Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Look Ma, No Hands!

Remember when you were little and everything you ever did needed to be acknowledged and every question had to be answered even if it was the 17th time? Most of us still like to be acknowledged for our special talents or even our quirks when only a close friend could know it. Plants are the same and while some boast to the world that they are obviously special, some are more subtle about how they get our attention.

This blog was inspired by a client I installed plants for; who upon our final plant walk through asked if I could write down the things that might be unique about some of the plants as she was not familiar which most of them. I said, “you mean like, tricks”? I noticed she lit up a bit when I said that and a great idea was born, so thank you Sheri.

There are FAR too many plants to list by trick, talent, purpose, what have you, but I would like to at least peak your interest as to the special talents your plants may have, While I introduce you to some that may surprise you.

A great example would be the Moon Flower Datura (below) this special plant blooms only in the evening and closes in the dawn. It is incredibly fragrant and attracts hummingbird moths who put on an amazing show at dusk making it an excellent choice for a moonlight garden. I remind anyone who reads my blog that I am aware that this plant can be used as a hallucinogenic. I NEVER advocate the use of any plant that needs to be measured for accuracy. Just like vegetables, if you can’t have it when ever you wish without fear for overdose, injury or death, don’t eat or smoke it as a rule 😉 Thanks to the internet we no longer have to eat our way through trial and error in the landscape as they used to do, now there is endless information at our fingertip.

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Many common flowers are also edible. Unlike the Moonflower which is toxic, many plants, leaves stems and/or flowers are actually edible.

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Daylily young leaves, flower and pods are edible. Full to part sun, low water assorted colors and sizes.

Rose petals , Turks cap, Yarrow , Aloe Vera, Stone Crop Sedum, and many more plants are edible or have edible parts and a fountain of information can be found at foragingtexas.com. It is a great resource for an edible landscape that isn’t only vegetables and fruit.

Some plants have an interesting texture or scent. Many plants (below) have aromatic qualities that make them deer resistant and mosquito repelling. The rest have interesting texture, feathery plumes that dance in the breeze, produce fruit or berries, or fall color. There are many that remain evergreen all year as well.

Remember that especially showy plants like Pride of Barbados, Esperanza, Mexican Bush Sage, fruit and flowering trees like Crepe Myrtle and Desert Willow traditionally will be deciduous (go to sleep in the winter) to store energy for the coming years show. That being said, there are those such as rosemary, some sages, yucca, Aloe Vera,  Foxtail Fern and some semi-evergreen plants that can fill in quite nicely over the  winter

Above is a pretty sweet, short list of evergreen plants that also do tricks in the summer and fall. Many of them are also considered semi-evergreen which can mean it is safe to certain temps, or goes partially dormant briefly while producing new green.

We have an incredible list of food we can grow here in Central Texas as well; fruit trees such as pears, peaches, plums, kumquats, loquats, persimmon,  or vines such as black berries, raspberries, grapes and so much more.  If you are looking for a great list, check out The Natural Gardener.com , the Lady Bird Wildflower Center or the A&M fruit and Nut guide.

I hope I’ve inspired you to research the edible and flowering flora of Texas to share with your friends and families. You may be pleasantly surprised by even the edible and flowering weeds you’ve been pulling like dandelion and purslane, bluebonnet or winecups. The native and adapted plant pallet in Austin and the surrounding area is a stunning array of colors and textures. If you find yourself challenged with just the right choice or are in need of a landscape consultation or design, I would love to help with that. From plant choices, installation and timing, to lawn and tree maintenance. Certified Organic, education and solutions from a design perspective. Schedule an appointment at 512-733-7777 or email me at lisalapaso@gmail.com.

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”

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