Welcome

After living 33 years as an adult in the DFW metroplex, we moved to a ranch at the top of the hill country and the edge of West Texas (gardening zone 7b). For all those years in the city, we had a postage stamp sized yard. Our yard had mostly shade from post oaks, so there was a sprinkler system for the St. Augustine grass and the shrubs along the perimeter of the house. Plus, there were some large potted ferns. It was pretty maintenance free. As a child and teenager, we lived in small west Texas towns. So flower beds and large lawns weren’t possible.

Now we’re in a new chapter of our lives. I’ve been bitten by the “plant bug” and am attempting to garden for the first time in my life. Our yard is rock, caliche, clay, and more rock, so it’s been a challenge for our “ole” bods.

First, we seeded buffalo grass and blue stem in the yard. But we proceeded to water like it was St. Augustine. So what we have now is native Bermuda that has come up volunteer and weeds, weeds, weeds. We have about ½ acre of yard, so I would like to minimize the amount of grass we have, but my husband still has visions of a lush green lawn. My strategy has been to gradually take over the lawn by adding flower beds. Of course, he has noticed and mentions it occasionally because he has to mow and trim around them.

A dream of an English garden clouds my judgment sometimes. I have an eclectic taste, inside the house and outside, so I’ve planted many different types of plants together. I haven’t followed the conventional wisdom of large sweeps of the same colors and plants. Some might consider it a hodgepodge, but it is slowly becoming the look that’s in my head.

The purpose of this blog is not to impart great gardening wisdom because I don’t have any. Rather, I want to chronicle my successes, failures, and what I learn along the way gardening in harsh conditions and living in the country for the first time.

Thanks for stopping in to visit. Gardens are great places to visit with friends and acquaintances.

39 thoughts on “Welcome

  1. My name is Laurel Friedrich and I love your blog. I’m a member of the Evant Garden Club which has members and persons interested in selective activities from the Counties of Coryell, Hamilton,and Lampasas and a couple from Mills. We are a very loose knit group with a core active group of about 15. Most of our members, like you are here from a large city and our soil and weather conditions sound like yours. Personally, I grew up here, but was gone for 40 years, 31 of those in Houston so I am dealing with lots of new growing issues.

    Sandy Doss forwarded this info to me. With your permission I’d like to forward it to our EGC president. Many of us try to keep up with Howard Garret’s advice.

    Thanks!

    • Sure. I’d be happy for you to forward my blog. I’m a member of the Brownwood Garden Club. It’s great to be with gardeners who have similar interests and problems. I’ve learned so much from them.

      Thanks for your comments.

  2. You have really mastered both the art of blogging and gardening! I’m amazed that just one person can have such an extensive site. Your flowers are beautiful. It makes me wish we could grow some of these plants here, instead of just cactus and palms. The Texas hill country appears to be pretty prolific – with lots of water and constant care.

    • Thanks for the great comments. I’m really enjoying blogging. It also encourages me to get out and work in the yard.

  3. The smallish tree you describe with yellow berries is Chinaberry. In the spring it will be covered with fragrant clusters of little purple blooms. As a child this tree provided ammunition for many battles! Those berries could sting if thrown hard!

  4. Laurel Friedrich introduced me to your blog last year, and I have enjoyed reading about your garden adventures and seeing your beautiful photos. Laurel and I are both members of the Evant Garden Club, and like you, we moved to Central Texas after spending many years in the city (Laurel–Houston, me–Austin). Evant is 60 miles east of Brownwood. We would like to invite you to present a program at one of our garden club meetings. I think several members would be interested in learning about your “lasagna gardening” and we would love to see a slide show of some of your favorite photos also. If you would be interested, please contact me by email or by phone–254-471-5860. Thank you. (Our meetings are at 10 AM on the third Tuesday of each month. We usually have 20 to 25 in attendance at meetings.)

    • I appreciate the invitation, but I’m not sure that I’m qualified to give a program to your club. I know you have people who have been gardening for many years while I’m relatively new at this. Let me think about this and I’ll give you a call.

      Thank you for reading my blog.
      Wanda

  5. Hi Wanda,
    Really enjoyed spending time with you today at the Evant Garden Club meeting. Thank you for an interesting and informative program.
    Cindi

    • Thanks to all the members of your club who were so kind and made me feel welcome. I was out of my comfort zone talking to a group that is more knowledgeable than me on the subject of plants and gardening. But I enjoyed meeting you and everyone else.

  6. I took time today to again look at your site and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am iced in so I am doing things that I usually don’t get done because I am outside. I love your pictures and the quotes that you include. Keep up the good work!

  7. I had Texas Yellow Primrose for several years and have loved it. My plants did not make it thru the extra cold winter. I live in Lubbock and none of our nurseries carry this plant any more. Do you know any place I can find these plants. The evening primrose is easy to find, but I want the Texas yellow primrose like you have pictured here.

    • If I remember correctly, this was bought at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. But it may have been from a fellow Garden Club Member. It’s difficult to find nurseries that carry natives. There are several in Austin, one in Marble Falls (Back Bone Nursery, I think), but I don’t know about your area.

      Sometimes, a local nursery will carry natives if there is enough demand for them. Be sure to express your interest. Also, call someone in a local Garden Club. Many members now focus on drought tolerant plants. Sorry this doesn’t really answer your question. Good luck on your quest.

  8. I just stumbled on your site and fell in love… You know your stuff and make it fun for my beginner-self 😉 Thank you for sharing your wisdom and making it fun to read and learn. And to think I just googled “Mexican Petunia” and found such a gem… I’m definitely bookmarking and shall continue to read!! Thanks so much again! 😉

  9. Hi Wanda,

    I’m a novice gardener who moved from NW Austin to Dripping Springs last year. Your tale of moving from St. Augustine and shade to new Hill Country environs sounds very familiar to me. Lovely blog you have here! I stumbled on it while looking for info on growing Henry Duelberg Mealy Blue Sage, which happens to be on sale at the Natural Gardener not too far from me. I picked up a Lamb’s Ear plant not long ago, and the foliage does resemble the Mullein plants I’ve seen out in parks around here.

    Lovely photos of many native and well-adapted plants and great-looking beds. Glad you’re enjoying ranch life!

    • Thank you for your comments. Since you are still close to Austin, you’ll be able to benefit from those wonderful nurseries. The native plant choices there and their expertise should help with the transition.

      A couple of groups that I got involved with helped me with gardening. I found a local garden club, although nothing is actually close to us, it is worth the drive. Plus, two years ago I took a Master Gardener class. It was an hour and a half drive one way, but was very beneficial. I’m still involved with that group. People who have been gardening for years love to share their experience and can be quite helpful.

      Best wishes for your new yard. I’m guessing that Dripping Springs has less traffic and more quiet. So enjoy.
      Wanda

  10. I’m glad your blog is in my favorites list. I enjoyed visiting your pictures, etc. Hope you are continuing to enjoy your yard and flowers. I can learn from you. I located sun coleus again this year and have now attempted to start new plants from cuttings since they were not available at Calloways until late summer. So far they are doing well in my garden room.
    Barb J

    • Hi, Barb,

      Thanks for continuing to read my blog. Yes, I do enjoy the yard. My mom has been in and out of the hospital for the last few months, so many chores both inside and outside have gone undone lately. Next week we are moving her to an assisted living facility.

      The Roses of Sharon I got from you are huge and beautiful. Many of the new little ones that come up have been shared.

      Take care and tell everyone hello.
      Wanda

  11. Just stumbled upon your gardens – thank goodness someone out there is working well with our hot, dry, windy conditions. I believe I may live near you and am thankful for your information!

    • Hi,
      Thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment. Like most gardeners, I have had
      a few successes and lots of mistakes. It’s said that we learn the most from our
      mistakes, so I should be getting smarter. Not sure that’s happening.

      Good luck with your own yard.
      Wanda

  12. Hi Wanda,
    One day I was searching the web to be sure I had correctly identified larkspur in my garden. The trail led me to your blog and I’ve been enjoying my read ever since. I live in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, and seeing your posts helps me travel to Texas!

    I don’t know where you find time to arrange and write. The photos are lovely. I often feel inspired to share something from my ‘country’ but not enough to give up the hours I need for yard maintenance.

    After following your blog for a couple of years it seemed appropriate to say hello!
    Bonnie

    • Thank you so much for your comment. It is gratifying to hear from readers. If you ever decide to blog, let me know. I love seeing gardens from all over the country.

      Sometimes I think that I’m getting too old to keep up a yard but would go crazy without it. Blogging has been fulfilling because it has forced me to do several things: first, I had to learn how to produce a blog; then I need to identify specific plants which can require searching; and I must learn information about plants that are unknown to me. It has been challenging but fun.

      So good to hear from you,
      Wanda

  13. Hi again,
    Since nobody seems to have answered your question from Feb. 23, I suggest that you may have a type of hyacinth bulb. Their appearance depends a bit on the growing conditions, but the bell shaped flowers in clusters are characteristic of them.

    Have fun web searching!
    Bonnie

    • Thanks for the hint. You could be right.

      Plant questions are both fun and frustrating.

      Always appreciate your comments.
      Wanda

  14. I live in Victoria, Texas and just by luck a few years ago I purchased a Porterweed Verbena Cimarrona “Dwarf Red”. I am desperately looking for another one but I cannot find one in any nurseries–even those online. I would appreciate any help that I might in helping me find another plant like the one I have identified in this email.

    • It is frustrating that some plants are difficult to find. It is surprising that you cannot find Porterweed as far south as you are. Maybe the type you want is rare.

      Any kind of Porterweed is not available as far north in Texas as I am. I happened to be at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens last year when they were having a plant sale. Of course, I have to protect mine in winter.

      You might contact the San Antonio gardens to see if they can give you a source. Other than that, I’m sorry that I cannot help.
      Wanda

  15. In some of your last photos you show an “ice plant” which is Aptenia cordifolia. “Red Apple” ice plant, which is fast-growing and will cover a hillside in no time at all. I have definitely “shared” my share of this plant.

    Nice photos. I enjoyed looking at all of them. Thank you.

    • Thank you for your information. In fact, I just recently saw Ice Plant for sale, and it had a tag.
      Don’t you hate it when nurseries don’t display plant information.

      Have a great day. Please visit my blog again.
      Wanda

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