Katiebear ~ thanks! I didn't think of herbs when I asked this. I do grow most of those you mentioned. How delightful.
Hello Martha! I miss you at every turn. Odd the Clevelandii sage is another I didn't think of. I was given seeds and foliage for this sage from from DGr Karri_Sue. I loved the fragrance of the dried so am sure the plant will be wonderful. Neat link ~ thank you! Off to explore it... and start some seeds. pod
A lot of the brugmansias and/or daturas are have fragrant blooms and many require very little water. You might check out the forum. Lots of people seems to be starting them from seed so you could probably get seeds here. Just don't get them mixed up with your edible herbs!!
Pod - I've been thinking about this because I live in the Baja which has a climate similar to yours. The trees that have the little Mexican limes - which are maybe the same as key limes - require very little water to survive and produce. Their blooms are very fragrant.
Hudson also lists a lot of acacias. I remember one is peppermint scented. It's a fun catalog to read and they have lots of seeds of plants from Australia - often very drought tolerant.
Check out High Country Gardens website, they've got tons of Agastaches. 'Blue Fortune' and the Agastache rugosa cultivars can handle more moisture (although I think they do fine will less as well), but most of the other Agastache species do very well in dry climates with little water and actually won't do well if you live somewhere rainy or water your garden too frequently. I'm not sure why lavenders don't do well for you, but if it has to do with too much rain/poor drainage then I'd stick with 'Blue Fortune' and A. rugosa and not try the others, they like similar conditions to lavender.
Somewhere in the back of my head I had an idea that Agastache, Lavenders, etc., liked alkaline soil. Y'all let me know if that is correct. I sprinkled some lime on my Agastache this spring. I'll report back after bloom-time. I sprinkled bone meal on my Linum (Appar Blue Flax), and there was almost an instant difference. These little flax greened up and swelled with pride. They are so pretty now and will be prettier when they bloom.
Soils in dry climates often tend to be on the alkaline side so that means that many dry climate plants can do well alkaline soils, but I don't think I've ever read anywhere that they require it, neutral or mildly acidic soil ought to be fine too.
I could see how the confusion came in--many plants that do well in alkaline soils won't do well without it, but then there are other plants that do well in alkaline soils but will also do fine in neutral or even mildly acidic soils. Based on what's in Plant Files and what I've read elsewhere, that's the case for lavender and agastache, they can do fine anywhere from alkaline to mildly acidic. If you've got really acidic soil though then the lime would definitely be beneficial.
Podster, I am not sure about your climate...I live in Tucson,, but these are shrubs that have wonderful frangrance when in bloom: Sophora Secundifora (Texas Mountain Laurel), a purple, grape bubble gum smelling flower that is blooming now; aloysia gratissima has vanilla smelling clusters of tiny white flowers that goldfinches love; leucophyllum pruinosum (A variety of Texas Ranger) small purple flowers that smell like juicy fruit gum, Tagetes Lucida has small yelow flowers but the leaves when crushed smell like licorice or anice. Tagetes Lemmonii also has a distinctive smell, some like it, some not, I do. I will try to think of others as well. Good luck,
I've have heard so many folks recommend the Tx Mountain Laurel. It sounds wonderful but #1, I am not sure I have room for a tree and #2, it is disappointing that the blooms are shortlived.
Aloysia gratissima is one I need to check out. I was given a start of Aloysia virgata ~ Sweet Almond Verbena which I am anxiously awaiting blooms on.
The Leucophyllum is a lovely plant. My last was eaten by a vagrant dog that I had taken in. I was tempted to feed him to the buzzards. Gave him away instead. I believe that is one I want to replace ( plant not dog). Mine didn't bloom frequently and I honestly didn't remember fragrance.
Now, I am excited. You mentioned Tagetes ~ I picked a small plant up yesterday. I love tarragon but it won't grow here. This was marketed as Texas tarragon. How's that for a marketing ploy. I know it is commonly Mexican tarragon. I nibbled leaves all the way home. Love it!
I think Tucson winters are a bit more mild than here but equally sweltering summers. Thanks for the great ideas and suggestions. pod
I'm not sure if that one'll work on zone 8--from what I've read it doesn't like frost very much and is only hardy to 25F. I know PF lists it to 9a but I'm not sure if that's right or not, I think it may be more like 9b. It also needs perfect drainage and I don't think it'll be a fan of summer rain (or watering) once it's established. http://www.laspilitas.com/plants/351.htm
Try heliotrope or turnsole - puts off pretty purple flowers & a heavenly cherry vanilla scent. Grows well in southern exposure in north Texas & requires very little watering (1" a week) & gets about 12 to 18" tall. Put in 8 of them in my garden this year & all are starting to bloom well now that it's getting hot.Check out the Proven Winner's site for suggestions on xeriscape plants - they usually list where the plant trials where grown & the best plants for your type of garden - I like it for getting ideas for my full southern exposure garden from there. Hope this helps & Happy Gardening Y'all.
Podster , There is one that is very fragrant here but again it might be streching its range to where you are at . It is regarded as large shrub or small tree . For me it blooms multiple times through the summer .Tenaza ;
Our summers stay in the 80s-90s until about November, and then it snows. The soil is hard clay. I have rosemary everywhere, even many are self-sown, as there are two, thriving in gravel! They only get an occasional water. Also it is one plant that the deer will not demolish, tho' an occasional nibble and spitting out, or the male deer, bucks, like to rub their antlers on any plant they see, it rutting season. I rarely water the rosemary plants, only if there leaves look stressed
I have a huge lavender on a clay hill, and 6 white lavenders in my White Flower Border, and they have little drainage and lately regular water, since I have been planting more into that garden. The bublebees are all over those lavender. I started to cut some for the house, as also I like to prune them frequently, as the one on the clay hill would die if I did that. If you prune the hard wood, it's all over, though the dried dead wood should be removed to make them look better. I do that at least twice during the growing season. They look better, if you start pruning them when they are young, as then you get more green per plant. I made the mistake when I never pruned the one on the clay hill, as it is very large, but scraggly and sparse, though it still blooms.
So if you are looking for a fool-proof plant, rosemary would be my first suggestion, and the bees love it!
The next drought tolerant one that has done well is Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed. They take regular watering the first season, then they are one there own with little watering. Some species prefer more water, and some less. I have planted them for the butterflies.
The next one of the list would be yarrow. Again, regular water to start, then it will do well, but watch out, Achillea milliifolium and cultivars of this plant will spread by runners, as I had made the mistake of planting it with others. (It will not "play nice" and go all over!) I am still digging out the plants out of my "Peach of a Garden", so I put them on the end of the border in a space of their own - for "mass planting". There are other cultivars that are not so agressive, such as Achillea 'Moonshine'.
Another one that seems to thrive in negect is Teucrium marum, commonly known as Cat Thyme. It is a grey-leaved plant and you can leave it alone for a long time, though I shear the flowers off to promote a second blooming. It doesn;t get any higher than 1 1/2" and spreads slowly.
Another Teucruim that is know as Germander cham, the herb, tho' not edible, another one on the "deer-proof" list. It grows slowly, has small glossy dark green leaves, and once established will not require any care, tho', again, I shear off the flowers, when they are done, to get a second bloom. The are in bloom now and the butterflies and bumblebees really enjoy it. There is another Teucrium, T.lucidrys, which has grey leaves and grows up to 12'' or more and has soft light blue-violet flowers in the summer, and it as well, is drought tolerant.
Most varieties of Cistus, or Rock Rose also prefer little water once established. Oh, the reason I say that, is when I was a younger (much younger) gardener, I thought that drought tolerant meant you could plant it and give it no water. That does NOT work! I sure found out that in a hurry!
That should get you started. There are more, and as somone mention High Counrty Gardens, they have nice plants, tho' a bit pricey, but be sure to water them the first season, especially if the first season is summer. I got quite a few from them, and they are good-sized plants, and arrived very fresh and healthy.
Oh! And the rosemary is VERY fragrant, even when it isn't in bloom. Agastache has different fragrances, according to which variety you choose. The rock rose's leaves are fragrant as well, as most of the thymes. Several Teucriums have fragrant leaves as well, T.'Paradise Delights', T 'Purple Tails', T. 'Summer Sunshine' Those varieties are available at Forest Farm and Digging Dog Nursery, both on Dave's top picks.
Thanks for the suggestions. I have two different rosemarys and this year added four agastaches. I know I will like them! I have two Rock Roses ~ Pavonia and no fragrance. I need to check yours out. This summer I put pennyroyal in a sun tough bed and it is spreading well with little care.
The Teucrium is one I'd only read about, primarily wall germander? I will have to check out those plants. I had to laugh at your description of a drought tolerant gardener when young. Think most of us have been there. Appreciate the ideas, thank you. pod
Oh, I forgot! A truly fragrant long-lived shrub...lilac. It requires hardly any care at all, once it has been established. Just make sure that you have the room for it, though there are some smaller varieties available as well.
I cut mine way back this year, as it was taking over the White Flower Border. Then I read, I was supposed to cut it back in a non-flowering year. Well, it is done and cannot be undone. I will not worry, as next year should be a non-flowering year anyway! I do not really see the sense in it. Now I will check, to see if it does not flower in 3 years! If I live that long! :-) Or if I remember to check...
If you get a catalog from Forest Farm, they mention which varieties have fragrance, as well as other categories. It is a thick catalog, as they do carry a large assortment of plants. I am sure you will find many plants that I don't even know about. Also, not to rule out shrubs and small trees. FF has a huge selection, as well as hardey perennials and grasses.
Yes, there's one that goes by the common name of Winifred Gillman sage. Oh, gosh, you can smell it for 30 feet or so after a rainfall. It's a California native, but might be something you can plant there.
Here are the salvias that occur in the wild in TX...not all of them are necessarily native, but at the very least they must like the climate. I know some parts of TX are drier than others so you might investigate a bit which ones occur in your particular part of TX but it's a place to start (if you click on the name of the plant, then click on TX on the map it'll show you the counties it occurs in. Don't take it as being 100% accurate, if there are counties in your general part of TX that have it there's a good chance it's in your county too but just not enough of them that it got recorded) http://plants.usda.gov/java/stateSearch?searchTxt=salvia&searchType=Sciname&stateSelect=US48&searchOrder=1&imageField.x=57&imageField.y=6
Aha ~ Winifred Gillman is a Clevelandii sage like the one MWPerry suggested earlier. I have seeds but have had no luck with germination. They may be older as they were sent to me with the leaves ~ I DO love that fragrance!
I have a tulasi (or tulsi) plant that has a wonderful fragrance. It is a basil and it likes my sub-tropical climate. It has lived for several years and seeded itself here and there. I could send some seeds if you are interested.
I have both cat mint and clevelandii Sage, and both go nuts, one is in a heavy soil and one in a 2 gallon old nursery container and blooming, it seems happy with or without watering and loves a lot of direct sun. I try to cut out pieces to put in other spots but the big cuttings with roots seem to wilt, but the small ones do ok. I have a hard time getting them to grow from seed though. I don't know why.
Trailing petunia, "Wave" petunias are low water plants and have mad color, they seem to be ok in my crappy soil and in containers and in good soil... they turn yellow if they are over watered in the clay though, no fragrance but the color is dynamic, in many varieties and it spreads like crazy.
I have bad luck with rosemary here. I need to find a good area with great drainage and not a lot of water, which I don't have, yet.
I am needing a lot more xeriscape plants too experiment with . Too many green or grey plants that spread and look to messy. I need to edge them or something so they don't look so unruly.
Have you tried planting rosemary slightly above ground level? That worked for me very well with Huntington Carpet Rosemary. It actually started rooting in the areas surrounding it that we slightly moist.
I can't believe it is growing in clay. I don't know if it does not like the alkaline soil. I need to try to put in another area in a raised bed or something. I grew it in another house in the same zone and area, but in different soil, in a track, here it is part of an old river bed in some areas and it was once a flood plane, which I found out a few years back, so odd too, since it floods once every 100 years supposedly, but it makes me have calcium, salt and clay, not to mention there is a lot of arsenic in our water now. Grrrr!
I have alkaline soil too, probably not as alkaline as yours though and I don't have the problems with excess salt and arsenic (at least that I know of!) Your clay may be heavier than mine too. I have some other rosemary plants growing in an area that's more of a raised bed vs being on a hill and it's doing well too, although I did lose one plant in that area to overwatering last year. A raised bed could be a great solution for you, it'll probably help you with other plants besides rosemary too--growing drought tolerant plants in clay is always a challenge so if you can make your life easier with some raised beds I'd say go for it.
Yeah I know, I go a Leucophyllum and think it may not be happy unless I amend more. I have been putting bags of alphalpha crumble mix that has molassis and watering it in, in prep for more worm activity, in those areas it is much better draining now, but I do have several containers and some raised areas started but need to add more stuff in the beds before I can plant, in the raised areas. It is at soil level and need the garden mix and perlite.
I have some lasagna gardens that I am working on to be ready for fall planting hopefully, but not now.
I have rosemary that has seeded itself in pure gravel. during the heat of the summer, I will water them once a wekk, though they probably could do fine without it.
Now, I have another rosemary "volunteer" that I did not plant, and it is right by my house, in a bed that is watered frequently during the summer, and is also near where the rain falls off the roof and the snow melts there as well. It does not look as well as the ones up front that are in pure gravel. So the key here is full sun, and well-drained soil. I think that would apply to the lavenders as well. I have a sage that is in bllom right now, inside the fenced garden, which I attempted to dig up, and it would not budge. It sits right next to it's friend, the Greek Oregano. they do not require anything, once established, but a thorough cutting back after blooming. I have so much Oregano and Sage, I should go into the herb business! (Also many Rosemary!)
I need to try those again when I have my soil better amended. I have a 5 ft. mountain of horse poo and decomposed grass etc. at my house. Maybe then I could have a better shot at the herbs again. I have tried before in this home and no luck in the clay. My other home here was fine, but this is bad, bad soil here.
I love the herbals and it sounds like they do well in y'alls area. I planted two different rosemary plants in a high dry area. They have grown but slowly ~ and volunteers? Never! lol Although we stay parched for most of the summer, plants like the lavenders resist this humidity. I do love the herbs tho...
Herbs in pots do really well for me. I can control the soil type and moisture alot better. I haven't found anything to be invasive here but for those that would, a pot helps contain it also. I would encourage you to do so... what herbs are you thinking of?
I saw some cool kind of lemon oregano in a magazine that is easy to grow in pots, so that if I can locate it, rosemary since here I have poor drainage and killed all in ground rosemary, maybe some basil with variegated ornamental garlic, which would add to the texture of a pot of herbs. I love the smell of cilantro, so if it grows here and in a pot, that was one I was thinking of, with some chili plants too.
What do you grow Pod? Have pictures of them. I saw in this container garden magazine from this month, it said, it Texas terra cotta pots are like a crock pot for plants? It said you have night time temps of 90 deg. Is that right? Man in this desert, no matter how hot the day, the nights, almost always get cool and even cold sometimes.
Nights stay hot and humid here which can be a death sentence for things like French tarragon and lavenders. I have pots of basils, mints, oregano, lemon balm, lemon catnip, chives, comfrey, TX tarragon, fennel, a bay tree, an allspice tree and probably more that won't pop into my mind. Planted in high ground are pennyroyal (struggling), fennel and two rosemarys.
The problem I've found with terra cotta pots is they dry out too quickly for me. We get excessive moisture in early spring and then total drought for the balance of the summer. I use plastic pots but have to be careful if it is a dark pot. They will absorb heat and raise the temps in direct sunshine, frying roots. I try to place the darker pots in bright light only.
My pots aren't attractive but utilitarian. This is the bay or Laurus nobilis with an underplanting of verbena.
Being water conscious, I resist watering or try to use it efficiently. I look for plants that will be more tolerant here. That is what brought me to this forum. But when you brought up herbs... that is another passion for the "touching fragrances" as well as useful.
Now, you HAVE baited me naming some plants I am unfamiliar with. I have variegated society garlic in a pot but never heard of variegated ornamental garlic and lemon oregano sounds wonderful. Must go shopping!!!
This is variegated society garlic ( sorry but the bloom is out of focus ) after a soaking... I let the pot absorb water from the bottom. In the background an oregano is taking a drink.
Same plant, different common name for the garlic.
I will look up the plant that I called lemon oregano and tell you if it is what I said, I may have been mistaken, I am so new to the herb thing, with exception to a plant or two at my other house, I am new to it. Do you use the water moist crystals. I have these big Attriplex Canescence shrubs, that loose a lot of under leaves, where you never see them, but man that crap makes the best water protecting mulch for pots, and my old grass clippings too, the plants stay moist and cool thus far, where they were getting very dry prior to it.
Water crystals ~ no. I've read about them but never used them. Now, mulching to retain moisture yes. We have lots of pinestraw and I use that. It allows water to get thru but slows evaporation. For most plants in pots, I use a peat based soil from Canada. The peat seems to retain moisture better.
Please let me know on the lemon oregano. I haven't take the time to look yet. I love anything lemon scented. Lemon grass, lemon balm, lemon basil, lemon catnip. I lost my favorite, a lemon verbena last summer and haven't replaced it yet. If it's lemon, I'm baited! LOL
I always thought of lemon as a color, in re: to names of plants. hmmm/
Oh my bad it was golden oregano "aureum". Sorry to get ya all excited about it. Looks pretty and the book said indispensable in sunny and hot gardens. Looks pretty. You probably have it.
I'm in Atlanta, so depending on the zone map I'm either in your zone--8a--or in 7b. In either case, its similar, and I can appreciate the heat and humidity and dryness you're dealing with! I garden for fragrance myself, so I thought I might be able to offer some suggestions. I don't know how your garden is situated, but my two are positioned such that one gets only morning sun, and the other gets full-blast afternoon-to-sunset sun with no shade. In that garden, I have roses (which, once their taproots are down, are a little too happy in that location, as I find myself cutting off 10 feet of branches at a time--I thought mine had exploded the first year I planted it!), nicotiana (which I've already cut back twice this year and it keeps coming back--that one, I can smell from my driveway), tuberose, oregano, acidanthera, Thalia daffodils, monarda 'petite wonder', pineapple mint, four o'clocks and a corkscrew vine (vigna caracalla), all of which are fragrant. You might also consider moonflower vines and roman chamomile, though the roman chamomile, like the pineapple mint, has a tendency to be somewhat invasive. I have my moonflower vines in the morning sun garden, as the leaves wilt in the midday heat, but nothing beats their fragrance at night!
I've just been reading about adeniuns. Apparerntly, a couple of them are fragrant. Seeds or plants for the fragrant ones are particularly expensive according to those who've researched it. It appears they are very drought-tolerant so they might be worth checking out.
Mmmmm Marsinger ~ your gardens sound like they smell good! I will have more plants to research. The roses sound delightful but I despise thorns so resist that temptation. Is your soil really well improved to retain moisture?
Katiebear ~ it seems I've passed over them in reading. I will have to read up on the Adeniums. In fact I've recently passed them by in the greenhouses too. Thank you.
Its not so much the soil, though I do add SoilMoist crystals every other year. The first few years I had the garden, I planted callirhoe involucrata (poppy mallow), which is a fabulous, basically everblooming, basically evergreen, drought tolerant, full sun tolerant, ground cover. I dug it up last year, but originally I planted it so that the roots could work through the soil to aerate and improve it. I don't know about Texas, but here the ground is primarily red clay, so the soil can be crappy. I mulch with bark chips, which usually break down completely every three seasons, and I use a very thick layer (2 inches or so) in the late spring, and add another inch when summer hits. I work in a full bag of mushroom compost every fall (one bag takes care of a 15x3 section), and use it to fill any holes...I replaced the poppy mallow with oregano 'Kent Beauty' this year, and I am thrilled with it. I also added artemisia 'Silver Brocade', because not only do I garden for fragrance, and xeriscape, but I garden for moonlight, so I try to pick plants that are highly fragrant at night and/or are silver or white in color...But back to the soil, I think the groundcovers do more than anything to improve the moisture retaining properties of the soil...I haven't tried adenium, but it sounds like its worth checking out!
There is so much good information on this thread. I really appreciate all the input. I need to research thru the plant suggestions thoroughly and digest the information on preparing the clay from Marsinger... that will be invaluable information for me. Thanks much!
Pod Mint, lemon catnip, lemon balm. Those would be a great start to try. Do you have Greek Oregano?
I have that Calirhoe and love it. It is in soil that has recompacted some, but still doing alright and blooming. I don't understand why you took yours out Marsinger. I did not get that. It is drought tolerant.
I need to try some more potted things that can handle drought. My gophers are going to be the death of me.
I took out the callirhoe because I didn't love it. It's a lovely plant, the blooms are so cute and pretty and you couldn't ask for something more tolerant of crappy conditions. I used it to help fix the soil, but since I was designing a moon garden, it didn't really fit in, and it wasn't giving me the style I was looking for. I replaced it with artemisia and oregano.
I was just reading on the callirhoe and think I need to try some. I see it is also availabe in a white?
Hellnzn ~ yes on the Greek oregano which is easy to start from seed. I have a few volunteers from the lemon balm and although they look scrappy, I will try to dig one up (we are very dry) if you are interested?
Off to do some more reading on y'alls suggestions. thx ~ pod
I absolutely am interested. Thanks. I have that Callirhoe because it was sent to me from someone here from a plug in Oregon. It is so cute and I want more of it. It is in a sucky spot and could spread more I am sure if it had more water, which I will remedy soon. It even kind of loosely climbs up some of my other taller plants.
Now I don't recall that, nor do I remember what the Pyracantha blooms look like. If I do remember, seems they had thorns and I passionately avoid any plants with stickers. Perhaps that is why I don't remember the fragrance ~ lol
LOL They have red berries in the fall and early spring/late winter, or reverse, they get smothered with small lacy white fragrant flowers and are evergreen to boot. Not to mention that they use almost no water once established with good drainage.
Now that is one I will have to research. Not familiar with it at all.
Interesting... apparently most types of cotoneaster are fragrant. It is also listed as an outstanding shrub for most of Texas. I always wonder why I don't see some of these plants for sale around here.
They look and are similar. They can be groundcovers, or prostrate shrubs, espaliers, clipped hedges. It is not like you have to have a forest of them that you will be scratched up in, is it Pod? Plus I like the color it adds in an otherwise dead looking dormant landscape. Different color choices in berries too. Not convinced? So you don't do roses I take it?
No way on the roses... same logic on the thorns. I love succulents but no cacti either. The closest I have come to thorns ( and I grumble ) is a friend gave me a Crown of Thorns. I occasionally get spiked by them.
I am in an area that has deciduous trees and can imagine all the leaves in TX getting stuck in these shrubs of thorns. I'd want to clean them out. It will be easier to just avoid them. Besides, if it is fragrant, I'd want to put my face down to the blooms ~ Yeowch! I am a touchy feely plant person.
Cotoneasters are great plants (and no thorns). Many are xeric, though not all. I think the biggest reason they don't sell is that they aren't pretty enough for most people. I considered them several years ago, but the Mrs said no due to their lack of perceived beauty. They do tend to look like a bad hair day.
kateintuscon ~ do you have any seeds or seedlings of the Texas Mountain laurel? I think it might do well here, as it is hot all summer.
Dawn ~ Good to see you here...my hubby usually kills at least one rattlesnake a year. So far, I have not had to do the deed.
The deer eat my pyracantha so I gave my beautiful 'Cherry Berry' to a neighbor that has a fence around her garden. I have a small enclosed garden, but no room for the pyacantha.
I just got my tomatoes planted last week, as before it was too cold, and hopefully they can get up to size before the extreme heat settles in. Now I did plant my cool-weather veggies late, so hopefully they won't be ruined by the heat.
In this picture the foregound plant is Teucrium marum - Cat Thyme, though not a true thyme it has the properties of a thyme as it is quite drought tolerant and looks nice all year, but it does only bloom in late spring.