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Houston back yard


Houston back yard May 2017

Our new back yard in our Houston-area home. When we moved into the house, the yard was all fenced in, carpeted with St. Augustine grass sod. For various reasons we were a bit slow to start on gardening (for one, it was in the middle of Houston's steamy summer; for another, being run over by a car while riding my bike didn't help my mobility), but by the fall of 2016 we had established a few planting pockets to break the monotony of grass and fence. A January freeze did in some of the plantings (nurseries around here thrive on zone optimism, it seems), but we added a few more plantings the next spring.

Things didn't really get started, though, until we commissioned a waterfall pond to be installed in April 2017. The extra soil available from pond excavation helped in the building of lots of new borders along that back fence, and the constant clatter of the waterfall and the antics of our goldfish gaggle draw us out into the garden a lot more. Even though it started out looking pretty sparse, the creative horticultural juices are flowing once again, and things are starting to fill in. I look forward to establishing a back-yard reprieve from the formal front-yard landscaping dictated by the home-owners association, and have been encouraged by the variety of wildlife that has found our outdoor space: lots of butterflies and dragonflies, some lizards, and hummingbirds too.

By the end of the first full year of gardening, several areas have come into focus: besides the waterfall pond and its surroundings, there's the back fence border, which now runs along the entire length of the back of our lot, a mixed border filled with small trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals, and interrupted by our Houston rock garden; the right fence border that offers a little more shade, and is home to blueberries, blackberries, a jujube tree, and various other shrubs and perennials; the sunny left fence border with figs, a Texas persimmon, a huisache tree, and random other plantings; and the foundation border that hugs our home, deriving some precious shade from its roof overhangs and accommodating various generally well-behaved plantings. Those separate areas should all get their own pages, eventually, but the ones that don't yet are combined on this one for now.

Currently growing in our back yard (main area)

Aloysia virgata (almond verbena)
Browallia americana (bush violet)
Cynodon dactylon (bermuda grass)
Lonicera sempervirens 'Magnifica' (coral honeysuckle)
Oxalis regnellii (lucky shamrock)
Pinus virginiana

Currently growing in our back yard (right fence border)

Cestrum aurantiacum (yellow cestrum; orange cestrum)
Clerodendrum x speciosum 'Red Wine' (bleeding heart vine; glory bower)
Dianthus turkestanicus
Eucalyptus citriodora (lemon gum tree)
Hibiscus sabdariffa (roselle, Jamaican sorrel, tea hibiscus)
Hibiscus schizopetalus 'Dancing Lady'
Hyacinthoides hispanica (Spanish bluebells)
Illicium floridanum 'Coosa Red' (Florida anise; red star anise)
Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet' (Virginia sweetspire)
Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant' (summer snowflake)
Liriope muscari (lilyturf)
Lysimachia congestiflora (creeping Jenny)
Orychophragmus violaceus (Chinese violet cress)
Passiflora caerulea (blue crown passion flower)
Platycodon grandiflorus (balloonflower)
Quercus virginiana (southern live oak)
Rubus fruticosus 'Ouachita' (blackberry)
Salvia 'Nuevo Leon' (ornamental sage)
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry)
Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine; confederate jasmin)
Tradescantia pallida (wandering jew; purple heart)
Tradescantia spathacea 'Variegata' (Moses-in-the-cradle; Moses-in-a-basket; oyster plant)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Xerochrysum bracteatum (strawflower)
Ziziphus jujuba 'Sihong' (jujube; Chinese date)

Currently growing in the nursery area along our right fence

Agave gracilipes (slimfoot century plant)
Agave loferox 'Stairway to Heaven' (century plant)
Agave lophantha (hardy century plant)
Agave polianthiflora (tuberose-flowered agave)
Agave x amourifolia (century plant)
Agave x parryantha
Albuca 'Dwarf Hardy'
Albuca shawii
Aloe cryptopoda
Alstroemeria ligtu (Peruvian lily)
Aristea capitata (blue scepter)
Asphodeline liburnica
Asphodeline taurica
Asphodelus aestivus (white asphodel; summer asphodel)
Barnardia japonica (squill)
Berkheya purpurea
Clianthus puniceus (lobster claw; kaka beak)
Dasylirion wheeleri (sotol; desert spoon)
Delosperma nakurense (ice plant)
Delosperma sutherlandii (ice plant)
Dierama igneum (angel's fishing rod, fairy wands)
Dierama pauciflorum (angel's fishing rod)
Dierama reynoldsii
Dimorphotheca cuneata (rainflower)
Freesia alba
Freesia grandiflora
Freesia leichtlinii
Galvezia juncea (Baja bush snapdragon)
Gladiolus flanaganii (suicide lily)
Gladiolus papilio
Gladiolus trichonemifolius
Gypsophila oldhamiana (Manchurian baby's breath)
Habranthus tubispathus (copper lily)
Hesperoxiphion peruvianum
Hesperoyucca whipplei (chaparral yucca)
Indigofera pseudotinctoria 'Rose Carpet' (prostrate indigo bush)
Kniphofia ensifolia (torch lily)
Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan honeysuckle)
Moraea vespertina
Nolina texana (bear grass, sacahuista)
Penstemon pinifolius (pine-leaf penstemon)
Phemeranthus brevifolius (pygmy fameflower)
Puya mirabilis
Rhodanthemum hosmariense (Moroccan daisy)
Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)
Tigridia vanhouttei
Zephyranthes drummondii (rain lily; giant prairie lily)
Zephyranthes katheriniae (rain lily)
Zephyranthes morrisclintii (rain lily)
Zephyranthes sp. from Tamaulipas (rain lily)

Currently growing in the nursery area next to our rock garden

Agave chrysantha
Agave gracilipes (slimfoot century plant)
Agave lechuguilla (lechuguilla; tula ixtle)
Agave ovatifolia (whale's tongue agave)
Agave striata (narrow-leaf century plant)
Aloe branddraaiensis
Dasylirion berlandieri (Berlandier's sotol)
Delosperma sutherlandii (ice plant)
Eucalyptus cinerea (silver dollar eucalyptus; argyle apple)
Hesperaloe parviflora (red yucca)
Manfreda maculosa (deciduous agave)
Manfreda virginica (false aloe; Virginia agave)
Salvia pachyphylla (desert mountain sage)
Yucca elata (soap tree)

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Last modified: November 24, 2018
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