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I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. #13623534 07/08/20 03:29 PM
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Kattelyn Offline OP
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I live in Live Oak and am looking for a very tropical looking, stunning, unique planting for the main flower bed for the front of the house next to the front door. The house faces east with early morning sun until about 9am, then partial shade from a huge live oak tree until around noon - 1pm then full shade for the rest of the day. I have asian jasmine / pikake growing roughly 6' away that's been healthy and happy in ground for the past three years at least, so we're talking a micro climate of 9a minimum. I collect plumeria, adeniums, weird tropical fruit trees, and have my own permanent greenhouse. There's a large birdbath fountain that provides constant humidity to the area and I'm expecting to put in some kind of soaker hose or drip irrigation, and I'm planning on taking out everything that's already there except for possibly the sago palm and maybe the mountain laurel.. but I haven't completely decided yet. I have a passion for tropical plants, and fell in love with a tree fern I found at Rainbow Gardens, but don't know how it'd do.

So. Now with all that introduction done. Would you have any suggestions for me? What would you like to do with the space? I'm at the planning stage right now, nothing is going to be touched until later in the year when it starts cooling off.

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Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13624590 07/09/20 01:41 PM
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Rip it all out and just plant Okra, it's the only thing I can successfully grow in this Texas heat.

Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13626777 07/11/20 12:34 PM
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My Mountain Laurel has started leaning away from the Ash tree it's under and I'm surprised yours hasn't. The Sago is a book end on the corner so I might think about leaving it. I would remove all the blocks and let your sidewalk be your border for the bed if possible. I would also remove the fence to open the area up.

Plants, you are on your own because very few of my clients want tropical. I'm a big fan of ferns and hostas in shade settings.

Post some pics when you are finished, I'm always interested in how people handle shade areas.


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Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13627061 07/11/20 06:25 PM
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Nice place . I see the caladiums are doing well so I'd suggest elephant ears , large ferns , African Impatiens , etc . What's your low winter temps down there ?

Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13627064 07/11/20 06:39 PM
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Nice place . I see the caladiums are doing well so I'd suggest elephant ears , large ferns , African Impatiens , etc . What's your low winter temps down there ?

Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13629729 07/14/20 02:11 AM
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So far, it’s looking like the coldest it ever gets down here is 25. Last year we didn’t get enough chill hours to set peaches and my fountain got icicles twice all winter. I have 3 giant bougainvillea that hadn’t been frozen back when we bought the house in March 2019. And they just keep growing and blooming.

So far I’ve found Persian shield and gloriosa lily that could work. Still looking for ideas.

Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13630128 07/14/20 01:56 PM
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Not sure if you have checked out Rainbow Gardens yet. We got a lot of plants from them when we lived in San Antonio. Good selection and good staff that can help. https://www.rainbowgardens.biz/garden-center/


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Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13630171 07/14/20 02:22 PM
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Yep. Know them well and have spent way too much money at both locations.

Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13630192 07/14/20 02:35 PM
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Kat have you been to Shades or Green Nursery? I don't know anything about it, but Bob Webster owns it. I stream his radio show occasionally on the weekends.


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Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13630196 07/14/20 02:37 PM
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Katelyn, 2 or 3 Encore Azalea's in that bed would look good in there and should do well with the filtered light and afternoon shade. 2cents


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Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13630477 07/14/20 05:45 PM
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I absolutely love azaleas. Always have wanted azaleas but my soil is very alkaline and they don't like south Texas. If you dig down about 6 - 8" you hit limestone and that neutralizes any acidic soil you might add.

Also, as cool as they are, there's not a lot of "wow" factor about them. Most of the year they're just big green nondescript shrubs. I want stuff that has a definite wow factor.

Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13630985 07/15/20 12:10 AM
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Interested in carnivorous plants ?

Bug Biting Plants

The larger North American pitchers are quite the conversation piece . You'd have to sink a container full of peat in the yard but they can stay outside all year .

Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13633075 07/16/20 05:37 PM
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Kattelyn Offline OP
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When I was a kid, my aunt Odella used to take me to go foraging in the Big Thicket national forest. One of the spots we would hit had a bog and a field full of pitcher plants. You wouldn't think it, but when they're in bloom, they're absolutely stunning. This part of the year, they're pretty much dead and crispy. Sundews are cool little plants.

Unfortunately I'm on a limestone hill in San Antonio. I've never seen drainage like this. I can go out there and squirt water all day long and go back an hour later and it's dry. Water just doesn't stay. I might be able to grow them in the koi pond but that's about it. They require a lot more humidity and wetter feet than exists here.

I've been getting some pretty good ideas just listening and poking around. That pillar next to the front door is going to get gloriosa lilies climbing it. I'm going to be keeping my eyes peeled for interesting wrought iron scrollwork to attach to it.
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I've got a giant split leaf philodendron in a pot that came with the house. It's been outside with no protection and doing fine for two years. That tells me a monstera deliciosa would be fine in the ground climbing up to the second story and hanging from the balcony.
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For the jewel in the crown, I keep coming back to that dang tree fern. I have no idea how it would do in the ground here but it's just cool looking. I'll probably skip it, because it's expensive, finicky, and I have limited space.
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For the border between the bed and the sidewalk, that's where I'm going to go nuts with more caladiums and persian shield.
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Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13633077 07/16/20 05:40 PM
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Here's how it looks now.
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Re: I'm stumped. Need gardening advise. [Re: Kattelyn] #13633140 07/16/20 06:31 PM
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When I lived on the west side of San Antonio I took a long handled pickaxe to the limestone and basically made big holes so the plants were like in pots. Didn't have to water as much, but know what you are dealing with the shallow soil and limestone. It makes it a challenge without a lot of sweat labor.

Wife suggested a draping style rosemary for along the stone retaining wall if you are keeping it. Looks nice, bees like it, and you can use cuttings for herbs in the kitchen.

Last edited by Emit R Detsaw; 07/16/20 06:35 PM.

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