline soils. I’m always curious about why trees planted within 15 feet of each other vary in performance, like these. Find out more.
For sun, take a look at Chihuahuan orchid (Bauhinia macranthera) that blooms pink in fall against large clam shell leaves! It grows to 15’ and cold tolerant to 15°.
In part shade, have you tried smaller Mexican bauhinia (Bauhinia mexicana)? The Natural Gardener even has it in lots of sun.
Growing to about 8’ tall, its fragrant fall flowers attract butterflies.
Also for shade, add understory red buckeye that drops its leaves in late summer. Bees love the spring flowers.
In sun, native Goldenball leadtree likes dry rocky slopes. An airy multi-trunked tree to 12-15’ tall, it explodes with fragrant fuzzy balls in spring and summer after a rain.
Paloverde ‘Desert Museum’ is a thornless, sterile hybrid that sports the same distinctive green bark as our native Paloverde, also called Retama and Jerusalem Thorn.
This one blooms long after the typical spring performance, even now in early November.
And, super exciting, Crystal brought along a canby oak. Like live oak, it drops its leaves in late winter as it puts out new growth. Best yet, it gets to about 30’ tall, so works in smaller gardens.
Now, with nips on the way, is your row cover ready? John Dromgoole shows how to make a hoop house for vegetable beds, with rebar underground and PVC on top.
Plus, see how to wrap containers to protect cold tender plants like citrus. Get ready now since last-minute plastic bags are not a good option!
On tour in Liberty Hill, April and Cliff Hendricks bought land with wide open spaces, framed in back by the San Gabriel River.
April’s from the desert, so she wanted color, water and framed-in spots close to the house. On a budget, they created a patio paradise with recycled materials and passalong plants.
They built their 1200 gallon pond with scavenged rocks and advice from the Austin Pond Society.
Artists both, April fancied up a boring concrete table with colorful mosaics to tie into their pond patio.
In back, with help from her dad, they built their cozy deck to watch the wilds along the river while tending plants for wildlife and food for them.
Get inspired right now!
Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda