A Summer Garden Update + More LBJ Garden Ideas

The other day as I was writing the post about visiting The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center with my daughter, I realized that I forgot totally to share the succulents and a few other hardy wildflowers…

In the research garden section of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center sits a number of flower beds with flowers which bloom in different parts of Texas. This particular flowerbed is set up to show visitors which native plants to plant to bring hummingbirds to our gardens ~ sweet birds I think we’d all like to have visit us!

Here are those wildflower beds and it’s a really interesting place anyone could go to study what plants will work in clay soils. Here in Texas we have this crazy swelling-and-cracking caliche soil  (sounds a lot like those sausage-filled yummy German kolache sandwiches) so it was good to see what really thrives here.

Earlier this spring I shared the beginnings of our rose garden. I’m still learning whether this area will work for roses as it is pretty shady. I have worked the soil and added a ton of composted dirt mixed with some of the caliche so the roses get used to it. 

More dirt is needed to fill up this flower bed so I can add future plants, but so far the roses are happy in their spots! They aren’t stressing with the summer heat unlike last year when I lost three rose bushes… ugh!
The main planter bed just after the second rose was planted. The
three little lavender plants from the May Pinterest Challenge moved
into this pot until they grow bigger.
This type of clay soil is a calcium carbonate sedimentary soil which is a binder in of all things CEMENT. 

So… I will be watching this experiment in gardening very carefully… I am really glad that I added a bunch of rocks in the bottom of each hole.

Happy tomato and herbs in their planter by the garage…

Here is a quick look at how I prepped the soil:

For really heavy clay soil adding rock in the bottom makes all the difference with drainage. I added good loamy soil on top, mixed in some of the caliche, then planted and topped off with more good soil. I also mounded up a berm of clay soil around each plant to help with watering.

Freed up pots

From there I went on with planting and repotting two hydrangeas, a rosemary topiary (which needs a haircut again), and the first of two boxwood I’ll be taking out front later this fall.

I found this new white planter on sale at Nebraska Furniture Mart for under $30 and I love it! This pearly pot is now home to a very crowded plastic pot of amaryllis. 

This was a fun merry-go-round afternoon moving plants here and there but the results are soooo worth it! Only two roses are left to plant and hopefully I can entice Mr. Ethereal to help me dig the holes…

The coup de grace and a great end of the day project ~ creating
a little sitting area under the far oak tree. Love it! And you get
to see the side yard ~ a project for next year.
We’ve pretty much decided to pave the backyard around the oak trees as this will keep the mud and dust down. We hope to start work on that soon before the acorns and leaves begin falling. Clean up should be a lot easier then! 

Mostly iPhone photos today so that’s why these pics are a bit grainy and the lighting is a bit wonky. The sun was also peeking in and out of the clouds all day.  😉

We are very happy with how the yard is coming along and now it’s ready to welcome visitors.
Yoda is pretty happy in his new yard, too!

Come on by!

11 thoughts on “A Summer Garden Update + More LBJ Garden Ideas”

  1. I am in southern Ontario in Canada, and we have heavy clay soil as well. It has taken several years of enriching the soil with sand, peat, and compost, plus we mound up enriched soil well above ground level, and this has been the trick to growing a thriving garden. Mulching and turning over the beds each spring is a lot of work, but so worth it when everything starts to bloom! I never thought of putting stone at the bottom of the holes for drainage. What a great idea. I enjoyed our tour of Lady Bird's garden as well. What a great resource for local gardeners!

  2. Very nice ideas. I am a terrible gardener. I have a nice garden from the previous owner, but I am struggling to keep it alive.

  3. You must have a bright green thumb Barb! You've done all your homework, can't wait to see the amazing finished plantings. Those roses are so beautiful! We have so much work to do on our landscaping, I have to keep telling myself to be patient. Your pupster is so adorable!

  4. You have some nice garden projects. I like your pots and you have a nice mixture of soil. Your wild garden is a nice idea for bees and insects. Can't wait to see how it progresses.

  5. Barb, Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind comments!! These gardens and blooms are lovely!! My heart breaks for my Great nieces which are 17, 14 and 10 as their Dad is battling Stage 4 colon cancer that has spread to his liver. His prognosis was never very good and now the chemo that he has had is not working and the tumors are enlarging. He underwent surgery for a colostomy because the tumor was blocking his colon. He is now getting radiation treatments. Even with dealing with the worst possible situation, his daughters are straight A students and receiving all types of awards… We are so proud of them and are trying to be there for them as much as we can….It is just such a terrible situation….I am sure you understand as you mentioned that both your parents passed away from cancer….I am so sorry to hear that…It is such a terrible disease as I am a cancer survivor myself…Hugs,Debbie

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