Texas gets a bad rap for gardening because of our extremely hot summers with temperatures soaring into the 100s for days at a time. My garden is here to debunk these misconceptions. Texas heat is not a deterrent for a colorful summer landscape. Perennials and annuals, as in any garden, must be appropriately chosen for each area’s climate conditions. However, equally important is answering the question, “what is the purpose of my garden?”
The purpose of my garden is to be a healing, welcoming, hospitable sanctuary. Just as your home is made up of rooms with individual purposes, so goes my garden layout.
1. A private shady meditation destination nestled behind the garden shed is ideal for early morning tea, and is accessed through an archway covered with sweet-smelling jasmine.
2. Two semi-circular flower beds highlight Texas friendly blooms like daylily, canna, black-eyed susan, globe amaranth, blackfoot daisy, coreopsis, cleome, cosmos, and zinnia. One bed is anchored by a large crepe myrtle tree supporting numerous birdhouses and feeders while shading a large birdbath. Its twin bed is anchored by two delicate flowering trees: bee brush and pride of Barbados. All plantings are specifically chosen to attract pollinators.
3. A chicken coop is surrounded by flagstones to deter coop-robbing critters and is canopied by a redbud tree whose shade protects a Japanese maple and heat-loving shade plants like asparagus fern, flowering sedum, and caladium. My chickens give me eggs every day and a constant supply of rich nitrogen poop for my compost barrels.
4. Two raised vegetable beds are built to accommodate my need to sit while doing yard work since I’m disabled with lupus. And as a friendly reminder that my garden is an attempt at recreating my beloved gardens in Lebanon, a pomegranate tree stands sentinel guarding the seasonal vegetables.
5. A back porch with a hodgepodge of comfortable seating invites visitors to sit a spell. It seamlessly connects the house to the main sidewalk artery that is walker and wheelchair friendly.
6. A bump-out flower bed encircled with daylilies cushions the planting shed made of all recycled materials from our local Habitat for Humanity store. The bed is surrounded by the same flagstone walkways that connect the back to the front yard bordered by butterfly bushes, butterfly weed, and coneflowers, all magnets for butterflies, especially the endangered monarchs.
7. A kitchen herb garden sits right off of the back porch conveniently located for culinary quick snips featuring oregano, thyme, parsley, mint, rosemary, basil, hyssop, and chives. My favorite tabouli salad is just a few steps away!
Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are especially welcome in my pesticide-free garden which is also certified as a wildlife habitat and a monarch butterfly sanctuary.
What is your garden’s mission statement?
Give and Take. . .
For to the bee, a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower, a bee is a messenger of love
And to both, bee and flower,
the giving and receiving is a need and an ecstasy.