Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Xeriscape Landscaping in Hill Country, Texas

Living in Hill Country, Texas, we all know the dry conditions constantly in place. Just because we have limited water, does not mean we cannot have a beautiful yard. Burrough’s Landscaping specializes in Xeriscape (pronounced “zeer-i-scape”). Focusing on drought-resistant plants and beautiful hardscape, it is possible to have attractive scenery.

Burrough’s will begin with establishing a design that works best for the area, and is appealing to an owner, incorporating your ideas and appealing to your lifestyle. Whether there is a large expanse of yard or garden, or a small front yard that needs curb appeal, there are some thoughts to examine.

A plan is the first step. Like plants should be planted together, the ones needing less water separate from ones that may need more attention, such as water and sun. This results in less water being wasted if it is all going in the same direction. Begin by drawing and making a plan.
Examine the current turf area. It is not to say that you cannot have grass, but plan to use grasses that are nativeto the region. Plan for turf in less traveled areas. Incorporate grass in complimentary settings along with flowers and other hardscape.

Choosing plants and flowers that are native to the area is a great start. Keep in mind which plants and flowers need the least amount of water, and can tolerate the most sun. Group them together, making the most use of the natural environment.

Soil is more important than one might think. Most soil is a combination of three soils – clay, silt and sand. Silt is the choice preferred for Xeriscaped gardens, as sand allows too much drainage and clay retains moisture.

It is important to monitor watering, especially in newly planted flowers and plants. Even hardy plants may need water to establish a root system, then eventually slowing down the moisture. Monitor plants regularly, even drought resistant plants may need minimal watering during extreme heat. Watering close to the ground, avoids waste blowing into unneeded areas.

The two types of mulch are organic and inorganic. Choose organic mulch, such as bark mulch, cedar mulch and pine peelings to surround plants and flowers. Wood-based mulch keeps landscapes cooler, but may need to be replaced regularly to avoid rot. Inorganic mulch works best in the shade and for hardscapes. Stone based mulch, such as cobblestone or lava rock will soak up heat from the sun and evaporate any moisture, which can cause a hardship on plants and flowers.
The maintenance should be minimal, but will not be totally nonexistent in Xeriscape landscaping. Since most of the plants are natural to the area, which are typically slow growing, they should require minimal water after they are established. As in any landscape, trim dead or dry branches, leaves and flowers from plants.

Even if it initially seems costly to establish water conserving landscape, the savings can be seen in a few short months of less maintenance. Burrough’s Landscaping offers eco-friendly,innovative ideas for unique drought-resistant landscapes.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bluebonnets – Get your Camera Ready

It is finally springtime, it is warming up and the Bluebonnets, our Texas state flower, are beautiful! Bluebonnets are named for their color and likeness to a woman’s sunbonnet.

Bluebonnets were adopted as the official state flower by the Texas Legislature in 1901. Scientifically named Lupinus texensis, they are also called buffalo clover, wolf flower and el conejo.

Bluebonnets are some of the most popular wildflowers in central Texas and can be seen on just about any back road beginning in March. After our winter of rain, sleet and snow, word has it that this will be an above average beautiful season for bluebonnets. If you are not familiar with the area, stop in a local cafe or shop. The people who live here will be able to direct you to the best locations with literally fields of bluebonnets with spectacular views. Visit Lady Bird Johnson for bluebonnet sightings with the best scenery. People will visit from miles away for the spectacular show. It is a beautiful sight. Do not forget your camera.

If there is a natural area you would love to see blooming in color every spring and into the summer, plant bluebonnet seeds in full sun in soil that drains well. Barely cover the seeds with soil, and water the seeds only on the day of planting. Allow the soil to dry thoroughly before watering again. Do not over water as bluebonnets love our hot Texas sun! The only need for fertilizer is if you desire more bountiful blooms.

Get ready to get hooked on photography next as you may find them frame worthy, or beautiful enough to enter and win a contest.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Deer Resistant Plants and Flowers – 102

When thinking deer resistant plants and flowers, several come to mind. None are guaranteed, as a hungry deer will eat whatever is available. However, there are options that are they are less likely to try. Deer tend to stay away from more fragrant and prickly plants and their instinct keeps them away from poisonous.

Growing up to 6 feet tall, Agaves add beautiful, ornamental drama to your yard, taking heat and drought well, meaning low maintenance. Despite agaves looking similar to cacti, or even aloe, they are not related. The plants are perennial but after blooming, the flowers die. Some species are known by the name century plant. A favorite type is the Queen Victoria selection. Some varieties have sharp edges, so choose carefully.

Blanket Flowers grow up to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Perennial blooms brighten up your garden all summer long, lasting into fall. Blanket flowers are low maintenance, loving full sun and well drained soil. The bright orange, yellow or red flowers will bring even more color into your yard as butterflies are attracted to the bright blooms.

Lavender is also a great choice for our area as it requires full sun and well drained soil. A perennial shrub, up to three feet tall and four feet wide, lavender is not only beautiful, but smells heavenly too. Placing lavender along a walkway or in a garden with a seating area allows the most benefit from this beautiful multi-purpose plant. Dried lavender blooms can be used as a seasoning in the kitchen, edible garnishments and brewing teas. The darker the blooms, the more fragrant and intense in flavor it becomes.

Purple coneflower is as lovely as it is tough. This perennial is so easy to grow in any sunny spot. It will bloom through summer into the fall, drawing butterflies and birds. It is low maintenance, spreading easily and is not bothered by pests. Its daisy looking flowers make it a great choice if you enjoy cut flowers brightening your home.

These are a few ideas to start with. Burroughs Landscaping in Kerrville, Texas has an endless list of choices that are perfect, both beautiful and low maintenance, for our hot summers. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Deer Resistant Plants and Flowers - 101

People are not the only ones who enjoy the beauty of the Texas Hill Region. Deer love our rolling hills and spring fed rivers and lakes too! With spring upon us, and summer quickly approaching, you may be thinking of planting some new greenery and color in your yard.

Even those of us who enjoy seeing a deer cross our yard occasionally do not like them munching our favorite plants and flowers. Keeping in mind that like us, one deer may not find our prized flower bed to their particular liking, but the next one that comes along may find it their favorite. Hence, there are not many flowers and plants that are totally deer resistant. There are some plants that are resistant to our hot, dry summers and require minimal maintenance that will be less likely to appeal to deer.

Farmer’s Almanac offers suggestions if you have seen signs of deer in your yard or garden, such as hoof prints or jagged edges on leaves. Some of these include:
  • Put stronger smelling flowers and prickly plants with hairy or furry leaves on the outside of a garden, with smaller, more attractive plants on the inside for protection.
  • Keep yard and garden clear of leaves, rotten fruits and nuts such as acorns.
  • An inexpensive motion detector can be used to frighten them away from your yard
  • Repellents, available at most home and garden stores, can be sprayed on plants and flowers with no harm to them and will discourage deer.

Burroughs Landscaping is anxious to assist you in determining the best fit for your space and preference. It is possible to have a beautiful garden and outdoor living area, without having a buffet for deer.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Make those Plants Happy with Mulch

So you may think mulch is boring, think again! Summer is rapidly approaching and those new plants need some love under our hot, sometimes blazing, Texas sun. One way to help plants reach their beauty potential may come in the form of mulch. Mulch helps protect plants and flowers from the heat and sun, allowing the roots to stay cooler and retain water during sizzling summer months that living in Hill Country, Texas can bring.

There are assorted varieties of mulch to choose from. Organic mulches consist of plant parts, such as pine bark, hardwood and cedar mulches and leaves. Mineral mulches are limestone sand, pea gravel, decomposed granite or recycled glass. These allow moisture to drain away from the base of a plant. Using groundcover as living mulch is a natural choice to shade the soil from the scorching sun and push weeds out of a garden, as some native plants are dense and zealous enough to do. Groundcovers also reduce evaporation, regulate soil temperature fluctuations, minimize erosion and as an added bonus, are beautiful while accomplishing all of this. Using groundcover as mulch lessens maintenance time and cost, as well as making the space finished and enjoyable.

It is important to match the right type of mulch with the existing surroundings. Mineral mulch is better for native plants that require dryer conditions. If using organic mulch with plants that prefer dry conditions, pull the mulch back from the stem 2 to 3 inches during wet spells to avoid fungal problems. Another important fact to consider is the thickness of mulch. Being too thick may cause it to absorb the water, not allowing it to reach the plant. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses can correct this problem. Some mulch may form a hard crust, which sheds water altogether. If planting seeds, avoid any mulch, as it  prevents seeds from growing.

So, mulch is not boring after all, it is the finishing touch to any landscape, highlighting the bursts of color and highlighting unique features. The folks at Burroughs Landscaping can guide you in the best choice for your particular area.