Easter Sunday Foliage Follow-Up


I’m imagining my blog feed filling up with pictures of pastel Easter eggs and white lilies. But here at Digging, in spite of a flurry of kitchen activity (I’m making Tex-Mex deviled eggs and a lemon cake), it’s still Foliage Follow-Up. Let’s start with the stock-tank pond garden, encircled by masses of ‘Color Guard’ yucca and bamboo muhly along the uphill side and heartleaf skullcap on the downhill side, with “doorways” marked by ‘Winter Gem’ boxwood. Across the pond, a shimmering Yucca rostrata guards the side-yard path.


In the raised beds, Moby2 (Agave ovatifolia) reigns over a mix of bright-shade-tolerant foliage plants, including silver ponyfoot, ‘Quadricolor’ agave, blue torch cactus (Pilocereus azureus), and ‘Macho Mocha’ mangave.


A metal roadrunner darts across a pot of aloes, with the strappy leaves of Texas nolina in the background.


I have a thing for metal garden art. Here, a toothy smile (feed me, Seymour!) greets you from a pot of ‘Chocolate Chips’ manfreda and Mexican feathergrass.


Lately, I also have a thing for squids — or at least these squidy pots. With curly, writhing “arms,” Tillandsia xerographica makes a perfect plant for them.


Fresh green leaves on the live oak trees are the most dominant foliage in my garden right now. They’re a bright-green backdrop to everything else.


Since it IS Easter, I can’t leave without posting a little floral color, so here we go: two pinks (Dianthus ‘Lavender Lace’ and ‘Light Pink + Eye’) crammed together into one pot.


One more


And while I don’t have an Easter lily, I do have white rain lilies. Happy Easter, y’all!

This is my April post for Foliage Follow-Up. Fellow bloggers, what leafy loveliness is happening in your garden this month? Please join me in giving foliage its due on the day after Bloom Day. Leave a link to your post in a comment below. I’d appreciate it if you’ll also link to my post in your own — sharing link love! If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it. I look forward to seeing your foliage faves.

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

Mark your calendar for the Inside Austin Gardens Tour on May 6, sponsored by Travis County Master Gardeners. This fun garden tour occurs every 18 months and features a mix of homegrown gardens “for gardeners, by gardeners,” as their tagline says.

Get on the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks. Inspired by the idea of house concerts — performances in private homes, which support musicians and give a small audience an up-close and personal musical experience — I’m hosting a series of garden talks by design speakers out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

Zinging through the end of summer


Although I was gone for half of it, which no doubt helped, August was one of the most pleasant Augusts I’ve experienced since moving to Austin 22 years ago. It just hasn’t been all that hot (in the low to mid-90s F, and even some days in the upper 80s), with clouds that keep the Death Star at bay and a good deal of rain to boot.

What gives?? I don’t know, but I like it! Austin is lush and green right now. Take this evergreen wisteria (Millettia reticulata), for example.


It’s a beauty in late summer. I spotted this one outside a restaurant in South Austin, but I was first introduced to the vine at Philip’s East Side Patch. It’s not really a wisteria, nor is it invasive like Chinese wisteria, although, according to Philip, it can be a jungly beast. I wish I had a sunny fence in need of a little color.


At home in my own garden, I’m so glad I didn’t miss the short-lived flowering of the pond crinum while I was away on vacation.


The burgundy-chocolatey leaves are wonderful enough. Add raspberry-colored flowers and you have perfection. Well, almost. I did have to stake them to keep them from face-planting in the pond. Local readers, if you’re curious, I found this plant at Hill Country Water Gardens in Cedar Park. It must be protected from our occasional hard freezes, which I do by dropping it temporarily to the bottom of the pond.


Indoors, I’m loving ‘Moonshine’ snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Moonshine’), a freebie from the Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling. One of the sponsors, Costa Farms, gave away these and other “Plants of Steel.” It’s perfect for my Rick Van Dyke snake pot, which I bought at Austin’s Cactus & Succulent Society Show one year.

Speaking of which, the Cactus & Succulent Show is happening this weekend, and you’ll find Rick Van Dyke selling his pots, among other vendors, plus lots of cool succulents and cacti.


I seem to have a thing for pots that look like they’re alive. Here’s one of my new tentacle pots — I tend to call them squid pots — with a squiddy tillandsia popped in it for summer.


A rusty wall planter holds ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense), another succulent (can’t remember the name), and Coahuila lace cactus (Echinocereus pectinatus var. coahuila). And a tiny chair from Potted.


A mass planting of paleleaf yucca (Y. pallida) is looking mighty fine under the live oaks. I was inspired to plant a grid of these after seeing something similar in designer Tait Moring’s garden. Native groundcover woolly stemodia (Stemodia lanata) fills in around the yuccas.


In the same bed, mullein’s fuzzy leaves are so pettable.


In the streetside bed, autumn-herald garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) is blooming. Its white flower clusters stand out against deep-purple ‘Vertigo’ pennisetum, a trial plant Proven Winners sent me last year. The lavender blossoms of Mexican oregano (Poliomintha longiflora) are a paler echo of the ‘Vertigo’ grass.


Garlic chives and ‘Vertigo’ pennisetum


And a closeup of the garlic chives, which bees adore. I haven’t seen many bees lately, though, and I hope it’s not because neighbors have been spraying for mosquitoes (a known bee killer).


In Moby news, my whale’s tongue agave (A. ovatifolia) that finished flowering months ago has started producing bulbils — baby clones of the mother plant — at the top of the bloom spike. How cool is that! I’ll wait a little longer to make sure they’re viable before cutting down the bloom stalk, which is as big as a sapling tree and has started to lean. No doubt Moby will give up the ghost soon, after this final burst of reproductive energy.

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

Austin Cactus & Succulent Society’s Fall Show & Sale is this weekend at Zilker Botanical Garden, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Go early for best selection or later for better deals!

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.

Hot child in the city: August Foliage Follow-Up


Surely August will be our last worst month here in central Texas. It can’t possibly remain blisteringly hot and humid through September, can it?


Yes, it can, and it probably will, but that’s why I love agaves, yuccas, prickly pear, and other tough plants. They breeze through a Texas summer looking as cool as an Austinite floating in spring-fed Barton Springs Pool. Here’s one of my current favorites, Agave applanata ‘Cream Spike’ (formerly Agave parryi ‘Cream Spike’), a pup given to me last fall by Bob Beyer of the blog Central Texas Gardening. Just look at those cream-and-lime-striped leaves and tidy, red teeth lining each crimson-spined leaf.


Agave x leopoldii is also a fine small agave for a sunny deck or patio. It needs some winter protection, but its coppery summer coloration — a little stressed from heat and drought — is especially lovely.


Out front, in the Berkeley sedge (Carex divulsa) lawn, lemony ‘Margaritaville’ yucca easily withstands summer’s heat.


For the first time, I’m experimenting with keeping tillandias — aka air plants — outside during the warm months. I’ve managed to keep the big one on the left alive indoors for a couple of years, and I’d hate to lose it. But they look so perfect in my new Tentacle Pots that I decided to take the chance. I hope they don’t burn up in Austin’s summer heat! They’re in filtered shade, and I’m misting them with distilled water once a week.


Since today is Foliage Follow-Up — a celebration of great foliage — let’s venture outside my own garden for a moment. I spotted this honor guard of ‘Will Fleming’ yaupon hollies at the “castle” house in South Austin. Its narrow, upright form and tidy, evergreen leaves make ‘Will Fleming’ a great screening plant for a tight space, or a striking vertical accent.


At the same house, in the hell strip outside a limestone wall, a zigzagging row of large, silver-blue agaves is eye-catching too — like campfires with tongues of blue flame. Atop the wall, prickly pear finds a crevice home. None of these plants minds the heat or the Death Star, and they make architectural additions to the summer garden.

This is my August post for Foliage Follow-Up. Fellow bloggers, what leafy loveliness is going on in your garden this month? Please join me in giving foliage its due on the day after Bloom Day. Leave a link to your post in a comment below. I’d appreciate it if you’ll also link to my post in your own — sharing link love! If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it. I look forward to seeing your foliage faves.

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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