the show

Wrangling Water and Erosion

air date: January 15, 2015

We love the rain but not when it threatens our homes and erodes our gardens! Land designer Elizabeth McGreevy illustrates a few simple ways to wrangle that water and keep it on our plants. On tour in Temple, Sarah Munro’s first job was to redirect water with artist Brooks Gist when she restored wildlife habitat in her new development.  Daphne answers: What’s the difference between a succulent and a cactus? Drought defiant sedge takes Plant of the Week as lawn option or simply textural groundcover. At Lake Austin Spa Resort, award-winning chef Stephane Beaucamp joins Trisha to make a gluten free Caesar salad with kale, creamy non-dairy dressing, and toasted chickpea “croutons.”


Episode Segments

On Tour

Habitat Restoration

When Sarah Munro moved back to her childhood home in Temple, she built a house on wild land she played on as a kid. Rather than plant grass in the new development, she wanted to preserve the native wildlife’s habitat.  Before supplementing existing natives in her new garden, she worked with artist Brooks Gist to direct now-flooding street water away from the house and capture it with rain gardens, French drains and gravel/stone channels.  Sarah loves art, too, and to complement her living sculptures, she added local custom art from  intimate to outstanding.



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Question of the Week

What’s the difference in a succulent and a cactus?

First, all cacti are succulents. Not all succulents are cacti!

A great way to remember is that the word “succulent” is an adjective, used to describe many different plants that store water in their leaves or stems.

“Cactus” is a noun, referring to a particular subset of plants.  All true cacti are members are the same plant family, the Cactaceae.

Prickly pear, saguaro and Christmas cactus are in the cactus family. They are succulents since they store water in their leaves or stems. Many cactus plants also trickle dew or other water from their spines to their stems.

Succulents that are not cactus plants include sedums, agaves, aloes, yuccas and many euphorbias. These drought tough plants collect water in fleshy leaves, stems, or roots.

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Plant of the Week

Texas Sedge

Texas Sedge

Carex texensis

If you’re thinking about removing your turf but don’t quite want to go all the way to installing landscape beds, you might consider planting Texas sedge.  It’s very water-wise and drought tough, and performs great in partial shade. They’re also perfect to plant under live oak trees or others where you’d like groundcover in those semi-shady spots.  Or simply accent areas where you want their textural grassy low-care foliage. There are many species of sedges so find the one that you like for your conditions. Sedges don’t spread and fill in like lawn grasses do, rather they grow in clumps, so don’t expect a uniform look. Texas sedge stays naturally around 10 inches tall, flopping over on itself, and doesn’t require mowing. The texture and pattern created by planting large swathes of sedges can be quite beautiful, especially with some rocky, bermed areas to simulate a natural limestone outcrop. Sedges prefer well-drained soil and at least partial sun, and only need irrigation during especially long dry spells. If they brown in a harsh winter, simply shear them back.