Plant Palette: 3 tough native beauties

Houston's soil is mucky, silty, and full of clay that's nutrient dense, but typically has poor drainage. I approach landscape design for residential gardens in Houston by selecting plants that thrive in the native soil and in the rain extremes. In 2004, Houston received 12 inches of rain in one day. Not long after, our city had a drought year with only 14 inches of rain in 12 months. 

To help you choose plants for our wonderfully hot and humid climate, I am creating these short plant palettes to showcase groups of plants that work well together in the garden. This first palette of three sun-loving flowering plants are all native and tolerate clay soil, high humidity, and drought. 

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One grain at a time: How Gulf Coast Barrier Islands Rebuild after storms

Formed by Wind. Land that is formed by wind is called aeolian after the greek god of wind, Aeolous. It's a beautiful word for a landscape process that sculpts sand into fantastic forms, pronounced 'ae-ohh-lee-an'. In Greek mythology, Aeolus lives in the stratosphere pursing his lips and directing his exhales downward at people, animals, land. The drawings of the mythical Aeolus are comical, yet the hurricane experience is otherworldly, directional like Aeolus is depicted with his massively powerful lungs gusting, huffing, and billowing.  Satellite imagery shows us that hurricanes are well-organized systems of clouds and air masses and not a mythical source of wrath from the sky. But, I can say from experience that Hurricanes feel mythically powerful when you watch trees crash down on houses, roof shingles peel off, and water rise over an entire island and pull it back, wiped clean.

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Tree Care: 5 Ways to Keep your Mature Trees Healthy

Mature trees are a valuable commodity in the yard because they take a long time to establish and then become gorgeous specimens that provide shade and year-round benefit to wildlife. Protecting them by keeping them in great health is an effective way to invest in the long-term look of your landscape. 

It’s easy to take mature trees for granted since they often do so well, and provide great beauty and enjoyment, without much help from us. And yet, intense weather events can take their toll. Follow these five steps to ensure that your trees are healthy, resilient, and will survive harsh wind, heavy rain and extended drought for generations.

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