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Saturday - April 24, 2010

From: Highlands, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Water Gardens
Title: Remake of church grotto in Highlands, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm looking to reform our Church Grado. I would like some beautiful (fitting) flowers that are native to Texas. Low upkeep preferred. Possible some nice water flowers to put into waterways. Plan to add fish. And some native grass that would be soft and beautiful to fill in gaps.

ANSWER:

The very first thing we would suggest you do is read our How-To Article Water Gardening. Even if you are already familiar with the process and there is already a water feature available, this will help you focus on what you need to do and when. 

Since we do not know the size and scope of your grotto project, we thought we would surely be able to  refer you to some websites on grotto design and construction. We were wrong. No matter how we worded our search, we got restaurants, organizations and church bulletins, mostly having nothing to do with what you are looking for. We are assuming that you already have some sort of structure to work with, plus a water feature. We did find some pictures of smaller "backyard," grottoes that might be of some help. These are images from Google and if you click on one you are interested in, sometimes it will take you to a website that could be of some help. Or not. 

What we CAN do is recommend native plants, including some water plants. The Wetlands Garden at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is composed of plants that would work well in a grotto, and from our Special Collections, we have a list of Texas Native Pond Plants, most of which grow natively in the Houston area. In fact, that Wetlands Garden is an example of one form of grotto, with native limestone walls behind it, a waterfall into the pond, small trees and shrubs around it, and a stone pathway going into the Courtyard on one side. Go to that pond plant site and follow each plant link to our webpage on that particular plant and learn what kind of light, water and soil it needs. These plants all are native to Texas and are known to grow in the Houston area. You will be able to make your own selections that suit the area where you are working, as well as the amount of sunshine and size of the water feature. We are going to list some of our favorites below.

After that, we will also choose some native Texas flowers, shrubs and small trees that would make a nice background for your project. They will all, also, be native to the Houston area, but you will still have to make your decisions based on the total area, amount of sunshine, provisions for watering, etc. Everything we are recommending for your grotto is perennial and native. 

Pond Plants for Church Grotto in Highlands, TX:

Bacopa monnieri (herb of grace) - blooms white April to September, sun or part shade

Canna glauca (maraca amarilla) - blooms yellow April to October, sun or part shade

Equisetum hyemale (scouringrush horsetail) - evergreen, sun, part shade or shade

Hibiscus moscheutos (crimsoneyed rosemallow) - blooms white, pink July to September, sun or part shade

Hymenocallis liriosme (spring spiderlily) - blooms white February to May, part shade

Justicia americana (American water-willow) - blooms white, pink, purple, violet April to October

Nelumbo lutea (American lotus) - blooms yellow June to September, sun

Thalia dealbata (powdery alligator-flag) - blooms purple May to October, part shade

Herbaceous Blooming Plants for Church Grotto in Highlands, TX:

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies)

Shrubs for Church Grotto in Highlands, TX:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) 

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow)

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Trees for Church Grotto in Highlands, TX: 

Cornus drummondii (roughleaf dogwood)

Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay)

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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