My picks for tough roadside conditions in Fine Gardening


Fine Gardening is one of my favorite gardening magazines, so I’m especially pleased to be a contributor to the February 2011 issue, which just arrived in my mailbox and should be available on newsstands soon.


My regional picks for tough roadside plants for the southern plains are on page 31. Narrowing the choices down to four great-looking, drought-tolerant, super-tough plants wasn’t easy for this plant lover. But I was pleased to be able to include a variety of plant types: an ornamental tree (crepe myrtle), an evergreen “shrub” (Texas sotol), an ornamental grass (Mexican feathergrass), and a self-seeding annual flower (our beloved Texas bluebonnet).

I hope you’ll check it out. And if you live in the southern plains, I’d love to hear what your four best “tough roadside plants” would be.

All material © 2006-2011 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

13 Responses

  1. Fine Gardening could write a spread on my garden any time..Congratulations…

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Congrats Pam. Love seeing a fellow gardener that I know published.

  3. Les says:

    Oh my, you have hit the big time. Congratulations on getting into one of my favorite gardening magazines.

  4. Jenny says:

    Congratulations Pam.

  5. Janet says:

    Congratulations Pam. I love Fine Gardening. Been having a lag time in getting my subscription since I moved. Hope it comes today. Great choices for Texas!

  6. S. Fox says:

    Congratulations Pam. I’m so glad to see you published and getting well deserved credit for your garden expertise.

    Your choices are great. Mexican Feathergrass is so soft and beautiful in a breeze and the others are tough and beautiful too. I’ll add some that are out by the road in my yard which you probably just had to leave out. Texas Sage, Texas Mountain Laurel, Salvia Greggii, and Lantana.

    Yep, I could only choose four, S. Fox. Your choices are excellent also. Salvia greggii and lantana would require pruning at least once a year (the salvia looks better with 2-3 prunings, in my opinion), but they are very tough. —Pam

  7. David C says:

    Cool-o-rama, Pam/Digging! Your choices are primo, some even in the Desert SW. 2 of yours are in my own landscape and a number of my designs w/o even drip irrigation – Texas Sotol, Feathergrass. With the latter downwind of our house and other plantings 1/2 mile… Also can’t wait to see other regional choices – and lists your area generates in response, too.

    Now, I just have to create a similar list for here and my regional haunts.

    You’ll be particularly interested in Scott Calhoun’s choices for the southwest, David. Page 33. —Pam

  8. Carol says:

    Excellent! I will definitely check this out, and probably end up subscribing to the magazine. (Our roadside plants usually have to be salt tolerant because of the salt they put on roads in the winter time.)

    Carol, Ellen Barredo of St. Louis made the plant picks for the midwest for this issue. Each of her choices indicates salt tolerance. Not a quality that would ever have occurred to this southerner. —Pam

  9. Kat says:

    Congratulations Pam. I look forward to checking out your article.

  10. Phillip says:

    This is my favorite gardening magazine. I will be looking for your article!

  11. Congrats, Pam! Nice to be able to contribute to a piece that I am sure will be well-read by gardeners with roadside properties. And thanks for the hits of green on your blog. We’re about to get our third snow storm in a week so anything green is appreciated!

  12. hb says:

    Congrats! Very cool…

    Here unfortunately mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima) is extremely invasive.

    Perhaps with your colder winters you don’t have this issue? If only there was a sterile form. It’s so beautiful.

    It’s considered aggressive in central Texas but not invasive. —Pam

  13. Scott says:

    Congrats! I always look forward to my copy of FG…can’t wait!

Follow