Style Up for Drought and Edible Landscapes

Oh, how I love Barbados cherry! From spring through fall, it pumps out flowers for pollinators and edible fruits for us and eager birds. Designer Elizabeth McGreevy notes: “Did you know that back in the mid-1900s the U.S. considered it a food staple because of its vitamin C content?”
Barbados cherry Central Texas Gardener
Since I planted red-veined sorrel a few years ago, it’s always a thrill to see it magically appear again every fall. I like its tangy flavor in salads but confess that the color’s what first grabbed me. Joining it here: rain lilies and Penstemon cobaea.
red-veined sorrel in perennial garden Central Texas Gardener
I’m planting oodles of annual calendulas. Long-lasting and tolerant of temperature swings until they finally give up in late May, I hope mine grow up as pretty as the ones at the American Botanical Council.
calendula American Botanical Council Central Texas Gardener
Hmm, I might add some borage like they did. What an eye-catching pair—that silvery borage and drooping lavender flowers against sprightly orange and yellow.
Calendula and borage Central Texas Gardener
Gayle Engels’ recipe for calendula skin cream:
• Spread petals on paper towels to dry in a cool, dark place.
• Mix dried petals in a jar with the oil of your choice: olive, apricot, kernel or almond.
• Put in a cool, dark place and shake now and then for about six weeks.
• Strain. Use to soften skin or as healing balm for inevitable garden scratches.

We can eat the petals, while bees, butterflies and other tiny pollinators go for the nectar and pollen. Find out more on Down to Earth with Daphne.
calendula Central Texas Gardener
When I tasted microgreens a few years ago, it was instant love. Growing your own is also inexpensive instant gratification and a fun indoor project for kids. Trisha’s got the tips for mini-harvests of tasty nutrition with bok choy, radish, arugula, sunflowers, peas, and lots more.
microgreens Central Texas Gardener
To protect crops from deer, squirrels, and birds, Viewer Picture goes to Sharon Black-Greene. She recycled a milk crate to fend deer from her young Mexican honeysuckle, a quick way to cover a few strawberries, too. Her helpful garden snake thinks she installed it for agility training.
milk crate protect plants Sharon Black-Green Central Texas Gardener
Absolutely, the biggest change I’ve seen in just a few years is how gardeners are mingling food, herbs, and ornamentals, even in the front yard—rather than relegating each to its isolated bed in back.
aloe vera artichoke fennel Central Texas Gardener
To style up, color up and eat up in bountiful beautiful gardens. Tom meets with Adelante Landscape designer Cheryl Beesley, author of Landscaping with Edible Plants in Texas.
Tom Spencer and Cheryl Beesley Central Texas Gardener
Landscaping with Edible Plants in Texas Central Texas Gardener
Her book covers it all, from design concepts to organic fertilizers, soil amendments, pest control and seed saving. And so much more!
Edible garden design Central Texas Gardener
Her illustrations make it so easy to prune fruit trees and create fruiting espaliers.
Espalier train Central Texas Gardener
Cheryl magnifies forms and colors through fruiting trees, perennials and annuals.
Artichoke edible landscape Central Texas Gardener
And hey, she’s having a viewing party at noon this Saturday! Meet her at Tiniest Bar in Texas (managed by husband James) to talk edible plants over a plant-based beverage!
Butterfly on Thai basil Central Texas Gardener
From flowers to food, our soil pH rules what we can grow. And ours is irrevocably alkaline. I’ve heard everything under the sun (or soil) about how to alter it. Forget the quick fixes and see why Daphne says “dance with the one that brung you.”
Soil pH Central Texas Gardener
On tour, Linda Peterson matched a contemporary, energy-efficient house and serene courtyard with equally resourceful plants.
courtyard and front garden design Central Texas Gardener
I first met this garden on a San Antonio Water Saver’s tour in fall 2014 and returned with director Ed and Daniel Veliz on a softly misting day last May. What a perfect moment to capture the intrinsic house and garden bond that Linda and Carl Peterson created!
Courtyard garden Central Texas Gardener
They’d owned the property for years, giving them time to research the latest energy conserving architecture. Linda decided to go for water-thrifty outdoor design, too. Instead of lawn, they built a long-desired courtyard that preserves privacy on the corner lot.
courtyard garden Central Texas Gardener
Carefully, they preserved the live oaks’ heritage architecture.
Courtyard and front garden design Central Texas Gardener
Since many months call for outdoor dining and gatherings, they anchored the courtyard with a fireplace. Even when not in use, it’s naturally where people gravitate.
courtyard garden fireplace and outdoor dining Central Texas Gardener
courtyard and outdoor fireplace dining room Central Texas Gardener
courtyard and outdoor fireplace dining room Central Texas Gardener
To ground the courtyard’s serenity, they chose Pennsylvania bluestone in a green hue.
courtyard garden Central Texas Gardener
courtyard garden Central Texas Gardener
Linda carried the flagstones to the front in a neighborly connection.
flagstone path to courtyard garden Central Texas Gardener
flagstone path to front garden Central Texas Gardener
Before she was ready to plant, Linda used leftovers to define a tiny front yard secret garden. Its intent is to direct rainwater drainage and discretely provide privacy from the house next door (once theirs!).
front yard secret cove Central Texas Gardener
To conserve water and attract pollinators, Linda paired drought-tough structural evergreens with softer perennials that make seasonal exclamations.
front yard drought garden Central Texas Gardener
front yard drought garden Central Texas Gardener
front yard drought garden Central Texas Gardener
For a wrap-around walk, she punctuates standout notations with unifying swaths.
front yard drought garden Central Texas Gardener
front yard drought garden Central Texas Gardener
They made this neighborhood picnic table from an old gate at their former home next door.
picnic table from old garden gate Central Texas Gardener
In a shady, narrow back side garden, Linda created a cozy hangout where Pygmy bamboo gently screens.
little patio screen Pygmy bamboo Central Texas Gardener
It’s a great vantage point to watch the birds take a dip in her grandfather’s faux bois birdbath fountain.
faux bois bird bath fountain Central Texas Gardener
A priority when they built the house was indoor/outdoor views with commercial energy-efficient windows. Linda wanted micro-patios to view from indoors or to step out from the kitchen or living room for an intimate garden respite. With a cattle panel screen, framed by fig ivy and flavored by hanging plants, they get a view to the garden without engaging in the neighbor’s life.
cattle panel patio screen Central Texas Gardener
cattle panel patio screen Central Texas Gardener
On another patio, she designed a screen from leftover metal roof panels.
patio garden off house Central Texas Gardener
small patio with house view Central Texas Gardener
There’s so much more, so here’s the whole story!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time, Linda