Lazy Gardener & Friends for June 14, 2019

By: Nature's Way Resources | Published 06/14/2019

Here is the 296th issue of our weekly gardening newsletter for Houston, the Gulf Coast and beyond. We really appreciate all of our readers hanging in there with us, sharing stories and inspiring us in so many ways. 
Thanks so much!
This newsletter is a project of The Lazy Gardener, Brenda Beust Smith & John Ferguson. (John is with Nature's Way Resources). We also have a great supporting cast of contributing writers and technical specialists who will chime in and tweak away regularly. We would love to keep receiving your input on this newsletter, comments, suggestions, questions. Email your thoughts to: Thanks so much for your interest.
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Abby Johnson in the Richmond area asked why I never write about plants I’m growing in my own garden. Mostly it's because it’s rather embarrassing for a garden writer to admit she’s really mostly an “Occasional Gardener.”
For some reason, "real" gardeners don’t seem to interpret “Lazy’ with totally-ignoring plants.
Friends generously offer to share plants, saying, “This is your kind of plant! Needs no care!"
Do I have to water it regularly?” I always ask. “Well, of course!” they reply. “All plants have to be watered regularly!” 
No, they don't.
Lots of flowers did beautifully in my yard . . . with only occasional watering on my part. Certainly not regularly and even less in summer when we were mostly out of town. I've never had any kind of watering system. How could I promote plants as great for "Lazy Gardeners" if I actually regularly watered them?
If I put a plant in the right shade/sun/drainage spot and then if – given my “occasional” watering -- it dies, I assume God doesn’t want it in my yard. I plant something else in its place. And I have had lots of Lazy Gardener successes.
Not every gardener has time to water and care for every plant when it needs it. I certainly don’t. I'm like everyone else. Time and energy to garden outside come “sporadically.” I water, or even look at plants, only "...when the spirit moves."
?To be honest, these days, most of my outside plant placement is governed by views from inside, rather than with any outside views in mind. That's more in keeping with my priorities these days.
Starting over at age 75 is a challenge. My old, Harvey-destroyed “Lazy Gardener Lab” -- where I focused on plants that could be truly ignored -- was mixed sun and shade and almost totally poorly drained. Our new home has mostly sunny, some shade, with both well-drained and poorly drained areas.
So many of my tried-'n'-true old "Lazy" favorites are now transplanted or newly planted here. It may take them years to adjust and come back. But we Lazy (aka Occasional) Gardeners are patient folk. We figure (hope!) there's a lot going on underground that will reward us with gorgeous color in the future!
Someday I hope to again have back my longtime faithful old best friends -- especially those I have mentally put in my Lazy Gardener Plants Hall of Fame. All endured horrible challenges (some mine, some Mother Nature's): pink magnolia, althaea, coral vine, crinums, daylilies, Mexican bahinia and oleander, to name just a few.
Other upcoming candidates included bleeding heart vine, coral fountain bush, crepes, duranta, esperanza, freesias, gingers, hummingbird bush, indigo plants, paperwhites, plumbago, Rangoon creeper, shrimp plants, giant white spider lilies, yesterday-today-and-tomorrow, and many others that happily survived my "occasional gardening."
L to r: althaea, bleeding heart vine, coral vine, crepe myrtle, crinum, duranta
L to r: esperanza, freesias, gingers, hummingbird bush, indigo, Mexican bauhinia
However, Abby’s challenge made me think. I ought to be keeping some sort of gardening diary. Every gardener SHOULD keep a garden diary or at least make an occasional photo report. Amazing what you forget.
So, thank you, Abby, when I read your email on Sun., June 9 -- my Uncle Henry’s 96th birthday -- I thought about him and all the plants he tends in his South Texas yard. I went outside and shot pictures of everything in bloom on that day. Who knows which of them will, or won't, survive in the long haul? But for the present, flowering on that day were . . .
L to r: angel wing begonia, cleome, crown of thorns, coral fountain plant, daylilies
L to r, hibiscus, mandevilla vine, Mexican flame vine, purslane and rainlilies.
L to r: black-eye Susans, thryallis and 3 milkweeds: giant white milkweed, tropical butterflyweed and native yellow milkweed. Hard to see but plumbago in there too.
Have to add -- in the interest of honesty-in-reporting -- when I say something "is blooming" I mean it has "a" flower on it. So don't envision masses of color!
BOTH TEXAS & NATIONAL POLLINATOR WEEKS are being celebrated June 17-23. For a list of activities scheduled, check out the Citizens Environmental Coalition website:
NEWSLETTER is based on her 40+ years as the Houston Chronicle's Lazy Gardener.
We hope you will repost & share it with anyone and everyone!
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