Blog posts categorized as: Waterwise

Texas Sage: Who wore it best?

Aug 31, 2015

If there is one landscaping practice I simply won't succumb to it's formal boxed (and boring) foundation shrubs. I prefer to pick plants that will grow to the size I want them, where I want them, and then let them do their thing. Of course a little tip pruning is required for any foundation shrubs now and then, but overall I like my foundation beds much more natural.  In order to bring foliage and bloom interest (and bee food) into my #frontscape I've incorpoated a number of Texas sage plants.

Some sort of wet stuff came down from the sky in Dallas the other day. After an intensly hot and dry summer, a bump in humidity and a bit of rainfall has sent my Texas sage shrubs into a blooming frenzy. Ok, some of them. Not every Texas sage performs the same; there are several species and a number of cultivars available. So, which one do you think is wearing it best right now?

You'll see Texas sage 'Silverado' on the left...and Texas sage 'Rio Bravo' on the right. It's an easy choice, no? The 'Rio Bravo' is so heavily loaded with blooms that some of the branches are bending under the weight. It's a glorious sight to behold and the entire shrub is vibrating with overjoyed honeybees. It looks like this every time it blooms.

While there are some blooms on the 'Silverado', it never blooms as intensely as my 'Rio Bravo'. Now to be fair, the 'Silverado' gets a tad more cast shade from the house. My other 'Silverado' on the opposite side of the house do get a bit more direct sun and thus will bloom a bit heavier. But even they can't match the profusion of blooms on the 'Rio Bravo'.

You'll notice that the foliage on the 'Rio Bravo' is more green than silver, so even though the 'Silverado' doesn't bloom as heavily, it does provide me with the intense silver foliage I want in the bed. So either way, it's a win/win.

Anyhoo, couldn't resist showing you a "who wore it best" from the garden.

Heavy Rains Breed Mosquitoes

May 26, 2015

You may have noticed a bump in the mosquito population lately. I can't imagine why...Oh yeah, we've had about a million inches of rain! The continual and heavy rainfall has created the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. They're emerging in droves in the DFW area. NOW is the time to take preventative action if you don't want the city spraying chemicals around your property.

All it takes is a few handfuls of a natural larvicide to successfully prevent mosquitoes.

Bt (Bacillius thuriengensis var. israelensis) also known as Thuricide (liquid form) or Mosquito Bits, is my not so secret weapon to having no mosquito problems in my yard. This naturally occurring bacteria is fatal only to larvae and caterpillars. The species included in this product is particularly effective against mosquito larvae (and fungus gnats). All you have to do is sprinkle a few handfuls of the bits under your foundation shrubs, any landscape beds with automated irrigation or that you water regularly, drain boxes, low spots in the yard and even gutters.  Timing depends on the weather. If it's warm early, I'll put out my first application in April, if it's not then early May. Then again in June, July, August and September.  If you have ponds, birdbaths or live on a creek, purchase the floating dunk form and just pitch one, or a piece of one in the standing water.

The Bt attacks the mosquito larvae and kills them before they even have a chance to hatch. This bacteria is safe for children, pets, birds and fish. It's the most non-toxic and most effective treatment for dealing with mosquitoes.

Hopefully, you haven't been contributing to the moisture problem by running your sprinkler systems. The rain we've been getting is more than any landscape could hope to absorb.

If neighbors, or neighborhoods, got together on prevention we could make a huge dent in the city's mosquito population. Make a deal with your neighbors...if you live on a creek, each one of you should get together and buy a 4 or 6 pack of the mosquito dunks. Once per month from April through September, simply pitch one out the back door into the creek. You'll be amazed by the results. Do you have a housebound or elderly neighbor? How about buying a pack for them and dropping it off, or better yet, apply the bits or dunks in their yard/creek for them.

Bt is inexpensive and easy to apply. If you haven't picked up your Mosquito Bits yet, don't delay.


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