Spikes and springtime – Digging Leave a comment

March 22, 2023

Spiderwort (Tradescantia occidentalis), a self-sowing native and a springtime beauty, continues to color my shady spaces purple. Its bee-feeding flowers open at dawn and close in the early afternoon, except on cool, cloudy days, when they may stay open all day.

More flower spikes line the raised bed behind the house, where winter-wounded soap aloes (Aloe maculata) have burst into coral-red bloom, in spite of their missing succulent “arms.” I’ve heard that hummingbirds have returned to Austin. I’ve yet to see one this spring, but these aloe flowers are sure to attract the earliest visitors.

In preparation for hotter weather, I planted a new mangave, ‘Fiercely Fabulous’, in the blue pot on the paver pillar. It bristles like its metal lizard companion.

The UFOs are hovering over the garden again now that spring is here. I overwintered these hanging planters inside whenever we had a freeze, and their ‘Frazzle Dazzle’ dyckias are looking as zany as ever, like crazy, spiky haircuts. ‘Color Guard’ yuccas add height at ground level in short metal pots.

An even bigger yucca — my largest — towers over the side path into the back garden. This ‘Sapphire Skies’ Yucca rostrata is about 12 feet tall now.

The bottle tree is another kind of zany feature in my garden nowadays, plunked into the new stock-tank planter. I’m itching for the silver ponyfoot in the tank to creep its way across the decomposed granite and drape over the sides. But it’s been cool, chilly even, and ponyfoot likes the heat. Must. Be. Patient.

As ever, the sunburst-patterned stone paving makes for a pleasing view from the elevated deck. I can almost ignore those tiny little plants in the stock-tank planter by focusing on the bottle tree glowing in the evening.

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Digging Deeper

Shop for native Texas plants at the Wildflower Center’s spring Native Plant Sale. Held on Fridays through Sundays, March 24 to May 7, from 9 am to 1 pm. The first weekend is just for Wildflower Center members, so join to enjoy this perk, plus get free admission all year and more.

Tour season kicks off with the new Austin Home’s Great Outdoors Tour on March 25 from 11 am to 4 pm. Visit 7 designer landscapes for $20, and gather ideas for your own outdoor living space.

Experience the Surreal Garden at Zilker Botanical Garden, an enchanting neon-art display throughout the gardens, with food and drink, music and dancing, surreal performers, and interactive art sculptures. Surreal costumes encouraged! 25% of event proceeds benefit the Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy. Runs April 6 (VIP Night), April 7-8, and April 13-15, from 6:30 pm to 11 pm.

Add to your succulent collection at the Austin Cactus & Succulent Society Spring Show & Sale on April 15 and 16, from 10 am to 5 pm, at Zilker Botanical Garden. Come enjoy the plant show, shop for unique plants and pottery, and participate in a silent auction and raffles. Free with paid admission to Zilker Botanical Garden.

Tour 9 designer landscapes on the 2023 Austin Outdoor Living Tour on May 6. Designers and builders will be on hand to answer your questions. Cost is $33.85 for adults and $17.85 for kids aged 12 to 17. For safety, no one under 12 years of age except for carried infants.

Come learn about garden design from the experts at Garden Spark! I organize in-person talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Simply click this link and ask to be added. Season 7 starts in August. Stay tuned for the lineup!

All material © 2023 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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