What kind of garden makes you smile? When I see very formal gardens, like those in European castle gardens, I feel intimidated. Of course, they’re beautiful with perfect, precise lines with lots of clipped topiaries. But all I can think of is the maintenance and how restricted they make me feel.
The type of garden that makes me happy is one with lots of different types of plants. I lean towards ones with cluttered flowerbeds – not messy, but full of beautiful plants. I would consider myself to be an eclectic gardener because I love so many different types of plants.
Natives, like Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus), would definitely have a place in my garden. First, they are extremely hardy and dependable. Second, they require less water than many other plants. Third, the pollinators need them.
Turk’s Cap has such intricate flowers. Absolutely love them.
A must-have native for me is Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea purpurea). There are so many others that I could name, like Caryopteris, Columbine, Gaura, Hollyhock, and Zinnias. Just think of the flowers in your grandmother’s flowerbeds and the memories they evoke.
John Fanick Phlox (Phlox paniculata) is another Texas Native.
I would also throw in some wildflowers. Iron Weed (Vernonia gigantea) blooms in the hottest part of the summer. I especially like American Basket Flower and Texas Blue Bells. The early spring ones like Bluebonnets, Indian Blankets, and Paint Brushes are well known and loved.
Clammy Weed (Iltis Capparaceae) is less known. They bloom in the summer. The seed pods burst and the wind scatters them all over, so they are surprises the next year, like Larkspurs.
Flowering bushes add a special treat. Crepe Myrtles add so much color and beauty.
Look at those big, full clusters. How could anyone not like them?
These Dynamite Crepe Myrtles needed some serious pruning after the freeze. We cut off lots of dead, thick branches. But they look gorgeous now.
The color of the flowers used to be a darker red, but they are fuller this year in this lighter color. Other flowering small trees that I really like are Golden Lead Ball, Rose pf Sharon and Eve’s Necklace.
And I will always have some tropical plants in pots. That is, as long as we are physically able to haul them into the shed for the winter. African Bulbine (Bulbine natalensis), with its long stems blowing in the wind are fascinating. It’s a succulent from South Africa.
Ixora is native to the Philippians and the surrounding area of Asia.
Rhizomes, like this Bearded Iris, will always be an important part of my garden. Daylilies and Cannas are good old southern staples in warm climates.
Daylilies are tuberous roots. Love all kinds of daylilies. They can be tucked into any small empty space.
Let’s not forget bulbs, like Crinums, Daffodils and Giant Spider Lilies. The choices are endless.
Some plants have sentimental importance to me. This Kolanchoe was given to me by my mother. A plant given to me always reminds me of that person.
Kolanchoe is native to Madagascar and parts of western Africa. It was also the first plant sent into space to the Soviet Salyut 1 space station in 1979.
This has been long, but I hope it brings to mind what you like in a garden. Just embrace those choices and don’t worry about what is “correct” according to landscapers.
“The philosopher who said that work well done never needs doing over never weeded a garden.” Ray D. Everson