the show

Shed Your Ideas About Sheds!

encore date: July 21, 2018

original air date: June 24, 2017

Erika Kotite, author of She Sheds, puts a new spin on sheds! Create a room of your own—styled to fit your dreams—for lady lairs, art studios, and even garden sheds. On tour in Lucinda Hutson’s fiesta garden, vivacious rooms excite the senses outdoors, while contemplative peace resides in her “she shed” outdoor office. Invite hummingbirds over with native, perennial coralbean and find out why Daphne recommends that a new homeowner cut down a chinaberry tree. Trisha Shirey and Barbara Wise from Crescent Garden doll up container planters with clever and practical accents.


Episode Segments

On Tour

Lucinda Hutson’s Life Is a Fiesta Garden

Against vivid backdrops front and back, Lucinda Hutson gardens with passionate flamboyance in artfully unique spaces framed by her tiny purple cottage. Author of The Herb Garden Cookbook and Viva Tequila, she brings her love of Mexico across the border. Find out what inspired her festive and tasty designs.

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She Sheds with Erika Kotite

Erika Kotite, author of She Sheds, puts a new spin on sheds! Create a room of your own—styled to fit your dreams—for lady lairs, art studios, and even garden sheds.

Watch more CTG Interview videos on YouTube →

Question of the Week

Chinaberry tree at my new house: should I remove?

Thanks to Robyn Squyres for this great question and picture! Recently, she bought a house and is starting a wildlife garden.  Unfortunately, the house came with one of my worst nightmares: a large chinaberry tree in the backyard.

Robyn’s concerned about it, since she knows that it’s an invasive species. She’s already pulled up two chinaberry seedlings.

On the other hand, it does provide shade and the birds do love it. Should she cut it down now? Or, should she plant a sapling underneath to grow up a few years before removing the chinaberry?

Something else to consider:  chinaberry is toxic to dogs.

Although I usually don’t recommend complete removal of a mature tree, even an unwanted one, before you can plant another one and get it well on its way, in this case, that is exactly what she should do.

I’m normally not a reactionary to many of the plants listed as “invasive species.” The “invasive” nature of some plants is in the eye of the beholder. An aggressive nature, in the right spot, could be a benefit, since “aggressive” plants are pretty tough in the face of adversity, for example, our extreme drought and heat of the last few years.

It also depends on the planting location, and its proximity to water and natural areas. No species listed as invasive should be planted in landscapes that abut any greenbelt spaces, streams, or other nature-spots.

But Chinaberry is invasive no matter where it’s planted, thanks to birds that scatter the seeds.

Final recommendation: Cut it down!

Then, be prepared to fight a fierce battle with seedlings and root sprouts.  The only answer to keeping the tree from returning is vigilance and sweat equity. Also, check with an arborist to have the large stump ground out.

Check out Texas Invasives’s plant database for other invasive plants.

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Plant of the Week



Erythrina Herbacea

Native coralbean is a rambling, lanky shrub with strikingly beautiful, dark red blooms in early summer. The floral spikes can be up to one foot long, jutting out into the sky like a hummingbird antenna. Those flowers turn into long pods, and the bright red seeds inside are poisonous if ingested, so if you have children or pets, it would be safest to remove them as quickly as possible. Coralbean is also pretty thorny, which may be hard to notice behind its attractive, glossy green, heart-shaped leaves. Listed hardy to USDA Zone 7, it will easily take the roughest of Central Texas cold snaps.  However,  when temps get below freezing for any extended period of time, coralbean will be a perennial, dying back to the ground. Simply clean it up from the base after the last frost date. In warmer areas, coralbean is deciduous, and can get up to 25 feet tall if conditions are ideal. But when it’s perennial, it normally only gets about 5 feet high. As it matures, it will come back wider each year, potentially spreading to 20 feet across once fully grown. Coralbean can take the hottest, driest of spots, and isn’t picky about soil type, making it a great choice for most gardens. Viewer Picture goes to Jackie Baltrun for her outstanding shot of a bumble bee on mealy blue sage. Hummingbirds love this plant, too! But deer avoid it, which makes it a great plant for Jackie in her deerly beloved neighborhood!