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Tag Archives: Perennials for Dallas

The Rainbow Garden at Raincatcher’s

If your green thumb is ready to branch out into living color, visit our Rainbow Garden for inspiration and plan on taking lots of photos. You’ll find a colorful mix of flowers and vegetables growing in harmony. In the summer heat, early morning is a good time to stop by. Enjoy iridescent dragonflies and come face to face with giant bees casting their drunken shadows on the garden, touch fuzzy silver green lamb’s ear, and see if you can identify standing cypress. (Hint- it is red.)

See the violet morning glory threaten to take over the purple heart growing beneath it. Compare the many shades of blue flowers and notice the exuberant orange Mexican sunflower. Inhale the aroma of fresh basil and see how the eggplant and strawberries are doing. 

Now take a shady break under the garden’s charming vine-covered entrance arbor and make notes before heading to the nursery to create your own rainbow. The rainbow garden doesn’t get any shade from the hot summer sun and receives only minimal supplemental water so you know these plants can take the heat in your own sunny spots at home. Drop by anytime and let the garden inspire you.

Gail Cook

 Pictures by Starla Willis and Ann Lamb

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Variegated Fritillary on Salvia

Variegated Fritillary on Salvia

My side yard has a new unwanted hedge of plants in pots.  These are plants that should be planted in the new butterfly plot at the Raincatcher’s Garden of Midway Hills.  They are not. They sit in pots.  At my house.

The plants have been living in my side yard for two weeks.  They remind me of adult children who move back in for “just a few months, Mom,” and a year later you’re still sharing the washer with their yoga pants.

Using the butterfly garden plan, I made a list of plants required for that garden.   We needed almost 200 plants.

Plant sales are a little cheaper, but you have to know what you’re doing:

Get there early.  I am convinced most shoppers get up at 4:30 a.m. to line up two hours before the doors open.  If you’re pulling in the parking lot with your coffee in a to-go cup about 10:30, it’s not worth the drive.  The shelves are bare at that point.

Plant sales are the closest thing Dallas has to a crowded New York subway.  You’ve got to elbow your way to native-this and hard-to-find that  (saying ‘excuse me’ after each grab—this is, after all, The South).  My genteel mother would have been appalled.

Don’t kid yourself. A tiny old Prius will not be big enough for the drive back with your new acquisitions. You’ll have to beg your patient friend Judy-with-a-truck to pick up all the leftover purchases the next day.

Which brings us to why I have about 200 Plants In A Pot in my side yard, and why I know each of them intimately.

North Texas has been in a severe drought for six years.

I purchased the plants two weeks ago.  Six hours after I unloaded them to my side yard, I hauled them back into the garage because of impending “damaging 60 mph winds, hail, and possible tornadoes.” Out into the sun. Thirty minutes later, back into the garage. This has gone on for days. The plants are confused.  I am exhausted.

Last week I emptied 5 inches of rain from the rain gauge. It is too muddy to till the site for the new butterfly garden.  It is too wet to even think of planting.

The forecast is for 85 degrees and sunny today.  Severe thunderstorms are predicted for tomorrow.


To read more about our Butterfly Garden Plans click here.

Picture by Starla

Red Yucca

 When the tall plumes of Red Yucca brighten up the Dallas landscape, it’s time to break out the mojitos: summer can’t be far behind. We’ve had a long, cool, graceful spring filled with the most beautiful roses in years. But today’s crushing heat and humidity signal the end of May, the last days of the school year, and the start of sun tan season.

Red Yucca With Larkspur in Background at The Demonstration Garden

Gardening just doesn’t get any easier than Red Yucca. You mix in expanded shale into your clumps of clay soil (for better drainage), plant the yucca, and watch its red blooms for 30 (THIRTY!) Weeks of the Year. Then you trim off the spent flowers at the end of the season. After yucca is established, you don’t even water it; the plant lives off rainfall. Poor drainage is its only downfall.

No wonder TXDOT plants these in large groups along the highway. Whizzing along at 70 mph, a large swatch of Red Yucca is breathtaking.

The one-inch bell-shaped flowers cluster up and down the stalks, rising 4 to 6 feet above the ground. Flowers are full of nectar and irresistible to hummingbirds. The most common flower color of Hesperaloe parviflora is the lovely coral outside, with pale yellow on the inside. A solid yellow selection is also available.

Close Up Red Yucca Bloom

Red Yucca is a great choice to use around swimming pools and patios. Combine it with ‘New Gold’ lantana to pick up the soft yellow insides of the bloom or Coral Autumn Sage to repeat the color of the yucca’s flowers. Add a few grasses and you’re ready for a carefree landscape.

Coral Salvia and Lantana, New Gold

Mix me another mojito and pass the sunscreen.


Close up photo of Yucca by Harry Cliffe

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