GardenDishes

dishin' the DIRT on hit and myth landscaping

Archive for the tag “Texas”

TransPLANTed…AGAIN!

Yes, I’m a gypsy. No sooner than I’ve completed the last project on my to-do list (and hubby’s done with his honey-do list),  and I develop an acute itch only cured by priming the ZILLOW app on my iPhone. Hubby recognizes that dazed look on my face. He’s come to hate that look.

Last spring, hubby retired. We decided we’d live at our farm during the week (a 2 1/2-hour drive away) heading back to an apartment on The Waterway for weekends so we don’t miss grandkids or church. Sounds like a perfect retirement plan, right: no-maintenance living on one end, never-ending on the other. After all, I can write from anywhere with an internet connection. Lots of people do that. It’s called tele-pathetic work, I think.

But, God…He not only has a big BUT, He’s got an impeccable sense of comedic timing. The second day out on our retirement road trip to Yosemite, we got a call that could not have come from anywhere except above. So my hubby took the job and I took to ZILLOW. Again. The farm will continue as a weekend hobby for now.

Apparently, my plants have a touch of gypsy, too. Neighbors (of numerous houses) swear they’ve witnessed shrubs and perennials in my yard lift their skirts…uh…er…ROOTS when they see me coming with a shovel. The home we bought THIS time was a rental property for several years. It had good bones; however, a few were brittle, the rest broken. So here I come with my shovel.

shrubface

Want a happy face on your shrubs? Transplant at the right time!

We straddle the Texas Gulf Coast and the Pineywoods here. Our weather is somewhat temperate. Also somewhat temperamental, but that’s for another post. The best time to re-do a landscape is our version of winter, which actually translates as less-hot-than-other-seasons. People who hate cold come live here in the winter, probably in this house till we rescued it. Heat’s the nemesis rather than cold when it comes to gardening here. And snowbirding, too, come to think of it. I guess plants and people are a lot alike when it comes to weather – we both hate both ends of the spectrum.

 

So if you’re like me, always itching to move, my hubby recommends a shovel rather than a U-Haul. He also recommends keeping an auxiliary honey-do list in emergencies. Got your shovel and ready to move? Here are some to-dos for the gypsy plants on your list. Also, check out my friend Skip Richter’s YouTube on digging up the root ball.

transplant.jpg

Root prune plants before moving. I love my sharp shooter shovel because of the no-slip spot for my foot. It’s made by Fiskars. (I received no $ for saying this, or even a discount, by golly!)

 

 

 

 

 

Want a NO-MAINTENANCE ROSE?

Sally asks:

“Do I have to dead-head my Knock-out roses, or should I just leave them alone?  I know they are supposed to be low-maintenance, but are they NO-maintenance?”

Knock Out roses in partial shade, Ft.Worth Botanic Garden (photo by Cherie)

The Knock Out ® rose  (Rosa ‘Radrazz’ KNOCK OUT) is the fastest selling “new” rose ever.  Since being sent to the Conard-Pyle Company for testing in 1992 by Wisconsin rose breeder William (“Bill”) Radler, it has been amazing the growers. Radler says. “I wanted to breed the maintenance out of roses so I wouldn’t have to cut (them) back as the years passed.”  Although bred to weather cold winters, Knock Outs proved resistant to disease, pests, heat and humidity as well, making them a great rose for the South, too.  These hardy shrubs, now come in several colors and are touted as a great alternative for those who want beautiful roses without all the fuss.

HIT: no deadheading necessary

Knock Out ® roses do NOT require the old blooms to be removed, called “deadheading.”  Repeat blooming will occur regardless, even in partially shady areas.  However, cutting, or “pruning” your roses back each spring (I do it Valentine’s Day here in my Texas garden) will keep the shrubs tidier and at a manageable size, if you garden in a small space or prefer hedging at 3-4′.  (My Knock Outs get over 5′ in a season if I don’t trim them….which I don’t.)  Another reason to deadhead is if you prefer not seeing the spent blooms dangling.  WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ROSE?

MISS: a rose by any other name....

photo from Robin McBurney Fruia

A dear memory to me is the scent of my grandmother, Nana Dodson, who bathed in rose-water.  While some say the Knock Out ® rose has a scent, I’ve not noticed it.  Instead, I prefer low maintenance antique roses such as ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison,’ which emits a TRUE rose scent, in my opinion.  It might not boast a perfect, unblemished bloom every time, but the fragrance fills my entire garden and takes me back to my childhood.  I also worry that, as with other plants, Knock Out roses could be over-planted and should a disease or pest start to attack it, entire landscapes would be wiped out overnight.  Besides, I love plants too much to have only ONE kind, even if it is a low-maintenance, pretty one!

fragrant 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' rose, which comes as a climber or shrub (photo by Cherie)

Pool problems: my head is swimming trying to decide WHAT to put behind my pool!

Charlene from Texas writes: “Hey, we have a spot behind the pool that gets only a few hours of LATE afternoon, intense sunlight.  Any suggestions?  We have nandina on one side and lorapetalums on the other with wax myrtles behind all. I’d love abelia but hubby thinks that won’t get enough sun.  Thanks!”

When a plant is listed as FULL SUN, it assumes most of the day it will get direct sun.  PARTIAL SHADE lovers – especially those that are grown for the bloom –  need sun for at least a few hours a day.  However, using a shade plant in a spot where afternoon reflective sun might hit it from the pool can be an issue.  Another consideration using a flowering shrub near a pool is WHAT pollinates it?  If the answer is butterflies or moths or hummingbirds, great.  But what if it is a BEE plant?  Will that become an issue with bare feet running around the area?

HIT:

datura (Datura wrightii), also known as Jimsonweed, is a Texas native that sparkles at night pollinated by hawkmoths (www.cheriecolburn.com)

Certainly for Texas, glossy abelia (Abelia grandiflora) would be an option if you have ample room for its size (8′ ht.X5’w, except for more compact selections, such as ‘Golden Glow’ or ‘Francis Mason’).  But also consider a native shrub to make your hedge.  Abelias hale from China (and I don’t mean the one just out of Beaumont, TX!), so they may require a bit of extra care.  Check out  http://npsot.org/  to find the right shrub for the spot.  A few of the things to look at include: 1) mature size, 2) evergreen or deciduous, 3) pollination source, 4) when/if/time of day it has showy blooms and what color are they, 5) poisonous parts, especially if young children or pets might be in the area, and 6) soil type/water needs.  Also, don’t be afraid to use variety, just like nature does.

MYTH:    Although LOTS of flowering plants thrive in the summertime heat, not all require full sun.  Watch your location during different points of the day and chart the sun’s progression.

bee in shade and water-loving crinum lily (Crinum americanum) http://www.cheriecolburn.com

 Seasonal changes make a difference, too, so watch to see if the sun peeks through a shady spot.  (Overhead trees might also lose their leaves giving a nice winter suntan and a needed respite from blazing summer sun.)  Make your plant selections wisely and the likelihood of having to move or re-move it later on will virtually melt away.

Another gardening blog?

My dad, Dr. Bob Foster, with me at 18 months old.

Growing up with a gardening parent, I recognize my good fortune.  My childhood was spent soaking in Dad’s knowledge of the natural world, although at the time I looked at it as “work.”  Thankfully, by the time I started my own family, that changed.  The hours spent doing gardening chores as a kid paid out even before we saved up to buy our 1st house.  My dorm window was filled with ivies and aloe veras, items Dad deemed as necessary as a good reading lamp.  My apartment balconies (and there were several) were dotted with small pots of color and crop and greenery.  Every corner inside that boasted even a tiny sliver of sunshine hosted a variegated airplane plant.  Every corner that sat in darkness gained a mother-in-law’s tongue.  And when my daughters left for college, I made sure they not only had underwear, but also their ivies and aloe veras.  Hopefully, they now believe themselves lucky for having grown up with gardening parents.

With a generation now nesting raised with blow ‘n go, hire it done lawns, many find themselves horticulturally ignorant when striking out on their own, no experience to call on when the desire comes to build an Eden for themselves.  (My belief is that we are ALL built to be gardeners, designed with an Eden-sized hole in our psyche.  More and more, scientific data is backing up that theory.) And although I lap up a treatise on gardening like a thirsty dog, I realize my propensity for a nightstand stacked with landscaping literature is not necessarily a normal thing.  Especially for NEW gardeners, bite sized rather than force feeding the whole apple at once makes it easier to manage without choking.  So anyone looking for a few morsels to help them get started, this is your table!  Each entry of GardenDishes will serve a HIT and a MYTH: a plant or suggestion that, as a professional landscape designer I’ve found tasty, and a landscaping lie that we’ll toss into the compost heap for good.  If YOU HAVE A FAVORITE TIP OR GARDENING QUESTION, please send it to me along with a photo.  If I don’t know the answer, I know someone who does.  My daddy is still just a phone call away.

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