Friday, February 01, 2013

On Air!

What a great experience last August! Linda from Central Texas Gardener invited me to tape a segment for future broadcast, so how could I refuse? It was an honor to join its famous cast of characters.

Since I was already going to Texas for other things, I scheduled it in.

My interview was on designing gardens with natural processes and patterns. Especially water or it's lack. Related to the ecological position of central Texas, mixing boiling & broiling southeast & southwest!

This subject could be summarized as dry garden moderation.
Safely on the ground - at least it looks like it could rain there, though not a drop in 5 days.

No doubt one of the CTG staff sidelines as a guest parking assistant. Thanks to his guidance, not one dent!

But still waiting to resolve a $300 dispute with Dollar Rent-a-Car; they not making a new key, as I found mine. I reserved my usual compact for tighter parking spaces, but the friendly agent talked me into thi$ car, as she recalled our conversation during a previous rental, how I was an LA into native plant$, etc. $he didn't even need to wink; savvy agents in Austin!


Back to the show. The blur on the right is the show's dynamic producer, Linda Lehmusvirta. She didn't even shout "CUT" once! There are more fine staff people behind me and out front, down on the set.

The set is where I was 30 minutes later - in the hot seat.







After that enjoyable interview, I found a larger parking space by the nearby UT campus and took a walk.

Plenty of my favorite Quercuses to check out - stately Live Oak trees... Not missing lollipop trees. Such oaks only gain more character with age, evidenced by quality arboriculture. A dappled ceiling for a pleasantly hot day!

There was knowledge to gain...
...and a new landscape to visit

It was designed by the person's firm who was on the CTG segment before me. It uses water harvesting, where stormwater runoff percolates into the soil, and overflow drains into the steel grate. Plants that require or can take more water are at the low part of the grade (Bald Cypress / Taxodium distichum and Sideoats Grama / Bouteloua curtipendula), and lower water-use plants are higher up (gray Texas Sage / Leucophyllum spp., the red Flame Acanthus / Anisacanthus quadfiridus).

As opposed to sycamores and ashes on steep berms with cool season lawn, and vast, low areas in barren river rock...

Of course, a great day was finished off with excellent BBQ at Stubb's and a cold Shiner:-)


You can enjoy the entire episode - here. My segment hopefully makes sense - here. And the CTG blog post on that episode really grabs me - here.








18 comments:

  1. The segment is great and helpful to those of us trying to combine drought and heat tolerance with a full landscape while preparing for those inevitable torrents of rain.

    I always learn so much from your posts and the illustrations.

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    1. That's what I learned as an outsider makes the land of the Death Star great...latching onto deluge and drought! Thanks...keeps me going, S. Fox.

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  2. David your segment was AMAZING! You are a true teacher!

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    1. Thanks, X! Too bad 3 semesters of instuctorship at our community college got me more arguing than interaction / learning...hard to counter our HOG. But this blog has done more than that time ever did, and CTG was such an honor!

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  3. Great segment! Thank you for the links. I watched just yours and looked over the blog post (time is short this morning) but will go back and watch the entire episode later.

    I can't even imagine how HOT some of those "gardens" are, with the yards and yards of bare gravel. Here in the summertime my little bit of exposed rock is definitely too hot to walk on with bare feet and the lower leaves of some of my plants wilt on a really hot day. Of course it's also a great plus for all my heat-loving plants that can rarely get enough of that.

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    1. Thanks - I have to laugh when people in Abq put plants they think "need more heat" in gravel expanses, then watch them fry. Another blog post...think Southern Magnolia, Crepe Myrtle, and so on. I guess 60+ days per year over 90F, and months of 70-80+, are not hot enough for them? Dummies...

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  4. Great segment David. A number of folks in our Central TX neighborhood have rock yards. The only good thing about covering land with rock is fire resistance. No one ever goes out in those spaces, there is no habitat for birds and butterflies and the spaces aren't appealing.

    I posted your YouTube link to our local garden club Facebook page.

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    1. Thanks - I have a feeling the 2 days prior, relaxing in your/Denny's TX Hill Country abode, copious BBQ, hospitality may have worked it's magic! True on fire resistance, but at what cost, as you note by losing all habitat...like those in NM who are starting to use fire to justify having high water-use lawn. Both our areas have enough rock to chip into, no need for more!

      And thanks for the link - the CTG staff really hit it out of the park with this one.

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  5. Aquí presente despues de muchos días y feliz por ti, que nos muestras la forma optima para los jardines en climas extremos.

    Hasta la vista.

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    1. Ha pasado mucho tiempo. Con el tiempo, finalmente me abrazó los rigores del clima y los suelos, y el diseño de paisajes ahora funciona mejor!

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  6. Congratulations! How exciting! I enjoyed seeing you and hearing you talk. So different than just a blog. You are right in that Texas doesn't really have a mediterranean climate - it doesn't get cold at night - in order to cool off rocks. So, they just become an oven. I mostly enjoyed the end of your segment where you talked about moving water down and planting appropriate plants for a space designed in that way.

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    1. Thanks - I was a bit nervous in not knowing what to expect, but Tom S. made it all work! But even in Abq or even Las Cruces, where it cools enough on most summer nights, gravel is brutal by day. In fact, even in winter, it is brutal to look at. So glad that makes sense on moving storm water and changing plants for either extreme.

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  7. Just watched CTG. Great interview. You did a good job.

    Wish more people would take the advice not to pave their yards with stone. With the drought and the deer problems, it's happening more and more in this neighborhood. Some is done well...with some plantings. Some looks like a gravel yard....dull, hot and boring.

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    1. Thanks! It seemed my last visits, I was getting flashbacks on all the gravel horror I remember first seeing after a drought as a teenager in Denver...it had to be said, since central TX can do far better.

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  8. wow! I'd be excited too! This has to be one of the high points of any gardener...to be on a program! Congratulations, David! :0)
    David/Tropical Texana

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    1. Thanks! It really was a highlight for me to be invited, even though I never even hit my garden or any garden..."next time".

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  9. Dave, Great interview. I continue to learn about the differences in all the places out West that I had lumped together as one big habitat--what was I thinking? Have you ever done a post, or have a source for water harvesting 101 for the homeowner? I keep wanting to make some small steps in that direction and feel a bit overwhelmed. I would love to take some water from the gutters on our house but don't know where to begin. I am asking because now I know what a great teacher you are!

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    1. Thanks! The interview was more impromptu, but it worked out! Yes, varied out west; 3 or 4 of the world's 7 life zones occur in <10 miles from my house (a 4200' elevation change), and one can hike it and back in 8 hours!

      I've never posted on water harvesting specifically, but it's simply storm water management used to provide extra water to plantings that need it. I'll e-mail you some ideas and links!

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