Starting a First Family Garden + Roses to Love

I can almost hear things growing after rain at last! In a break between drenches, bees lost no time grabbing a quick bite on my spuria irises. These perennials go dormant in summer, emerge in late fall, and zoom up in early spring.

Taping in Dripping Springs last week, a dry creek bed was indeed quite dry. In last weekend’s “frog strangler,” I bet it did its job to keep flooding away from the house and water deep into the ground.

Originally designed by landscape architect Stephen Domigan and planted by Peggy Budd, former Volunteer Director at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, her philosophy’s on the forefront for the new family who’s building onto her “passalong garden.”

Here, native globe mallow, bluebonnets, and agave.

Blue anemones.

Hummingbirds were all over the coral honeysuckle at the vegetable garden’s coyote fence entrance.

The vegetable garden and a viewed-from-inside courtyard are the only spots fenced from deer, but bees and butterflies were everywhere!

In deer country, roses must be fenced in, but they don’t have to be a struggle. My patio-side Marie Pavie, one of my first from The Antique Rose Emporium, is as trouble-free and fragrant as they told me long ago.

Mutabilis or other flat bloom varieties attract bees for easy-access pollen.

This week, we celebrate The Antique Rose Emporium’s 35th anniversary inspiring romantic, durable, and fragrant gardens. From Facebook: “I walked past it and the scent sold me.”

As founder and long-time Michael Shoup tells us, they don’t plant rose gardens. They plant gardens with roses—and native plants—but what they’re really growing is memories and emotions.

Now, their innovative team is looking ahead to new roses as tough as Knock Out®, but perfumed with unique fragrances. Watch now!

To celebrate their anniversary, check out the new craft beer pub that adjoins a refurbished antique shop in a 1920s frame house. And start your own anniversary celebration with a wedding at ARE!

I mingle roses, hardy perennials and native plants, but for natives that aren’t indigenous to my soil, I admire them in other gardens (like in rocky Dripping Springs) or plant in containers. See how Leslie Uppinghouse, horticulturist at the Wildflower Center styles containers for native structure and color.

From our viewers: Have you ever spotted these under your leaves? That’s what Waco family gardeners Heather Johansen, her husband, and three small boys discovered.

This is crane fly larva. They emerge as those delicate, non-stinging insects that flutter around us every February – April. Daphne spotlights the Johansen’s adventure, including potting up baby Mexican feather grass, explains why tree lichen is okay to like, and viewer wildlife finds. Watch now!

On tour: how do you start from scratch when you’re working full-time, tending small children, pets, and a budget?

That’s what Kristen and Phillip Knight did when they were expecting their daughter, age three when we taped.

In their family-oriented neighborhood, they turned the standard backyard of fence and lawn into food, flowers for wildlife (certified as a National Wildflower Center Wildlife Habitat) and family fun.

As Kristen tends the garden after hours or harvests for Phillip’s chef-quality meals, they can kick a soccer ball or watch the kids racing around with the dog.

That’s why they kept some lawn that they mow rarely or water. It always greens up with rain, as Luna cheerfully testifies.

Like most of us, they’ve got spots where rain collects and makes a mess near the house. The Knights hauled in river rock and flagstones for a “sort of” clean-off-feet zone to the house.

Liking the look of rock, they sectioned off a back section as a homemade patio.

At first, Kristen made the mistake I did: planting straight into harsh soil. Then, she started sheet composting and creating berms with garden prunings. Every year, her soil gets richer and better drained.

She also plants in raised beds that add dimension and make it easy to shade with burlap or cover in severe cold.

Kristen and Phillip are recycling fiends. They turned a former trellis into the vegetable garden’s entrance.

Cattle (hog) panel comes in handy to support climbers of all kinds.

Kristen and son (now 7) built the (first) little pond together, where Wompy sleekly posed for us.

Since Kristen and Phillip haul lots of mulch and rocks in their pickup truck, they invested in a truck bed cargo unloader to save their backs. Kristen snapped this photo and videoed a kid-style demo for you!

Watch now!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda