Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Guest Posting at Garden Style San Antonio

When my friend Heather at San Antonio Water System (SAWS) contacted me about writing a guest post for their website Garden Style San Antonio I didn't hesitate to say yes.  Garden Style San Antonio has been an an excellent resource for watersaving garden ideas and I'm excited to have my first guest post published on the site today.  If you garden in San Antonio or Central Texas, you will enjoy browsing their extensive plant lists with photos, design ideas, seasonal reminders for tasks in the garden and the latest on SAWS watersaver coupons.

Another reason I was happy to guest post for SAWS is my article highlights the stars of my winter garden--agaves, cacti, and succulents.  Lawn is not the only welcoming option for a front yard, these plants have led to many compliments from passersby and opportunities to chat with neighbors over the years.  Planned about six years ago with the idea that our front landscape would look much the same year round with minimal maintenance, we've achieved our goal.  Mid-January is an excellent time to check out our plan.  With a silvery foundation of drought-tough agaves, grasses, and evergreens like Texas Mountain Laurel, all anchored by native Live Oaks, the front garden needs only a few tweaks each year to keep it looking great.



Any post highlighting agaves in my garden must begin with Agave Ovatifolia, the focal point of the front drive.  Heather knew I wouldn't turn down a chance to write about this beauty!  Damianita at its feet have just finished blooming.


Upright and comparatively small Agave neomexicana provides a focal point in the narrow island.  There are two offsets emerging and I can't wait to plant those out in the garden when they're ready.


Tough agaves and yucca add form and structure while echoing the silvery color theme throughout the front garden.  The narrow leaves in the middle belong to a small Yucca rostrata.


A special variety of native Yucca rupicola features gold-edged silvery leaves.  Color Guard Yucca in the right foreground picks up the the gold and green theme against a background of native Salvia greggii.


Golden Barrel cactus (foreground) needs little care to look its best in this tough spot along the driveway.


And here they are close up.



Fishhook barrel cactus continues to produce bright magenta blooms during our mild winter.


Another welcoming garden near the front walk is in the works.  Deer resistant Wooly Stemodia will eventually make a silvery carpet for small agaves placed here.


Agave Victoria-reginae grows slowly so it's a great choice for small spaces.


Opuntia Santa-Rita and Color Guard Yucca add winter color on the north side of the driveway.


Around back the crevice garden holds a sunny slope where little would grow previously.  


It's a perfect spot for more small agaves, grass-like nolina, yucca, and cacti nestled into pea gravel.  By the way, those low-growing green plants in the gravel are wildflowers, not weeds.


My favorite here is Agave 'Blue Glow' in the left hand corner (above).  Below it's shown with a backdrop of Texas Blubonnets from last spring.


Agave angustifolia picks up the silvery theme in the narrow side yard.


Agaves, cacti, and succulents keep my garden looking its best year round.  I'll have an opportunity to write more posts for Garden Style San Antonio this year and I'm looking forward to sharing my San Antonio garden adventures with you.  Be sure enter your email on the front page of the Garden Style San Antonio site to keep up with the best of San Antonio gardening.

18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed the post Linda!

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  2. So fun! You really accomplished your objectives for your front garden, and in such a great way. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. It's always wonderful to learn that I have provided a source of inspiration through this blog!

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  3. Thank you for sharing your garden with all of us - it is beautiful and tough, and there is so much to learn from it, and you!

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    1. Thank you for the opportunity Heather!

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  4. Replies
    1. And I'm planning to add more. I truly appreciate this compliment from the biggest fan of spiky plants I know!

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  5. Lovely plants, especially the big blue rose -- I mean, Agave ovatifolia.

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    1. Oh, I had to look twice because I thought Loree had already commented! The classic shape of that agave is hard to beat in the garden.

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  6. Shirley, I read my Garden Style email last night and as soon as I saw the first photo I thought it was your yard! What a fun surprise! I hope many people discover your excellent blog through reading your article and learn from you like I have. You and Heather have brought so much great information to the gardens of San Antonio and even those that don't live in sunny south Texas can learn from you both. Congrats!

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  7. Summer or winter your garden is a stunner and a perfect example of how to have a thriving and interesting landscape without grass. Just the right balance of plants. Blue glow is a show stopper

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  8. Your garden is well-deserving of the recognition, Shirley, and your guest post is excellent! San Antonio's water system is far ahead of most of our water districts here in SoCal in recognizing and encouraging drought-tolerant landscaping.

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    1. We've been at this for 20 years in San Antonio and it's working although there is still resistance to replacing lawn out there.

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  9. You've got lots of plants that offer great year-round interest in your garden which looks spectacular, by the way! Heading over to read your guest post!

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