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Category Archives: Grow Your Own

Cactus flowers and 3D-printed agaves

May 30, 2020 Ka-pow! Colorful cactus flowers are knocking my socks off. Look at these orange beauties. And these in satin pink! Mwah! I love them. And check out these bamboo-textured agaves my son printed on his 3D printer. Cool, eh? They look especially good displayed on a Charley Harper-illustrated tray. The big one is for me. The small one is for our Italian exchange student, who is heading home in a few days after spending 9-1/2 months with us. A...
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remembering plants we’ve loved (and lost), with ken druse

I WAS CRAWLING around weeding the other day and there it was: yet another turquoise-colored plastic label I knew was from the original Heronswood Nursery near Seattle, which has been closed about 15 years. No plant, just a label. I found three such lonely turquoise labels that day, as I do each spring, reminders of plants I’ve loved and lost.Yes, plants die, even in the care of experienced gardeners (and others just need to be gotten rid of)....
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Postcards from COVID-era Austin – Digging

May 28, 2020 “You’re not in traffic. You are traffic,” I heard on the radio last year, and it resonated with me. Here we Austinites were, almost a million of us, sitting in traffic jams all day long, insanely frustrated by the wasted time and by our fellow drivers. And then along came the pandemic, and suddenly MoPac is humming at 65 mph at rush hour. It’s not much of a silver lining to grasp for when reading news...
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Beebalm, skullcap, and more wild creatures

May 27, 2020 The early summer flowers are strutting their stuff, so come along for a virtual tour! Here’s dazzling ‘Peter’s Purple’ monarda (Monarda fistulosa ‘Peter’s Purple’) in the driveway bed. It was a breezy day. Looking toward the neighbors’ house and their fast-growing Yucca rostrata In the shady island bed along the driveway, native heartleaf skullcap (Scutellaria ovata) paints a softer picture. It looks great with fine-textured variegated miscanthus. A closer view But also — this time in late-afternoon light — with bold-textured Texas dwarf...
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Oakleaf hydrangea blooming but wants acidic soil

May 24, 2020 After years of coveting oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) I’d seen in other Austin gardens, I found a shady, relatively moist spot to plant one of my own. Near an air-conditioning unit’s condensate discharge, which directs water toward this bed, and shaded by a large crape myrtle, this white-flowering, deciduous shrub has grown quickly and bloomed beautifully the past two springs. But this year it shows signs of chlorosis — yellowing leaves with dark-green veins — caused by...
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‘instant’ water garden: try seasonal troughs

NOTHING ADDS MORE TO A GARDEN THAN WATER. Just ask the birds, frogs, and insects—oh, and human visitors, too. It’s a magical element, providing sustenance and visual fascination (auditory, too, if you can make it move). I hauled my simplest, seasonal water gardens—two big, glazed troughs I fill spring through fall, then stash—out of winter storage awhile ago, and ordered the plants I need to get the look above. The details (and no, nothing to worry about re:...
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‘what it’s like to be a bird:’ a conversation with david sibley

IF YOU’RE A BIRD PERSON, as I am, you may feel as if you know this week’s podcast guest, because one of his field guides, illustrated with his artwork to help you figure out who’s who, is probably within reach at all times, alongside your binoculars. In recent weeks I’ve been keeping company with David Allen Sibley’s latest book, which is not a traditional field guide at all, after my beloved local bookstore left my pre-ordered copy on...
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Fawning over this baby – Digging

May 22, 2020 A young visitor dropped by my garden yesterday. Actually I think she was here a couple of days ago, although I didn’t see her that day. I was moving around the side of the house and heard a startled rustling in the sedge and thought I might have flushed a fawn from its hiding place. Yesterday I was dragging trash bins down the driveway and through the back gate, and when I reemerged into the front garden,...
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Reopening at San Antonio Botanical Garden, part 2

May 21, 2020 A wildflower meadow studded with Yucca rostrata in bloom — yes, please! Let’s continue with last week’s visit to San Antonio Botanic Garden and this path into the cactus and succulent garden. More flowering yuccas! And more, with shiny-leaved palm trees and a blue, blue sky. And a space-age-looking glasshouse and columnar cacti. Check out this inclined ramp of prickly pear, beringed with orange flower buds — love! I don’t know what kind of cactus this is, but I like its...
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San Antonio Botanical Garden reopening, part 1

May 19, 2020 After a month and a half self-isolating at home, I was craving a garden visit when I got the news that both the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and San Antonio Botanical Garden were opening back up at limited capacity. I immediately went online and secured tickets for the Wildflower Center (click for my recent visit) and SABG, which is honoring reciprocal memberships with other botanical gardens, so I got in for free. Yippee! It’s only a...
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Bloom Alert! The Wild White Confetti of the Evergreen Pear Tree

10 Feb Bloom Alert! The Wild White Confetti of the Evergreen Pear Tree Mesmerizing on so many levels, evergreen pear trees are in full flower in many parts of California and Arizona right now. You’ll recognize them by their cotton-ball canopies, dreamy cluster upon dreamy cluster of white flowers that bloom for just a few weeks in late January and early February. The evergreen pear, Pyrus kawakamii, blooms in mid- to late-winter. In other words: Springtime, we’re coming for you! Seen...
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Plant This: ‘Old Mexico’ prickly pear

May 17, 2020 Everyone needs at least one beautiful beast of a plant in their garden, a tough old boot intent on annexing adjacent real estate, but not so quickly that you can can’t beat it back. Texas tough. Meet ‘Old Mexico’ prickly pear (Opuntia gomei), also called wavy-leaf prickly pear. Its lemon-yellow, ruffled flowers glow like cups of pure sunshine in late spring. Each flower lasts just one day, but mature plants produce dozens, extending the floral show for...
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Black Owned And Operated Community Land Trust Donations

We are a Non-Profit Organization dedicated to increasing Property Ownership and Enterpreneurialism in Black and Underserved Communities.
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All the contributions are tax deductible. No goods or services will be provided to the donor in exchange for the contribution.
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