Palms, agaves, and edibles in Peter Schaar Garden

October 27, 2020

I was happy to have the opportunity to see the garden of Peter Schaar in Dallas in early October. I know Peter as a palm and agave lover, a rose enthusiast (note the Texas Rose Rustler t-shirt), and an avid cook with a taste for growing herbs and other edibles. He’s also a longtime commenter at Digging (since 2011) who often shares interesting snippets about his travels with his late wife, Julie, and personal anecdotes about Texas’s gardening trailblazers like John Fairey and Pam Puryear.

Peter is reticent about his own work as a garden designer (a second career after 30 years as an applied mathematician) and educational speaker, as I learned when I read a 2006 D Magazine article about him called “The Mathematician’s Garden.” In short, Peter has gardening chops and a wealth of knowledge about gardening in North Texas, which he generously shares with others.

Peter’s garden, located in Dallas’s Lakewood neighborhood, is packed with fringe-fingered palms, strappy crinums, arrowhead-leaf alocasia, and spiky agaves and sotols. Edible herbs, chiles, and even leafy vegetables are stuffed in as well.

Cobalt pots elevating succulents and agaves run a blue color scheme through the garden.

Tropical-looking (but hardy) alocasia and native chile pequin make a pretty combo.

A starburst of pencil-thin agave leaves. Peter will have to remind me of the name.

Bushy palms or palmettos look wonderful silhouetted against the bright sky. They also help hide power lines and neighboring houses.

Lantana blazing in the sunny space along the back fence

Colorful chard is pretty to grow even if you don’t eat it.


The powder-blue leaves of Wheeler’s sotol stand out in front of monarch-attracting frostweed.

Bees enjoy the frostweed too.

Working it

A whale’s tongue agave in a blue pot draws the eye across the garden.

Peter has turned his suburban backyard into a botanical joyride!

My thanks, Peter, for a delightful garden visit and for the yummy birthday pastries as well!

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