Adventures in Gardening – Metropolis of Duncanville, Texas, USA


When we moved a few years ago we inherited a mess from a garden with a few simple plants. The biggest problem has been invasive vines that grow all over the place and have even left scars on the house. At one point my husband and I excavated two parts of the yard and were very aggressive in our fight against this green, creeping enemy.

Another problem is that three trees have died, two from a pest and one from lightning strikes. We also felled two other trees because of the proximity to the house. Pictured on the left is the stump of one who started growing mushrooms. We removed everything except for a small stump that a mill has to tear out.

The good plants that came with the garden are a beautiful red canna and some yellow iris. These are some of my favorite plants because they are so easy to care for. We also have some elephant ears, which I was very happy about because I had admired the large, beautiful leaves for so long. Unfortunately, this year this plant has not done so well because of the vines and a drainage problem that will be fixed this fall. I also have a lot of monkey grass that I like to have as a border plant. I’ve added some purple hearts that are easy to grow, according to Texas Home Landscaping by Greg Grant and Roger Holmes. I look forward to them spreading. The previous owners also left many large stones; I’m not sure where to place these to make them look good.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately researching the best trees and plants that can grow in this part of Texas. I have a lot of space in front of the house to fill with good plants. So far, the weeds have gained the upper hand. My goal is to spend every free moment I can this fall cleaning out the bad stuff and planting what I can so that I can enjoy a beautiful garden year round.

As always, information on all topics is best found in the library! I read a few books on horticulture and landscaping and learned from Andrew McIndoe’s book The Horticulture Gardener’s Guides: Design and Planting that fall is the best time to plant a tree. I chose a Chinese pistache as the main attraction. In this picture you can see that my neighbor across the street also has this tree. His tree is beautiful and I can’t wait for our measly little guy to get this big! We also planted three white Natchez crepe myrtle on one side of the yard and a Japanese maple on the other.

Other books I recently explored in my landscaping adventure include The Big Book of Garden Designs by Marianne Lipanovich, Landscape Planning by Judith Adam, Grounds for Improvement by Dean Hill. These are just a few of a large area we have in the gardening and landscaping library.

Most of my budget has gone into replacing trees. I would like to take a path like this:

This is an image from the book Walks, Patios & Walls. Instead, the path I dig is filled with mulch. My head is full of visions full of colorful plantings in perfectly laid out beds with beautiful stone or brick paths. I see full healthy trees with flowers surrounding their bases. I have ideas for patio furniture that I would like to build myself. I would also like to build a trellis and let something grow over it. Something I can manage that doesn’t invade the yard. In contrast to what has grown wild so far. I’ve come up with multiple ideas for this type of project out of 100 weekend projects anyone can do.

There’s a little problem with all the big plans in my head. I don’t have a big budget for all the plants I need / want. I was lucky enough to get the purple heart as a present from another enthusiastic gardener. I also share what I can do from my garden, e.g. B. some of my iris to a neighbor and an elephant ear to some of my colleagues. I hope to find other gardeners to trade plants with!

In the spring I will write a follow-up article that hopefully depicts a full garden with this mulch path! Which garden projects are you tackling? Do you have any gardening tips or tricks to share with our audience?

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