Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Rethinking My Patio and Veranda

This has been a long, hot summer, and it's been a tough one for me too.
Last year I battled a virus that kept me housebound for weeks at a time.  I 
finally turned the corner this past May and started to feel like myself once
again.  Then we went on vacation up in Austin for the 4th of July, and by
the time I returned home, I had relapsed.  Today, thankfully, I finally feel
like I am back on the road to recovery.

One thing I learned during this relapse, is that I need to keep things simple.
I had worked so hard on the garden around the potting shed, and for a while
it was really lovely and I was so happy.  Once the South Texas heat blew in,
the garden began to suffer.  No matter how much water I gave it, everything
eventually started to look ragged and tired.

At some point durning my garden glory days, and prior to my garden fatigue,
I found a woman named Linda Vater on YouTube.  She is an Oklahoma City
gardener with a great love of potager gardens, and topiaries.  She understands
the battle with relentless heat and was getting frustrated at the same time as I

Her suggestion is not to allow annuals to dominate, but to work with more
perennials.  When I look at what is still working in the garden around my
She Shed, it's the perennials that still look fairly good.  

She also suggests filling more big pots.  This idea has been perfect at the 
edge of my veranda.  I can move them as needed, and care is not a hardship.
So, more big pots filled with plants will be on the patio.  I can even grow 
little cherry tomatoes in a pot. 

I am also very excited about trying my hand at creating boxwood topiaries.
Linda has many in her garden rooms, and they are so attractive.  I also 
learned about Southern Living Plants.  I have a lovely big rosemary from 
Southern Living which I purchased locally, but did not know that I could
order online for home delivery too!  I am in zone 9a, so it's helpful to have
a resource that has may heat resistant options.

The link for these plants is Southern Living Plants

Here is a tour of Linda's backyard.  There are many great videos on this

Here is a link to her Instagram account:

So there you have it.  I am feeling better and more enthusiastic about 
my garden.  I'm itching to get going, so stay tuned!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


  1. Surprisingly we have been plagued in Chicagoland by some relentless record breaking heat, also. Lots of rain has saved us, despite having a very cold Spring and early Summer. I've been blogging for only a few years, and since I do two garden posts a month in summer, I have a pretty good visual record. Larger pots---10" or larger do well. Perennials---I've lost many in the last 6 years because of the thaw/freeze cycles. Pots are great because you can move them around, if it's hot they go into some shade. As color wains, you can switch them around.
    When visiting Monticello and Mount Vernon---I was amazed at the detailed records Jefferson, Washington did of their gardening endeavors. Especially when they were analyzing problems...!

  2. You maybe know this already, but a beautiful plant/flower is the lantana.
    Great multi colored clusters of tiny flowers that are easy to grow! It can really take the heat and where you are it would most likely winter over! I have planted them in pots and in the ground...the ones in the ground were 3 feet across...and I'm in western pa.

  3. Take care of yourself. I hope you are getting better every day. I think it looks so pretty at your place. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

  4. I'm happy you found Linda Vater as she is a good friend of mine. If you ever get a chance to visit Oklahoma City, go to her Crown Heights Tudor home and she will give you a garden and maybe a home tour! I feel your pain with the heat; I garden in east Texas and although the weather is much like yours, I have to battle sugar sand and deer!

  5. Susan,
    This year, due to my knee surgery, i simply bought a bunch of annuals and literally threw them in some pots. I have found that impatiens and begonias do very well in my yard and this year, even though it was very hot here, we have had an exceptional amount of rain so I have not had to water that much. I am looking forward to next year when i can experiment with more annuals and perennials now that I am retired....Glad to hear that you are feeling better!


Bentley and I LOVE and read every comment.


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