Small bites: Cactus Containers & Art of Bonsai

My coneflowers are still packing them in. Every sunny hour, at least two different butterflies and several bees race like gardeners at a rare plant sale. Here’s Red Admiral dining sedately.
butterfly native plants
Around town, native globe mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) captivates audiences, too.
native plant
Silvery-gray leaves pop against tiny flowers in hues of orange to apricot pink to attract bees and butterflies from spring through frost. Sadly, not deer resistant.
native plant
Getting about two feet tall and wide, globe mallow thrives in sunny, well-drained areas where it doesn’t get too much water. Daphne explains how to grow globe mallow, our Plant of the Week.
native plant
Many native plants, like agarita (Mahonia trifoliata), are edible (berries) and also contain medicinal properties.
native plant
EZ Herbs herbalist Ellen Zimmermann joins Trisha to tell us the story behind drought-tough flowers and foliage.
medicinal native plants with Ellen Zimmermann Central Texas Gardener
She explains how agarita’s roots and branches contain berberine, noted for antiviral and antibiotic properties.
agarita root medicinal berberine Central Texas Gardener
Ellen even demonstrates how to use a tincture to ease your ails! Watch now for more.
native plant herbal tinctures Central Texas Gardener
What a surprise! For the first time ever, my shrimp plants are blooming as returning hummingbirds need a meal. After winter’s hard freeze, I never expected such a quick comeback.
perennial shade
I thought my beloved Byzantine gladiolus would never bloom, but they’re really only a few weeks late. Larkspur and ‘Henry Duelberg’ salvia pop in deep lavender against that explosive magenta.
bulbs perennials native plants
Winter and early spring-blooming bulbs are looking pretty ratty about now, but keep hands off until the foliage browns up. They’re storing carbohydrates to feed the bulbs through dormancy. Once they’re brown, you can divide and move while you still know where they are!

When should you divide iris? It depends on what you have! Get Daphne’s answer.
We at CTG have known Darrell Dunten for many years from his renowned Living Desert Cactus Nursery. Now re-invented as the Living Desert Ranch in Spicewood, he joins Tom with tips to avoid killing your cactus containers.
Darrell Dunten Living Desert Ranch Central Texas Gardener
Like all plants, cacti are not created equal, so care depends on genus.
cactus container
Plus, get his super easy tip to check soil moisture. Watch now!
grafted cactus Living Desert Ranch Central Texas Gardener
Living Desert Ranch is much more than a stellar cactus nursery and venue for rock bling. Darrell and girlfriend partner DeAnna Lynn also host a bed & breakfast, where you can spend the day and dine with Darrell, the Cactus Whisperer.
garden bling Tom Spencer Darrell Dunten Central Texas Gardener
Open Wednesday – Sunday, check out Darrell’s original art work as well. And Thursday – Sunday and holidays, be sure to stay for brunch/lunch! Dine on yummy plant-based meals that contain no oil, sugar, dairy, meat, GMO, gluten or added salt.
cactus painting by Darrell Dunten Central Texas Gardener
When chef DeAnna was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer five years ago, she opted for no chemo or treatment. Instead, she changed her lifestyle. Find out more about her story and brunch menus.

On tour, the ancient art of bonsai lives strong through its demonstration of tenacity and endurance in miniature living sculptures.
bonsai Central Texas Gardener
Growers from the Austin Bonsai Society and The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit give us the basics on soil, care, plants, pruning and design. Joey McCoy tells poetic stories of “devastated beauty” behind each design.
Joey McCoy Austin Bonsai Society Central Texas Gardener
Elaine White, founder of the Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, explains the biggest mistake new growers make: trying to grow outside trees indoors. Even downsized, they’re literally rooted in seasonal change from leaf drop in fall to flowering in season.
bonsai tree Austin Bonsai Society Central Texas Gardener
Elaine reserves her greenhouse for plants that aren’t winter hardy in Central Texas. In warmer climates, they could live outside, too.
bonsai greenhouse Central Texas Gardener
Jonathan Wood steps us through training a plant cultivated from the wild from a litter-box type container to ultimate show container.
Jonathan Wood trident maple bonsai Central Texas Gardener
A man of many talents, CTG “deputized” Jonathan as TV grip when he jumped onto a lighting stand that threatened to topple in high wind. On official bonsai duty, he demonstrates how to mix the right medium to avoid root rot.
Jonathan Wood Central Texas Gardener
Almost any plant can be trained as a bonsai.
Bougainvillea bonsai Ausitn Bonsai Society Central Texas Gardener
The Austin Bonsai Society even rescues boxwoods that gardeners discard. And through The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, they foster heirloom plants when owners can no longer care for them.
Bonsai boxwood Austin Bonsai Society Central Texas Gardener
Joey and Jonathan explain how they wire branches to train–sort of like having braces on your teeth!
bonsai training wires Central Texas Gardener
I adore Joey’s photo of a Confederate jasmine bonsai.
Confederate jasmine bonsai Austin Bonsai Society Central Texas Gardener
“When you work on your bonsai, everything else disappears, all the worry, all the fret. You focus on this living piece of art,” said Zel Heaney of Countryside Nursery and Landscape.
Zel Austin Bonsai Society Central Texas Gardener
At Austin Bonsai Society meetings (and on their website), get hands-on tips to grow your own.
Austin Bonsai Society workshops Central Texas Gardener
And mark your calendar for their 46th Annual Show & Sale on May 20 and 21 at Zilker Botanical Garden.
Austin Bonsai Society show and sale Central Texas Gardener

You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram!

Watch now for the whole story!

And thanks for stopping by. See you next week, Linda