Suit Your Style for Water-Thrifty Gardens

Last fall I headed east to Bryan/College Station to stroll the Brazos County Master Gardeners’ tour. At the end of a solitary get-away-from-it-all drive down curving roads enfolded by majestic trees, I met such wonderful people and gardens!
no lawn front garden stucco house Central Texas Gardener
porch steps tile edging Central Texas Gardener
bamboo arbor Central Texas Gardener
cinder block and stucco succulent planter Central Texas Gardener
I wanted to move here ASAP.
butterfly vine arbor Central Texas Gardener
no lawn front garden Bryan Texas Central Texas Gardener
hamelia patens lantana plumbago Central Texas Gardener
dry creek bed control floodwater Central Texas Gardener
air conditioner water harvesting Central Texas Gardener
This year’s tour on October 24 is just as wonderful! Tom joins Kayron Dube and Charla Anthony who take us on a quick spin of “Go Behind the Garden Gate.”
Tom Spencer Charla Anthony Kayron Dube Central Texas Gardener
There’s a size and style to fit anyone, but all feature water-thrifty techniques and most include rain water collection. At the Master Gardener Demonstration Idea Garden, see how to plant for pollinators, grow organic vegetables and collect rainwater.
Brazos County Master Gardeners demo garden Central Texas Gardener
“Garden of Easing” is just that: a serene, low-care garden that features clever ideas like a drainage swale that directs water from front to back.
swale for water control Central Texas Gardener
“Sanctuary Rose Garden” is just as serene in its classic formal-friendly style.
formal rose garden backyard Central Texas Gardener
“Rescue Garden” pops with color in a very small yard, mainly with plants the gardeners rescued from “last chance” nursery tables. I’m impressed, since half-dead plants can be hard to resuscitate, but they’ve done it!
rescued plant garden Central Texas Gardener
“Wildlife Habitat and Garden” is a woodsy, perennial treasure where the house blends into the Certified Backyard Habitat.
east Texas woodsy habitat garden Central Texas Gardener
Get all the details!

Daphne’s Plant of the Week, Xylosma, comes from Rebecca Schroeder, who gardens in Buda and blogs at Rebecca’s Retreat. This drought-tough, large shrub quickly screens for privacy or eyesore view. You can hedge it or shape into a small multi-trunked tree, as Rebecca did.
Xylosma Central Texas Gardener web
Rebecca planted her Xylosma on limestone rocky soil in almost full sun. But it’s versatile about soils and can take shade, too. Root-hardy into the teens, find out more.
Xylosma leaves Central Texas Gardener web
On the opposite side of the size scale, container-sized succulents are almost no-care bundles of fascination for busy people on condo balconies or to accent a patio table or porch.
turtle succulent container Central Texas Gardener
Get John Dromgoole’s tips on how to plant and why shallow containers work best for tiny ones.
planting succulents in containers Central Texas Gardener
Leafy irises and daylilies structure up water-thrifty gardens with bonus points for spring’s flowers.
bearded iris raised stone bed Central Texas Gardener
It’s not too late to divide them to promote flowering and pass along to other spots in your garden or a friend who really wants that color! Get Daphne’s tips on how to do it.

Viewer Picture goes to Doris Reagan, who recently revamped her front yard, replacing grass with colorful, wildlife-attracting perennials and evergreen structure. Here’s spring 2015 when she started. The curbside mini-terracing traps water to trickle down its layers. All photos by Chris Davis Cina
spring wide terraces no lawn
No lawn garden makeover first spring
Here’s what it looked like in June. We’ll look forward to her follow-up pictures next year!
june front wide no lawn garden
No lawn front yard garden
front yard stone pathway through beds
See more of Chris’s pictures.

On tour, meet effervescent and energetic Velia-Sanchez Ruiz who scrapped most of her lawn for layers of perennials, annuals and herbs.
Velia Sanchez-Ruiz front yard roses Central Texas Gardener
front yard garden reduced lawn Central Texas Gardener
I met Velia a few years ago when we taped, but couldn’t resist an encore visit in HD. Raising her children as a single mom while working full-time, her only “gardening” was pushing a lawn mower.
Front yard raised perennial bed Central Texas Gardener
When her girls hit their teens, one day she just dug in. Tackling one spot at a time, eventually she had her friend Jose Luis-Rosales build raised limestone beds.
Front yard raised bed garden reduced grass Central Texas Gardener
Front yard perennial and herb garden Central Texas Gardener
To stroll the interior garden—often visited by neighbors gathering serenity, along with handfuls of herbs and flowers—she laid decomposed granite paths. She scavenged the edging bricks.
Front yard garden paths through gardens Central Texas Gardener
Velia mixes herbs into her borders to use in recipes and natural remedies. Mexican oregano is one of her favorites.
Front yard garden paths Central Texas Gardener
To give her wrap-around beds a standout feature, Jose Luis-Rosales built an arbor for her La Virgin de Guadalupe statue—her tribute to a strong lady. Velia bought a cemetery-quality version to withstand weather. She gives La Virgin a warmer patina with splashes of Ironite now and then.
La Virgin de Guadalupe statue arbor nicho Central Texas Gardener
She didn’t neglect the narrow strip on the corner side, where pollinators congregate as eagerly as neighbors on their daily walks.
front yard garden path to perennials Central Texas Gardener
Front yard driveway perennial bed Central Texas Gardener
coneflowers mexican feather grass fire hyrdant Central Texas Gardener
Red Admiral butterfly on coneflower Central Texas Gardener
This Variegated Fritillary butterfly really wanted to hang out with our audio guy Robert Avila!
Variegated Fritillary butterfly lands on hand Central Texas Gardener
At first, Velia never bought a plant, relying on pass-alongs from friends dividing their plants. Then, she attended an Austin Daylily Society show and sale one May, and was hooked!
daylily bed front yard curb raised bed Central Texas Gardener
Now she’s a certified show judge and passing along plants and knowledge to new gardeners everywhere.
daylilies Central Texas Gardener
Velia is one of the warmest, wittiest, and wise women I’ve ever met. That’s a lot of “w’s” but I’ll add one more: “Watch” now to meet her yourself.

Thank you for stopping by! See you next week, Linda