Thursday, September 29, 2011

Xeriscape Post-Again You Ask? Part Two

This is part two of my observations of the xeriscape gardens at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens in July of this year. The previous post explained the first two gardens, the Manicured xeriscape and the traditional non-xeriscape garden. If you would like to review these here is a link: xeriscape post again? part one.

This post entry will explain the third demonstration garden: The Hill Country Landscape. The Hill Country Garden is definitely my favorite, as I wish we could grow some of these plants here. As with the other gardens it has its own unique style and design features as defined by the signage. Click on image to read.
Below is the beginning of the garden, leaving the traditional garden along the decomposed granite path.
Immediately the landscape and composition change from traditional manicured to "Hill Country native" Texas style. Cut native limestone border edging delineates the two gardens. Juniperus ashei (Texas Cedar is a common name) posts compromise the sign fence structure, a nice rustic look. Spineless prickly pear, limestone outcropping boulders, Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas Redbud a similar cultivar to Eastern Redbud but more adaptable to the thin calcareous soils of the Texas Hill Country, it also has wavy, leathery leaves to inhibit transpiration and is usually more shrubby and multi-stemmed), Molinia (Beargass) I believe or Mulenbergia compromise the plantings in the above photos.

To the right of the signage is the entrance to the garden. Limestone outcrops and edging. DG pathway with native xeric plants and rustic cedar logs. An inviting entrance indeed.
The right side of the garden includes a wonderfully sculpted mesquite tree with salvia and I believe skullcap. A cedar rail fence delineates this garden from the next: the cottage garden.
But we will stay here a little longer as it is my favorite. View from further out below.
I suppose this isn't everyone's cup of tea. Many would feel it's over grown and messy. Not exactly a traditional suburban example is it?
I believe the plant above is a Grey Sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri) or some form of Dasylirion. It might jump out and bite you here however.
Red yucca, Stipa(mexican feather grass), sage, and prickly pear looking out from building.
Arizona Cypress next to building along with Dwarf Youpon Holly and Turks cap I believe in above photo.
Mahonia trifoliolata(Agarita)foreground with Spineless Prickly Pear and Leucophyllum frutescens(Texas sage,Cenzio).
Unique texture contrast these two. I apologize for not having more photos. However, I think you can understand the jist of this garden. A very small area of turf grass and low water use native plants. Most of these plants have the grayish green color and texture common to xeric plants. The next post will be on the Cottage Garden. Onward.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Xeriscape Post-Again You Ask?

I'm sure some of you remember my posts this summer about the Xeriscape demonstration gardens in Colorado Springs. I went on and on about the "rules", points, suggestions, etc., etc. etc. Well for the past two months I've been trying to put together another xeriscape post from the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. The staff there has put together some unique demonstration gardens. They are well planned and installed exhibitions of "themed" gardens. I will start with the  Manicured Xeriscape Landscape Demonstration Garden.
On every garden there is signage explaining the details and management tips on having that type of garden. There is also signage giving the viewer the ability to call a number and listen to a recorded message explaining details of the garden. The signs were pretty dirty with droppings, as most of the staff was too busy hand watering due to the mega drought and probably not able to find much time to do housekeeping. Click on the images to enlarge.
The photo below is a wide angle view of the Manicured Xeriscape. Excuse me about this photo as it was a 108 and just a little bit sunny. The sign from the first photo is the same one on top of the small section of fence. Each garden has a sign with a uniquely designed section of fence below it. This one has a cattle panel section with a contemporary style.
Most of the turfgrass and plants are labeled. The turfgrass is zoysia, and yes that is jasmine ground cover. Many of you probably ask: how can that be xeriscape? Remember one principle is to put like plants together according to their water usage in the same zone. This example is a manicured garden for those who want to save a little more water (Zoysia lawn compared to a Saint Augustine lawn) and jasmine ground cover when once established can take some drought. Also you can allow Zoysia to go dormant as it is a warm season grass and it will recover when it rains. Rain? Well maybe. Once a week irrigation keeps Zoysia green and it can take partial shade. Also this garden has herbaceous perennials planted instead of annuals. Notice the architectural style of the small building. Each garden has their own unique building style.

 Decomposed granite is typical of the pathways leading to the different gardens. DG leads up to this building above with hardscape brick near the stoop. Wouldn't you call this manicured? I believe that is an existing live oak on the left. Shade is an important feature in this garden. Also you are viewing the sign and fence detail on the right which is an example of the next garden.

The traditional lawn. This garden is an example of the traditional American landscape. This is not a xeriscape garden.
I suppose this is not what to do. lol. Click to view the elements of the landscape and maintenance requirements in this region. Notice the high maintnance clipped Photinia foundation planting, Crepe Myrtle in the background, clipped box hedge, Saint Augustine turfgrass and annuals. It's actually a nice looking garden but uses more water to keep it green.
I suppose the only thing missing in this region is a Arizona Ash tree. In other parts of the country these plants would be interchanged with privet, large juniper, bluegrass or fescue turfgrass. The next four gardens will be posted in coming days. These will include The Texas Hill Country garden, the Cottage Garden, the Wildscape garden and the Spanish Courtyard Garden. Remember this tour was in late July this summer, so judge them on how well they look in this drought and what type of plants are being used and how much maintenance and water is being applied to "look" good.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Illumination - Word for Wednesday

Dona @ Garden Walk, Garden Talk is hosting a Word for Wednesday. This week it is Illumination. Join the word at Illumination.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

GGBD September

It's that time again: Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Carol at May Dream Gardens is sponsoring the monthly garden party where everyone brings their own blooms. Join us from around the world.
Salvia fairnacea - Mealy Blue Sage
Mealy Blue Sage, Little Bluestem, Catmint, Yarrow spent blooms, and Dewey Blue Switchgrass
Hell Strip-Annual Zinnia, Edible Sweet Potato, Karl Foerster Grass, Salvia, Yarrow Terra Cotta, Solidago, Liatris ligularis, Sedum Autumn Joy, Peppers and tomatoes in background. Peaking above is Dewey Blue Switchgrass.
Crape Myrtle (don't know variety), Purple Coneflower, Salvia, Flower Carpet Rose Red in background. Datura raising it's hear like a snake.
Yarrow, end of summer.
Boltonia snowbank, Flower Carpet Rose, Aster beginning to bloom. Variegated Miscanthus.
Salvia 'Black and Blue'
What's blooming your way?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Late Summer Garden

Gardening Gone Wild's Photo Contest has returned from a two month hiatus. The subject this month is Late Summer Garden. My last post I showed a gallery of photos I thought depicted a late summer garden. This photo was chosen the most often out of eight choices. I have to agree it shows purple coneflowers at the end of their bloom period beginning to set seed which usually takes place at the end of the summer. You can view the contest information and gallery at Gardening Gone Wild.

GGW Late Summer Photo Contest

Glad the photo contest is back after a two month hiatus, as it might reinvigorate my gardening spirit. However, I can't decide what photo to choose. The subject is late summer garden. Can you readers give me some input? Which one best instils this subject and is a quality photo?

 Thanks for you input..

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Snow in Kansas

Yes that's Right! Snow as in Snowbank. 
Boltonia asteroides 'Snowbank'
Isn't that a great combination. Boltonia asteroides 'snowbank', Miscanthus sinensis 'variegatus', Salvia guaranitica 'black and blue', and Rosa 'flower carpet red'.
This combination should really pop when the foreground asters begin to bloom. The hollyhocks on the left finally succumbed to the dreaded rust miester curse.
When I first read a description of snowbank, about their daisy flowers and late summer blooming period it peaked my interest. I was in the process of designing a new perennial bed. Snowbank's size and growing conditions met the requirements needed. So I ordered a kit garden from a mail order nursery as this was a way to add quantity and save money. And so the story begins.
Before: January 2010 New Perennial Bed - Mostly vinca minor and volunteer seedlings and of course loaded with nutgrass, the bad carex.
March 2010: Defining the Bed outline. Removing sod and moving it to raise grade in front of bed.(bottom of photo)
April 2010: Adding Flower Carpet Rose, underground drainage pipe with catch basin (below), and field stone border.
April 22 2010: Plants arrive one week after normal last frost. That's Boltonia bottom right.
May 2010: Perennials Planted, more field stone edging added and stone drainage feature added over drain grate.
June 2010: Good growth and removal of nutgrass.
July 2010: Our 1st year in our cottage anniversary. Perennials begin to push. Removal of nutgrass, arghhh.
Boltonia behind, near the house and behind the rose.
April 2011: a new spring. Boltonia is sleeping. No nutgrass yet.
May 2011: Additions to Perennial Bed, an Alaskan of all things. Why not?
This post is about snow.
Late May 2011: Roses are in their glory. Boltonia peeking from the top.
Late May 2011: Son of a Biscuit! What's that yellow grass appearing?
June 1 2011: taking shape. Notice the nice temporary perennial rye grass?
Middle June 2011: Above and Below
July 2011: Above and Below. Boltonia foliage to right.
July 2011
August 2011
Late August 2010: Snowbank in its' starring role as a backup or I should say backdrop.
No need to get the snow shovel out. Even though it's 63 this morning after 50 days of 100. Awesome!