the show

Lucinda Hutson’s Viva Tequila!

encore date: August 3, 2013

original air date: June 8, 2013

Lucinda Hutson takes us on a spirited tour of Mexico’s agaves through Viva Tequila! Cocktails, Cooking, and Other Agave Adventures. Along with a fiesta of folklore, get the inside story of how agaves turn into tasty drinks, and which one is exclusive to tequila. On tour, wander a romantic street side garden where Bob Atchison and Rob Moshein invite the neighbors into their Texas-tough multicultural design. Daphne explains why your succulent plants are getting chomped. Her pick of the week is Cuphea, superb heat-loving perennials to attract wildlife. Eric Pedley from East Austin Succulents shows how to divide succulent plants.


Episode Segments

On Tour

Romantic Street Side Garden

Live on a busy street corner? See how Bob Atchison and Rob Moshein romantically framed their 1927 Spanish Revival House named “Palazzo di cani di neri,” Italian for the palace of the black dogs, in honor of their two dogs. They defined privacy in their outdoor living room with enchantment for the passersby and the neighbors who come calling nightly to visit among the flowers, sculptures, and spilling water troughs.


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Question of the Week

What’s eating my Macho Mocha mangave?

Although it looks like this yucca bug is the culprit, it’s not!

Yucca bugs and Largus bugs (also invading this plant) feed by sucking plant juices, so the darkened spots are resulting damage from their feeding.

But the larger holes were caused by snails. Especially they like new growth close to the ground. I’ve noticed similar damage on the leaves of amaryllis, daffodils, calla lilies and other plants.  Snails also love fruit that is close to the ground, so you should take extra precautions to protect your strawberries.

Snails can be tricky.  They hide out in the cool moist air under the leaves of your plant during the day, and you don’t even think to look for them until the damage is done.

How to deal with them? The old remedy of beer in a tuna can or other small, shallow dish does indeed work very well, since the snails are attracted to the carbohydrates and fall in but can’t get out.  Another great way to capture these pests is to put a board in your garden, right on top of the soil of mulch.  Snails will hide under the board, making them easier to catch during the day.

But the first step in managing snails and slugs is to find and remove as many as possible.  Dig around in the soil or mulch near the base of your plant, and in shady areas of the garden.  Early morning, when it’s light out but not sunny yet, or cloudy, cool mornings, are the best times to find snails and slugs, since they’ll be out feeding at this time and will be easier to find.

Don’t apply baits! Read the label very carefully.  The active ingredient in most of these products is highly toxic to dogs and cats, and should be avoided if at all possible.  Good cultural control really is the best method.


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Plant of the Week



These warm-weather bloomers will bring on the birds and the butterflies! Cultivar Cuphea 'David Verity' sports tubular orange flowers. Bat-faced or bat face cuphea (Cuphea llavea) has rounder flowers of red and purple that resemble little bat faces. They thrive in full sun, but also do quite well in part-shade, requiring very little supplemental irrigation. They'll bloom without missing a beat from late spring/early summer until the first frost. Plant in very well-drained soil, since these Cupheas are sensitive to over watering. They dislike heavy clay soil, so build berms or raised beds for extra drainage, amending with decomposed granite. 'David Verity' grows to about 12-18" tall and about 2' wide, while bat face can get a little taller, up to 2' feet or so. In warmer winters, Cuphea will be evergreen, but may be deciduous in cooler years. Simply cut back dead growth to restore growth after the last frost date. Hardy to zone 8, you'll definitely need to protect them if we get down below about 10 degrees. Batface cuphea is a little more cold-tender, so it would be a good idea to protect this one if we're down into the 20's. Depending on your microclimate, they may be simply annuals. Replace after the last frost. They grow quickly to fill the space again until fall.