March 10, 2024

What’s making me happiest in my garden right now? Let me show you!

My favorite plant this week is ‘Tangerine Beauty’ crossvine. Look at those crinkled, open-throated, mango-hued blossoms, singing spring for all they’re worth.

A single vine has crept along the coyote fence at the back of the garden.

It has no trouble clinging to the fence’s shaggy cedar posts. On a smoother fence, attach wires or a trellis to the wood to give it something to climb.

In spring it erupts in a molten display that delights bees…

…and me.

Good from every angle!

Along the shadier side fence, another ‘Tangerine Beauty’ crossvine sputters out a handful of flowers. But over here, a young Mexican plum is stealing the show.

Its fragrant white flowers cluster along satin-barked branches.

As the leaves emerge, the flowers blush pink.

Looking up, I see them framed against the leaf-dropping live oak canopy. Fall and spring occur all at once, if you garden under live oaks.

One more glimpse of those popcorn-like flower clusters, with newly leafed Texas persimmon, Yucca rostrata, and crossvine in the background

Out front, the ice-storm-maimed Texas mountain laurel is putting on a brave show of purple, sweetly scented blossoms. Freeze-dried bamboo muhly surrounds it. It’ll green up eventually.

More purple in the back garden — a bunch of self-seeded spiderwort in all its weedy, cottagey gorgeousness.

I like how it pops up in different hues: magenta, periwinkle, and purple. It’s like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get.

‘Traveller’ weeping redbud burst into bloom yesterday. This little tree hasn’t grown much since I planted it 6 or so years ago, but it sure puts on a pretty show each spring.

And now back to Mexican plum for a final salute to its spring display.

As all these flowers fade over the next week or two, the next round of spring show-offs will be ready to take over. I plan to enjoy each little moment.

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Digging Deeper

March 16: Attend the third annual Budding Out Plant Sale & Festival on 3/16 at the John Fairey Garden in Hempstead. Rare and distinctive plants from the garden’s nursery and from select plant vendors will be for sale. Additional offerings include art, ceramics, jewelry, food, music, and presentations. Admission: $5 for members, $10 for non-members, children under 12 free. Hours: 10 am to 4 pm; members get early admission at 9 am (memberships available on day of event).

March 30-31: Come see the Austin Cactus & Succulent Society Show at Zilker Botanical Garden on 3/30 and 3/31, from 10 am to 5 pm. Includes a plant show with specimen cacti and succulents, handcrafted pottery, daily silent auction and hourly plant raffles, and expert advice. Admission is included with paid admission to Zilker Garden, $5 to $8 for adults, $3 to $4 for children (under 2 free).

April 6: Come out to Austin’s Mayfield Park on 4/6 for the Mayfield Park Gardening Symposium & Fundraiser, 8:30 to 11 am. This annual benefit for the park includes a raffle, plant sale, and garden speakers.

May 4: Explore “brilliant backyards, perfect pools and pergolas, and outdoor rooms and gardens” on the ATX Outdoor Living Tour on 5/4, 10 am to 3 pm. Landscape architects, designers, and builders will be on hand to answer questions. Tickets are $33.85 for adults, $17.85 for kids age 10-17.

June 1-2: Take a self-guided, 2-day tour of ponds and gardens in and around Austin on the annual Austin Pond and Garden Tour, held 6/1 and 6/2, 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets are $20 to $25.

Come learn about gardening and design at Garden Spark! I organize in-person talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, authors, and gardeners a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance; simply click this link and ask to be added. Season 8 kicks off in fall 2024. Stay tuned for more info!

All material © 2024 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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