Spider lilies are up


So much for calling the end of summer. It’s been as hot as Georgia asphalt for the past week, and I’ve been out in it every day, getting the garden in shape for fall. At least it’s given me a chance to appreciate the spider lilies (Lycoris radiata) that popped up in a bed of Mexican feathergrass by the blue fountain, which makes for a great color contrast with the red.


Did someone say “spider”? I’ve spotted several large garden spiders in the back yard lately. This one is using my red Circle Pot as an anchor, and has a splashy color echo going on as well.


That’s a big spider!, says Cosmo.


This is the best my majestic sage (Salvia guaranitica) has ever looked in this garden, thanks to the reasonable summer we’ve had this year, despite current sauna-like conditions. The American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) next to it is all berried up for fall…if it ever arrives.


And the dwarf Texas palmetto (Sabal minor) out front is looking happy too, with an arching stem of fruit dipping into the foxtail fern (Asparagus meyeri) below.

Hope you’re enjoying more pleasant weather in your garden, but happy Monday all the same!

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

Austinites and native-plant shoppers, I’ll be at the member’s day Fall Plant Sale at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on October 14, and I hope to see you there! I’ll be signing books between 1 and 3 pm in the Wild Ideas gift shop. If you’re not a member, of course you can still come on out and see the gardens and stop in at Wild Ideas. Hope to see you there!

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 are on sale 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.

Out and about in Austin nurseries and parks


Lately I’m taking as many garden photos with my phone as with my “real” camera, and these often get posted to my Instagram. But not all of them, and sometimes I like to share them on my blog too. So here’s some cool stuff I spotted last week at my favorite local nurseries, Lady Bird Lake, and — why not? — even a medical center’s parking lot.

Pictured above, from said medical center’s parking lot, is one of my favorite scenes from the week: a silver-green agave with striking banding and leaf imprints, rising star-shaped from a mat of silver ponyfoot. Simple and beautiful.


At the same center (this is somewhere off Hwy. 620), island beds of Knock Out roses and Mexican feathergrass are anchored by pruned-up, spiky-headed Yucca rostrata.


Now let’s visit some of Austin’s best nurseries, starting with Barton Springs Nursery. Every year I love to catch their enormous American beautyberry in full berry, with cobalt-blue pots adding a harmonizing hue.


This plant is probably 10 feet across. Here’s a look at the other side. If you’re not growing American beautyberry, why not?


Inside BSN’s gift shop, I spotted these fun saguaro vases and ring holders. I resisted the camp on my first visit, but I came back a couple days later, with my daughter in tow, and when she went gaga for them too I snagged the powder-blue saguaro on the left.


A herd of dinosaurs — colorfully painted plastic toys with cut-out holes planted with succulents — roved near the registers. My sister-in-law got me a dino planter for Christmas last year — the blue brachiosaurus — and it brightens my home-office windowsill.


Maybe I need a set.


Up in Cedar Park, I stopped in at Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery for a few things and paused to admire this new water feature with tough-as-nails blackfoot daisy and some type of succulent (a cold-tender euphorbia, maybe?) planted alongside it.


Back down to South Austin for a morning visit to The Natural Gardener, where I spotted this furled flower almost ready to open.


And in the gift shop, my books — one of each — were on the bookshelf. I know it’s not easy for nurseries to stock books in this era of Amazon and in conditions where books might get soiled (i.e., unsellable), so I really appreciate those like The Natural Gardener that make the effort. After all, not every local gardener knows the best books for Texas gardening, and nurseries can help by showcasing regionally appropriate titles, or even by keeping a suggested reading list on their website. A website reading list need not be purely regional, of course; it can be staff favorites for all kinds of popular gardening topics! By the way, here’s my own suggested reading list.


Over to Lady Bird Lake’s hike-and-bike trail, where I admired a copper-colored dragonfly hanging out near the water.


I looked at him, and he looked at me with those big bug eyes.


I also saw lots of bald cypress and native palmettos along the lakeshore.


Swans, ducks, and turtles too. They all thought I might have some food and swam right over. Sorry, guys!


And off they went into the setting sun.

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

Austinites and native-plant shoppers, I’ll be at the member’s day Fall Plant Sale at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on October 14, and I hope to see you there! I’ll be signing books between 1 and 3 pm in the Wild Ideas gift shop. If you’re not a member, of course you can still come on out and see the gardens and stop in at Wild Ideas. Hope to see you there!

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 are on sale 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.

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.
_______________________

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.

Follow