We inherited a mess of a yard with a few easy plants when we moved a few years ago. The biggest problem has been invasive vines that grow all over the place, and have even left scars on the house. At one point, my husband and I dug up two sections of the yard and have been super aggressive in our fight against this green creeping foe.

Another problem is that three trees have died, two from a pest and one from lightning strikes. We also cut down two other trees because of their proximity to the house. Pictured to the left is the stump of one which started growing mushrooms. We’ve removed all of it except just a bit of stump that a grinder will have to rip out.


 The good plants that came with the yard are a gorgeous red canna and some yellow iris. These are among my favorite plants because they are so easy to care for. We also have some elephant ears that I was thrilled to get because I’ve admired the big beautiful leaves for so long. Alas, this plant didn’t do so well this year because of the vines, as well as a drainage problem that will be fixed this fall. I also have a ton of monkey grass that I love to have as a border plant.  I’ve added some purple heart, which are easy to grow according to Texas Home Landscaping by Greg Grant and Roger Holmes . I’m looking forward to them spreading out. The previous owners also left behind lots of big rocks; I’m not too sure where to place those so that they look good.

I’ve recently been spending a lot of time researching the best trees and plants to grow in this part of Texas. I have a lot of space in front of the house to fill with good plants. So far, the weeds have taken over. My goal is to spend every spare moment that I can this fall clearing out the bad stuff and planting what I can so that I can enjoy a gorgeous garden all next year.

As always the best place to find info for any subject is at the library! I checked out some gardening and landscaping books and learned that fall is the best time to plant a tree in the book The Horticulture Gardener’s Guides: Design and Planting by Andrew McIndoe. I decided on a Chinese pistache for the main attraction. In this picture you can see that my neighbor across the way also has this tree. His tree is gorgeous, and I can’t wait till our puny little guy grows to be that big! We also planted three white natchez crepe myrtles on one side of the yard and a Japanese maple on the other side.









Other books that I have recently explored in my landscaping adventure include The Big Book of Garden Designs by Marianne Lipanovich, Landscape Planning by Judith Adam, Grounds for Improvement by Dean Hill. These are just a few out of a big section we have at the library on gardening and landscaping.

Most of my budget has gone into replacing trees. I would love to put in a path like this:

This is a picture from the book Walks, Patios & Walls. Instead the path I’m excavating will be filled with mulch. My head is full of visions that are full of colorful plantings in perfectly laid out beds with beautiful stone or brick pathways. I see full healthy trees with flowers encircling their bases. I have ideas of outdoor furniture I would like to build myself. I would also love to build a trellis and have something growing all over it. Something that I can manage that won’t invade the yard. Unlike what has been growing wild up until now. I found several ideas for these kinds of projects in 100 Weekend Projects Anyone Can Do.

There is a bit of a problem with all the grand plans in my head. I don’t have a big budget to put towards all of the plants that I need/want. I was lucky to be gifted the purple heart from another avid gardener. I also share what I can from my garden like giving some of my iris to a neighbor and elephant ear to some of my colleagues. I hope to find other gardeners that I can trade plants with!

In the spring I will do a follow up article that will hopefully picture a full garden with that mulch path! What gardening projects are you tackling? Do you have any gardening tips or tricks to share with our audience?

As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

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