My name is Mark Howard and I live in Dallas. I’ve noticed many of the gorgeous gardens featured in GPOD are located near the coast or in cool, rainy zones. As juxtaposition, I’d like to share some yard and garden pictures from my small, midcentury modern home in Dallas (Zone 8a). I’ve been container gardening for over 25 years, having lived in urban apartments and a townhouse in Uptown Dallas until six years ago when I bought a fixer-upper home in North Dallas. The house and yard were in dire need of updating and TLC. The existing St. Augustine grass was in good shape, so I embraced the wide open space and left the lawn intact. After living with small patios for years, it was refreshing to have a wide open space. I was also working with a small budget, so I focused updates on those areas that would make the biggest impact for the least cost.
My garden is truly diverse and includes everything from agaves, cactus, and other succulents, to bamboo, ferns, hydrangeas, and hostas. Although it’s a work in progress, it’s my personal oasis, and I hope you enjoy the pictures.
I’m inspired by Asian style, so you’ll see Asian objects d’art around the property. I created a small Japanese garden in a raised bed with a fountain to drown out the sounds of the city. I also put in a birdbath that attracts a nice array of birds including blue jays, robins, cardinals, mourning doves, mockingbirds, and more. In front of the fountain are creeping junipers (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Blue Rug’, Zones 3–9, and Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’, Zones 3–9) with Japanese holly ferns (Cyrtomium falcatum, Zones 6–10), ‘Virdis’ Japanese maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Virdis’, Zones 5–9), bird’s nest fern (Asplenium nidus, Zones 10–11) , and horsetail reed (Equisetum hyemale, Zones 4–10).
When I moved into my house six years ago, I was given the big Agave americana (Zones 8–10) while it was still a baby. Since that time, I have propagated several babies from it. Here I have grouped them with agave (Agave parryi var. truncate, Zones 7–10), gold column cactus (Trichocereus spachianus, Zones 9–11), and Aloe ‘California Blue’ (Zones 9–11).
Lizards are beneficial for eating insects. This cute little green anole loves living among the English ivy (Hedera helix ‘Needlepoint’, Zones 6–10) and bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘HM2’ Dear Dolores™, Zones 7–10).
I’ve always loved the look of topiaries, so I propagated English ivy (Hedera helix ‘Needlepoint’ and ‘Variegated Needlepoint’) from one of my beds and trained it on these two shapes. These are about two and a half years old.
I’ve always loved horsetail reed, but it’s quite invasive, so I keep it contained in a pot. This plant has existed for thousands of years, and I appreciate including such an ancient plant in the mix.
I love the beauty of the color and dangerously sharp spikes on this floret-shaped Agave parryi var. truncate.
To create a garden on the patio, I mixed flapjacks (Kalanchoe luciae, Zones 9–12), hostas (Hosta ‘Frances Williams’ and ‘Brim Cup’, Zones 3–9), aloe (Aloe barbadensis, Zones 10–11), and philodendron (Philodendron selloum, Zones 8–11) in blue and green pots.
This hot pink purslane (Portulaca grandiflora, Zones 10–12 or as an annual) adds a burst of color and blooms all summer. It loves the heat and sun!
Hidden treasures spread throughout the garden, such as this gargoyle, make it more interesting and intriguing.
Have a garden you’d like to share?
Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!
To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.
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