Here are some more tips from Charles Bartlett, who spoke in September at the River House about historic landscapes and water conservation.

Go native. Rather than using nandina as a specimen plant or hedgerow, use a native alternative whose berries are edible, rather than toxic to birds or pets: dwarf Barbados cherry. Asiatic jasmine isn’t bad, but the hard-to-find snake herb is a native alternative that uses less water and requires less trimming. Mountain laurel trees are slow growing but may eventually obscure historic architecture. These trees can be trimmed up to 30% for a better view.

Read more: Landscaping In Historic Districts – Part 2

As you find them, now is the time to plant bulbs that will bloom in the spring and that can be left in the ground to multiply over the coming years. These include narcissus, daffodils and paperwhites. Plant so that the top tips of the bulbs are about four inches below the top of the soil. Iris can be divided now. Notice how deep the plant is in the ground. Iris do not have a true bulb and the tubular base does not need to be planted very deep.

Read more: Out in the Garden: November 2013

Now that fall is in full swing, it is time to slow down, clean up the garden and enjoy a bit of a rest until spring.

Throw out potted plants that barely survived the hot summer and stack the pots in the garage.  If not done recently, fertilize shrubs and lawns with a good organic fertilizer and mulch everything in sight. Even in the fall and winter months lawns should be watered about every three weeks because grass roots continue to grow in our warm climate.

Read more: Out in the Garden: October 2013

You don’t have to choose between water efficient or historically appropriate landscape. On September 7, the San Antonio Conservation Society, the San Antonio Water System and Villa Finale joined to present “Historic Landscapes Can Be Water Efficient.” In addition to freebies, composting tips and a plant sale, Charles Bartlett spoke at the River House and led a walking tour to gently critique neighborhood yards and offer helpful tips for water conservation that also promote historic preservation.

Read more: Landscaping in Historic Districts – Part 1

This summer's weather has been challenging, even brutal in regards to gardening. Temperatures of 100 degrees plus have been common and rainfall scarce. From June 1 through this writing in mid August, only 6 and 5/8 inches have fallen in the King William/Lavaca neighborhoods. About half of that was in the first part of June. If nothing else, we should have learned what plants are better adapted to our warmer and dryer climate. Take notes for next year.

Read more: Out in the Garden: September 2013