Making the best of crazy Texas weather

When we first moved into our house, it hard a front yard full of lush green grass (St. Augustine for those of you familiar). Needless to say, it didn’t live very long under our care. We tend to feel that grass shouldn’t require two waterings a week in such a drought prone area.

Once the front corner of the yard completely died, we installed a little corner xeriscape garden:

Look at all those tiny little plants!  Well, we chose a rough time to plant this garden as the next spring and summer we experienced an extremely harsh drought. We tried watering the little plants, but quite a few of them didn’t make it.  In this photo, you can see what was left (and how big it got):

With those native plants not surviving, you can imagine how our stupidly thirsty grass fared (especially since we didn’t water it)! The next year even more of our lawn died. I decided it was an excellent time to finish the front yard xeriscape that I had planned all along!

Let me just say, I got us into a lot of work. I always underestimate these things. We pulled out the dead grass / weeds, leaving just the grass under the cedar trees that had managed to survive the summer. Then we edged the area with black landscape edging and laid down weed cloth.  We also collected free rocks from rock and dirt piles at a local cemetery to line my new xeriscape (three loads, in the trunk of our Ford Focus).  We collected plants from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center fall plant sale and went to town planting them, including the Mexican Plum tree that rode home in the back seat of the convertible with the top down. The craziest plants we bought there were these itty bitty assorted wildflowers.  We planted them thinking they’d get maybe 2 feet tall and the four plants that survived that winter turned into MASSIVE wildflower bushes 4 – 5 feet across and almost as tall!  Of course, they were aided by the fact that the spring and summer after they were planted was incredibly rainy and we lost almost no plants this time. In fact, all of the plants grew way more than we expected, even after reading their descriptions!

Now after a year and a half of the front yard xeriscape awesomeness we created I had to prune some of the massive bushes back so that they don’t look absolutely ridiculous this coming year. These Texas hardy plants all seemed to have survived the four days straight of freezing temperatures without us covering them.  Hooray! Plants I don’t have to water AND I don’t have to cover. WIN WIN.

In addition to planting plants, I like to plant large pretty rocks.

And from today, buds on our Mexican plum tree!