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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)

Akebia quinata (chocolate vine)
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)

Allium texanum (Texas onion)
Cephalotaxus harringtonii (Japanese plum yew)
Cestrum aurantiacum (yellow cestrum; orange cestrum)
Clerodendrum x speciosum 'Red Wine' (bleeding heart vine; glory bower)
Cocculus carolinus (Carolina moonseed; snailseed)
Cuphea 'Vermillionaire' (firecracker plant)
Eucalyptus citriodora (lemon gum tree)
Gomphrena decumbens 'Little Grapes' (globe amaranth; airy bachelor's buttons)
Hibiscus coccineus (scarlet rose mallow)
Illicium floridanum 'Coosa Red' (Florida anise; red star anise)
Ipomoea quamoclit (cypress vine)
Iris x louisiana (Louisiana iris)
Jasminum nitidum (star jasmine; confederate jasmine)
Jasminum sambac 'Maid of Orleans' (Arabian jasmine)
Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant' (summer snowflake)
Liriope muscari (lilyturf)
Lysimachia congestiflora (creeping Jenny)
Mirabilis longiflora (angel's trumpets)
Petunia exserta
Polianthes tuberosa (tuberose)
Quercus virginiana (southern live oak)
Rivina humilis (pigeonberry; rouge plant)
Rubus fruticosus 'Ouachita' (blackberry)
Selaginella braunii (arborvitae fern)
Sphagneticola trilobata (wedelia; Singapore daisy)
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry)
Thunbergia grandiflora (blue sky vine)
Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine; confederate jasmin)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Ziziphus jujuba 'Sihong' (jujube; Chinese date)

Currently growing in the right fence nursery area - zone A

Asclepias curassavica (tropical milkweed; bloodflower)
Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid)
Cuphea hyssopifolia (Mexican heather)
Desmanthus illinoensis (bundleflower; prairie mimosa)
Freesia laxa 'Joan Evans'
Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo)
Odontonema strictum (firespike)

Currently growing in the right fence nursery area - zone B

Duranta erecta (golden dewdrop, pigeonberry)
Freesia laxa 'Joan Evans'
Galphimia glauca (thryallis)
Gypsophila oldhamiana (Manchurian baby's breath)
Justicia brandegeeana (shrimp plant)

Currently growing in the right fence nursery area - zone C

Aristolochia fimbriata (white-veined pipevine)
Bauhinia lunarioides (Anacacho orchid)
Freesia laxa 'Joan Evans'
Jasminum nitidum (star jasmine; confederate jasmine)
Kniphofia hirsuta (torch lily; red hot poker)
Ruellia simplex (low-growing variety) (Mexican petunia)
Serissa japonica 'Kowloon' (tree of a thousand stars; snow-rose)
Zephyranthes citrina (rain lily)
Zephyranthes drummondii (rain lily; giant prairie lily)

Currently growing in the right fence nursery area - zone D

Albuca shawii
Aquilegia chrysantha (columbine)
Eomecon chionantha (snow poppy)
Jasminum nitidum (star jasmine; confederate jasmine)

Currently growing in the nursery area next to our rock garden

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Last modified: March 29, 2020
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