Joy in the garden and what to expect in your fall and winter gardens:
We planted small varieties of carrots such as “Little Finger” from Botanical Interests and kept the soil consistently moist until they germinated.
Even though garden centers have turned their inventory to Christmas trees, you can still find lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach, kale,and herb transplants. Also, keep direct sowing radishes. You may get a wonderful winter crop of vitamin packed vegetables.
Ann Lamb and Beverly Allen, 2 Dallas County Master Gardeners
Pictures by Starla Willis, Dallas County Master Gardener-2008
Several weeks ago during a recent work day at the garden, we noticed a flower stalk coming up from the middle of a couple of our spotted manfreda plants on the courtyard of Raincatcher’s Garden. This particular succulent plant, also know as Texas Tuberose or Manfreda maculosa is short (grows 12 – 15 inches tall) with silvery green leaves and is covered with purple spots. It is native to southern Texas and northern Mexico and does best in full sun. It is considered a tender perennial but is often an evergreen plant in mild winters. It completely died back this past winter and not only came back this spring but quickly produced a flower stalk.
The plant eventually grows into a thick clump of shoots connected at the roots and is often referred to as a ground cover plant. The best part about the growth habit of this plant is that it is begging to be shared. In fact, I got my plant many years ago from a couple who were on the city of Dallas Water Wise Garden tour. As soon as I asked the home owner about the plant, she quickly retrieved a trowel and dug up an offshoot for me. I have lost count of how many of these plants I have given to gardening friends as well as planting several in the courtyard at Midway Hills Christian Church.
I did a bit of research about the flower and I found that the relatively tall inflorescent carries mildly fragrant tubular flowers. The flowers lack colorful petals, but have especially long pistils and stamens. One website described the flower as “alien looking.”
This is a plant to consider growing in your garden or in a container. And if you’re lucky, it will gift you with a large, alien looking flower!
Jackie James Dallas County Master Gardener Class of 1993
We will have a couple of varieties of manfreda plants available at our plant sale on May 13th and 14th. Hope to see you there.
Jackie James, Dallas County Master Gardener Class of 1993