Walks can be more enjoyable if you have a destination. Here are two. On the west side of the river, just north of Caesar Chavez Blvd. toward town, is a Texas Naturalist Wildscape Demonstration Garden. It has been there awhile, but with the good weather we’ve had, it is looking very good. It contains many native and adaptive plants that do well in San Antonio and South Texas. Many have tags giving the plant name and its growing habits. Take paper and pen because you may see something you want to add to your garden. The second destination is at 310 E. Arsenal between City St. and S. Main Ave. The home is a new addition to the neighborhood and the front garden is signed as a “Pollinator Habitat.” Here also the plants are native and drought tolerant with the added benefit of attracting visitors such as bees and hummingbirds.
We have been fortunate to have had a moist, cool, and prolonged spring. Plants of all kinds are flourishing. Crepe myrtles seem to be blooming especially well, and they will provide color through a good part of the summer. If you have room to plant one of these versatile plants, please do. Crepe myrtles grow to various heights and have a variety of colors ranging from white, pink, dark red and lavender.
A FREE list of 50 types is available outside the KWA office on Madison St., to the right of the door. The list shows various characteristics of each type. An important thing to remember in selecting these, as any plant, is to put them where there is space for them to reach their mature size.
Because there are so many different types of crepe myrtles it may be hard to find the one you want. Two good local nurseries to check are Rainbow Gardens at 2585 Thousand Oaks, 494-6131, and Fanicks Nursery at 1025 Holmgreen Rd., 648-1303.
Many times I have mentioned plants that are well adapted to South Texas and are both drought tolerant and easy to grow. A picture is supposedly worth a thousand words, so I have come up with a kind of walking or driving tour of the King William neighborhood pointing out some of these great plants. All provide color in the garden over a long period and can be easily seen from the street. Most also attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. I hope you enjoy the “tour” and will add some of these plants to your garden.
1. 203 King William St. Thryallis. This is the shrub at the end of drive. It is perennial and should be cut back to about 6 inches high in late winter.
2. 523 King William St. Variegated ginger. It is just inside the front gate to the left in full sun. It is perennial and should be cut back in late winter.
3. 317 Madison. An orange lantana is at the end of the drive. There are many varieties of this easy-to-grow plant. It also needs to be cut back in late winter. This may have been the plant they had in mind when saying some plants thrive on neglect. It needs about half a day’s sun.
4. 337 Madison. A shady garden where the same variegated ginger at 523 King William is doing just as well with less light. The large plants that look like ferns are Sago Palms. They are evergreen and do just as well in the sun. They grow slow and make good pot plants.
5. 227 Wickes. Pride of Barbados. Lacy leafed plant with bright orange/red blooms. It should be cut back in late winter.
6. 619 Mission St. An orange blooming Esparanza at the curb. The yellow version is seen more often; should be cut back in late winter.
7. 631 Mission St. Fire Bush. This large plant at the curb with orange tubular flowers is a favorite of hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. Again, it is to be cut back in winter.
8. 103 W. Johnson St. Firecracker. Large spreading plant at the curb with bright red tubular flowers, another favorite of hummingbirds. Very hardy perennial, low maintenance and sun tolerant; may need cutting back after a hard freeze.
From Wisdom of Mark Twain: A Book of Quotations: “Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.”
Garden Note: Real gardens require patience, perseverance, experimentation and a sense of humor.
- Alan Cash