For those of you unfamiliar with my unique gardening terms and expressions, you may find the following definitions helpful. If I have missed a few feel free to contact me for translation!
“Take Out Gardening” – Go to the garden center, grab a wagon and collect an assortment of unknown plants, take them home and set them out in your garden with the belief that they will stay the same size and bloom continually. (We once saw an annual bed filled with 24 cute little Vitex Trees blooming away!)
“Crape Murder” – This is the practice of pruning Crape Myrtle trees at the exact same location year after year causing scar tissue to develop and ugly knots to form. This will not help the tree bloom better. True that these trees bloom on new wood, but even the oldest and most majestic bloom at heights no one could ever reach. If you want to control the height of the tree, buy the correct specimen for your location.
“The Usual Suspects” – The most common and often fast growing evergreen plants that can be cheaply over-planted to cover residential and commercial foundations. Never fun to remove once they have taken over the building, we sometimes need heavy equipment to find the front door!
“Builder Basic” – see “Usual Suspects” above I really was once told that there was no plan or design for the project being installed, just Yaupon, Yaupon, Bush, Bush, Bush. Repeat.
“Persian Carpet” – Traditional turf grass installed in nice rectangles. Nature has no right angles and sweeping lawns appear more expansive. Geometric shapes and hard angles can look great in special environments but we mostly want to avoid the look of a throw rug.
“Deadheading” – We love rock and roll but I am not advocating a road trip following a classic band. Annual flowers and some perennials will bloom longer if you remove the spent blossoms. So… “Off with their heads!”
“Yard Art” – This can be good, such as “Let’s find some yard art!” (A blissfully beautiful statue at the edge of a water feature.) Or this can be bad, such as “Oh, maybe we can lose the yard art.”
“Meatballs, Q-tips and Herds of boxes” – Resulting shapes from more strange pruning practices. Meatballs are usually Dwarf Yaupon Holly. Q-tips are sad trees topped and then sprouted out like giant Q-Tips. Boxwoods cut into individual little squares all standing around together can form a herd.
“Bad Legs” – Lanky stems of annual flowers and perennials that benefit from a layered planting design to hide their “bad legs”
“Agave” – A beautiful desert plant better suited to commercial installations and large properties due to their tendency to grow to the size of a Volkswagen then flower and die. You will have lots of pups (little baby Agave) to mourn it’s passing and possibly Tequila if you are skilled. You will certainly have a big hole in your garden to consider.
“Telephone Poles with Hamburger Buns” – Flower of the Agave plant.
“Fading The Margin” – A design technique to soften the transition from the residential landscape to the native landscape. Most often employed in designs for acreage lots, it can also be effective when separating garden rooms.
“Texaribbean” – The impression of a tropical setting created with Texas native and well adapted plant material. Think of a resort in your own backyard!