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!

monarch butterfly on butterpat mum central texas gardener

All kinds of bees and other tiny flyers are covering my drought defiant aster and mum explosion.

asters and Country Girl chrysanthemums for wildlife central texas gardener

At Trisha’s Lake Austin Spa gardens, I love this wildlife duo: milkweed and aster.

milkweed asters wildlife duo central texas gardener

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.

annual hyacinth bean vine at lake austin spa

Viewer picture goes to David Fuller with his clever companionship: twining hyacinth bean on his sunflowers.

sunflowers hyacinth bean by david fuller central texas gardener

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.

barbados cherry with white ruellia central texas gardener

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.

bald cypress leaves turning color central texas gardener

Daphne makes bald cypress Plant of the Week, since it’s one of our most outstanding for fall color.

bald cypress fall color central texas gardener

This stately deciduous conifer does get big and wide, though, so keep that in mind if your yard isn’t huge.

bald cypress central texas gardener

For the crafty among us, its seeds would well adorn wreaths and arrangements.

bald cypress seeds central texas gardener

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.

bald cypress iron chlorosis central texas gardener

Since it’s time to plant trees, Tom joins Crystal Murray from Far South Wholesale Nursery to meet a few to put on your radar.

tom spencer and crystal murray far south nursery central texas gardener

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°.

Chihuahuan orchid (Bauhinia macranthera) central texas gardener

In part shade, have you tried smaller Mexican bauhinia (Bauhinia mexicana)? The Natural Gardener even has it in lots of sun.

mexican bauhinia central texas gardener

Growing to about 8’ tall, its fragrant fall flowers attract butterflies.

mexican bauhinia fall flower central texas gardener

Also for shade, add understory red buckeye that drops its leaves in late summer. Bees love the spring flowers.

bee on red buckeye flower central texas gardener

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.

golden leadball tree central texas gardener

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.

paloverde desert museum central texas gardener

This one blooms long after the typical spring performance, even now in early November.

paloverde desert museum flower central texas gardener

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.

canby oak central texas gardener

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.

PVC hoop house for cold protection john dromgoole central texas gardener PVC hoop house for cold protection john dromgoole central texas gardener

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!

row cover on container john dromgoole central texas gardener

On tour in Liberty Hill, April and Cliff Hendricks bought land with wide open spaces, framed in back by the San Gabriel River.

april and cliff hendricks new garden central texas gardener

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.

patio on a budget central texas gardener

They built their 1200 gallon pond with scavenged rocks and advice from the Austin Pond Society.

pond on a budget central texas gardener

Artists both, April fancied up a boring concrete table with colorful mosaics to tie into their pond patio.

mosaic on standard outdoor table central texas gardener

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.

backyard cozy deck central texas gardener

Get inspired right now!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda