Monday, October 28, 2013

Ruth's Waterwise Garden

After a long hot Texas summer,
what does a certified Waterwise Garden look like in late October?

This is Ruth's garden (another Master Gardener friend of mine).
She very kindly agreed to a late season tour via my blog!

Ruth's yard has been on the Waterwise Garden Tour for the last few years.
The tour is in early June, and is sponsored by Dallas Water Utilities.
June is a lovely month for tours, every plant seems to be bursting with joie de vivre, but I've often thought evaluating a garden in late summer or early fall really raises the bar.

In 2009 Ruth and her husband hired a garden designer to layout a plan for their property, and then they began planting.

Their garden includes plants native to North Texas, and also non-native plants that adapt well to this location because they originated in similar environments. 

There was no shortage of color.
Many of Ruth's plants self-seed or winter-over in our Zone 8 location.

In addition to collecting rain water, Ruth's garden has an irrigation system, but it was used only once this summer.

 The garden art includes some early pieces by Sharon Zigrossi (an artist I featured in an earlier post).

Rather than creating a separate patch,
vegetables like this monster zucchini are mixed in with other plantings.

 The zucchini was backed by a large esperanza and colorful peacock sculpture.

Winding paths circle the long narrow property.
At the back of the property is the service alley.

Ruth doesn't waste any space! Even the back alley had a collection of plants in between the mulch piles.  This gigantic Frostweed bush (Verbesina virginica) was hosting a flock of Monarch butterflies.

Ruth shared a great tip she learned from another Master Gardener:
an easy way to selectively eliminate invasive plants.

This tool, originally designed to reach items in high places, has been modified with pieces of sponge .
(A hole was drilled in each plastic end piece, allowing a plastic tie to secure the sponges).
Now, instead of trying to spot spray an herbicide, the sponges are dipped in the solution. The sponges can easily and selectively grab just the weed.
Ruth says this simple tool is much easier on the back and the garden!

It's inspiring to know that being water wise doesn't mean having a yard that is limited to rocks and cactus (handsome as those paddles are!).

Waterwise has become the word in garden design, and not only in traditionally dry environments.

 I imagine gardeners everywhere could quickly find another use for any savings from a lower water bill!
Here's a list of some of the plants flourishing in Ruth's garden:
Asters, Ageratum, Cosmos, Day Lilies, Esperanza, Lantana, Lenten Rose, Liriope, Mexican Feather Grass, Mums, Rock Rose, Rosemary, Sedum, Turk's Cap, Yucca.


  1. I love Ruth's garden, so full of life late in the season. Love the enamel peacock and all the art tucked into the plants. I am going to remember the sponge trick, good idea.

  2. Gorgeous! I can imagine sitting out there with a cup of tea and a good book! Lovely!