at Zilker Botanical Garden...
During one of the coldest winters we have had in some time, one is hard pressed to find anything in bloom at this time of year - BUT - EUREKA, something was found and this is a plant that is a winter superstar and worthy for all to consider in your landscapes. It is GERMANDER (Teucrium fruiticans)
Even after a hard freeze of upper teens and snowfall this winter, this evergreen shrub continues to bloom with lavender blue salvia-like flowers through the winter months (but bloom sporadically during other seasons). To add to its desirability, it comes in bush and creeping growth forms so can be used as an ornamental shrub or ground cover. Read more »
Plant descriptions are included in the City of Austin’s Grow Green informative guide, Native and Adapted Landscape Plants: an earthwise guide for Central Texas (4th Edition, 2009). This publication is available at local nurseries and at the Garden Center at Zilker Botanical Garden. You can also download the guide at www.growgreen.org.
Ask the Garden Guru
This new feature of Down the Garden Path invites you to submit questions relating to ornamental gardening. Submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject “DTGP Guru”
Question from Brent H: I hear that some citrus plants can be successfully grown in the Austin area. I would like to give some a try but what varieties do you recommend?
Guru: Citrus can be successfully grown in out central Texas areas providing you stick to the more cold hardy varieties recommended below. Growing any other citrus plants will be very risky in our area. Most citrus that will endure the Central Texas area winters are grafted on trifoliate orange (Poncirus) root stock. Citrus must also have a slightly acidic, well drained soil (not limestone/alkaline based as is found in Texas Hill Country) and can be container grown if roots are protected from winter freezing. If you can give any citrus plants a protected but sunny area, that would be best. The best time to establish citrus is in spring so they have an entire growing season to adapt before the challenging weather of winter returns. Read more »
Recovering from a Hard Freeze — Both Gardener and Plants
To us gardeners in central Texas, despair generally follows a hard freeze when the first effects on our beloved plants are noted, but deeper despair follows a week or two later when the real damage is finally revealed. Some effects may take a month or more to become noticeable.
Before despair leads to depression, let’s look at the bright side. Those dead looking plants most likely aren’t really dead – they’re just playing “possum” and waiting for spring conditions to revive. It’s their natural defense mechanism to shut down under such conditions. With shrubs, use the fingernail test – scratch progressively downward until dead brown tissue becomes green live tissue. Then they can be pruned back to just above that point for regeneration. Although we are advised not to prune back more than one third of a shrub at any time, hard pruning beyond that level may be required to remove dead wood.. Read more »
Top 10 Spring Tips for Central Texas Gardeners
Thinking spring? Here are a few related thoughts for preparing for the spring garden.
1. Planning, planning, planning: Develop a garden plan for the coming season, both short, and longer term. Know what it is you want to do before digging - what goes where and why.
2. Select your plants for the coming season carefully. Research them on the internet or check with a non-commercial reliable sources for advice as to adaptability and growing features of plants that you are considering for your garden. Read more »
The Doug Blachly Butterfly Garden
Jack French, a PARD landscape technician with the Zilker Botanical Garden for the last three years, is responsible for upgrading and maintaining the Doug Blachly Butterfly Garden and Trail that began in 1989. During the last two years, the original butterfly garden has been in the process of revitalization and enhancement with much invasive Japanese Ligustrum removal in many areas, native tree trimming to improve form and allow more light, irrigation work to improve function, and rock retaining walls built for two of the large beds on the trail.
Read more »
Thanks to our Festival sponsors and volunteers!
Zilker Garden Festival has earned a reputation for being the best place to celebrate the arrival of spring in Austin and Central Texas. Our generous sponsors and enthusiastic, hard-working volunteers play a major part in the festival’s success. Let’s begin with our Sponsors…
- The City of Austin and Parks & Recreation Department…their co-sponsorship of the garden festival is a major contribution to AAGC. From the professional staff at Zilker Botanical Garden to arranging for the safe arrival of our festival visitors to the entrance gates, PARD’s involvement is essential to our success.
- C3 Presents has been a long-time supporter of Zilker Park—through its annual Austin City Limits Music Festival—and a loyal friend to Zilker Garden Festival. They carry the banner as our Title Sponsor for Zilker Garden Festival again this year. Read more »