Sunday, May 5, 2019


It may seem strange that in my front courtyard garden, protected from deer by walls, I have mainly native plants. This is partly due to the way we had to design the garden for rain water run off, by creating a wet-weather creek, raised beds and areas of gravel. These gravel areas are ideally suited to native plants.

Large feathery stands of gayfeather, Liatris sp. prepare for a fall flowering. It would be easy to have a garden full of these as they are aggressive seeders. Their current competition for height is the Engelmann's daisy, Engelmannia peristenia, whose petals, characteristically,  curve downwards during the heat of the day.

There are good stands of Barbara's buttons, Marshallia caespitosa, with their sweetly fragrant flowers.

They spread quite readily from seed. This clump is three years from seed sown in place.

A happy accident 3 years ago was the  introduction of Colorado Venus' Looking Glass, Triodanis coloradoënsis, a member of the bluebell family.  The seed must have been in a hole inside a rock I brought in and one day I noticed this blue flower. The numbers have increased until this year they have shown up in multiple places.

Texas betony, Stachy coccinea, is a favorite of humming birds. This perennial native would be just as happy outside the walls as it is deer proof.

Artichoke agave, Aloe desmettiana Blue Boy and Texas betony.

You might not appreciate its flowers unless you look really closely.

Somehow these plants just fit together well in the landscape along with a few hardy, spikey agaves for structure.

The Asiatic jasmine, Trachelospermum asiaticum, similar to the Confederate jasmine, may not be native to Texas but its hardiness makes it a better option for a fragrant vine by my front door.

A good trimming one in a while keeps its wandering tendrils in check as it reaches around the other side of the wall.

Undoubtedly the mocking bird planted this Yaupon on the corner of the wall. It has grown into a fine tree which provides winter food for the returning cedar wax wings and shade for a corner of the garden.

I have flowers on the pink Oxalis sp. I am more than happy to have it in this shady corner.

Along with the Mahonia in its fruiting stage.

The larger raised bed, created by using large ledge stones from the foundation needs a little work to make it more manageable. I regret that I lost a white Texas sage this winter. It came as a shock because ti flowered twice in succession in the fall. It's last hurrah. But when I took it out it made me realize I could live without it. Friends convinced me to leave the opuntia in place and a passalong Salvia 'Amistad' seemed like the best plant to put in there to take its place. In the corner a crape myrtle seeded and in the center a tree-shaped Texas Mountain Laurel. I seem to be very lucky with plants seeding in my garden although there are many more that seed and are removed.

On the trellis in the back corner climbs the native Clematis versicolor. One bonus from removing the sage was finding several seedlings of the clematis. I will try to rehouse them over the winter.

Along the front edge are several agaves, including A. parryi and A. lopthantha 'quadricolor'

Beneath the large Ladybanks rose is an area of morning sun and shady afternoons where a few shade lovers survive.
And always my favorite picture off the garden as I walk from garage to house. The reflection in the dining room window.


  1. Your courtyard garden looks spectacular, Jenny! I love that Triodanis.

    1. Thanks Kris. I love it too. Such a happy accident.

  2. Your garden in spring is such a delight! I don't know how you manage to walk from garage to house without it taking 30 minutes -- I'd be distracted by everything!

    1. I am constantly distracted both in and out. I hardly get anything else done.

  3. I am seriously so grateful that I had the experience of visiting your garden during Fling last year. It really makes all your blog posts so much more meaningful. I know I went back to this courtyard area purposefully after all my fellow bloggers had moved on - it is a great introduction to the bounty that lies ahead.

    1. Thank you. I still lament the rainy day but gardeners know all about that.

  4. WOW! I am totally impressed with your garden, garden magazine worthy.

    1. Thank you. Southern Living di feature our garden one year but they never took any pictures in the front. It was all in the back garden.


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