Blog posts from May 2013

Video: Black Diamond Crapemyrtles

May 22, 2013

As I get more questions about the new 'Black Diamond' Crapemyrtles and where to buy them, I thought I'd post this video about them from the LSU AgCenter.

Also, you can mail order plants from Plant Me Green and Sooner Plant Farm.  Now, these are brand new plants, so do expect availability to be limited at this stage and don't expect to pay bargain prices!

Food Flub: Cross pollination can be terrifying!

May 19, 2013

If we're lucky gardeners, we have at least one special "garden buddy" that we've shared our gardening triumphs, failures, photos and obsessions with over the years. I'm lucky enough to have one of those garden buddies; my pal Carolyn Hestand Kennedy over at The Bark Tree garden blog. We met when I was 19 or 20 years old, her 22 (as best I can remember), whilst working at my first garden center, The Green Fiddler just outside of Denton, TX. I'd been working at the roadside nursery for a couple of years already. While we were a 3-acre facility, there were only ever 2 or 3 employees on staff at any time. One day I showed up to work to discover Carolyn there, who'd been hired by our colorful owner Carol Watson (really, Carol was a badass, but colorful sounds so nice!) Now, Carolyn and I traveled within the same circles and had both been in the art department at UNT (University of North Texas), but somehow had never crossed paths until our meeting at The Green Fiddler.

Being that I worked alone most of the time, I was tickled pink at Carolyn's arrival. We hit it off straight away...two artists with a plant addiction. Let me tell you, we quickly became the LIFE of every party we attended thereafter. I kid: Our endless one-on-one plant-centric conversations quickly drove off all bystanders. Somehow that never seemed to bother us. With Carolyn and I holding down The Fiddler fort, the owner Carol spent more time away. Our power team of two regularly handled the nursery all alone. Again, we had 3-acres so this was no easy feat, especially on weekends. Let's just say we earned our garden center chops in spades. Interestingly, there were plenty of male customers that seemed quite happy to let us load 50 or 60 bags of mulch into their trucks for them without assistance. Hmmm. LOL.

In any case, we lost touch for bits of time off and on over the years, but our love of plants always brought us back together. I left for grad school for Horticulture up in Michigan,while she headed off to New York for a career in graphic design. Eventually, I returned to Dallas as curator and research director at The Dallas Arboretum. Eventually for Carolyn,  the plant bug was too strong for her to resist. She called me and I recommended she take up an internship at a botanical garden, which she promptly did at Wave Hill and spent another five years there.

Actually, it was during this time that Carolyn talked me into starting this blog...six years or so ago? Blogging was how she was keeping track of her garden goings-on and she wanted a way to keep up with mine. How could I refuse? So the growLively garden blog was born. All these years later and we're both still at it.

Three years ago, when Carolyn was ready to relocate to Dallas with her husband and young boy, she called me up to see if I could find a good horticulture position for her in town. DUH. I told her on the spot I'd give her a job if she could manage to relocated to Big D by March 1st.  So she quickly packed up her small family and motored down to North Haven Gardens, the garden center I was running at the time. Me and Carolyn back together at a garden center. Full circle, eh? Carolyn is now the Marketing Manager for NHG and I'm out on my own...but I still consult for her on marketing needs. I'm so happy that after all these years, Carolyn and I are not only still friends and plant buddies,  but also work colleagues in an industry we both love.

And yes, we can still run you off at a party in about 90 seconds flat with our planty banter.

So in honor of this fruitful gardening relationship, I give you "Food Flub", a gem of a gift given to me by Caro in 1993. Carolyn has quite the talent for "comics", but  I'm  convinced this is the best one EVER.  It's based on a true story, which is awesome. What is even better is watching Carolyn act out this little comic of hers and sing the "Acorn Cake" song. A tiny yet dramatic moment in our gardening relationship brought to life. Cross pollination can be terrifying.  Love you Caro!

Food flub sm

Obviously, this artwork is copyrighted by Carolyn Hestand Kennedy. Reprint without her permission or Steal any of it, and I'll hunt you down with my garden mattock. smile

Cool Ideas for Spring Containers

May 9, 2013

Need some new ideas for your spring and summer containers? How about unique pottery ideas? Check out my recent Gettin' Dirty segment on WFAA's Good Morning Texas show! The beautiful handmade pottery is complements of Redenta's Garden Center in Dallas, Tx.


Great gifts for a gardening mom!

May 8, 2013

Looking for a fun gift for Mother's Day this Sunday? How about getting mom so great gifts for the garden? We all need a fabulous hat to keep the sun at bay...handy garden tools or even a fairy garden! Check out some of my tips for great garen gifts on Good Morning Texas!

Sunset Magazine Garden Photo Contest

May 6, 2013

SunsetHeads up folks, Sunset Magazine is hosting a photo contest for a chance to win a copy of the book "The 20-Minute Gardener".

To win a copy of the book, you just need to take these easy steps:

1. Like Sunset on Facebook:

2. Between now and May 20th, post your photos to the Sunset facebook page with the hashtag #20minutegardener

On Tuesday May 21st, Sunset editors will select the five most inspiring spring garden photos and winners will be announced via facebook.  In addition to winning a copy of The 20-Minute Gardener, contest winners will be featured on the Sunset facebook page, Sunset’s blog, and

Always looking for a good excuse to take more plant if I didn't have enough already!

Crape Myrtle ‘Black Diamond’

May 2, 2013

Ok people, cool new plant alert! The new 'Black Diamond' series of crape myrtles is to die for. It's been a while since I wanted to plant a crape myrtle in my garden, but this is a must have. The 'Black Diamond' series comes in five bloom colors, all with the deepest of almost-black foliage.


The 'Pure White' is definitely going in my garden. I'll be writing a more detailed feature about the series in the Sept./Oct. issue of Neil Sperry's Gardens Magazine, so keep you're eye out!  You can see the other colors available at

'Black Diamond Pure White'

'Black Diamond Pure White' photo courtesy J Berry Nursery

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