Master Gardener Scoop – July 4, 2018
By Majo Bates
May 30th we took off to go visit my brother, Mark Morris and my sister-in-law, Rhonda Morris, who reside in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. Knowing that I am a Master Gardener, they wanted to take Rodney and me to some places in Texas to see many flowers. It was a great trip.
We drove all the way through Arkansas to get to Dallas. I had forgotten how much rice they grow in Arkansas. I think they grow more now than they did when I was a young child.
After arriving at my brother’s we had some time of relaxing, visiting, going out to eat and so on. Yes, Master Gardeners like to eat too! Then on June 2, they took us to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. It has to be one of the most beautiful in the USA. It is very lush and well kept. They have many flowers that we do but much larger because of their climate. (Remember, everything is larger in Texas. LOL) The Begonias were outstanding, as were the Petunias, Daisies, Cannas, Zinnias, Marigolds, Impatience, Spider Plants and Salvia. Also, experienced some plants I was not familiar with; Salpiglossis, which resembles a Petunia but this was, “Salpiglossis sinulate” Grandiflora Mix, Baker Creek. Very attractive and put in such special places. Their Coneflowers were magnificent. They were planted in masses and blooming. Mine have just started here on June 15.
The Crepe Myrtle are trees, not bushes. Many, many blooming while we were there and they line not only places at the Arboretum but they line many streets and there are many used in residential areas, as well. My brother has a 30-foot white one in his back yard.
The Rose Garden was one of my favorite places and it has places to sit and rest. It was very HOT and HUMID while we were there, even though we were there in the morning when they opened. I do not think I ever saw so many lovely Roses in one place in my life. Most were in full bloom! They were not planted in rows; in groupings and masses and the climbers were so beautiful on trellis and arbors.
The trees were spectacular, and my favorite Southern native, the Magnolia Tree. They were magnificent.
There were many water features, as well as a Lily Pond. Lots of places to sit there also. We enjoyed all of the rock areas and stonework all through the site. Plants flowing over the stonewalls and many, many huge stone pots with Cana’s and beautiful flowers filling in and flowing over the edges.
There were many of the now popular metal wind ornaments and we were glad there was a breeze so they could show their antics. Some of these were huge.
I also enjoyed visiting their Japanese Maple Tree area. Many, many varieties to be enjoyed and they love the humid weather we were having.
Another plant that I was not familiar with as we were driving; I found a sign at the Arboretum; the Red Flower Yucca. We saw many after we got into Texas. They are all along the roadways and also used in landscaping. Beautiful but will not grow in our Zone because of our winters.
Even though they have not had much rain in the Dallas area, it was lush and beautiful at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden because of their wonderful sprinkler system, that we were tempted to get in. The walkways were wide and accommodating for young as well as some older visitors.
June 4, we hit the road for San Antonio to the Alamo, River Walk, and site seeing. This is a beautiful city with more lush flowers and lots and lots of hanging baskets. I especially enjoyed all of the Bougainvillea baskets and wall coverings that were covered with it. Rodney especially enjoyed the Alamo and the World War II Museum.
June 6 we drove to Fredericksburg to visit the Wild Seed Farms, which is the largest working wildflower farm in the nation. Texas has not had hardly any rain so their fields were not doing well but the garden center was wonderful. I was introduced to a couple of new plants; Esperanza Yellow, “Tecoma Stans” and Plumbago Imperial Blue, “Plumbao Imperial Blue” all to be grown in zones 8—11.
In one area, Lady Bird Meadow (named after a first lady, Lady Bird Johnson), were lots of Red Knock Out Roses and a Grape Vineyard. The gift shop had thousands of seed packs for sale. Many garden ornaments, pots and water features.
The butterfly garden was hurting for lack of rain. They did not seem to have much of a sprinkling system that I viewed.
The Rose of Sharon was much larger there than what we have. June 7, on the way back to Dallas, we stopped and visited in Waco, TX – the Magnolia Place. It was nice, but Very HOT! It is landscaped in many Crepe Myrtles and they are huge and lovely. They were in full bloom. I enjoyed the bakery the most. Of course, the smell of the pastry was to die for.
Texas is our largest land attached state; Alaska does not touch any of our other states. If you have an opportunity, go see some of these places and enjoy their plant life. The crops were way ahead of us; wheat was all harvested, hay being baled, soybeans doing well – despite no rain and the corn was tasseling.
Enjoy your gardens and if you have questions, please contact a Master Gardener Friend or contact your county Extension Office.