Ligustrum japonicum aka Privet

Large shrub, growing to small tree size here in Texas, attracts birds, deer resistant, drought resistant, grows in sun or part shade, prefers damp soil. You can keep these short and bushy, make a hedge, grow them as small trees or use them for topiaries.

Native to Japan and Korea

Brought to US in 1800s for use as a hedge plant, became invasive in warmer parts of US. The wood was used for pegs, the berries for dye, leaves as an astringent. It makes a great nesting place for birds who will eat the berries.

Problems: Sooty mold, control with liquid dish soap mixed with water and sprayed on leaves

I liked it so much I bought 20 small plants on eBay, I’ll be running them along the fence out back. They shipped much later than I expected, today is June 14th, nothing should be planted between May 1st and Oct 31st, but perhaps I’ll get lucky and we’ll get a rainy summer?

Toxic see NC Ext Ligustrum japonicum

Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’ aka Japanese Honeysuckle Vine

The first mention of it in the US is in the early 1800s in Ohio. It was brought to US to use to control soil erosion. Later it became a popular ornamental plant.

Flowers open at dusk to attract hawk moths who are the main pollinators. While they are frequently visited by bees, bees tend to remove more pollen than they leave for pollination.

Propagate by cutting

Native to Russia and Central Asia, listed as invasive by multiple sources. Birds eating seeds do most of the spreading, to control, trim plants before seeds form.

Many components of the plant are medicinal and parts are edible (Foraging Texas), but the berries are poison. Near as I can tell almost every plant down here is trying to murder you so proceed with caution.

Aeonium arboretum atropurpureum “zwartkop”

New cutting late March 2018
New cutting late March 2018
Aeonium arboreum growing in a sidewalk garden in California

Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ aka Black rose

The flowers are actually leaves, in older plants they can be as large as 8″ across. The true flowers are a bright yellow, and look like small daisies. I’ll post photos once it blooms. These just arrived this week.

The plant grows long stems with sparse clumps of rosettes. It looks like a small tree when fully grown (~3′)

I’m hoping to grow it in pots outside. It’s rated for zones 9-11 so it’s probably best grown as a house plant.

Grow it in full sun, well drained soil, same as you would for any succulent. Water it more in the summer, less in the winter, giving it a thorough soaking and letting it go almost dry between waterings.

Propagation is by cuttings in early spring. The two plants in the photos are cuttings, I’ve potted them up in wet soil, I’ll let the soil get drier and give them more light over the next few weeks.

The earliest mention of this plant I could find was late 1980s where it is mentioned as a houseplant or plant for warm, dry landscapes.

It’s in the same plant family as jade, Crassulaceae. It’s native to the Canary Islands where it prefers to grow on hillsides.

Cercis canadensis aka Eastern Red Bud Tree aka Judas tree

Medium light, medium soil moisture, low maintenance plant.

Zones 4-8

Blooms in March, deciduous, 20′-30′ tall, wide spreading branches

Attracts butterflies

Native to eastern US

Mature trees grow large brown seed pods especially in wet years

Member of bean and pea family

Problems:
Canker, wilt, dieback
Several insects love to eat this plant

Difficult to grow from cuttings, keep warm ~ 75’F if attempting to do so

Legend claims Judas hung from this tree

Salvia lyrata aka Lyre-leaved Sage

I found these growing in a boggy area along a pathway.

Perennial herb, wild throughout eastern and midwestern US, zones 5-10

Cold, wet winters will kill it, it prefers drier areas

Blooming late March ( spring – summer depending on location )

Considered invasive in some locations. Many home owners mow it after it flowers.

Considered a medicinal plant, Gray’s Pharmacopoeia (1848) lists its uses for warts and cancer but studies haven’t found any medicinal uses. aka Cancer Weed

Well liked by bees and butterflies

Easy to grow from seed

Pink Shell Prunus aka Ornamental Cherry

I had forgotten about this tree, it was so buried in deep shade in a very dry section of the garden. It has survived droughts, floods, frosts, and bright, hot Houston afternoon sun before the oak shaded it out. Despite this it’s about 12′ tall and about 6′ across. I think I picked it up at an Arbor Day Give a Way as a 12″ tall twig.

Last year I cleared out a lot of the overhead branches and it must’ve received enough sun to bloom, or the cold tripped it? Many fruit trees, even ornamentals, need several nights below freezing to flower and fruit. Be sure to check the number of ‘chill days’ needed on any fruit tree you buy. Only a few get enough nights below freezing in Houston to fruit.

Mine’s not an impressive bloomer, perhaps now that it has bloomed it’ll improve each year? I have seen many of these putting on impressive shows around town. I’m hoping with the added sun this one will too next spring.

Blooming occurs late Feb. early March

I highly recommend it. I’ll try taking a few cuttings in the fall and see how easy it is to propagate. I’d love to have a few more of these around.

Echinacea purpurea aka Purple Coneflower

Perennial, loves sun, doesn’t mind occasional dry spells, benefits from dead heading and dividing clumps every 3 years or so.

Native to North America, there are about 9 species in this genus. It’s been a garden favorite as far back as the early 1900s where it is often referred to as the ‘dull pink coneflower’

It is a strongly recommended addition to bee and butterfly gardens and said to be deer resistant