Marjorie Putnam, who moved from North Carolina one week ago, came to Saturday’s Landscaping with Native and Adapted Plant Seminar at the Texas Ag Extension Office to find out what grows well in Weatherford.
“My husband is really the gardener in the family, but he’s still in North Carolina getting things taken care of,” Putnam said. “I’m here to learn.”
Putnam had plenty of people with her as many of the attendees came from out of the area. Presenter Pat Posener, of the Parker County Master Gardeners, said this was one of the largest groups they have ever had attend a seminar.
Posener, who has been a Master Gardener since 2009, said she was in the same boat as many who attended, having moved from Fort Worth six years ago. She had no idea what to plant, so after laying out her bed design and doing lots of research, she put in new compost and top soil over the caliche-like substance in her yard.
She advised residents in more rural areas of the county to choose their landscaping carefully and do their homework.
“Many professionals are using more native and adaptive plants and shrubs,” Posener said.
Native plants require no fertilizer, and much less pesticides and water. Posener said that many of the Texas native plants can survive in full sun and simply need rainfall once established.
“The first year, many plants sleep, the second year they began creeping and by the third year they are leaping (in terms of growth),” she said. “They will need some tender loving care in the early years, but are great and require little maintenance once they get going.”
Native plants also provide food and shelter for wildlife and help reduce air pollution, Posener said. She also suggested various plants that work well in Texas heat and require little maintenance. For those who like them, cacti, cholla, sedum and yucca are suggested. Decorative grasses include Mexican feather grass, which blooms in the summer, and maiden grass.
One of Posener’s favorites is the Muhly grass, which is blooming now and has a long bloom time.
Perennials that do well include Acanthus flame, which blooms from June until the first frost, she said. Others that do well in direct sun include cone flowers, hibiscus, autumn sage and the rock rose.
Texas Sage and Vitex, also known as the Texas lilac, are great summer shrubs. Trees that normally do well in the area include the Mexican bird of paradise and the desert willow along with the staple live oak tree.
Posener said to be conscientious about watering while keeping Texas weather in mind.
“If we’re in an extreme drought like last summer, you’re obviously going to have to water more,” Posener said.