the show

Summer Annuals for Wildlife

encore date: May 14, 2015

original air date: May 16, 2015

Pop up summer color with heat-loving annual seeds! John Thomas from Wildseed Farms picks top raves for bees, butterflies, and birds, and how succession planting keeps things going until frost.  On tour in San Antonio, Stephanie and Todd Lanier updated their new home’s 1970s lawn and foundation style with wildlife and low-water plant diversity. Daphne’s Plant of the Week, Queen’s Wreath vine, brings on bees and butterflies to its brilliant coral flowers.  She answers viewer question: Is it okay to pound a nail into a tree to hang a plant or feeder?  Trisha Shirey meets with Ivy Lara from Dripping Springs Garlic Queens to show how to prep your homegrown garlic for harvest and how to dry it.


Episode Segments

On Tour

Garden Makeover to Reduce Lawn

When Stephanie and Todd Lanier bought her childhood home in San Antonio, they updated the 1973 garden style: lawn and overgrown foundation shrubs.  A bed at a time, they dug up grass to spark up the color palette in shade and sun, including lots of plants for wildlife.  In a sunny spot, the built raised beds for a kitchen garden. Throughout, they pumped up the soil with compost and designed drip irrigation for efficient watering.  Follow Stephanie’s garden adventures on her blog, Rambling Wren.


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Question of the Week

Can I put a nail in my mature tree to hang a feeder or plant?

Thanks to Nancy Smith for this great question! The answer is simple: yes; hammering a nail or two into a mature tree is fine.  The tree will barely even notice, as the only living tissue is a thin layer of cells between the external bark and the internal wood.  The tree will easily compartmentalize this small wound and will continue to grow just fine, so hang away, Nancy.  I wouldn’t nail into a very young tree, though.



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Plant of the Week

Queen’s Wreath, Coral Vine

Queen’s Wreath, Coral Vine

Antigonon leptopus

Queen's wreath, also known as coral vine, is a beautiful, sun-loving vine that can also take a little shade. A great addition to any wall or trellis, it can easily spread to 20 feet wide and, with good support, twice as high. You might spot it even climbing up telephone poles or other urban structures! It grows very quickly, making it a nice choice to cover up a bare wall or block an unsightly view. But this rapid growth can be challenging to keep in check, so coral vine is sometimes labeled aggressive, and is best avoided in landscapes adjacent to natural areas. Because of its rambling habit, Queen's wreath should be given plenty of space to roam. Although it may be deciduous in warmer winters, it's more often perennial in Central Texas. Because it grows so rapidly, shearing it to the ground in winter is recommended. In cold winters, it will naturally freeze back, but will return after cutting. It will very quickly emerge from underground tubers in the spring, and will be back to its full stature in almost no time. Although you should prune to shape it and keep it in bounds, heavy pruning will remove the flower buds, and believe me, you don't want to rob yourself of the show-stopping floral display in late summer. The relatively large, light green, heart-shaped leaves are also quite pretty, but when queen's wreath is in full bloom, you likely won't even notice that it has any leaves at all! Flowers are normally rosy pink, but light pink and white varieties may also be found. Bees and butterflies will also flock to its late summer to fall flowers. A native to Mexico, coral vine is often found in heirloom gardens in the Gulf South, and the white flowering variety looks especially striking when planted alongside red roses. Trellised or arbored climbing roses can also serve as support for queen's wreath vine, creating a stunning combination that makes a bold statement in any garden. This vigorous vine is also very drought tolerant, thriving just fine on once a week irrigation during the driest, hottest of times.