Here’s a little- known yet spectacular evergreen shrub for sun to part shade. With insignificant flowers, it is grown for its dense form and large paddle-shaped leaves which give it a tropical appearance, yet is fully hardy in our area.
very rare in cultivation, this slow-growing shrub is among the few that maintains a dense form in medium shade without pruning. Blue-green above with fuzzy golden undersides, is attractive foliage is reminiscent of the cool-climate big-leaf rhododendrons that we can’t otherwise grow here, and therefore lends a unique presence in the garden you’d otherwise expect in the Pacific Northwest. With such amazing foliage, you won’t care that the flowers are tiny and ornamentally insignificant.
Extending from the area west of Austin south into the tip of Texas and adjacent Mexico, Tephrosia lindheimeri is a groundcover pea with dusty silver-green foliage and blindingly intense magenta color from late spring through summer. Happy in dry, sun-baked ground, it needs no further care after some initial watering to establish it. In the winter it dies back to a thick woody rootstock, but quickly rebounds in spring, with individual plants carpeting a 4’ square area. Great as a groundcover among Agaves and cacti. Offered are gallon pots starting to spread nicely.
Everyone admires our massive sawtooth oak along the creek, which is among one of the earliest specimens John planted back in the 70’s after he received it from legendary plantsman Lynn Lowrey. This deciduous Asian oak is more commonly planted in states further east but is still highly underutilized in Texas. Its dense crown of leaves with serrated edges casts dense shade once it starts getting some height. The acorns are held in bristly caps that resemble bird’s nests. For an oak, it is reasonably quick growing, especially if planted young. Seedlings in quart pots available.
A beautiful small perennial shrub with bright pink blossoms late spring, fall and sporadically between. Selected from a wild population of the species by John and Carl at La Bufa del Diente in the San Carlos Mountains of northeastern Tamaulipas, Mexico at around 3800’. This versatile plant has proven cold hardy into zone 7, but is perfectly fine in zone 9 of Houston. Full sun with well-draining soil is best for good form and heavy flowering. Well-started gallon plants available.
Previously thought to be a form of Quercus sartorii, the identity of this oak species is inconclusive, and could very well be a new, undescribed species. We are sticking with the designation that Yucca Do Nursery offered it as in recent years, which refers to the San Carlos Mountains in northeastern Tamaulipas where John Fairey and Carl Schoenfeld collected it. The unique shape of the narrow, jaggedly toothed leaves that emerge a hot pink color make this a favorite oak among many enthusiasts. We have a few well-started seedlings available that were kindly donated by Wally Wilkins, propagated from acorns collected in the garden.
The chalky blue fronds of this fern always garner attention in the woodland garden. There simply isn’t much else that can contribute this color in the shady garden. Though naturally growing as an epiphyte on trees or on rocks, John has been successful growing it terrestrially, but care is needed to ensure the thick rhizome remains on top of well-draining soil as it will rot if it is buried. The foliage will die back in our winters, but as long as the rhizome is kept dry and insulated by a covering of leaf mulch, it will replenish its robust foliage in spring. It also can be mounted like an orchid or grown in a hanging basket.
There are a number of different selections of Japanese anemones, a misnomer as their parentage is really native to China but became popular in Japan, where they are now naturalized. Most fail to prosper in Gulf Coast gardens, but this form that the late Alice Staub received from Lynn Lowery has stood the test of time in her Houston garden, growing vigorously and flowering reliably in fall. John has a lush patch of this just north of his house, where it even receives a few hours of direct sun.