Gardening How-To magazine features my former garden


When photographer and all-around nice guy Rob Cardillo photographed my former garden two years ago, he explained that he’d be pitching his images to a magazine for a story idea about regional or xeric design. I was delighted and flattered by his interest but didn’t really expect anything to come of it. Then, just two months after Rob’s visit, my husband and I spontaneously decided to move to a new home here in Austin, and I partially dismantled the garden in order to take treasured plants with me, like the big ‘Whale’s Tongue’ agave that anchored the front garden. I got busy making a new garden and seldom thought about the old one.


So imagine my surprise and excitement when editor Elizabeth Noll from Gardening How-To, the subscriber magazine for the National Home Gardening Club, contacted me a few months ago to interview me for a story to go with Rob’s images. I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with Elizabeth about my old garden, its inspiration and evolution, and the combinations of native and adapted xeric plants that worked for me.


Elizabeth’s article, a 6-page spread entitled “Rose Meets Cactus,” appears in the July/August 2010 issue (available only through subscription) on page 38.


All this has made me suddenly nostalgic for my former garden.


I am grateful to Gardening How-To, Elizabeth, and Rob for memorializing it for me in peak summer glory.

And if any new readers arrive at Digging via the article, welcome! I’m glad you’re here. I hope you’ll follow along as my gardening adventures continue at my new home.

All material © 2006-2010 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Whale’s Tongue agaves at Barton Springs Nursery


‘Whale’s Tongue’ alert! At noon today, I spotted five 3-gallon pots of the hard-to-find Agave ovatifolia for sale at Barton Springs Nursery, priced at $39.99. The leaves look curlier than the ‘Whale’s Tongue’ agaves I’m growing and have seen in gardens around town. But when I asked the staff about them, they were certain that they’re the real deal—seed-grown by BSN’s Conrad himself.

Go get ’em while they last.

All material © 2006-2009 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Return of the spider lilies


The spider lilies (Lycoris radiata ) are blooming again.


Or I should say were blooming. I dug up most of the bulbs yesterday to bring to the new garden. But of course I left some behind—a surprise gift for future owners.

All material © 2006-2008 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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