I’ve engaged in a spurt of gardening activity this week, in advance of forecasted rain. Three beds that had lost plants for one reason or another (including the ever-popular “dog excavations”) were repopulated with relocated residents.
The most ambitious undertaking involved importing a new plant into my garden; if I had researched beforehand, I might have thought twice.
During the Wildflower Center excursion memorialized in my last post and as we enjoyed an al fresco lunch in the courtyard, over my companions’ shoulders I noticed some dwarf palmettos (Sabal minor) nodding in the breeze. They were growing in a circle bed beneath a live oak tree.
Like a bolt of lightning, inspiration struck. Shazzam! I could use palmettos under a group of trees outside my living room window, an area also surrounded by rock and mostly shaded! This would be perfect! My garden gurus, who both grow this plant, agreed that it might work for me.
|Before: Proposed bed in the weeding stage.|
It shall be known henceforth as: “the red bed.”
After researching for this post, however, I’m less sanguine about the palmettos’ chances of survival. The dwarf palmetto is indeed native to Texas (and east through North Carolina), even up on the Edwards Plateau, where we are. It is the only palm native to the Texas Hill Country. Birds and mammals enjoy its hard, black fruit. Sounds good, right?
But, and it’s a big but, “It is not a xeric plant and grows only in moist places with rich alluvial soil,” according to Trees, Shrubs, and Vines of the Texas Hill Country by Jan Wrede. Oops. The only moist, rich, alluvial soil on my property is down on the north side where the water rushes through in floods. That’s not where I planted it.
The Wildflower Center offers a little more hope for my chances of growing this palm successfully. According to the listing for the palmetto, if you provide lots of water until it’s established, it will then be drought-tolerant. Serendipitously, and unbeknownst to me, the betony has similar water requirements.
Well, my gurus said it was worth a try, and the Wildflower Center gave me a plan of action, so I shall forge ahead. Wish me luck.
Favorite spot in the garden: