the show

Garden Conservancy Tour 2015

encore date: September 24, 2015

original air date: September 26, 2015

Looking for design ideas with plants, structure, garden art and outdoor living? Find them all on the Garden Conservancy’s Austin Open Days tour with Charlotte Boyle’s preview. Get a closer look at Jeff Pavlat’s multilevel succulent and perennial design on a rocky slope in deer country. Daphne identifies sun scald on agaves and explains what happened. For low-growing texture in part shade, get Daphne’s tips for growing plum yew. Trisha spots some of the top plants that give us spots and make us itch!


Episode Segments

On Tour

Succulent Garden on Many Levels

Jeff Pavlat and Ray Clayton accept steep challenges with creativity and curiosity.  When they bought a house on a rocky slope in deer country, they’d never built a retaining wall planter for succulents or a staircase patio from the ground up. They’d never even grown a succulent. Now, their multi-level garden on a rocky slope in deer country is a standout showcase with low-water, low-care plants.


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Question of the Week

What’s wrong with my agave?

Thanks to Marissa Garrett for her great picture and question: what’s going on with her Agave americana?

This agave is susceptible to deadly agave snout weevil, but the bottom leaves aren’t mushy—which they would be if the weevils had moved in.

Sunscald or sunburn is the issue here. Even though this agave likes full sun, in 2015 we had a very unusual spring situation. It was cool, cloudy, and humid until early summer.

Suddenly, we jump back into “normal” Texas weather with harsh, intense sun.

Plants had no time to acclimate and toughen up to get ready. So plants that would not normally have any issues at all with extreme summer weather, like Marissa’s agave, are getting sunburned and drying out this year.


Jeff Pavlat from The Austin Cactus & Succulent Society tells us: In the summer, the leaves may yellow from heat stress and then recover in the fall with cooler temperatures. But if you put a plant out into the sun that’s not adjusted to it, the leaves can actually burn. If they burn, they’ll have dried up brown spots. In that case you may want to remove the damaged leaves.


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Plant of the Week

Plum Yew

Plum Yew

Cephalotaxus Harringtonia

Plum yew is a low-growing evergreen that makes a stunning textural addition to any garden. It prefers heavy shade, so if you’ve got a really densely shaded area that you’ve been struggling with, give this plant a try. It can take bright filtered sun, and even a bit of direct, morning sun, but be sure to protect it from the harsh afternoon light, especially in summer. Listed as hardy to USDA Zone 6, there’s virtually no chance that this plant will ever have trouble with a typical Central Texas, Zone 8 winter. And with most of our plants being deciduous or perennial, winter evergreens as reliable and beautiful as this one are a great addition to your garden, if you’ve got a shady niche to tuck it into. Don’t be fooled by its small stature when you purchase it; plum yew can spread up to five feet wide and can get up to about two and half feet tall. As with most shade-loving plants, plum yew needs a little extra water during the hottest, driest times of year, but can otherwise virtually be ignored. Unless you want to keep it in bounds or shape it, there’s no reason to prune or trim it. And fertilization isn’t a deal-breaker, but plum yew will grow a bit faster if you give it a little all-purpose fertilizer each spring.