This is a continuation of From Weeds to No-Mow Austin Style Garden – Part 1
We used 24 different kinds of plants to create our Austin style garden. They are predominately natives and all drought tolerant. I have included the design so you can see how they all fit together!
I have named each plant with a picture. We start with most plants in one to three gallon containers so they can adapt to their new environment as they mature. We try to source our plants from growers that are within 50 miles of Houston so the plants might be naturally acclimated. They are all planted with organic multipurpose fertilizer, we like to use Mircolife. We spray each plant with seaweed extract after it is top dressed with double shredded hardwood mulch. I have provided links from my favorite sites for more information on each plant with information on growth habits etc.
My favorite sites for researching information on plants:
- NPIN, Native Plant Information Network from Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- Plant Finder. from Missouri Botanical Garden
- Dave’s Plant Data Base with comment from people that have grown the plant
- Texas Native Plant Database from Aggie Horticulture TAMU
- Native Plant Society of Texas with local chapters and great classes around the state
In front of the ledge stone raised bed we have Trailing rosemary and field of Pincushion Flowers in the bed. This space could also be used for annuals that are changed seasonally. Around the low bowl we have planted Silver Ponyfoot dichondria that we want to fill the space and drip over a bit. In the low bowl has a single Color Guard Yucca.
“Deciduous holly or possum haw is a small, deciduous tree or shrub,15-30 ft. tall, with pale gray, twiggy, horizontal branches. Glossy, oval, toothed leaves remain dark green through autumn, finally turning yellow. Inconspicuous flowers precede clusters of persistant, red berries on female trees which provide winter color.” – NPIN
I love using Possumhaw holly because they are so lovely in winter when other plants are resting. They are deciduous but put on a show of bright red berries that looks so lovely contrasted with the whitish gray bark. The berries are also a nice winter treat for the birds! My thought is to let the leaves drop and create natural mulch. I want the beds to look as natural as possible.
Dwarf Yaupon holly is actually Yaupon Holly Ilex vomitoria ‘Shillings Dwarf’. It is one of my favorite little shrubs. We used it as a low foundation hedge. Dwarf Yaupon is happy in full sun but very tolerant of light shade. It does fine during long droughts but also with our Houston rain. We find it a good alternative to boxwood. Full sized Yaupon holly grow naturally in Texas and are actually small trees. This variety is a slow-growing shrub that is easy to maintain at 2 feet. If let to grow with out trimming it will eventually grow to 5 feet tall.
The other plant we used along the house is Mondo grass also called Monkey grass. It is happy in the shade and will fill in for a no maintenance strip of fuzzy green. It makes a great border plant or ground cover under trees where little else will grow.
To the right of the river bed wash we have Autumn sage (Salvia greggii), a mounding shrub that gets 2-3 ft. tall on tiny green leave that have a mint like aroma. It will often die back during one of our hard freezes but comes right back. It needs trimming when it gets to leggy. Mexican sedum is a succulent that is hardy down to 20 degrees in our zone 9a. In the middle is a single Red yucca is not actually a yucca but has evergreen yucca-like leaves. It is a member of the Century Plant family. Its flowers bloom on stalks that can rise up to 5 ft. in the air. This area will get full sun most of the year and has good drainage as the yard slopes to the street and we built the beds up a few inches before surrounding them with gravel.
The bulbine is a lovely plant that is very happy in our climate. I actually featured it in a past blog. Here i hope it will fill in as a ground cover that can even cascade over the curb. It is soft and juicy so won’t hurt to brush against. Trailing rosemary flanks the main entry plant. It is a nice welcoming plant with it wonderful aroma as you brush against it.
Closest to the street we start with Purple and White trailing lantana. It is a hardy ground cover and butterflies and bees love it. I have seen it bloom all year long here in Houston. You can cut it back in early spring to get fuller new growth. This swath actually takes up again on the other side of the path. Across the gravel to the right are a grouping of Copper Canyon Daisies surrounding a Blue Agave with more Mexican Feather grass and Texas Rock roses in the back ground.
Cooper Canyon daisy have lovely yellow flowers with orange stamens that bloom in spring and fall. It grows wild in the Sonoran Deserts of Arizona and northern Mexico. The foliage is very fragrant especially when you rub it between your fingers and a nice choice for fragrance gardens. It is a tough perennial that attracts beneficial insect like bees and butterflies to your garden too!
Near the telephone pole we have a Texas Mountain Laurel, Sophora Secundiflora (Ortega) Lag. ex D.C. At the curb are more Trailing rosemary. Then you see the rest of the Trailing lantana swath that carries on in the bed across the path. Near the left edge are a trio of Purple Fountain grass. Around the Red Maple are more Mexican Feather grass.
The focal plant is a Purple Montrose Vitex it will grow into a 12 – 15 foot tall multi-trunk tree that will provide some privacy from the street as you sit on the patio. It is in my top ten favorite plant list. I love the flowers and the way the red cardinals love the seeds. I also love the leaves with their dark sage green tops and light green undersides. It is super adaptable and hardy. You can shape it into a single trunk small tree or let it grow fan like to fill a corner as a large shrub. Around it we planted more Cooper Canyon Daisies and Blue Chip buddleia. And in front between the Vitex and the patio are a row of Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ . They shot up flowers on tall stalks that are lovely when they dance in the breeze.
Here we have Maiden grass, Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ in the back ground that will create 5 foot screen once it grows in. It will also be nice autumn interest with tall blooms. Below is Texas Betony a new one for me. It is said to be Texas tough by the Texas Native Plant Society. It is a woody perennial with beautiful red flowers that look similar to the Autumn sage.
I hope you all enjoyed this tour! If you are in Houston and looking for a palate of drought tolerant plants I highly recommend these. You will have to water them between rains until they get established (one to two years.) After that I would still give them supplemental water once or twice a week during the our hot summer and during any long dry spells in the winter because they are going to get use to our 52″ of rain.