[gardeners] Liz asked:

asidv@fbg.net (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Mon, 20 Apr 1998 14:11:48 +0000

Liz asked a few questions -- I hope my answers aren't illustrative 
of the "more that I ever wanted to know about _____" but here goes:.

	Rainfall: 28" per year but we are hilly and stony, and if rain 
doesn't come gently it runs into creeks, rivers, acquifers, and 
the next county.  Two inch rains come in an hour or so, and once 
every decade (we are told) there will be a ten-incher.  When rain 
is that heavy, all the soil washes somewhere else. One of the first 
things we did here was plant a King's ransom in buffalo grass seed. 
Then it rained. We do have a nice patch of buffalo grass down by 
the dry creekbed exactly where we didn't want it.
	We have our own well and have been told we are over a natural 
acquifer so "use whatever you want." But we are still parsimonious 
with water and won't have a lawn -- either the weeds grow enough 
to mow or we will resort to a Texas Hill Country tradition: the swept 
yard. No kidding; early settlers stripped the ground around the 
houses (for fire control) and kept the land neatly swept - with a 
	Standing Cypress: gilia rubra, a biennial or perennial that 
will grow from seed and sometimes even bloom the first year. It is 
3 to 5 feet high, with feathery, threadlike leaves. The flowers are
scarlet, in a plume, and open from bottom to top.

	Nurseries in area: For 7,000 people, we have(a) one chain hardware 
store that sells plants grown elsewhere (including things that would 
never grow here. (b) There are two nurseries, each independent, that 
do landscaping. Their selections are generally limited 
and predictable. (c) The three local feedstores handle seed (horti 
and agri cultural) and things like onion sets and potted up geraniums 
(really BIG here). (d) A lady who grows only flowers for 
drying for the ubiquitous wreaths and swags the tourists love to buy. 
(e) One woman moved here from the far West, put up her greenhouses 
and was growing some interesting stuff until she and her husband were 
taken ill. That endeavor is closed as far as I can determine. (f) The 
two grocery stores (both chains) sell bedding plants (wimpy), fern 
baskets (lush), potting soil, pine bark mulch, bagged manure & sundry 
additives.(g) There is an Herb Farm that is rather widely known. 
They don't grow much for sale but do vinegars, candles, a 
tearoom, B&B, massage, aromatherapy, and tourist tours.Every business 
in the Historical District plants flowers in the bit between street 
and sidewalk; every B&B is awash in flowers. There is a chapter of 
the Native Plant Society and a local garden club (I am one of the 
younger members and I'm 76!).	
	Soil: Where I live there is exactly one and one half inches of 
topsoil over either limestone or flint with a deep subsoil of either 
more stone or packed impervious clay.  Sounds fascinating, don't it? 
In other parts of the county, particularly in the valleys, there is 
real dirt but much of that has been overfarmed, overgrazed, and 
overfertilized. One of the better-known seed producers recently came 
to the area and took over one of the larger, better hunks of land for 
seed production. FIRST he herbacided the entire place, believes if 
one measure of chemical fertilizer is good then three measures are 
better, and sells wood chips laced with oil as "Country Potpourri." 
May the gods of Growing Things bring him precisely what he most 
	Winecups: callirhoe digitata .  They look like Mexican 
primroses but are claret red -- hard to propagate, glorious to see.
	Ornamental grasses: One of the landscape people has started to 
use them and they seem to do well.
	Thanks for questions, Liz. Hope this is what you wanted. Pat