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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Friday - June 17, 2011

From: Mesquite, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Watering
Title: Suggestions for flowerbed in Mesquite TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Mesquite and am new to the area. I am trying to make the flowerbed in the front of my house look better. I've planted some yellow roses and red roses but would like some perennial that blooms blue and maybe something that is white. The bed faces south so is in direct sun most of the day. I would like something drought resistant since it hasn't rained a lot here the last couple of years. I wanted something that won't crowd the roses too bad so that I can keep blackspot from developing on them, I had to treat for that last year and finally have it taken care of. Thanks for your help

ANSWER:

The first thing you need to do is determine how much sun and/or shade you have in the areas of your yard you are seeking to landscape. That can determine which native plants will be suitable for the areas. Map the area you are planning and watch the amount of sunlight it receives during various times of the day. Of course, this time of year there will probably be more sun because the sun is directly overhead more of the time. Note how much sun each area gets; we consider "sun" to be 6 hours or more of sun a day, "part shade" 2 to 6 hours of sun, and "shade" 2 hours or less.

Next, we want you to know the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recommends only plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are being grown. In other words, we would not have recommended the roses you have because they originated in China, and we will call your attention to plants that are native to North Central Texas. The reason for this is that plants that have grown in an area for centuries are accustomed to the variations in the weather, the soil, rainfall and temperatures, and will be more likely not only to survive but to do well. This is a conservation measure in terms of the water and fertilizer that will not be needed for those plants, as well as reducing the expense and time involved in replacing plants that will not survive. Read our How-To Article on A Guide to Native Plant Gardening to help you get started.

So, we are going to our Recommended Species section; about mid-page you will see a section on "Just for Texans," and at the bottom of that section is a set of lists of plants for specific ecologic regions of Texas. Mesquite is in the Cross Timbers and Prairies section, so click on that. The resulting page will give you a list of 270 plants native to that area. Since you are new to Texas gardening, be sure and read the paragraph at the top of that page describing the soils and conditions you can expect to experience.

You will begin to select the plants you want by using the sidebar at the right-hand side of the page. For your specific requests, click on "herb" (herbaceous blooming plant) for General Appearance, "sun" for Light Requirements, "perennial" for Duration, and you can also click on blue and white for choices of colors. You can use this same technique for trees, shrubs, and other types of plants. We will make a couple of choices, using the search technique above, as suggestions. Follow each plant link to find out about all the growing requirements for each plant.

And, finally, before we make our suggestions, keeping the plants away from the roses to prevent mildew is a matter of placement and pruning, you cannot get plants to voluntarily "grow here, not there."

Perennials for a garden in Mesquite:

Blue flowers - Salvia farinacea (Mealy blue sage), 2-3 ft. tall, blooms blue April to October, low water use, sun, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot daisy) - clumps less than 1 ft. high, spreading 1-2 ft., blooms white March through November, low water use, sun or part shade, attracts bees and butterflies.

 

From the Image Gallery


Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

Blackfoot daisy
Melampodium leucanthum

Blackfoot daisy
Melampodium leucanthum

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