the show

Growing Lavender

air date: April 4, 2015

What’s the trick to growing lavender? Rose Eide from Lampasas Ridge Lavender Farm has the tips plus how lavender can soothe you after a hectic day. Need an evergreen native vine that attracts bees? Check out Daphne’s Plant of the Week, Carolina jessamine. Question of the Week: why does a mountain laurel have white spots on its leaves? Plus, make your own water-saving olla with Trisha Shirey and Colleen Dieter from Red Wheelbarrow Design. On tour in Temple, Mary Lew and David Quesinberry turned flat land lawn into dimension and destinations.


Episode Segments

On Tour


In Temple, Texas, Bell County Master Gardener Mary Lew Quesinberry and husband David wanted wildlife and low-water plants instead of lawn. Also, they wanted adventure, discovery, and dimension. See how they moved native boulders to create platforms over winding granite paths, natural screens for privacy, coves for family fun, and plants that bring wildlife antics right up close.


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Question of the Week

My mountain laurel has white spots on it? Are they harmful?

Thanks to Alison Hammerbacher for this great question and picture of her mountain laurel. She

wrote, “My Texas mountain laurel has a fine white substance on its leaves, and there are some places where the leaf is partially solid white.  Any ideas what this could be and what should be done for it?”

Well, Alison, the white areas in your photo don’t appear to be due to any external substance on the leaves.  Actually, the leaf tissue itself appears to be white.  The affected areas seem to have been physically damaged, and that physical damage destroyed the chlorophyll in those areas, leaving behind an area lacking in pigment, or, a white spot.

I can’t be quite certain from this photo, but a few of the spots look like they may be skeletonized.  Skeletonizing is a damage pattern caused by the feeding of certain insects that chew the soft portions of the leaf tissue, leaving the veins intact.

The white areas on your mountain laurel leaves are not fungal, from what I can see in the photo, just physically damaged and lacking chlorophyll.  The good news is, there’s so little damage and the plant is so healthy, that I don’t think there’s anything to worry about, regardless of the root cause.  It’s old damage and the plant has now recovered quite well, so there’s no need to treat.


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Plant of the Week

Carolina Jessamine

Carolina Jessamine

Gelsemium Sempervirens

This native easy-care, evergreen vine is absolutely stunning along a fence, covering an arbor, or on virtually any sturdy structure that gives it ample support and provides the proper vista to admire its lovely, draping style.  If given room to drape over a deck railing, wall, or other elevated height, Carolina jessamine also does quite well in containers. If given the proper support, Carolina jessamine can get up to 20 feet tall and almost half as wide.  Plant in full sun for the best floral display, and give it a little extra water during the first year, while it’s getting established. Surprisingly, this vigorous vine can also be quite easily trained into a ground cover, if you’re willing to commit to heavy annual pruning and regular maintenance shearing. The bright yellow, delicately fragrant, tubular flowers that cover this plant from spring through fall are definitely a show stopper. Native all across the Southeastern U.S. and as far west as East Texas, Carolina jessamine looks perfectly at home in any garden setting.  Whether your tastes lean towards a lush, green, historic-plantation style landscape, or if you prefer the xeric look, with crushed-granite paths and dry creek beds, you’ll enjoy this drought-tough, low water use vine. Carolina jessamine doesn’t need a lot of water, but be sure to keep its roots moist in the heat of summer.