The berry good season


I’m calling it. We’re over the hump of Death Star Summer and sliding into mellow fall. I know, it’s not exactly mellow out there yet, but I can feel it coming. Can’t you?

The beautyberries do. In the lower garden, black beautyberry (Callicarpa acuminata) is laden with rich purple berries that’ll darken with age.


Closer to the house, American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) shows off magenta berry clusters amid chartreuse leaves (brightened by a shaft of sunlight). Blue plumbago blossoms mingle too.


Out front, a Texas dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) that bloomed earlier this summer is now sporting an arching wand of berry-like fruit. These should blacken later in the season.


Summer’s end sees an abundance of pale pavonia (Pavonia hastata) blossoms.


Pale pavonia is a Brazilian cousin to our native rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala).


On the front porch the other day, I spotted a young Texas spiny lizard stretched out on the wheel of a cart. I wasn’t sure if it was dead or alive. It was quite still when I leaned down for a photo. Suddenly it panicked and shot into the garden. I guess it was just enjoying a nice stretch!


Around the corner, the gravel garden is looking tidy since I pruned up the overgrown ‘Alphonse Karr’ bamboo. What a beast! But it’s so beautiful when pruned up to show off its yellow-and-green-striped “legs.” In the rusty steel “floating” containers, from front to back, are red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora); toothless sotol, or Mexican grass tree (Dasylirion longissimum); ‘Jaws’ agave; and ‘Frazzle Dazzle’ dyckia.


Galvanized steel, rather than rusty steel, dominates the back garden, including this trio of IKEA GRÄSLÖK pots planted with four of my xeric favorites for containers: Mexican feathergrass (Nassella tenuissima), ‘Chocolate Chips’ manfreda (Manfreda undulata ‘Chocolate Chips’), rock penstemon (Penstemon baccharifolius), and blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum). All are native to central Texas except the manfreda from Mexico, but you could substitute our native Texas tuberose (Manfreda maculosa) to similar effect.


The view from the deck reveals a few more galvanized containers, including the 8-foot diameter stock-tank pond and three spiraling culvert-pipe remnants planted with squid agave (A. bracteosa).

Now that fall is on the way, it’ll soon be planting season in central Texas and throughout the South and Southwest. Do you have any projects planned? Do tell!

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

South Texans, come see me at the 2nd annual Planta Nativa festival in McAllen, Texas, on Saturday, October 22. I’ll be delivering the keynote talk, “Local Heroes: Designing with Native Plants for Water-Saving Gardens,” that evening. Tickets go on sale soon at Quinta Mazatlan. I hope to see you there!

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Como Park Conservatory and Japanese Garden: Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling


In the South we don’t have many conservatories, probably because our winters aren’t particularly bleak or cold. But I’ve visited a few on my travels to northern states, and on day three of the Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling, I got to see another one at Como Park in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Como Park’s 100-year-old glass house is flanked outside by a long, mirror-like, elevated pond bejeweled with water lilies.


A sunken garden fills one wing of the conservatory, with a rill-like pond running down the center and flowering plants on each side.


Photo by Diane McGann

Our group of approximately 60 garden bloggers posed here for the official group photo. I don’t know if it was planned, but a naked woman streaked into the photo with us and then struck a demure pose. Hah! See her?


After the photo, we had only a few minutes to see the garden before it was time to get back on the bus, and I made a beeline for the Japanese Garden. Along the way, I paused to admire several bonsai, including this large eastern white cedar, displayed on a patio.


Jack pine ‘Uncle Fogey’ bonsai


Ponderosa pine too


In the garden itself, their life-size counterparts add height, soft texture, and a sense of age to boulder-edged islands in a koi-filled pond.


A zig-zag bridge of stone planks crosses the pond.


A roofed gate with lattice-style bamboo fencing leads to (I assume) a teahouse. According to Como Park’s website, the Japanese garden’s design was a gift from the people of Nagasaki to the people of its sister city, St. Paul.


What a lovely gift!

Up next: The elegant Tudor-house garden of Marge Hols. For a look back at a streamside garden inspired by Walden, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Flowers and rich foliage at Chanticleer’s Pond Garden


Is any garden feature more alluring to people than a body of water? I think not. As Diana and I emerged from Chanticleer‘s shady, green Asian Woods during our early June visit, the sunlit and flowery Pond Garden greeted us (the pond was hidden from view at first), set off by a verdant lawn leading up to Chanticleer House in the distance. I had to explore!


To orient you, let’s jump across the pond to the uphill side so we can look down on the whole scene. The pond garden looks small from here, but it actually emcompasses a series of small ponds surrounded by coarse, flowering plants and bright and dark foliage combos.


Zooming in for a closer look, let’s admire white waterlilies…


…burgundy-and-gold spuria iris…


…and the sunshine-yellow spires of Carolina lupine (Thermopsis villosa).


The bees like them too.


Friendly koi


White daisies against rusty red Japanese maple


While the pond garden was abloom with early summer flowers, it also showcased beautiful foliage combinations, especially with dramatic contrasts of gold and burgundy.


Like this groundcovering chartreuse bamboo (I think) and burgundy columnar tree.


Lovely


One more


Really, there was gold enough to make King Midas happy.


Trollius chinensis ‘Golden Queen’


Primrose in the foreground


Primrose in sunset hues


Diana stopped to photograph them too.


Coming back around to where I entered the garden, I admired the long view again, with golden foliage and pink phlox in the foreground.


The broadly striped lawn leads up toward the Ruin Garden — and someone’s pointing the way — but I’m not ready to show you that just yet.


A short way upslope from the pond, a stone-pillared arbor offers a shady spot to look out over the ponds. Four throne-like wooden chairs evoke Cair Paravel.


Queen Diana the Adventurous tries one out.


Moving on…


…is that the Stone Table? No, just a stone bench for a couple enjoying the view…


…which is quite nice.


Clematis ‘Huldine’ (if I’ve ID’d it correctly) was shining like moonlight on water.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of Chanticleer’s Pond Garden!

Up Next: Chanticleer’s Tennis Court Garden of gold and white. For a look back at the Elevated Walkway’s meadow garden and the green Asian Woods Garden, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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