Category Archives: Favorite Plants

Japanese Cedar – an Underappreciated Evergreen

I want to introduce you to a graceful evergreen conifer that you might not be familiar with, but deserves more use in our east Texas landscapes. Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) is a handsome evergreen tree, with short, dark to medium green needles clothing short shoots. The stems and branches are graceful, with a slight bending or drooping habit. Shortly after moving to Tyler, I ran across the only specimen I have seen here in a neighborhood on the south side of town. It was a large tree, obviously… Read More →

Hardy Palms for Northeast Texas

Are you looking for a touch of tropics for your yard? There are many gorgeous, flamboyant plants with brilliant flowers or foliage that adds a lush, tropical feel to a landscape. We often grow these kinds of plants as annuals, much like a pansy or petunia, only these summer-loving plants grow much larger and thrive in sunny, hot locations until the first freeze of winter terminates the show. Tropical or Chinese hibiscus with its large flowers offer an array of bold colors, and crotons with gaudy multi-colored leaves… Read More →

Horticulture Field Day at Texas A&M – Overton

If you enjoy learning about the latest new plants that are coming on the market, you need head over to Overton, Texas on Thursday, June 27, to the annual Horticulture Field Day at Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center to see up close what’s new in the ornamental plant industry. Dr. Brent Pemberton, Professor of Horticulture with A&M AgriLife Research, oversees a large plant trial, consisting of a wide range of annuals and an assortment of other plants. This is one of the biggest in the South,… Read More →

Shady Characters You Want in Your Garden

  “Nothing will grow under the trees in my front yard!” Sound familiar? Blessed with a climate and soils conducive to vigorous growth of trees, shade is a common factor for most East Texans. Rather than looking at shade as a liability, use it as an asset to enhance your landscape. Most shade complaints stem from the fact that grass will not grow well in dense shade. All turfgrasses perform best in full sun. St. Augustine is the most shade tolerant grass, while Centipede and Zoysia tolerate partial… Read More →

Salvias for Texas-Tough Summer Color

  One of the most diverse and useful groups of plants for summer color must be the sages – botanically known as the Salvias.  Native to many places in the world, including Texas, salvias have become a staple for garden designers creating long-lasting colorful beds.  Garden-worthy salvias range from Texas-tough perennials to tender annuals that have been extensively bred for the bedding plant industry.  Colors take on the rainbow, from purple to red, with blues, whites, and even yellow. Salvias are in the mint family, all of which… Read More →

Hydrangeas – Showy Color Shady Spots

As springtime azaleas blooms fade, it is nice to have other plants step in to fill the gap with color.  Roses are an obvious choice, with many blooming already, and the main show to start in a few weeks. One of my favorite plants in our landscape is an Oakleaf hydrangea.  It provides nearly year-round interest with its large leaves, attractive white blooms and interesting bark and growth habit. It blooms in early to mid-May along with our native, white blooming Rhododendron oblongifolium (Texas azalea) and a late-blooming… Read More →

Redbuds Signal Spring

Throughout woodlands and city landscapes, rosy pink splashes of color signal that spring is on its way. Redbuds are wonderful, small trees that can have a place in almost any landscape. Small in stature, they fit nicely into smaller urban lots. But, redbuds work their magic just as well on larger acreage since their cheerful, bright color is easily noticed in early springtime when grays and browns dominate the landscape. Lavender-pink to rosy or reddish purple blooms come out in March and last 2 to 3 weeks. Blooms… Read More →

Helleborus Blooms

Nothing brightens the wintertime (this is winter, right??) like cheery blooms. Narcissus and flowering quince are starting to bloom, and I’ve seen a few early deciduous magnolia blooms. Another early bloomer is Helleborus, also known as Lenten Rose or Christmas Rose. It’s not even closely related to roses. But they are reliable bloomers for the winter garden, and do great in shady spots in the landscape. They can take quite deep shade, but bloom better if they get some morning, or late afternoon sun.  They do like well-drained… Read More →