Bamboo Basics, Romantic Plants and Design

On the home ground, my passalong spuria irises are humming with bees, wasps, and other eager pollinators.
Spuria iris spring bloomer attracts pollinators Central Texas Gardener
Growing tall in winter, they flower in spring and brown up in early summer when I cut them to the ground. Prolific growers, divide when the foliage browns up or when they emerge in late fall.
Perennial spuria iris Central Texas Gardener
A few years ago, we had someone lay a rustic patio in the far back corner, formerly home to primrose jasmine. To my delight, native Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage) and native Brazos/Gulf penstemon popped themselves into the crevices.
Salvia lyrata and Gulf penstemon seed patio Central Texas Gardener copy
Salvia lyrata and Gulf penstemon Central Texas Gardener
Salvia lyrata Central Texas Gardener
With cilantro blooming in the nearby vegetable bed, bees flit from one self-serve buffet to another. When seeds form and turn brown, I’ll harvest and dry in the house for coriander.
bee on flowering cilantro Central Texas Gardener
Taping around town for future segments, a hen strolls down a boardwalk in a backyard pocket prairie. She was more interested in catching bugs, though, than admiring perennial Texas star, pink evening primrose and emerging native clump grasses.
hen on boardwalk backyard native pocket prairie
At the St. David’s Foundation Community Garden (a project of the Sustainable Food Center), native Copper Canyon daisy is already blooming to entice bees to head over to pollinate robustly growing tomatoes.
Tomato plants trellis St. David's Foundation Community Garden Central Texas Gardener
Normally, Copper Canyon daisy (Tagetes lemmonii) blooms in fall, but cloudy days prompted springtime flowers. Plant now to establish before weather gets hot(ter).
Copper Canyon daisy native plant Central Texas Gardener
Forsythia sage (Salvia madrensis) is another perennial to plant now to keep the food cycle going in fall. Splendid yellow spikes nourish migrating hummingbirds and butterflies. Daphne explains more as our Plant of the Week.
Forsythia sage Salvia madrensis Central Texas Gardener
We’re getting lots of questions about clumping bamboo. It’s hitting the charts these days for that textural interest and ability to screen even narrow spaces against that big house next door!
Alphonse Karr bamboo screen fence Central Texas Gardener
But, does it really clump and how do you tell the difference between clumpers or invasive runners? Landscape designer/consultant Merredith Jiles joins Tom to set us straight.
Merredith Jiles Austin garden designer Central Texas Gardener
An easy way to tell if it’s running bamboo (Phyllostachys) is the ridge or sulcus along the culm. That’s the green one in this picture. The golden culm of a clumping Bambusa multiplex is perfectly round.
how tell running and clumping bamboo apart Central Texas Gardener
Merrideth shows off three varieties of clumping bamboos that do spread a bit, but their rhizomes are shorter than running bamboo and stick closer to the plant. Alphonse Karr gets about 15-20’ tall with a 5-6’ spread.
Alphonse Karr bamboo Central Texas Gardener
He also explains how to cultivate and prune—hedging for height and removing canes for health and architectural interest. Golden Goddess grows to about 10-12’ tall.
Green Goddess bamboo Central Texas Gardener
Green Hedge sticks to about 8-10’ tall.
Green Hedge bamboo Central Texas Gardener
Watch now to find out more and get Merredith’s tips to control running bamboo.

Another common question is about browning leaves on container plants. Eloise Hunt’s dracaena has developed yellow leaf margins that eventually turn brown.
brown leaves on dracaena Central Texas Gardener
The edges of Anita Shekar’s avocado leaves are turning brown. Is this a watering issue?
Brown leaves avocado plant Central Texas Gardener
Yes, but not what you might think. Daphne explains: “Although the symptoms look slightly different, both plants are suffering from the same problem: a buildup of salt in the leaves, which leads to marginal tip burn.” Get the complete answer on salt buildup and how to avoid it.

About that watering: what’s the most common mistake we make with new plants? Not watering enough as roots establish. “But it’s raining so much!” some might say. Well, yes and no. Even after pretty regular soakings recently, when I dug in new plants last weekend, the soil was bone dry less than a foot down.

Neil Schmidt from The Natural Gardener explains how to water since deep watering = deep roots=drought strength.
right way to water plants Central Texas Gardener
On tour, Chandler Ford creates romance front and back in sun and shade.
Chandler Ford
In front, sweet peas, roses like Cinco de Mayo, and poppies draw neighborhood crowds every spring.
Chandler Ford
Chandler Ford
Chandler Ford
Like many of us, Chandler has shady spots beyond the sun. A step away from intense color, discover equally sensual colors and texture with Ligularia, Aztec grass, bear’s breeches, dwarf pittosporum, purple oxalis and persicaria.
Chandler Ford
In back, where sun glances against shade, she framed islands of serenity to converse with friends.
Chandler Ford
Chandler Ford
Trex walkways and patio floor mean easy care. Trex, made from wood chips and plastic grocery bags, is durable and not slippery.
Chandler Ford
Watch her story right now!

Thank you for stopping by and see you next week when we preview the Travis County Master Gardener tour! Linda