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Updates and Work in progress

Posted by rock_oak_deer 8a TX (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 13, 10 at 18:15

Roselee asked about what's new and in progress this summer. So here's an update.

The front island inferno I posted about here has really filled in nicely.

Front Island North 2

The Russian Sage has turned into a real star here so I plan to add more to replace the lavender which is not doing well there. It takes a while to find plants that are happy with the "sidewalk, sidewalk, driveway, driveway" border.

Russian Sage 7/2010

Don't have a before picture for this one, but SAWS gave us a manhole cover in the backyard and we turned it into a real Texas garden..


Maybe that should come with a warning for "Texans Only." I may have to replace the Blackfoot Daisy and Verbena there because the deer keep pulling them out even though they don't eat them. We just finished it so will need to experiment on what works. Eventually there will be a planter in the middle on top of the cover so it can be moved for access.

The front yard remains a work in progress, so I'll share the one bright spot..


That's John Fanick's Phlox blooming for the first time. Two years ago, the entire front yard looked like the area on the right with tons of gravel on top of deteriorating black plastic like the piece showing there. We've removed the black plastic and gravel and terraced the yard with rocks dug out when planting. This area was finished this spring. The long term plan is to have different areas of plantings with mulch and gravel in the pathways.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Updates and Work in progress

I love it, I love it!

LOVE how the Russian sage is planted to lean over the flat stone. Mine is just all tangled among some other plants and isn't able to show his stuff.

LOVE the 'Texas Rock Star'! That's taking lemons and making lemonaide for sure.

LOVE the grasses and verbena in that difficult spot. What is the tall clump of grass?

Don't give up on the Blackfoot daisy. As you know deer are browsers and like to sample new stuff. Thankfully one of the things they don't like is Blackfoot daisy, but those little rascals pulled freshly planted ones out of the ground as they sampled and then not finding them to their liking they dropped them in the street. Maybe you could cover them with something like deer net until they are rooted.

LOVE your plan with gravel walks among the plantings.

Thanks for the pictures. I AM inspired! Hmmm ... now where to find a 'Texas Rock Star' I can call my own? LOL

RE: Updates and Work in progress

Thanks Roselee. Really, when you asked me to post inspiration photos for you I thought "uh, well okay, but not so sure about the inspiration part" since there's so much work left to do. I tend to wait until it's perfect, but so much of the work is in the process.

The tall grass is Zebra Grass, my favorite since I first saw it planted in a median strip several years ago. That's Gold Lantana which was existing in the yard and moved to that spot.

But wait, there's more!

I found an earlier version of the "Texas Rock Star" (love that name)


This first version is with rocks found in our yard and you can see the manhole cover there. Our neighbor is a landscape contractor and he drops off leftovers from his projects so one day he left those beautiful white limestone rocks which we used to rebuild it.

That green groundcover is the native Horseherb which we let grow instead of grass.

This next area is across from the inferno island and is new this year. It's supposed to be covered with the same gravel, but we're having some second thoughts so it waits. Cape Fuchsia, white Plumbago, white Lantana, and white Ruellia (thanks to bobbi in Cypress for that inspiration). Someday they will bloom and make a prettier picture.


The other Inferno, the mailbox strip


The path in there had crushed granite, but the weeds grew too much so we just changed it to pea gravel this week. The larger rocks add variety and keep the gravel out of the street.

Just had to show this red/orange Lantana, too. Like most of my plants, these were on clearance at Lowe's and the tags were missing.


My neighbor's sage is really blooming there in the back left. Ahh, plant envy!

Whew! Well that's about it for the garden tour. There are some areas that haven't been worked at all so I'll save them for another day.

RE: Updates and Work in progress

What I like about everything you've done is that it looks so natural and peaceful, so 'in place' -- like it belongs there, or better yet -- was always there. And I LOVE the combination of the larger rocks with the small ones.

Is there anything you do to keep tree seeds and weeds from coming up in the gravel? We put landscape cloth below the gravel, but it's amazing how seeds still sprout and their fine roots penetrate it, especially with all the rain we had last winter. Pre-emergents would help if I would just remember to apply the granules at the right time.

Looking forward to more pictures as your work/play progresses :-)

RE: Updates and Work in progress

Thanks Roselee, we appreciate your comments very much.

Natural is exactly the way we planned it. Back when I was new here you shared some photos of Los Patios and that has been a great source of inspiration. Other sources are the Shops at La Cantera and Village at Stone Oak which were landscaped by the same firm. The buried pot idea is from the entrance garden at The Rim.

We are slowly replacing the black plastic with landscape fabric. This is more to keep the gravel from mixing with the soil than to keep out weeds. Where the gravel is thicker we have less of a problem with weeds. Also the gravel is now mostly in the hottest part of the yard so that keeps weeds down too. The oak runners are more of a problem than seeds under the trees, but we are going with thick mulch mostly in those areas.

RE: Updates and Work in progress

I think its beautiful! I have a whole hillside of those limestone rocks at the shop. Will have to decorate our steep bank on the roadside with some. Thanks for the idea. Might do the state of Texas, lol. I love the big flat rock its cool looking and I think the rockwork by the mailbox looks great! Rockrose would do well there I think or maybe ice plant.

RE: Updates and Work in progress

  • Posted by bobbi_p z8/9 Cypress, TX (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 17, 10 at 17:45

That's amazing how fast your front island inferno filled in. Looks great!

Where, exactly are you? Austin area? Guess I'm lucky I don't have to deal with all those rocks! You certainly done some great work with a challenging situation(s)!

RE: Updates and Work in progress

Thanks bobbi, I wish my gardens grew as fast as yours. I grew up on the west side of Houston not too far from Cypress so I know what it's like to garden there too.

We are on the north side of San Antonio. Typical here is a thin layer of alkaline soil over limestone rock. Our neighbor had to use a jackhammer to plant a row of red tips along her fence. The back of our lot is in a FEMA flood plain so no fence is allowed because of the flash floods. We like the creek view, so it's a trade off because everything is deer accessible until we fence off a small garden near the house.

It looks like we are miles out in the country, but we are just a few blocks off one of the busiest intersections in the area.

Kristy, Thanks so much. Love the idea of the Texas shape in rocks too. We thought about that, but the star worked best and seemed easier to do. I'm trying to fill it with native plants, we'll see how that goes.

RE: Updates and Work in progress

Wow, Shirley! Your garden looks great. I would be completely lost trying to garden in your area. I'm amazed.

RE: Updates and Work in progress

Thanks Jim, your gardens always amaze me. We definitely have to have a different approach here with the limited summer rains and water restrictions.

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