Plant romance at Redenta’s Garden and other Dallas shops

I made a Dallas dash — a day trip from Austin to Dallas (3 hours each way) — last Saturday to visit my son at college. My mom and daughter joined me, and we hit a few unique Big D shops just before and after lunch, knowing that College Boy wouldn’t emerge from his man cave until later. I love road trips. Do you?

We started at Big Mango Trading Company, an Indonesian import shop specializing in garden sculpture and furniture. I’d heard about it from the owners of the fabulous Blue Lotus Garden (pictured here), and it was fun to explore and imagine creating a tropical paradise of our own. The helpful guy working there sent us around the corner to a couple of funky home/design shops afterward, including the weirdly fascinating Scout.

Next we hit Wisteria, a global home-decor store better known outside of Dallas for its catalog. I went verdigris crazy and bought two glazed vases and a bronze deer, all discounted, for my dining room console, under the agave prints by Carolyn Schmitz. The three green-glazed seedpods to the left of the deer…

…came from Redenta’s Garden, a favorite Dallas garden shop with a modern edge, native plants, and a good succulent and agave selection. The succulent heart pictured at top is from Redenta’s, as are these cool tillandsias and stem-like holders for displaying them.

Redenta’s has two locations: a more suburban nursery in Arlington and this urban boutique nursery in Dallas, whose rusty steel planters filled with agaves, yuccas, and native wildflowers along busy Skillman Street will have you fighting for a parking space. Pictured here, along with my shadow-puppet hands, are a big, beautiful ‘Whale’s Tongue’ agave (A. ovatifolia) and cheery four-nerve daisies (Tetraneuris scaposa).

After all that nursery and home-decor goodness, we headed over to UT Dallas, where Mom got the campus tour and a peek into a suspiciously surprisingly neat dorm suite occupied by three young men. Dinner at Chuy’s (College Boy was homesick for his favorite Tex-Mex) and then a round of putt-putt golf, at a course adorned with a safari’s worth of African beasties, made for a perfect end to the day. Of course the return drive still awaited, but what a fun Dallas dash it was.

How about you? Have you made any fun day trips lately?

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Possumhaws coming into glory

The reddening of possumhaw holly (Ilex decidua) berries seems a couple of weeks late this year. (Click the link to see how they look at peak.)

Usually the red-berried trees are blazing by mid-to-late January in my northwest Austin neighborhood, but this year they’re just starting to “fire up.”

It won’t be long now though. Of course, it won’t be long either for the earliest spring blooms, so they’d better hurry up.

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Wildflower Center aglow with the spirit of the season

Luminarias glowed and tree lights twinkled throughout the native-plant gardens at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center during last weekend’s annual Luminations event. I’ve been several times over the years, but this time the lights extended all the way to the new Family Garden.

We got there at opening and enjoyed the lights as evening fell.

My young nephew was with us, so we headed straight for the Family Garden, passing this golden bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum) along the way. That’s a russet bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) at the turn in the path.

In the fading light I was wowed by a mass planting of Lindheimer muhly (Muhlenbergia lindheimeri), whose bleached inflorescences stood tall enough to partially hide a bench. I wish the border of Lindheimer muhly in my own garden looked this fabulous, but it doesn’t get full sun and the grasses remain much smaller and floppier.

Wrapped in lights, a row of Arizona cypresses (Cuppressus arizonica) in the Family Garden made living Christmas trees.

Musical performances were scheduled throughout the garden’s pavilions, including this one, adding a holiday soundtrack to the festivities.

Luminarias lit the way back to the main gardens.

It struck me as kind of strange to be walking through dark gardens by candlelight, where all you could see was glowing paper bags. But it was nice too.

Back in the main courtyard, it was a party, with a steel band playing, people smiling and talking, and hot chocolate being handed out.

We popped into the gift shop. Of course.

I found a glass armadillo ornament, which I immediately realized we needed for our tree. I also perused the shop’s extensive garden-book selection.

Oh, looky here — autographed copies of Lawn Gone! are on display right up front!

At last it was time to go, and at the exit we stopped to ooh and ahh over this enormous live oak, seemingly lit with fairy lights all the way up into the evergreen branches. I was even more impressed to realize that the lights were not physical lights but projected images from four upward-pointing projectors at ground level. How clever, and no ladders required!

Merry Christmas, y’all!

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.