Grow a hedge using native Texas plants

November 30, 2020

I want to share a little more Wildflower Center inspiration, this time from the maze in the Family Garden. Traditionally mazes are defined by clipped boxwood or yew hedges that grow at least to head-height — about 6 feet tall. Here at Austin’s native-plant botanical garden, the maze is hedged with several different native Texas species or cultivars.

Bright with red berries, yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), pictured above, makes a colorful, bushy hedge along an outer path. Since yaupon holly generally grows into an upright, multi-trunked small tree, these must have been pruned over time to create a thicker, more bushy look. I’d love to hear from someone at the Wildflower Center about how they prune them.

Cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) is a straightforward choice for a sunny, dry location. The standard species can be airy, especially at the lower branches, so I’d guess this is a bushier cultivar. You can see it’s been pruned to create a hedge, although not severely sheared. The solid effect is well done.

A more unusual but effective choice is ‘Will Fleming’ yaupon holly, a fastigiate, non-berrying cultivar of the native yaupon holly. Because its form is columnar,

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Home-garden design inspiration using native plants

November 29, 2020

On my recent visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, I was struck by the design of this small garden, which uses native Texas plants in a traditional but lively way to create a space that would look right at home in a residential setting.

It’s the Texas Mixed Border Home Inspiration Garden, where evergreen balls of dwarf yaupon holly substitute for traditional boxwood in an English-cottage-garden-meets-Texas style. Those round balls are key. Their repetition leads the eye along the herringbone brick path and across to the fence, emphasizing the depth of the long, skinny planting bed.

Blue mistflower and flowering vines on the fences and arbor entice pollinators during the growing season. Ornamental grasses add movement and seed for birds in winter. At the opposite end of the path, a circular patio elevated one step up makes a perfect end point for the path. Can’t you imagine this design as a home’s front walk, with the round patio just to the right or left of the front door? How inviting, right?

Well done, Wildflower Center. Your home garden inspiration game is strong.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post

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15 Best Accent Wall Ideas

Jessica Klewicki Glynn

Sometimes, painting your space in one color or outfitting an entire room with wallpaper just doesn’t get the job done. If you’re currently struggling with this design dilemma, an accent wall may suit your aesthetic. It’s a brilliant trick top designers swear by to bring more character into a space without it being too overwhelming.

Curious about how to pick the best spot for your accent wall? Simply pinpoint where your eyes land when you first enter a room. It’s a great option for home offices, bedrooms, living rooms, and just about any space that is lacking visual interest. Click through for 15 creative accent wall ideas to inspire your own home upgrade.

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Cork Wall

If you like the look of collages and need ample space to keep your to-do list on full display in your home office, deck out a wall in cork square panels. It’s the perfect blend of style and function.

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Bright Florals

If there’s one room that can benefit from a dose of drama, it’s the bathroom. A wallpaper boasting bold blooms is a no-fail option for a quick refresh.

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Flowers for a warm Texas fall

November 24, 2020

Aside from forsythia sage, which is STILL going strong after nearly a month of flowering (you can see its yellow flowers in the background), let me highlight a couple other plants that have been putting on a show into late November. Philippine violet (Barleria cristata), while nearly done now, has been covered in rich purple blossoms all this month.

What a beauty — and yeah, you’re pretty cute too, Cosmo. He’s always photobombing!

Dark-blue plumbago (Plumbago auriculata ‘Dark Blue’) is still flowering prolifically under the crape myrtle, looking a bit like a blue hydrangea from the top-down vantage of the kitchen window.

OK, no flowers here, but I love the way the afternoon light shines through the foliage of the side garden, including ‘Will Fleming’ yaupon, ‘Sapphire Skies’ Yucca rostrata, purple-tinged loropetalum, and ‘Frazzle Dazzle’ dyckia (in the blue pot).

In the front garden, tractor-seat ligularia (Farfugium japonicum ‘Gigantea’ ), aka giant leopard plant, has sent up rubbery bloom stalks topped with yellow, daisy-like flowers.

They glow like little suns in the shade of the Japanese maple.

So cheery!

And those big, shiny, tractor-seat-shaped leaves are cool too.

I welcome your

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