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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; 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 for now they're all combined on this one.

Currently growing in our back yard (main area)

Cupressus arizonica var. glabra 'Carolina Sapphire' (Arizona cypress)
Cynodon dactylon (bermuda grass)
Exbucklandia populnea
Lonicera sempervirens 'Magnifica' (coral honeysuckle)
Pinus virginiana

Currently growing in our back yard (back fence border)

Aeonium species and hybrids (true houseleek)
Aloe 'Blue Elf' and 'Hedgehog' (aloe)
Amaryllis belladonna (belladonna lily; naked ladies)
Ampelaster carolinianus (climbing aster)
Ananas comosus (pineapple)
Aristolochia watsonii (Watson's pipevine)
Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed; bloodflower)
Asparagus densiflorus 'Myersii' (foxtail fern)
Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri' (asparagus fern, emerald fern)
Basella alba (Malabar spinach)
Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid)
Berlandiera texana (green eyes)
Bougainvillea spectabilis (paper flower)
Bulbine frutescens
Caesalpinia pulcherrima (pride of Barbados)
Caladium bicolor (angel wings)
Callistemon salignus (willow bottle brush)
Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' (sasanqua camellia)
Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita)
Chrysanthemum hybrids (garden mum)
Citrus reticulata 'Owari' and 'Okitsu-Wase' (satsuma)
Citrus x aurantiifolia (Key lime; mexican lime)
Clematis hybrids
Crossandra infundibuliformis 'Orange Marmalade' (firecracker flower)
Cuphea 'Vermillionaire' (firecracker plant)
Cycas revoluta (sago palm)
Delosperma cultivars (ice plant)
Dietes iridioides (African iris)
Duranta erecta (golden dewdrop, pigeonberry)
Ebenopsis ebano (Texas ebony)
Erythrina bidwillii (coral bean)
Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow' (spurge)
Evolvulus glomeratus (dwarf morning glory)
Galphimia glauca (thryallis)
Gasteria carinata var. verrucosa (ox tongue)
Gaura lindheimeri
Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jasmine, false jessamine)
Gerbera jamesonii (gerbera daisy; Transvaal daisy)
Gynura bicolor (Okinawan spinach)
Hamelia patens (firebush; scarlet bush)
Hesperaloe parviflora (red yucca)
Iochroma cyaneum (blue trumpet flower)
Iris sibirica (Siberian iris)
Iris x louisiana (Louisiana iris)
Jasminum sambac 'Maid of Orleans' (Arabian jasmin)
Justicia brandegeeana (shrimp plant)
Lagerstroemia indica 'Rubra' and 'Red Rocket' (crape myrtle)
Lantana camara (common lantana)
Lantana montevidensis (trailing lantana)
Leucocoryne purpurea 'Andes' and 'Spotlight' (glory of the sun)
Lycoris radiata (surprise lily; red spider lily)
Lycoris squamigera (resurrection lily)
Mandevilla x amoena 'Alice du Pont' (pink allamanda)
Mangifera indica 'Mallika' (mango)
Melampodium leucanthum (blackfoot daisy)
Muehlenbeckia axillaris (creeping wire vine)
Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo)
Nerium oleander 'Hardy Red' (oleander)
Olea europaea 'Arbequina' (olive)
Oxypetalum coeruleum
Pennisetum species/cultivars (fountain grass)
Penstemon 'Cherry Sparks' (beardtongue)
Penstemon schmidel 'Red Riding Hood' (beardtongue)
Phlox 'Paparazzi Paris'
Plumbago auriculata (plumbago)
Plumeria alba (white frangipani)
Porophyllum ruderale (papaloquelite; yerba porosa; summer cilantro)
Portulaca grandiflora (moss rose)
Punica granatum (pomegranate)
Rhodophiala bifida (oxblood lily)
Rosa 'Knockout' series (Knock Out rose)
Ruellia elegans (red ruellia; false petunia)
Ruellia simplex 'Mayan White' (Mexican petunia)
Russelia equisetiformis (scarlet firecracker plant; coral plant)
Salvia 'Love and Wishes' (ornamental sage)
Salvia 'Wendy's Wish' (ornamental sage)
Salvia greggii (autumn sage)
Salvia longispicata x farinacea 'Mystic Spires Blue' (ornamental sage)
Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips' (ornamental sage)
Sedum ussuriense (stonecrop)
Selaginella braunii (arborvitae fern)
Tagetes lemmonii (copper canyon daisy; Lemmon's marigold)
Talinum paniculatum (jewels of Opar)
Tecoma stans 'Sparklette' (esperanza; yellow bells)
Tecomaria capensis 'Sunset' (cape honeysuckle)
Tithonia rotundifolia (Mexican sunflower)
Tulbaghia violacea (society garlic)
Turnera ulmifolia (yellow buttercup; yellow alder)
Vitis vinifera 'Tempranillo' (tempranillo grape)

Currently growing in our back yard (left fence border)

Acacia farnesiana (huisache; sweet acacia)
Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed; bloodflower)
Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush)
Calliandra emarginata (dwarf red powderpuff)
Coix lacryma-jobi (Job's tears)
Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon; black persimmon)
Ficus carica (fig)
Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jasmine, false jessamine)
Hyacinthoides hispanica (Spanish bluebells)
Justicia spicigera (firecracker plant, Mexican honeysuckle)
Liriope muscari (lilyturf)
Malvaviscus x 'Big Momma' (Turk's cap; wax mallow)
Rotheca myricoides (blue butterfly)
Ruellia simplex 'Mayan White' (Mexican petunia)
Salvia involucrata (rosebud salvia)
Salvia macrophylla (bigleaf sage)
Salvia uliginosa (bog sage)
Senecio mandraliscae (blue chalk sticks)
Senna splendida (showy senna; golden wonder)
Vigna vexillata (wild mung bean; wild cow pea; zombi pea)
Zanthoxylum clava-herculis (Hercules club; southern prickly ash)

Currently growing in our back yard (right fence border)

Clerodendron thomsoniae (bleeding heart clerodendron)
Hibiscus sabdariffa (roselle, Jamaican sorrel, tea hibiscus)
Hyacinthoides hispanica (Spanish bluebells)
Illicium floridanum 'Coosa Red' (Florida anise; red star anise)
Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet' (Virginia sweetspire)
Liriope muscari (lilyturf)
Lysimachia congestiflora (creeping Jenny)
Passiflora caerulea (blue crown passion flower)
Platycodon grandiflorus (balloonflower)
Quercus virginiana (southern live oak)
Rubus fruticosus 'Ouachita' (blackberry)
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)
Ziziphus jujuba (jujube; Chinese date)

Currently growing in our back yard (foundation border)

Agapanthus africanus (lily of the Nile)
Anisocampium niponicum 'Pictum' and 'Regal Red' (Japanese painted fern)
Caladium bicolor (angel wings)
Corylopsis spicata 'Aurea' (spike winter hazel)
Euphorbia pulcherrima (poinsettia)
Gypsophila paniculata (baby's breath)
Hedychium flavescens (broad-leaf ginger)
Hosta 'Wolverine'
Hydrangea macrophylla Endless Summer BloomStruck ('PIIHM-II' (hydrangea)
Jasminum nitidum (star jasmine; confederate jasmine)
Ledebouria 'Gary Hammer' (false squill)
Lysimachia congestiflora (creeping Jenny)
Ophiopogon planiscapus (mondo grass)
Pogostemon cablin (patchouli)
Rhododendron x 'Judge Solomon' (azalea)
Scaevola aemula (fanflower)
Strobilanthes dyerianus (Persian shield)
Talinum paniculatum (jewels of Opar)
Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine; confederate jasmin)
Tradescantia spathacea 'Variegata' (Moses-in-the-cradle; Moses-in-a-basket; oyster plant)

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Last modified: November 09, 2017
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