Sunday, July 5, 2009

Xeriscape landscaping....

Dear friends,

As the unusually high temperatures here in central TX stay in the 100's and higher, we've had issues with keeping our veggie garden watered. It looks drab and crispy by now, and there's not much we can do about it but hope that we'll get some cooler weather.

Our landscape plants, however, are thriving! I learned about Xeriscape gardening over 15 years ago, and believe me, it works. The concept is simple....use native or highly adapted plants in your landscape that don't need a lot of water. Mulch like crazy, cut down on lawn areas or plant things like buffalograss that are native, low-water grasses.

A great resource for information on native plants, wildflowers and native grasses is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.

One of my favorite front yard shrubby plants is my vitex tree. This is a young one, planted just over a year ago. When full grown, it will probably be around six-feet tall.

The purple spikey flowers on it appear off and on in all the warm months, and look great against the yellow house. I'm glad to see that a lot of the landscapers around here are using vitex in their commercial designs now. The small, shrubby tree makes a great companion to rosemary. The bees love both, and once established, almost never need to be watered. Other plants I use in the front are autumn sages (salvias), artemesia, Russian sage, lavenders, salvia guaranetica and Texas bush sage. Notice all the sages/salvias? I use them because they are great plants, attract bees and butterflies, are drought tolerant, and are very hardy in this crazy climate.

This morning we're dumping another carload of mulch on the front to help keep the runoff in the yard instead of flowing down the street into the storm drains. That is, WHEN it rains.

For more information on low-water gardening using Xeriscaping, check out this website. Water conservation is already an issue here in Texas, and will become more so as years go by.

Oh, and for more information on Xeriscape landscapes, check out this website.

Dig it!

bobbi c.

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