The TexasRanger10 Yard thread

okieveganApril 21, 2014

Where in Texas do you live? I know the cactus wouldn't survive winter here. I'm wondering what I can get away with and what I can't.

I have some "weeds" that I cultivate, but only the non-invasive, non-water-demanding kinds. I had been planning to covert my little front yard into a rock garden because of water concerns in this never-ending drought, but your yard is just breath-taking and I want it more than I want chocolate at any given point in the month.

By the way, if you like, please feel free to post 100s of yard pics here. :) :) :) :)

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Sorry about hijacking that other thread. I realized I did later on but I do get excited & a bit carried away about lawn alternatives, its so seldom I find someone else interested.

I apologize to sammy, I'm rather embarrassed about it.

You can grow dozens of varieties of cactus in zone 7 OK very successfully. One year I had an old, potted purple macrocentra from Tucson get blown over in a storm, I left the pads outside in the ground all winter & realized they love it here in the ground, they grow fast there, quickly turning into a blooming plant you would never see in a pot. The roots prefer to grow horizontally & travel several feet, so they are very unhappy in pots & won't develop or grow well. It was an epiphany moment that started about 7 years ago. My whole scheme of gardening changed forever.

At Will Rogers Park there is an annual Cactus & Succulents show, you can buy many types of unusual & colorful pads, cold hardy agaves & other such things. Its a lot of fun to go there. I think its around the end of May or first of June.

There is also a website called 'Cold Hardy Cactus'. Its owned by
Kelly Grummons who sells pads & cold hardy agaves, he works at Timberline Gardens in Colorado.

You just stick a pad in the soil & ignore it. They hate being cared for.

I did get a lot of winter burn which was mostly cosmetic damage this year but its the first time. I believe it was the thick ice on the pads from the ice storm because the low temps don't cause that & we are well above the hardiness zone. I believe the sun burned them through the ice. You do need good drainage however. I'm on a slope and brought in a couple dump truck loads of coarse sand.

I put the cactus in first then started adding native grasses, shrubs & native plants. It quickly turned into an obsession, now the whole property is native with no lawn. These plants do so well in drought, they go together seamlessly & it all looks very natural because for the most part they all have the same requirements.

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Mon, Apr 21, 14 at 20:09

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:13PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

I didn't see anything to feel embarrassed about! I love to see other people's gardens.

Friends of mine had a in ground cactus stolen from their front yard. I think they hoped the cactus drew blood :)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:19PM
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This was Okievegans front yard in 2011:

Somehow I never got a good picture of it since....

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:47PM
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Perhaps I was being too subtle. I want MORE pictures and more details on everything! Pleeeeeeease!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 5:49PM
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Wow, looks like a lot of work was done, I like the flagstones, it looks like you are already doing the same thing except for using plants that are less wild.

The flowers are mostly from seeds I ordered from Plants of the SW. These cactus are very cold hardy & would do fine where you are. I've often seen them elsewhere in Oklahoma.

I've been adding grasses which give it a completely different look & add more fall & winter interest & more prairie in feeling. I now think its prettier in fall than spring.

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Tue, Apr 29, 14 at 15:19

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 7:08PM
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Here is another shot from a different angle in July

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Tue, Apr 29, 14 at 15:17

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 7:11PM
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My weeds in early September, the year of the 2012 drought.....

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Tue, Apr 29, 14 at 15:16

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 7:18PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Tex....does ur Russian sage naturally grow that way, nice and rounded? I've got one but it grows tall and kinda wild looking. Don't have ID tag.

It gets so tall I hafta put it in a tomato cage because it leans so bad toward the sun. I'd love it to grow like urs, which reminds me of my Walker's low catmint.


Ps and where is the 'hijacked' post? I wanna see ur pics!!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 7:41PM
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Your neighbors should be paying you for that view!!!

I'm a little worried about drainage. As you can see in the pictures my mom posted, I've got a tiny yard encased in driveways. However, it is on quite a slope....enough that I lose soil every time it rains.

I love how it all looks. This is now my new goal...convert front garden into something similar to what you have, though on a much smaller scale, naturally. I wish my side yards were bigger....I'd do them too. But, 4 feet wide doesn't really give a lot of space to work with...they are pretty much just a path to the back.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 7:46PM
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We have a neighbor a few streets over who has several cacti and they seem to have come through the cold temps this winter just fine, so I think there's definitely some hope for OKC peeps that want to grow cacti in ground.

Okievegan, I recognize Mexican Feather Grass, aka Pony Tails (I think) in the same pic as the Russian Sage, lower left corner. That is an easy one to grow from seed inside, I've done it before and when planted out it spreads around a bit (but not uncontrollably) so you get a lot of mileage from it. At my new house they aren't big enough to share yet, but I might have an extra packet of seed. Would you like me to bring to the Fling for you?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 9:03PM
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There's dozens of cactus you can grow in Oklahoma as long as you have halfway decent drainage & especially if you add some sand or gravel to the area. They do take up a lot of space however, are a pain in the butt to work around, need special handling & have glochids that fall on the ground. I use tongs & wear dishwashing gloves. Its not a plant for the faint at heart or sissies. Although, I personally think trimming rose bushes is worse in the pain dept. I have no kids or pets, thats another thing to consider.

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Tue, Apr 29, 14 at 15:14

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 9:54PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Texas...did u see my ?? about ur Russian sage.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 9:58PM
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No, Brit, I didn't, sorry. If you trim your R.S. down to about 5 or 6" tall in late winter or early spring before it starts greening up, you'll get a very thick dense shrub. I didn't used to do that. I read about it, tried it & found it makes a huge difference in the shape, thickness etc of the bush + you get 10 times more blooms on more stems. Thats just the plain jane R.S., the common unnamed & unimproved variety in the picture.

The hijacked thread was about gophers or moles. I buttedin & interrupted the thread sammy had started about how to get rid of them or build barriers to protect his plants.

Okievegan, there's a guy up the road with a very small cottage type house thats all planted in native grasses & plants. He is a professional Native Plants Landscaper. Its as cute as a button. Size is nice but really, this one is very nice. He has a little plot of 'Blonde Ambition' blue grama grass, like a teeny lawn, lots of Salvia greggii clustered in an area, various wildflowers etc. I walk by ever so often just to check it out. Right now its all cut back. I wish I could see some others he's designed.

The neighbors are all getting interested so you see certain plants showing up here & there, especially the grasses. People walking by comment on both our projects a lot, its noticed. Seems no one really likes to mow grass.

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Tue, Apr 22, 14 at 22:57

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 10:49PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Texas....I've been cutting mine back almost to the ground but it still wants to grow tall. Ya think I'm cutting it down TOO far? Like, would I get more growth if there was more old wood left?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 11:14PM
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brit, mine is tall. It comes up to my thighs, some years its even a bit taller & just as wide. Full sun can make a difference. That same shrub used to be in the back where it got full afternoon sun but morning shade, it used to lean but it was before I started trimming it. I moved it to the median by the street where it now gets full sun from morning to evening, it got huge & was much more upright. From trimming? I'm not sure.

If you want a smaller one, there are some new improved varieties out now. I picked up a couple last year. One was 'filigrans' & the other is some kind that is smaller. 'Little blue Spires' or something like that. I love the 'filigrans', there's a line of them growing up by a business & they are gorgeous, in a really hot strip by the road.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 11:56PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Texas, I bet the sun has a lot to do with it. It gets full but not all day. However, a tree that used to block afternoon sun is gone, so maybe it will fill in....and straighten up

I will check out the other varieties. Thx!


    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 12:06AM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

I thought of your gardens today. I was at a park in Edmond that had a sign proudly proclaiming "xeriscaping". Saddest looking plot you have ever seen. The only thing I could see still alive was salvia (autumn sage) and it was in desperate need of being cut back. I was wishing I had my gardening shears with me....

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:55PM
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lisa, it drives me nuts when I see that. I finally trimmed the neighbors 2/3's dead rosebush that is next to the chain link fence, I got good & scratched leaning over the fence with my lops, yanking the long stems over to my side of the fence to toss. There is no way I want to look at dead rose bush all summer which is exactly what would happen.

There's 3 established Russian Sage shrubs up the road that look all dead on the top 1/2, they've never been trimmed & look like hell, real scraggly, its about all I can do to contain myself. Just a few nips would make all the diff. especially since there aren't that many main stems due to them never having a haircut. It would make a good shot of showing R.S. trimmed vs. untrimmed since they've been there as long as mine that gets the yearly buzz. Let the viewer decide.

Now I want to get a sign too. I found this one for sale at Prairie Moon Nursery online.

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Fri, Apr 25, 14 at 3:04

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:40PM
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Maybe this one? Wish it said Pocket Prairie

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Fri, Apr 25, 14 at 3:05

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 12:04AM
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Since some of my plants on the border by the bermuda next door got sprayed a couple weeks ago, it might prevent such dastardly deeds in future, I kind of like the rustic quality.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 12:09AM
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TotemWolf(7 SWOK-Greer County)

I have a small rock/catus garden in the front of the house. All the rocks were collect over the years by my father who was an amateur geologist. All the plants are native plants are we gathered ourselves. I'll post some pics when they start to flower.
This year we are going to collect seeds to make a bed for native wildflowers and prairie grasses.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 7:54AM
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I love your garden TR. Why don't you stop and talk with the landscaper and ask him where some of his recent designs are? I suspect he wouldn't mind telling you.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 2:23PM
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I will, every so often I see him when walking around the park. I've been out planting my #1 favorite grass, blue grama grass seed + some really narrow & stays upright bluestem seed, 'Blue Heaven' I think, I got from Santa Rosa Gardens a couple years ago. It gets very purple in fall. I took out 'The Blues' since it has a tendency to flop + it gets so big & bushy it doesn't quite have the look I'm after, you know, those nice exclamation marks among the plants.

I'm living dangerously & transplanted a Giant Sacaton down by the curb up front that I dug out from my border. I have a whole row of these monsters on the property line separating me from my bermuda-herbicide-spraying neighbors to block off the monkey grass which I hate almost much as vinca major which is also along the border on their side (along with invasive privet of course which seems to be on every property around here). I don't have to look at it past the big grasses. Its just a gorgeous big grass that blooms in mid summer & really catches the light in a dramatic way.

If you need to block a view choose Giant Sacaton, especially if you have late afternoon sun on the area. It never needs watering either.

I think I like the idea of a sign like this, simple-wimple.

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Fri, Apr 25, 14 at 18:07

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 4:16PM
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