April 9, 2015
Structure + Soften
Can you believe the bearded iris this year? Even when not in bloom, I like them for drought defiant garden structure all year.
A shot on my way to work.
Dutch irises don’t keep their foliage, but what an inexpensive return investment in spring! Here’s mine with Salvia greggii.
Our Viewer Picture goes to collegiate Anna Provenzano for this shot in her parents’ garden!
My Agave striata in its new bold pot structures up a florific bed—and yes, I just made up that word. A sea of aptenia replaced grass in front, passalong cuttings from Eric Pedley.
On the structural side, Eric presents tiny cold-hardy Echeveria agavoides.
Since it likes a break from sun, team it with Lindsey’s tea tree (Leptospermum scoparium) to shade it a bit. This is not the tree for herbal oil, but she reports that it flowers constantly and is their biggest bee draw at Tillery Street. Grows to about 10 feet.
Eric adds one of his favorite agaves, A. lophantha ‘Quadricolor’.
For sun to part shade, Lindsey selects Mangave ‘Bloodspot’, more cold hardy than other mangaves.
For well-drained soil in sun, Eric selects cold hardy Aloe maculata (also called saponaria). Recently I snapped these along Manor Road, covered with bees. Missed the hummingbirds, but they love them, too!
Lindsey counters with bee-beloved companions blackfoot daisy and four-nerve daisy. Even in my east Austin heavy soil, this front yard near me sports them both, along with structural Yucca rostrada and groundcover silver ponyfoot. Watch now to find out more!
Daphne’s Plant of the Week, Silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea), qualifies as structural groundcover. Along with its silvery contrast, its tight clusters of heart-shaped cupped leaves complement upright plants and sparkle in morning dew.
Desert willow is a structural small tree that lightly shades succulents. Hummingbirds zoom straight for its summer flowers. But what to do when a raccoon chomps the main trunk, asks Gail Allen, Landscape Manager at Natural Bridge Caverns? Get Daphne’s options.
To cover a structure, what about luffa gourds to make your own inexpensive sponges for skin and pot scrub? I snapped this last fall at Lake Austin Spa Resort, so missed the luscious yellow flowers that bees love.
Trisha Shirey explains how to grow these summertime gourds from inexpensive seeds and turn them into LOTS of sponges this fall. Holiday gifts galore!
On tour, Havilah and Ryan Gee revamped their front yard with waterwise “Austin chic.”
Sure, their house came with structure—flat-lined grass and foundation shrubs. Not their style. When oak wilt felled their trees, they enlisted land designer Elizabeth McGreevy (hamming it up!) to turn their front yard into a hangout, not a pass through.
For a clean geometric look that catches and trickles water, Elizabeth chose tiered beds with concrete “curbs.” The Gees filled them with agaves from craigslist, sedums, herbs, and vegetables to share with the neighbors.
Elizabeth played off the geometry of the curving path.
To unify spaces without cluttering, Elizabeth planted swatches. Bamboo muhly softens the newly widened front porch.
‘Desert Museum’ Paloverde gently heightens with distinctive green multi-trunked structure.
Bees love flowers that bloom from spring through fall.
Texas sedges frame the patio where Elizabeth used quarter inch minus limestone that packs well, deters weeds, and lets rainfall seep through gently.
Elizabeth knows how to magnify contrasts, like this priceless team of silver ponyfoot and Turks cap.
Silver ponyfoot sets off ‘Cavalier’ zoysia that Ryan planted. Another soft contrast, it’s also no water hog, since he planted it deep and rarely mows. He and their son lie on it at night to track the stars.
See it all now!
Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda
- Central Texas
- Daphne Richards
- Deer Resistant Plants
- Desert Museum Palo Verde
- desert willow
- Drought Resistant Plants
- East Austin Succulents
- Elizabeth McGreevy
- front yard food
- front yard makeover
- Garden Design
- Lawn Replacement
- luffa gourds
- Native Plants
- plants for bees
- Spring bulbs for Texas
- succulent companions
- Tillery Street Plant Company
- Tom Spencer
- Trees and Shrubs
- Trisha Shirey